Sacramento Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Much like traumatic brain injuries, there is no such thing as a “minor” spinal cord injury. Any damage to the spinal cord can have a profound impact on both the injured and his or her family. The hardship is felt through drastic physical changes that often involve a great deal of physical pain, as well as emotional trauma, financial hardship, and stress. Regardless of whether the spinal cord damage was caused by an auto accident, workplace accident, fall, or assault, or if it was caused by a misdiagnosed tumor or degenerative disease, the resulting nerve damage can cause enormous dysfunction to the body. Depending on the location and degree, a spinal cord injury can alter basic functions such as breathing, eating, and sleeping.
Unlike the more visible parts of our bodies, the spinal cord is something we often take for granted. It is the nerve center that runs through the center of the spine and its job is to relay messages from the brain to the rest of the body. When it suffers an injury, all nerves above the site of damage may continue functioning properly, while the nerves below the area of injury suffer a decreased ability to send messages back and forth from the brain to the rest of the body.
What Are the Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Our spine is an essential part of our body that allows us to move about and freely participate in fun activities. From painting your bedroom walls to simply using the restroom, your daily life is supported by your spinal cord. However, this means that when you suffer a spinal cord injury, you may sustain severe disabilities and restrictions when you move around.
The spine is broken into four sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spinal levels. Each area plays a different role in your spinal cord and, when damaged, they can hinder specific bodily functions.
Cervical Spine & Neck Injuries
At the top of the spinal cord is the cervical section of the spine. It consists of seven vertebrae. Because it works into the neck and is closest to the brain, injuries to this specific section are some of the most severe. Many cervical spine and neck injuries cause a full or partial loss of sensory function and can affect your ability to participate in daily tasks.
Some symptoms of cervical spine and neck injuries are:
- Numbness in the hands
- Pain in the neck or arms
- Leg muscle spasms
- Loss of dexterity in the hands
- Loss of coordination in finger, hands, and arms
- Loss of muscle tone in arms and hands
There are many non-surgical and surgical treatment options for those that suffer from cervical spinal injuries. From medications to minimally invasive surgeries, medical professionals can assist with the recovery process and find the best options for those who suffer from cervical injuries.
Many spinal injuries are the result of accidents that involve someone else’s reckless behavior. The recovery process and treatment options for those suffering from a spinal injury can be expensive. However, a spinal cord injury attorney will represent you in legal conflicts so you’re able to receive compensation for expenses and financial losses like medical fees and lost income.
Thoracic Spine Injuries
The chest region where the spine attaches to the ribs is known as the thoracic spine. The spinal canal in this region is relatively smaller than in the other two regions of the spine, the cervical (neck area) and lumbar (lower back) regions, putting the spinal cord in the thoracic region at greater risk for injury. Thoracic injuries often result in permanent neurological damage.
Fractures to the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar (lower back) regions are typically caused by a car accident, major fall or other high-velocity accident. There are several complications that can be produced by thoracic spine injuries, including blood clots in the legs, pneumonia and pressure sores. Surgical complications can include bleeding, infection and spinal fluid leaks. These types of complications can be avoided by seeking early medical treatment, medication and proper surgical techniques.
Thoracic Outlet Syndrome
Thoracic outlet syndrome is a condition caused by the narrowing of an outlet between the base of the neck (collarbone) and armpit (first rib). This area, known as the thoracic outlet, is surrounded by muscle, bone and other tissue. Any type of injury or condition that causes swelling or movement of this tissue can result in compression to nerves and/or blood vessels.
Symptoms of thoracic outlet syndrome may include the following:
- Pain in the neck, shoulder, and/or arm
- Numbness or impaired circulation to the extremities
- Pain or weakness in hands and fingers
Symptoms can range from mild to extreme, intermittent to constant. With therapy, this condition can improve, but in severe cases, surgery may be needed to open the thoracic outlet.
Lumbar Spine Injuries
The most common spine fractures take place in the thoracic (mid-back) and lumbar (lower back) spine, or at the place in the spine where the two connect (thoracolumbar junction). A fracture in these areas is usually caused by a car accident or major fall, or other high-velocity accident.
The lumbar spine is the third major region of the spine, located in the lower back. There are typically five bones (or vertebrae) in the lumbar spine that are stacked on top of each other. Between each bone is a gel-like disc (intervertebral disc) that serves as a cushion for the bones to absorb pressure and keep the bones from rubbing. They are held together by groups of ligaments connecting the bones, and tendons connecting the bones to the back muscles. All of these bones, ligaments, tendons and muscles surround the spinal cord, and they work together to stabilize the spine, guard against excessive movement in any direction and protect the spinal cord. Injury to any of these protective mechanisms can cause a great deal of pain that can worsen when left untreated.
The nerve center that runs through the center of the spine is called the spinal cord. It relays messages from the brain to the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is injured at the lumbar spine region, numbness, tingling, weakness, or bowel and bladder dysfunction can occur. When the lumbar spinal cord is severely injured, it can cause paralysis of the lower body.
Cauda Equina Injuries
Beneath the lumbar section of the spinal cord where the spinal cord terminates, there is a bundle of nerve roots that control bowel, bladder and sexual functions. This region is known as the “cauda equina.” When these nerves are compressed and paralyzed, sensation and movement of the lower body can become seriously compromised, and nerve roots that control bladder and bowel functions are disrupted.
Damage to this bundle of nerves can produce what’s known as “Cauda Equina Syndrome.” It is a very serious condition that requires early treatment to be managed properly. Considered a surgical emergency, if it is not treated promptly it can lead to permanent loss of bladder and bowel control, as well as paralysis of the legs.
Causes of Cauda Equina Syndrome:
- Direct trauma from a lumbar puncture
- Spinal anesthesia errors
- Trauma from catheters
- High local anesthetic concentrations around the Cauda Equina
- Spinal Stenosis
- Inflammatory conditions
- Tumors and lesions
- Herniated Discs
Lower back pain is a source of discomfort and irritation for many people. If you find yourself suffering from cauda equina syndrome or other related injuries, contact your primary care physician for personalized medical advice specifically tailored to your injury.
Get in Touch With a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Sacramento
The best Sacramento personal injury lawyers work hard to obtain results for their injured clients to enable them to seek out the resources they need for maximum recovery. Because damage to the spinal cord can affect so many different functions of the body, this requires rehabilitation facilities and care providers who specialize in spinal cord injury. It’s important to hire an attorney with experience handling spinal cord injury cases, who has the understanding and resources to help point the injured client in the right direction.
Our Sacramento spinal cord injury attorneys have taken on big corporations, insurance companies and other defendants and held them accountable for both economic and non-economic damages their negligent or careless acts caused. We have over twenty years of experience representing clients who have been seriously injured, and have obtained numerous jury verdicts and settlements on their behalf.
Eric Ratinoff has taken part in achieving exceptional results on behalf of spinal cord injury survivors, including:
- $7.6 million spinal cord injury jury verdict on behalf of a young woman rendered T4 paraplegic due to U.C. Davis Medical Center’s failure to diagnose a tumor on her thoracic spine.
- $1.1 million in a chiropractic malpractice case in which the plaintiff’s chiropractor failed to diagnose Cauda Equina Syndrome, resulting in permanent paralysis.
If you have a legal question pertaining to a spinal cord injury, our spinal cord injury lawyers in Sacramento will gladly meet you at your location to discuss your case free of charge or obligation. For a free and confidential case evaluation, call us locally at (916) 970-9100, or toll free at (866) 527-4278. Or alternately, you can fill out the contact form on this page.