An injury to your neck or back in an accident can injure your spinal cord. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that run through your spine. At each vertebrae, nerves branch out to the various parts of the body. Spinal injuries can cause numbness and loss of sensation. Severe injuries can leave you paralized. Some injuries may have few symptoms until a larger problem develops. If you have suffered a neck or back injury and think you may have a spinal cord injury, it is vital that you seek medical care. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky can help you get the medical care you need and hold the responsible people accountable.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal injuries fall into one of two groups. An injury to the spinal cord that results in a total loss of sensation below the injury is called a complete injury. When a victim has some sensation or muscle control below the injury, it is referred to as an incomplete injury.
Almost all spinal cord injuries result in some degree of functional loss. Many spinal injuries can be treated with physical therapy. Quite a few injuries to the spine require surgery and result in permanent and significant damage.
The cervical spine makes up the bones of your neck. Spinal cord injuries to the neck are the most common. A cervical spine injury is likely to cause loss of sensation and motor function to the arms, legs, and torso. A complete cervical spine injury causes paralysis below the injury, and will result in the need for the victim to rely on mechanical breathing and full-time care for the rest of their life. Incomplete injuries may cause total or partial paralysis, loss of sensation, decreased muscle strength, and problems with bodily functions.
The vertebrae of the thoracic spine make up your chest below the level of your arms. Spinal cord injuries to the upper back can cause loss of muscle control to the torso, making it difficult to stand, walk, and balance. Complete thoracic spine injuries will cause paraplegia to the legs and lower body. Incomplete injuries can cause permanent movement problems, incontinence, and sexual dysfunction.
Lumbar and Sacral Injuries
The lumbar and sacral spine directs nerves to your legs and controls your bowels. A complete injury in this area will leave the victim unable to walk. Incomplete injuries can cause movement and balance problems, sexual dysfunction, and incontinence.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Happen?
The lawyers at the law offices of Joel J. Kofsky have seen thousands of spinal cord injuries over our decades of experience. Car accidents and slip, trip, and fall injuries are the most frequent cause of spinal cord injuries.
Car accidents cause more spinal cord injuries each year in the United States than any other type of injury. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reports that around 39 percent of all spinal cord injuries happen in car accidents. The most frequent car accident that results in spinal cord injuries is a rollover accident. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 30 represent the largest age group that suffer from spinal injuries in car accidents.
Only 0.6% of victims of spinal cord injuries that happen in car accidents are able to return to normal life. Nearly half of the injuries result in incomplete spinal injuries to all of the lower body. Another twenty percent of victims suffer incomplete paralysis.
Many law offices are not well-staffed to handle these types of cases. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky has decades of experience winning cases involving spinal cord injuries. These cases can take years to resolve and frequently involve large amounts of money. We make sure that you get the medical help you need and the financial protections you deserve for your not-at-fault accident.
Slip, Trip, and Fall Accidents
Spinal cord injuries are commonly suffered when victims slip, trip, or fall. Injuries to the back, neck, and pelvis caused by falls can leave victims in long-term pain, with a loss of mobility, or even paralized. Falls from more than one floor frequently result in spinal cord injuries, but even falls on the same floor can cause severe injuries. Twenty percent of falls that result in spinal cord injuries are from one level.
Only car accidents cause more spinal injuries than falls. Falls account for 32 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Data compiled by the National Center for Biotechnology Information shows people over the age of 65 are most at risk of spinal injuries caused by falls. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death and the leading cause of accidental injury among Americans over the age of 65.
A spinal injury can be particularly dangerous for older victims. Spinal injuries carry an increased risk of respiratory failure, illness, and many other potentially life threatening ailments. Victims of spinal cord injuries are typically partially or fully immobilized for a significant period of time. This can cause pressure sores that, if left untreated, can result in septic shock and death.
Nearly all spinal cord injuries will result in some level of permanent disability. Even a minor injury, such as a fall that causes bruising to the nerves in your neck or back can have long-term consequences that may not be obvious at first.
If you or a loved one has experienced a slip, trip, or fall accident that should have been prevented and are suffering from pain, numbness, or tingling, it is important to speak with medical professionals to determine if a spinal cord injury has happened. Delaying treatment will not improve the injury.
The personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky have decades of experience winning spinal cord injury cases. Our highly-educated staff and experienced lawyers will make sure that your injury is treated swiftly and professionally. We want you and your family to be as healthy as possible, and that is why we fight relentlessly to hold responsible parties accountable for spinal cord injuries in Philadelphia.
Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are among the most expensive to treat. Specialists are almost always required, and any injury that requires surgery must be done by highly specialized doctors at hospitals properly equipped to perform the operation. Spinal cord surgeries are always risky. You never want to have an “okay” surgeon for your neck or back operation.
The NSCISC reports that the lifetime cost for individuals who suffer a cervical spine injury that results in quadriplegia at the age of 25 will incur an average of $5 million in medical costs. Even an incomplete spinal cord injury suffered by a victim over the age of 50 will see more than $1 million in medical costs.
The cost of medical treatment is very high for spinal injuries, but some of the other impacts of an injury can be even more devastating. Individuals who are employed at the time of injury make up 66 percent of all spinal injuries, but only 20 percent are employed 10 years after the date of injury. More than 20 percent of victims become divorced within 10 years of their injury.
Since 2015, victims of spinal cord injuries are rehospitalized within the first year of injury at a rate of 30 percent for an average of 19 days. These rehospitalization events are typically the result of genital or urinary ailments. Diseases of the skin, such as pressure sores, and respiratory, digestive, and circulatory illnesses are also common.
Life expectancy is substantially lower for victims of spinal cord injuries. A person injured at age 20 who survives the first 24 hours after injury and is still alive one year after injury has a life expectancy of age 53 compared to an average lifespan of nearly 80 years for an uninjured American. Victims of spinal cord injuries that result in the need to use a ventilator for breathing typically only survive for 11.3 years after injury. Victims who suffer this type of spinal cord injury over the age of 60 live only 3.7 years after the injury.
Causes of Death
In the United States, the leading causes of death for victims of spinal cord injuries are respiratory disease and septicemia. Over the last 45 years, advances in science have reduced the likelihood of death from cancer, stroke, urinary disease, and suicide, but not septicemia. Only a minor decrease in the rate of death from respiratory disease has been noted in that time.
How the Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky Can Help
The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky will make sure that the medical team treating your neck or back injury are the very best available. Our legal team will make sure you or your injured family member gets the highest level of care and rehabilitation. We want you to be as close to 100% better as we can get.
Our attorneys know the nuanced laws in Pennsylvania and will prevent insurance companies from using loopholes to reduce the amount of money they pay you. We make sure that your injury is treated correctly and that you are compensated to the fullest extent of the law. Our spinal cord injury lawyers will help you from your first call until long after we win your case. Our risk-free consultation is designed to provide an opportunity to speak with our staff about your case so that we can let you know how to proceed. Our goal is to see you and your family healthy and happy, and we will fight on your behalf to make sure that you are not left with a lifetime of pain and suffering because of an accident that was not your fault.