York, PA Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Strong advocacy for paralysis victims and their families in York County
Some injuries completely change a victim’s life. A spinal cord injury is like that. These catastrophic injuries cause a loss of function for a part or most of the body. Victims may never work again, walk again, or hug their children again. After the initial surgery, they often require a lifetime of medical care and emotional therapy.
At KBG Injury Law, our York, PA spinal cord injury lawyers work aggressively to determine how your accident happened, and who is responsible. We work with your doctors and independent doctors to fully understand the medical help you will need for the rest of your life – and all the ways your spinal cord injuries are limiting your abilities. We have the experience and resources to see each case through from beginning to end. Our lawyers are respected by former clients, other lawyers, and insurance companies for our impressive record of settlements and verdicts.
How can we help?
What is a spinal cord injury?
The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that send messages to and from the brain to the rest of the body. The spinal column which protects the spinal cord is composed of “cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacral and coccygeal vertebrae, from which 31 pairs of spinal nerves emerge segmentally and extend to the various parts of the body,” according to the United Spinal Association.
A spinal cord injury is any injury to the spinal cord or the nerves of the spinal canal. Spinal cord injuries affect a victim’s motor, sensory, and nerve functions. The injuries can cause a loss of sensation, unstable blood pressure, paralysis, and loss of bowel and bladder control. One of the added difficulties spinal cord injury victims have is the need to continually address the possibility of worsening complications.
Spinal cord injuries are classified in two ways: complete if all feeling and motor function are lost below the spinal cord injury, and incomplete if the victim has some sensory function or motor function below the affected area.
There are two different classifications of paralysis:
- Per the Mayo Clinic, tetraplegia, “Also known as quadriplegia, means that your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are all affected by your spinal cord injury.”
- This paralysis affects the victim’s trunk, pelvic organs, and legs.
According to the United Spinal Association, there are nearly 18,000 spinal cord injury (SCI) cases each year. Only a small percentage of victims have a full neurological recovery when they are discharged from their hospital. Many victims are re-hospitalized. The life expectancy of someone with an SCI is generally less than a person who does not have an SCI.
What types of York, PA accidents cause spinal cord injuries?
Any type of accident can cause a spinal cord injury if the victim lands the wrong way, or the forces are strong enough. Some of the accidents that are more likely to cause a spinal cord injury are:
- Vehicle accidents. Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycles crashes can cause an SCI – especially if any of the vehicles involved in the crash are traveling at a high speed. Victims are most likely to suffer an SCI if they are ejected from the vehicle.
- Slip and fall accidents. Anyone who falls on their back or neck may suffer a spinal cord injury. Property owners have a duty to ensure their premises are safe for anyone they invite onto their property or give permission to be on the property. Slip and fall accidents may be due to slippery floors, uneven surfaces, and broken tiles.
- Construction accidents. Workers who do construction work are at constant risk of falling on ground that isn’t level or from heights while working on a scaffold, a ladder, or upper parts of a building.
- Sports injuries. The late actor Christopher Reeve’s paralysis was caused by a fall from a horse, but other contact sports – boxing, football, rugby, and even soccer – can lead to SCI. So, too, can diving.
- Medical malpractice. An act of medical negligence can cause a spinal cord injury. Epidurals pose a significant risk, and surgical errors can also lead to SCI.
- Acts of violence. A brawl that gets out of hand, or an attack at a hotel or in a parking lot, can both lead to SCI.
Spinal cord injuries may also be due to auto defects, like broken seat backs or faulty restraint systems.
What are the symptoms and possible complications of a spinal cord injury?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms of an SCI include:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
- Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing secretions from your lungs
- Weakness, incoordination, or paralysis in any part of your body
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Impaired breathing after injury
- An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
Complications include circulatory problems, respiratory difficulties, an increased risk of osteoporosis, changes in muscle tone, weight loss, and depression. Paralysis victims who require wheelchairs are at increased risk of bowel impaction and bedsores. Victims who require feeding tubes or ventilators are at increased risk of infection.
What treatments will York, PA physicians use for a spinal cord injury victim?
Spinal cord damage cannot be reversed. There are continuing efforts to find better treatments to improve nerve function and promote nerve cell regeneration. The treatments vary depending on the stage of medical care and the severity of the injury:
- Emergency care. The initial care is normally at the accident site. The main focus is to immobilize the spine – usually with the help of a rigid neck collar and the use of a rigid carrying board. Among other tasks, the amount of swelling and whether the patient’s spine is in shock should be observed.
- At the local emergency room, an ER doctor will ask the victim questions about his or her health and conduct a physical examination. Common diagnostic tests include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. The doctor may also order blood tests. The ER physicians work to help victims breathe, prevent shock, immobilize the neck, and avoid complications.
- An operation may be necessary to “remove fragments of bones, foreign objects, herniated disks or fractured vertebrae that appear to be compressing the spine,” and for other reasons.
- Follow-up care after a surgery. Most spinal cord injury victims are admitted to the hospital ICU or a regional spine injury center. Victims will work with a team of health professionals including neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, spinal cord medicine specialists, psychologists, nurses, therapists, and social workers.
- SCI victims work with many different types of therapists. Physical therapists help with strength, movement, and conditioning. Occupational therapists help victims perform daily tasks. Psychologists help victims with anxiety, depression, and other emotional injuries. Other healthcare providers who help rehabilitate a victim include nutritionists, social workers, rehabilitation nurses, and physiatrists.
Most spinal cord injury victims will also be taught how to use assistive devices such as communication devices, computer controls, electronically controlled wheel chairs, and hand-control equipped vehicle. Medications are used to help with pain, bladder control, bowel control, sexual functioning, and muscle spasticity.
For many SCI victims, the fastest recovery rate is during the first six months.
Do you have a spinal cord injury lawyer near me?
KBG Injury Law is located at 110 North George Street. We are right in the heart of York, near Interstate 83 and Routes 30, 74 and 462. We also have offices throughout South Central Pennsylvania.
We understand spinal cord injury victims have mobility difficulties. We meet patients in their homes and at rehabilitation centers when necessary.
Speak with a York, PA spinal cord injury attorney today
At KBG Injury Law, we understand just how traumatic a spinal cord injury is. The challenges for anyone with an SCI are huge. Our lawyers fight to hold the people and companies that caused your injuries accountable. We demand compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages. To schedule an appointment with a seasoned York, PA spinal cord injury lawyer, call 717-848-3838 or fill out our contact form. We represent children and parents in York, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Hanover, and Gettysburg.