If you or a family member suffered a spinal cord injury, you will likely be under a tremendous amount of pressure. You have mountains of expensive medical bills to pay, lost income from missing work, and the frustration of limited mobility. Fortunately, you can move forward with the help of a spinal cord injury lawyer in Chicago.
The attorneys at Langdon & Emison have awarded our clients the compensation needed to pay for their treatment and rehabilitation. If another person caused the accident that led to your spinal cord injury, you have the legal right to hold them accountable and recover money for damages.
How a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Will Help You
After a spinal cord injury, one of the first steps you should take is to hire an attorney. Consider this step as important as receiving medical care; a lawyer from Langdon & Emison will protect your rights, advocate on your behalf, and fight to get you every penny of the money that will help you recover from your injury.
Without a lawyer, you will likely miss out on thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. You won’t fully recover from your injury if you’re lost in debt and unable to pay your bills. In addition to filing a lawsuit on your behalf, here are some of the ways a spinal cord injury lawyer in Chicago can help you:
- Fighting insurance companies – Thanks to their experience in the field, our attorneys know the tricks that insurance companies use to devalue or deny your claim. We’ll undermine these tricks and fight to get you what you need.
- Helping you receive treatment – Our attorneys can help you choose the best treatment options for your spinal cord injury (SCI). Because our spinal cord injury lawyers have represented thousands of clients, they are knowledgeable about the most effective treatments for these injuries and can help you find a rehabilitation center or specialized hospital.
Because the majority of the recovery process occurs within the first six months after injury, you will have the best chance of recovery if you receive treatment as soon as possible. Take action now to get the money to pay for treatment. Call Langdon & Emison at (312) 855-0700 today.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine itself is fairly delicate and is easily injured when there is significant pressure or force. The following are common situations that result in spinal damage:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice (surgery errors, failing to properly diagnose a condition)
- Sports injuries
- Violence (gunshots or stab wounds)
Possible negligence is the common denominator among the items in this list. Although spinal cord injuries aren’t always caused by someone else’s negligent actions, many are.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury
There are two types of SCIs – complete and incomplete
A complete SCI causes permanent damage to the affected area of the spinal cord. There is no function or sensation below the area of injury. Because they can cause total paralysis, these are considered more severe than incomplete SCIs.
An incomplete SCI causes partial damage to the affected area of the spinal cord. Some function remains below the area of injury. More than 60% of all spinal cord injuries are incomplete. Although these are more common, they can still make life difficult for victims.
In addition to the types of SCI (complete and incomplete), it’s important to know the following classifications of injury:
- Quadriplegia – Causes a loss of function and sensation in all four limbs.
- Paraplegia – Causes a loss of function and sensation in the lower half of the body.
- Triplegia – Causes a loss of function and sensation in one arm and both legs.
There are four levels, or locations, of spinal cord injury. A complete or incomplete injury can occur at any of these locations.
- Cervical – The cervical spinal cord is the uppermost part of the spine. Connecting to the head and neck, the cervical spine contains seven vertebrae (C1 – C7) and eight cervical nerves. Cervical injuries usually cause a loss of function in the chest, arms, and legs, as well as problems with breathing.
Thoracic – The longest section of the human spine, the thoracic spine runs from the base of the neck through the upper and middle chest to the abdomen. There are 12 thoracic vertebrae (T1 – T12) and 12 thoracic nerves. Injuries to this part of the spine affect the chest, legs, breathing, and bowel and bladder control.
- Lumbar – The lumbar spinal cord runs between the bottom of the ribcage and the pelvis. There are five lumbar vertebrae (L1 – L5) and five lumbar nerves. Lumbar injuries usually affect the hips and legs as well as control of the bowels and bladder.
- Sacral – The sacral spine is located between the last lumbar vertebrae (L5) and the tailbone (coccyx). The five sacral vertebrae (S1 – S5) are fused together to form a triangular-shaped bone. Sacral spine injuries affect the hips and legs as well as bowel and bladder control.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury
The following SCI symptoms are intended for your personal information. This is not a comprehensive list of symptoms, and you should visit a doctor immediately if you believe you have an SCI. Remember that a spinal cord injury lawyer in Chicago can help you find a doctor or treatment center.
The most common symptoms of spinal cord injury include:
- Extreme pain in the head, neck, or back
- Muscle weakness or spasticity
- Paralysis in any part of the body
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Breathing problems
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Problems with coordination and balance
What Your Attorney Will Need to Prove
Most SCI lawsuits are based on the legal theory of negligence. Essentially, this means that because someone else caused the accident that led to your injury, they should compensate you for your losses.
When you and your attorney decide to file a lawsuit based on negligence, you’ll have to prove the following:
- Duty: The other party owed you a duty of care. Duty of care is a legal obligation to act with caution and attention to others. For example, a doctor owes their patient a duty of care to provide competent medical services; a driver owes a duty of care to other drivers to operate their vehicle safely and legally.
- Breach of Duty: The other party breached the duty of care by doing something that a “reasonably prudent” person would not do in those circumstances. “Reasonably prudent” refers to someone using good judgment and common sense in their actions. For example, a reasonably prudent person would not text and drive because they know it is dangerous for themselves and others.
- Causation: The other party’s negligence directly caused your injury. To satisfy the element of causation, your attorney must prove that the other party’s actions caused your injury and that the injury was unforeseeable and/or unpreventable.
- Damages: Your attorney must prove that you suffered damages (physical, emotional, or mental injuries, property damage, or financial loss) that should be remedied through monetary compensation.
Although these steps may seem straightforward, spinal cord injury lawsuits are tricky and are usually quite complicated. It’s in your best interest to hire a spinal cord injury lawyer in Chicago who will help you through every step of the process and ensure things move smoothly.
Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys at Langdon & Emison
The spinal cord plays an enormous role in all bodily functions. That’s why spinal cord injuries are a medical emergency and can be devastating to experience. When someone suffers from this type of injury, their life can change in an instant. An effective legal strategy can make a difference in recovery.
If you or a loved one suffered an SCI, the first thing you should do is visit the emergency room. Next, consult and hire a Chicago, IL personal injury lawyer with experience in spinal cord injuries. With their legal expertise, knowledge of the spinal cord, and ability to maneuver complicated insurance and legal issues, hiring an attorney at Langdon & Emison is your best chance for a full recovery.
To schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation, call (312) 855-0700.