Chicago Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Lawyers
Compassionate counsel in Illinois when you or a loved one need it most
Spinal cord injuries are unlike most other types of injuries because they are often long-term and usually require permanent care. The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves and tissues that connects parts of the brain, neck, and back along the vertebrae. The brain and the spinal cord compose the body’s central nervous system. Damage to any part of the spine can result in paralysis, loss of bodily function, nerve damage, and long-term pain.
Our Chicago spinal cord injury attorneys understand what types of accidents cause spinal cord damage, who is responsible when the injury occurs, and what type of medical care is needed to maximize recovery and cope with adjustments in lifestyle. At Gainsberg Law, P.C., our lawyers are trusted in the community to help accident victims get full compensation when negligence or other breaches of the duty of care cause an SCI. We are ready to help you and your family understand the medical and legal challenges so that you can assert your rights and begin your life again.
How can we help?
- What is a spinal cord injury?
- What are the symptoms of a spinal cord injury in Chicago?
- How are spinal cord injuries diagnosed in Chicago?
- What are the causes of spinal cord injuries in Chicago?
- Are there treatments for spinal cord injuries?
- Do you have a spinal cord injury lawyer near me?
The place and severity of the injury site determine how serious a spinal cord injury will be. Spinal cord injuries are considered complete if the patient loses most of his/her sensory function and bodily function, and incomplete if the patient has some sensory and functional abilities.
Paralysis of the spine that affects the arms, legs, trunk, pelvic organs, and hands is called quadriplegia or tetraplegia. If the arms and hands are functional but the legs, trunk, and pelvic organs are not, the patient has paraplegia. In either event, paralysis of the spinal cord is a life-altering occurrence for the patient and those who love him/her.
Our Chicago spinal cord injury attorneys review each client’s case with their personal doctors, and independent doctors when needed, to fully assess the medical diagnosis and recovery issues, including the need for extensive rehabilitation.
Some of the factors that indicate someone has suffered a spinal cord injury because of a car accident, a fall, a defective product, or some other cause include:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of sensation or changes in sensation – including being unable to feel touch, cold, or heat
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Sexual function changes
- Pain or “an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord”
- Problems breathing, coughing, or other lung disorders
- Extreme back pain or pressure in the back, head, or neck
- “Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body”
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- “An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back”
Along with mobility and movement, SCI can also affect the circulatory, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems. Other complications include pressure injuries, orthostatic hypotension, bowel impaction, and increased risk of pneumonia, sepsis, osteoporosis, and fractures below the level of the injury. SCI victims may also suffer from depression.
- CT scans
- A complete neurological exam which may include “testing your muscle strength and your ability to sense light touch and pinprick sensations.”
Many different types of accidents can cause spinal cord injuries. The common denominator in all types of personal injury cases is that if someone else caused the accident, the injured person deserves compensation for the wrong. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Vehicle accidents. Car, truck, motorcycle, public transit, and other vehicle accidents can cause a spinal cord injury because the vehicles weigh many times more than the victim, and their combination of mass and speed often creates unbearable forces.
- Defective products. Any explosion or malfunction of work equipment, airbags, appliances, or other large objects can result in a severe spinal cord injury.
- Unsafe premises. Anyone who slips, trips, or falls can suffer from a herniated disc or any other form of spinal cord harm. If an item falls off a shelf or a customer is mugged because of negligent security, damage to the spine can also occur.
- Medical malpractice. Patients have surgical procedures in the hope that they will get better. Sadly, some patients get worse due to medical errors by the doctor, the hospitals, nurses, or medical staff. One slip of the knife, one injection in the wrong location, or one other medical oversight can cause a spinal cord injury and permanent harm.
- Sports and recreation injuries. Football players, mountain climbers, cheerleaders, divers, and equestrians may be the most at risk of SCI, but any athlete can suffer a spinal cord injury.
If an employee suffered a spinal cord injury while working on the job, then the employee should be entitled to payment of all reasonable medical bills to treat the spine injury and two-thirds of their lost wages while the employee cannot work. If the spinal injury causes a permanent disability, the worker may be entitled to additional work loss benefits.
All other Chicago accident victims should be able to file a personal injury claim. The economic and personal damages for SCI injuries can be extremely high.
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries are not reversible though researchers are working on nerve cell regeneration and ways to improve nerve function.
The initial aim of medical care providers if someone has an SCI after an accident is to minimize the effects of head or neck trauma by immobilizing the spine “as gently and quickly as possible using a rigid neck collar and a rigid carrying board.”
In the emergency room, physicians will concentrate on maintaining a victim’s ability to breathe, preventing shock, immobilizing the neck, and avoiding possible complications. Victims may be admitted to a hospital ICU. They may also be “transferred to a regional spine injury center that has a team of neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, spinal cord medicine specialists, psychologists, nurses, therapists, and social workers with expertise in spinal cord injury.”
Soft neck collars and braces may be used. Surgery me necessary to “remove fragments of bones, foreign objects, herniated disks, or fractured vertebrae that appear to be compressing the spine. Surgery might also be needed to stabilize the spine to prevent future pain or deformity.”
Additional care after surgery includes:
- Ongoing care includes “preventing secondary problems that may arise, such as deconditioning, muscle contractures, pressure ulcers, bowel and bladder issues, respiratory infections, and blood clots.”
- Rehabilitation usually involves care by many different healthcare providers including – “a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, a rehabilitation nurse, a rehabilitation psychologist, a social worker, a dietitian, a recreation therapist, and a doctor who specializes in physical medicine (physiatrist) or spinal cord injuries.”
- Medications may be prescribed to control pain, muscle spasticity, bladder and bowel control, and sexual functioning.
- New technologies include modern wheelchairs, computer devices that may help with hand function, voice recognition, and other problems. Other technologies may include electronic aids and electrical stimulation devices.
Most of the recovery takes place during the first six months, but some patients have small improvements for up to two years. Spinal cord injuries can create a significant financial burden for the victim and their family, which is one reason you want to contact an attorney for help. You shouldn’t have to worry about the costs associated with SCI.
Gainsberg Law meets clients who have spinal cord injuries at our office located at 77 W Washington Street, Suite 1215, right in downtown Chicago. There are two bus stops nearby if you use public transportation. Since many SCI accident victims have difficulty moving, we conduct video conferences and meet SCI clients at hospitals and healthcare facilities.
We understand how traumatic SCI injuries are. We’ll answer all your questions and explain your rights.
Helping spinal cord injury victims get justice in Chicago
Our compassionate Chicago spinal cord injury attorneys work with neurosurgeons, pain management doctors, and other physicians who understand how severe spinal cord injuries are and how much discomfort and pain SCI patients live with. At Gainsberg Law, we understand your concerns about how the medical bills will be paid and how you will earn a living. To speak with a compassionate attorney who works to hold wrongdoers accountable, please call our office or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.