Vancouver Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are devastating . Learning to live with a spinal cord injury involves extensive medical care and in-home aids—and is expensive. If your injury was not your fault legal recourse may be an option to assist with life long medical care. Wishart Brain & Spine Law practice focuses on complex spinal cord injury. Contact us for a free consultation.
The Shepard Institute in the USA has put out some very good video references for explaining a spinal cord injury process and what to expect.
What is the spinal cord?
The spinal cord is a fragile bundle of nerves running from the base of the spine all the way up to the brain. It’s protected inside the spinal column. If an individual becomes injured or has a disease that damages the spinal column and cord, there is usually no way to repair damage to the spinal cord once it’s impaired. Since the spinal cord is responsible for sending brain signals throughout the entire body, most injuries result in loss of function and sensation.
Types of Paraplegia
Generalized paralysis is a group of conditions that affect multiple body parts. The types include:
- monoplegia, affects only one arm or leg
- hemiplegia, affects one arm and one leg on the same side of your body
- paraplegia, affects both of your legs
- quadriplegia, or tetraplegia, affects both of your arms and both of your legs
Most spinal cord injuries are permanent or have an extremely low chance of complete recovery. You can expect lifelong rehabilitation, extensive home, life, and mobility assistance.
Paraplegia, is a complete or partial loss of sensation and function in the legs and bottom half of the body. Quadriplegia, often referred to as tetraplegia, causes complete or partial less of sensation and function in all four limbs of the body—from the neck downward.
The location and severity of the trauma determines the type and extent of the SCI. A “complete” SCI is a complete loss of voluntary function, movement, and sensation. If the patient still has some limited mobility, function, or sensation, the injury is generally referred to as “incomplete”.
How Many People Live with a Spinal Cord Injury in Canada?
Spinal cord injuries are more common than many believe. According to the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, it’s estimated that over 85,000 people in Canada currently suffer from a spinal cord injury. It’s estimated that there are 12,000 people with spinal cord injuries in British Columbia alone. Approximately every year, 4,500 new cases are discovered throughout Canada. Organizations like the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, and the Rick Hansen Foundation, play a crucial role in funding , developing new technology, and supporting those who have suffered from SCI injuries.
SCI cases are expected to increase over the next 20 years. Canada’s aging population is one reason for the expected jump. Falls, in addition to motor vehicle accidents, are the two leading causes of spinal cord injuries. As our elderly population continues to increases, it’s expected that more seniors will experience falling accidents and suffer from spinal injuries as a result.
It’s estimated that the national economic burden of traumatic spinal cord injuries is more than $3 billion in Canada. $1.8 billion is associated with direct health care costs alone.
What Causes Most Spinal Injuries?
The spinal cord and column can be injured in many different types of accidents and impairments, but most debilitating injuries are caused by the following events:
- Car accidents – 35% of all SCIs—the overwhelming majority—are caused by motor vehicle accidents like car accidents, truck accidents, or pedestrian accidents.
- Falls – 17% of all SCIs are caused by falling accidents, often referred to as slip-and-fall accidents.
- Sports injuries
- Other acts of violent trauma
- Acquired diseases that can cause spinal tumours, cysts, or infections which lead to deterioration – Some examples include polio and multiple sclerosis.
- Congenital disorders that cause the spinal cord to be malformed – Spina bifida is one example.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
Spinal cord injury symptoms are not always noticed immediately. After being involved in a major car accident, for example, a victim may experience pain in a delayed manner or not at all. It’s critical for a victim of motor vehicle accidents to receive medical attention right away. Do not move anyone from an accident scene unless absolutely necessary. The spinal cord is extremely fragile. Any movement could worsen the severity of an SCI. Trained first responders will have the skills and equipment necessary to prevent more serious or permanent injury.
The most common reported spinal cord injury symptoms include the following but are not limited to:
- Partial or full paralysis that may present suddenly or gradually
- Numbness or tingling
- Nerve pain
- Chronic pain—especially in the neck and back
- Difficulty with bladder or bowel function
- Difficulty breathing
Get Help from a Trusted Vancouver Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury and was not responsible for the accident or incident legal assistance might be available. Wishart Brain and Spine Lawyers from Vancouver, BC are experienced with complex catastrophic accident legal cases.
Our law firm has access to legal and medical resources you may not be able to find on your own. Our attorneys will negotiate with insurance companies to get you the .
If you would like to learn more, get in touch with us toda