The spine comprises 26 individual bones, or vertebrae, divided into five major groups; the cervical vertebrae are the seven vertebrae that form the neck. The threat of lifelong disability from spinal injury is high, and particularly so with cervical spinal injury. The costs associated with long-term treatment of spinal cord injury are also very high, so it is also vital to speak with a Denver spinal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss legal options.
Car accidents are the cause of nearly 40% of spinal cord injuries, with violent incidents such as assault accounting for about 25%. Other significant causes of spinal injury include work-related accidents, falls, and sports injuries. Most spinal cord injuries are the result of a high impact trauma, and the spinal cord swells and presses against the vertebrae through which it runs, cutting off neural pathways and blood supply. Immediate emergency medical attention is crucial, because the severity of the long-term effects of the injury may depend on the amount of time it takes to begin treatment.
Because the cervical vertebrae are closest to the brain, damage to the spinal cord in this area has the greatest potential to be life-altering. The cervical vertebrae are numbered in order C1 through C7, with C1 being at the base of the skull. Possible results of cervical spinal cord injury include quadriplegia, loss of motor function and sensation below the neck, as well as loss of normal heart rhythm. A spinal cord injury at or above C3 can also cause loss of lung control, which would require the patient to be put on an artificial ventilator.
The short answer is that it depends. There are so many factors that can affect the results of a cervical spinal cord injury that it is impossible to predict long-term effects. There is a very good chance of quadriplegia or paraplegia with limited use of hands and lower arms. In cases in which the patient regains the use of arms and legs, chronic, lifelong back pain and shortened life expectancy are quite likely, and depending on the victim’s profession, returning to work may never be possible. Long-term physical therapy is very common as well. Between lost wages, and medical bills that may exceed your insurance policy’s lifetime limit, spinal cord injuries cost a great deal of money.
Spinal Cord injuries are always emergencies; if you believe that you or a loved one may have injured the spinal cord, immediate emergency medical attention is vital. However, due to the tremendous financial costs, and the extremely complicated legal situation that may arise, it is also important that you consult with an experienced spinal injury attorney as soon as you can. The dedicated spinal injury attorneys at The Law Firm of Fuicelli and Lee are committed to working with victims of cervical spinal cord injuries to put their lives back together after the devastation of a life-altering injury. Fuicelli and Lee, PC can negotiate with the insurance company to ensure payment for associated bills, and protect your rights if your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence. For more information, and a FREE CONSULTATION, contact Fuicelli and Lee, PC at (303) 355-7202.
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