Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
At Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates, our Chicago personal injury lawyers we have obtained what was the largest verdict in Illinois history for a spinal cord injury.
Severe trauma from an auto accident, major fall, or any high-velocity accident can damage the spinal cord and cause acute long-term or permanent pain, dysfunction, or paralysis.
The experienced Chicago spinal cord injury lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates have represented thousands of individuals who suffered life-altering injuries. We understand the complex nature of cases involving a serious spinal cord injury.
What Makes Up the Spinal Cord?
The spine is made up of a series of bones called vertebrae. Vertebrae are stacked on top of one another with gel-like discs between them and are defined into four regions; Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, and Sacral. The spinal cord is protected by these bones called the vertebrae: the spinal cord actually runs through these bones.
The spinal cord is a complex highway of nerves that assist in the electrical communication from the brain to the rest of the body, and it runs through the spine’s vertebrae structure, delivering messages to each region of the body and providing control and function to muscle structures, skin, and organs. Corresponding regions of the skin that rely on nerve messages are called Dermatomes.
When an injury occurs at any point in the spinal cord, communication above the injury site to the brain often remains unaffected. Regions at or below the injury site, however, may be damaged. Regions can also be cut off from the brain’s vital neurological messaging causing numerous effects. Common effects include transient (on and off, or moving) chronic and acute pain, numbness, dysfunction, and full or partial paralysis.
Depending on the location of the injury, basic functions, such as breathing, eating or sleeping can also be affected.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is any injury to the spinal cord that results from trauma as opposed to disease. The symptoms vary widely depending on where the spinal cord or nerve roots are damaged. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) published an international classification of spinal cord injury called the International Standards for Neurological and Functional Classification of Spinal Cord Injury. The ISNCSCI classifies traumatic spinal cord injuries into five categories on the ASIA Impairment Scale.
A dermatome is a section of the skin that is innervated through a specific part of the spine. Simply, it is an area of skin that is mainly supplied by one of the spinal nerves. Symptoms that follow a dermatome may indicate a process that involves the related nerve root.
A severe injury will cause problems in parts of the spine below the actual injury. As described above, a complete injury results in a loss of all function below the injured area. In an incomplete injury, some or all of the functions below the injured area may be unaffected.
Cervical or Neck Injuries
Cervical or neck injuries usually result in full or partial tetraplegia (quadriplegia):
- C-1/C-2 injuries will often result in the loss of breathing and loss of motion to the portions of the body below the upper neck
- C3 vertebrae injuries and above generally result in the loss of diaphragm function and loss of motion and feeling to the portions of the body below the upper neck
- C4 injuries often result in a significant loss of function at the shoulders and biceps and loss of motion and feeling to the portions of the body below the lower neck
- C5 injuries typically result in the potential loss of function at the shoulders and biceps, and a complete loss of function at the hands and wrists and all areas below the lower neck
- C6 injuries often result in limited wrist control and a complete loss of hand function and loss of all areas below the lower neck
- C7 and T1 injuries generally result in a lack of dexterity in the hands and fingers, with limited functionality of the arms and loss of function to all areas below the lower neck
Thoracic injuries generally result in paraplegia:
- T1 to T8 injuries often result in the inability to control the abdominal muscles and all portions of the body below the neck or middle of the back. A lower level of injury will result in a lower severity of the effects
- T9 to T12 injuries typically result in partial loss of abdominal muscle and truck control and loss of function to all areas of the body at the lower back and below
Lumbosacral injuries typically result in decreased control of the legs, hips, urinary system, and anus:
- Dysfunction of the bowel and bladder is common after a traumatic injury to sacral region of the spine
- The sacral spinal segments are also associated with sexual function. Following a traumatic injury to this area can affect sexual function
- Destruction or cutting of the spinal cord in these areas will result in the loss of use of the legs
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are most often caused by lateral movement, dislocation, rotation, axial loading and hypreflexion or hyperextension of the spinal cord. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries. Falls, work-related accidents, and penetrations are other common causes of spinal cord injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, your life has changed. Things that you once took for granted will now take a huge amount of effort and energy. Some may not even be possible. You will face new barriers going about your everyday business like working, driving or recreational activities.
Damages After a Spine Injury
If someone else is to blame for causing your spinal injury, you may want to seek compensation for the damages. Our Chicago team of spinal cord injury lawyers are experts in this field. We understand that the money will not make everything right again, but it can help make life easier. Compensation can be awarded to:
- Pay for adaptations to your home – ramps, bath lifts, hoists, extensions
- Pay for a car that you can drive and or access easily
- Compensate you for lost wages due to your inability to return to work
- Pay for private healthcare to make sure you receive the best treatment without delay
- Compensate you for your pain and suffering
- Pay for any expenses you had to pay – travel costs to and from hospital appointments
- Secure rehabilitation and therapy to help maximize your independence
A spinal cord injury can happen in a matter of seconds, yet the damage will last a lifetime. A spinal cord injury is serious and debilitating, therefore can change your life forever. Due to the severity of spinal cord injuries, skilled and competent legal representation from a spine injury lawyer is crucial.
Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates invites you for a free consultation to discuss your injury. You can also email us or even speak with us right now on LiveChat, located in the lower right corner of the screen. Even if you do not wish to retain a Chicago injury attorney, we can set you on the right path for free.
Most of our lawyers have more than 30 years of experience. We have an outstanding track record in helping our clients and therefore create strong trust relationships, as you can see in our Success Record. Please call our Chicago office at (312) 372-8822, or our Joliet office at (815) 723-8822. You can call our toll free number at (800) 985-1819.