St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe and life-altering events a person can suffer. We often call them catastrophic injuries because they result in physical disabilities that prevent the sufferer from earning a living or accomplishing daily care tasks independently.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in St. Louis because of someone else’s careless or reckless actions, you can seek compensation for the immense impacts your injury has had on your finances and quality of life—as well as the impacts you will likely encounter.
A St. Louis spinal cord injury lawyer at Bruning Law Firm can advise you more about this process. Our attorneys have fought for the rights of St. Louis’s injured for more than 35 years, and have recovered millions on behalf of clients who have suffered devastating injuries, such as a $1.4 million court award for a truck accident victim who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in the accident. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in St. Louis due to another’s wrongdoing, contact us today.
About Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services, unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death for residents in the state for those ages one to 44. The most common accidents leading to unintentional injuries in the state are motor vehicle accidents and falls. These types of accidents are common causes of spinal cord injuries as well.
The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves that extends down the back from the base of the skull to the waist. The bones and vertebrae of the spine generally protect it. While the spine itself provides stability for the back that allows the individual to stand and walk, the spinal cord’s purpose is to relay messages from the brain to other parts of the body to allow those body parts to function and experience sensation.
A spinal cord injury involves damage to any part of the cord. This type of injury generally results in a loss of sensation and function below the damaged area, and because the spinal cord has only a limited ability to heal from injury, this injury is often permanent.
Doctors often diagnose spinal cord injuries as complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury paralyzes all sensation and function below the injury, while individuals suffering incomplete injuries retain some sensation and function below the injury. Injuries occurring in the cervical (neck) region of the spinal cord will generally cause tetraplegia or quadriplegia. This destroys sensation and function below the neck, including the muscles in the diaphragm and abdomen. Injuries occurring lower on the cord will often cause paraplegia, which paralyzes the individual below the waist.
The Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can happen in almost any situation but are most common in vehicle accidents. St Louis traffic tends to be smoother than it is in many similarly sized cities. Despite that, thousands of car accidents still occur on the area streets each year, with many resulting in serious injuries, including injuries to the spinal cord. Across the nation, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of this type of injury, accounting for half of all new spinal cord injuries suffered each year.
Other common causes include:
- Falls. Falling either from elevation or on level ground is the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in individuals over the age of 65, and is also one of the most common causes of injury in the workplace, particularly in the construction industry. Overall, falls account for nearly one-third of all new spinal cord injuries incurred each year.
- Acts of violence. About 13 percent of all new spinal cord injuries each year are caused by intentional acts of violence, such as assault or child abuse.
- Sports or recreational activities. Sports such as football, soccer, and diving account for around 10 percent of all new spinal cord injuries.
- Medical errors. Spinal cord injuries can result from errors made by healthcare providers, such as birth injuries.
Who is most likely to suffer a spinal cord injury in St. Louis?
Men are far more likely to suffer spinal cord injuries than women, with males accounting for around 80 percent of all new spinal cord injuries. While men under the age of 30 are most likely to suffer this type of injury, the average age for acquiring a spinal cord injury is 43 years.
Common Complications Associated with Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can produce severe complications that shorten the sufferer’s life expectancy and result in life-long medical expenses.
Some of the complications most commonly associated with this type of injury include:
- Changes in bladder or bowel control, which can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, or constipation.
- Changes in skin sensation. Paralysis numbs the sensation that a person with a spinal cord injury can feel below the injury. This precludes feeling the sharpness of objects or contact with extremely hot or cold surfaces. The inability to feel and respond to the pain caused by these surfaces results in an increased risk of injury and infection. Changes to skin sensation can also result in pressure ulcers—also known as bed sores—as the individual can’t tell when to change positions to relieve pressure on certain body parts.
- Circulatory problems, including low blood pressure, swelling of the extremities, and an increased risk of blood clots, which can lead to a life-threatening complication known as a pulmonary embolus. This occurs when a blood clot travels through the circulatory system to the lungs.
- Respiratory issues. The leading cause of premature death for individuals living with a spinal cord injury is pneumonia, resulting from the individual’s inability to expel excretions from the lungs or throat by coughing due to paralysis in the diaphragm and abdominal muscles.
- Changes to muscle tone, including limp muscles—a condition called flaccidity—as well as involuntarily rigid muscles, a condition called spasticity.
- Changes in sexual health, including a loss of lubrication for females and the inability to achieve an erection or to ejaculate for males.
- Chronic pain, which is generally experienced by those with incomplete injuries who still can experience some sensation below the injury.
The Economic Costs and Life Impacts of Living With a Spinal Cord Injury
The expenses of a spinal cord injury vary widely, depending on the victim’s age when the injury occurred and the level of paralysis suffered. Those who experience any loss of motor function from the injury can expect first-year costs of nearly $350,000 for medical treatment and living expenses, with their injury potentially costing more than $40,000 a year for each subsequent year of their life. Those suffering high tetraplegia can expect a price tag of more than a million dollars for the first year of treatment, with the cost of their injury running them close to $185,000 each year thereafter.
The financial cost of the injury is not the only impact experienced by those with spinal cord injuries. This injury can change every facet of the sufferer’s life, including their ability to earn an income, live independently, and even the nature of the relationships they have with family members and close friends. Depression is an often-overlooked complication of the injury, as the individual must adjust to a far different life than they ever imagined.
Seeking Compensation for a St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury
In St. Louis, individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s wrongdoing can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of their injury. Your lawyer can initiate a spinal cord injury claim with a demand to the at-fault party’s insurer. This will typically begin the negotiation process, where your attorney will collect evidence to prove the case to the insurance company to obtain a fair settlement.
If the insurance adjuster fails to agree to a fair settlement, the claimant usually has five years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
To successfully resolve your St. Louis spinal cord injury claim, you must show:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care to take actions that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would have taken to protect others from injury. Using a motor vehicle context as an example, the duty of care all drivers owe one another is to operate their motor vehicles safely and legally.
- The at-fault party breached their duty of care by violating the duty of care. Using the motor vehicle scenario, the breach in the duty of care could be an at-fault driver’s alcohol impairment, as it is neither safe nor legal to drive while impaired.
- The breach resulted in the accident that caused you to experience a spinal cord injury and incur associated expenses and impacts.
Available Compensation in St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury Claim
St. Louis personal injury claimants can seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages through a personal injury claim. Economic damages refer to compensation for the economic harm that the claimant experienced, such as medical expenses, the cost of hiring someone to perform household duties that they can no longer do because of the injury, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation for the quality-of-life impacts a victim incurs because of the injury, such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
Let Bruning Law Firm Help with Your St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury Claim
When it comes to catastrophic injuries such as spinal cord injuries, having an experienced St. Louis spinal cord injury lawyer on your side is crucial to your ability to obtain the maximum amount of compensation available for you. An experienced spinal cord injury attorney not only understands the legal process of seeking compensation but also the level of compensation you require to pay for a lifetime of care.
Let us help you with your St. Louis spinal cord injury claim to seek compensation for the expenses and impacts it has had on your life. You should not foot the bill to cover a devastating and costly spinal cord injury when someone else’s wrongdoing caused it. For a free case evaluation, contact us online or by calling (314) 735-8100.
The Bruning Law Firm
555 Washington Ave Ste 600A,
St. Louis, MO 63101
“They are so professional. Ryan and Anisa took all the stress away where all I had to do was focus on recovery from my accident they handled everything else and I’m truly thankful.” – Teria H.
Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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