Spinal Cord

Vancouver, WA Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Strong advocacy when negligence leads to spinal cord damage and paralysis

Spinal cord injuries can cause death, paralysis, and chronic pain. Many survivors are never the same after an accident. Spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents, falls on property, being struck by objects at construction sites, explosions, and other types of negligence. Victims often need surgeries, treatment with neurologists and pain management doctors, and extensive rehabilitative care.

At Philbrook Law Office, PS, our seasoned Vancouver, WA spinal cord injury lawyers have been fighting for personal injury victims for nearly 20 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients obtain strong settlements and verdicts. We’ve achieved this remarkable success through our thorough preparation of your case, our work to file claims against all responsible defendants, and our work with your medical team to fully understand your medical needs. We’ll work aggressively to help you or your loved one.

What types of accidents cause spinal cord injuries?

Spinal cord damage affects the back, neck, ribs, nerves, and spine itself. Spinal cord damage is caused by various types of accidents including:

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Did you know?
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According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center at UAB, nearly 40% of spinal cord injuries are due to vehicle crashes and 32% are due to falls.

What types of paralysis may occur due to a severe spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injury can cause full or partial paralysis. The types of paralysis caused by an SCI are:

  • Monoplegia. This form of paralysis affects one area of the body.
  • Hemiplegia. This is paralysis of one half of the body.
  • Paraplegia. This is paralysis from the chest and waist down.
  • Tetraplegia/Quadriplegia. This is paralysis that affects the cervical spinal cord or the first thoracic vertebrae.
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How is a spinal cord injury diagnosed?

A spinal cord injury is usually diagnosed through:

  • X-Rays. X-Rays can show vertebral problems, fractures, degenerative changes, and tumors.
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans.A CT scan forms cross-sectional computer images which can show disk, bone, and other problems.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to produce computer-generated images to show herniated disks, blood clots, and other spinal cord disorders.

Neurologists usually conduct a full neurological exam which includes testing muscle strength, your ability to sense light touch, and pinprick sensations.

How are spinal cord injuries treated?

Spinal cord damage can’t be reversed. However, there are treatments that can help improve function of the nerves and manage pain.

Spinal cord treatments, in addition to appropriate medications, include:

  • Emergency surgeries to prevent shock, keep you breathing, and avoid complications “such as stool or urine retention, respiratory or cardiovascular difficulty, and formation of deep vein blood clots in the extremities.”
  • Initial surgeries may be performed by neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, and spinal cord medicine specialists.
  • Traction may be needed to stabilize the spine.
  • “Often surgery is necessary to remove fragments of bones, foreign objects, herniated disks or fractured vertebrae that appear to be compressing the spine. Surgery may also be needed to stabilize the spine to prevent future pain or deformity.”

After the initial care, physicians work to prevent subsequent problems such as muscle contractures, pressure ulcers, respiratory infections, and other problems. Other complications can include:

  • Loss of bladder control
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Sexual difficulties
  • Pain
  • Circulatory problems
  • Loss of skin sensation, making victims more susceptible to pressure sores and other complications

Rehabilitative care includes working with a team of people including:

  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Rehabilitation nurses
  • Rehabilitation psychologists
  • Nutritionists
  • Recreational therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Social workers

Initial rehab care includes strengthening muscles, refining fine motor skills, and learning to work with new adaptive devices.

What new technologies are being used for spinal cord injuries?

Don’t give up hope. There are continuing discoveries about SCI being made. Some of the newer technologies that are helping spinal cord injury accident victims include:

  • Spinal cord stimulators and electronic stimulation devices
  • More mobile and comfortable wheelchairs including electric wheelchairs
  • Computer adaptive devices
  • Voice-activated devices
  • Robotic gait training

Most patients have their most significant recovery during the first six months after the accident.

What damages can be awarded in a spinal cord injury case?

Our Vancouver, WA personal injury lawyers work with your medical team, and independent doctors if needed, to fully understand your medical situation. This includes your long-term medical needs once your situation has stabilized. Many SCI accident victims require a lifetime of medical care.

Damages can include:

  • Medical expenses for physical injuries. These are the amounts necessary to pay for surgeries, doctor visits, therapy, medications, and adaptive devices.
  • Medical bills for emotional injuries. Many SCI victims need to treat with psychiatrists and psychologists because a spinal cord injury causes depression, anxiety, and fear.
  • Lost income. Many spinal cord injury victims can’t work again. If they can, it’s often a lower paying job because they can’t work as hard. Lost income includes all your current income losses and all future income loss due to the accident.
  • Pain and suffering. This includes loss of function, loss of life’s pleasures, your daily aches and pain, your anxiety, and other intangible losses.
  • Loss of consortium. This sum is to compensate you because you can’t be intimate with your spouse or domestic partner.
  • Any property damages. A common example is the cost to fix or replace your car.

In appropriate cases, we also demand payment of punitive damages – such as when a drunk driver caused your spinal cord injuries.

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Seek assistance from a spinal cord injury lawyer you can trust

Please know that if you suffer a spinal cord injury for any reason, you do not need to suffer in silence. At Philbrook Law Office, we have a strong track record of success fighting for accident victims who have suffered a spinal cord injury. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA, please call 360-695-3309 or complete our contact form. We also serve the greater Portland area and Oregon State. We represent spinal cord injury victims on a contingency fee basis. We can see you in your home if you’re not mobile.