Helping Victims of Spinal Cord Injuries in Charleston, South Carolina
About 282,000 or more persons in the United States live with spinal cord injuries (SCIs). In addition, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases arise each year. These numbers show the prevalence of a serious injury—and you should learn about the risks and effects of spinal trauma.
If you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury in a sudden accident, you may face a long and challenging road to recovery. These injuries require extensive treatments and may leave victims dealing with severe disabilities and impairments for the rest of their lives. The skilled legal team of the Hughey Law Firm, however, is here to help you in the wake of your SCI.
If you wish to discuss your legal options with an attorney at our firm, we offer free and confidential case evaluations. We can advise you of your rights and the best course of action for you. Please call our office for more information today.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Most spinal cord injuries take place due to trauma to the spine caused by an unexpected accident or incident. Common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
Traffic accidents – Any traffic-related crash has the potential to cause severe trauma to your body—including your spinal cord. Such trauma can damage the delicate tissue of the spine and result in serious injuries. While car and truck accidents certainly have the potential to cause an SCI, the risk is even greater in motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and pedestrian accidents, which leave the victim’s body exposed.
Falls – Falls are a major cause of traumatic injuries, including spinal cord injuries. A person who falls has a great risk of hitting the neck or back on the ground or on another object, which can damage the spine. This can take place due to falls from high places (such as from ladders, roofs, scaffolding, or stairs), or even ground level.
Sports accidents – Contact sports commonly cause spinal injuries, including football, hockey, rugby, wrestling, and soccer. When you choose to play a sport—or allow your child to play a sport—you assume the risk of injuries that may take place during the regular course of the game. However, sports injuries sometimes result from the negligence or intentional actions of a coach, another player, or another party. If someone else’s negligence or recklessness injured your spine during a sporting event or practice, you may have a legal claim.
Assaults – Spinal cord injuries also commonly result from violent assaults. These intentional attacks may involve blunt force trauma, stab wounds, or a gunshot wounds to the back or neck that cause severe spinal cord damage. In these cases, criminal charges and convictions against the assailant will probably not help you fully recover compensation for your losses. Instead, you may need to file a civil action with help from a personal injury law firm.
The Hughey Law Firm handles a variety of spinal cord injury claims. No matter what caused your accident, consult with a member of our team to learn more about your rights to financial recovery.
The Severity and Effects of a Spinal Injury
The severe nature of spinal cord injuries, as well as their lasting effects, can complicate these cases.
The spine is responsible for sending messages to most of the body that facilitate sensory abilities, movement, and organ function. Damage to the spine can cause disruptions in those messages, which will, in turn, disrupt normal bodily functioning.
The disruptions in functioning will take place below the point of the injury. This means that an injury to your lumbar spine may damage functions to the lower half of your body. An injury to your cervical spine can impair parts of your body below the neck. Spinal cord injuries can cause the following impairments and more:
- Lost movement in limbs and extremities
- Lost sensation
- Lost bladder or bowel functioning
- Lost sexual functioning
- Lost lung functioning
SCIs fall into two main categories—incomplete and complete injuries. An incomplete injury may result in partial and temporary symptoms. For example, a person with an incomplete lumbar spine injury may lose partial sensation and movement in the legs for a few months before regaining normal functioning abilities.
On the other hand, a complete spinal injury can cause drastic and permanent damages. A person may lose all functioning and become permanently paralyzed below the point of the injury. This type of injury will completely derail a person’s life, including jobs, relationships, and everyday activities.
Recovering Compensation for Your Losses After an Accident
The often severe losses experienced by spinal cord victims require that they know their rights. Filing an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party can help you recover compensation for the following losses and more:
- Costs of past medical treatments
- Estimated costs of future and ongoing medical treatments for lasting injuries
- Past and future lost earnings
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Mental trauma
Charleston Spinal Cord Injury FAQ
After a Charleston spinal cord injury accident, you likely have numerous questions about your legal options, the steps you need to take next, and the remedies you can pursue.
Here are some of the frequently asked questions our clients have following a spinal cord injury accident. If you have specific questions about your accident, reach out to us for a free consultation.
1. What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury damages any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal, often due to a sudden blow, disease, or cut to the spinal cord. This injury often causes permanent changes in sensation, strength, and other body functions below the injury site. There is no cure for this devastating injury. Expensive assistive medical devices and rehabilitation have helped injured individuals live independent and productive lives.
2. What Are the Different Spinal Cord Injuries?
Four sections make up the spinal cord, from bottom to top: the sacral, lumbar, thoracic, and cervical. Each section protects specific groups of nerves that control the rest of the body. Consequently, spinal cord injury symptoms vary based on which section of the spinal cord was injured.
- Cervical Injuries: The cervical section of the spine is the top seven vertebrae in the neck. Cervical spinal cord injuries are generally the most severe spinal cord injury. These injuries typically result in tetraplegia or quadriplegia, where the victim has limited or no feeling or movement below the shoulders and neck.
- Thoracic Injuries: The thoracic spine is located in the middle and upper part of the back and includes twelve vertebrae. Injuries to this section of the spine usually affect the abdominal and lower back muscles and the legs, often resulting in paraplegia. However, arm and hand functions can remain normal.
- Lumbar Injuries: The lumbar spine comprises the lower major portions of the spinal cord and includes five vertebrae. Injuries to this part of the spinal cord typically result in some loss of function in the legs and hips, but the upper body’s functionality generally remains unaffected.
- Sacral Injuries: The sacral spine, also known as the sacrum, is located below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone. Five bones fuse to make up the triangle-shaped sacrum, and harm to this section of the spine often results in loss of function in the legs and hips. In addition, a sacral injury may also cause a person to lose control of their bladder and bowels, but it generally does not affect a person’s ability to walk.
3. What Are Some Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Charleston?
Spinal cord injuries often result from a sudden and traumatic blow to the spinal cord that crushes, dislocates, fractures, or compresses one or more of the vertebrae.
These accidents can happen for any number of reasons, but in Charleston, they tend to result from:
- Falls from significant heights.
- Acts of violence, primarily gunshots or knife wounds.
- Alcohol-related accidents, which according to the Mayo Clinic, is a factor in one out of every four spinal cord injuries.
- Motor vehicle collisions, often due to speeding, distracted driving, or traveling through some of the more dangerous intersections in Charleston, including Ashley Phosphate Road and Interstate 26, Rivers Ave and Otranto Rd, and Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and SC-61.
This list is not exhaustive, and you should reach out to a skilled Charleston spinal cord injury accident lawyer if you suffered spinal cord trauma in a Charleston accident that is not listed above. Once you go over your accident with an attorney, they can figure out if you can pursue legal action and help you go after the damages you deserve.
4. How Do You Know If You Have a Valid Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Accident Claim?
Unfortunately, suffering a spinal cord injury in an accident is not enough in and of itself to seek compensation for your injury.
To determine if you have a valid legal case following a spinal cord injury accident, you must answer “yes” to these questions:
- Was the spinal cord injury the result of another person or entity’s reckless, negligent, or wrongful actions?
- Did you suffer financial and personal losses as a result of the accident and your injury?
- Does the at-fault party have applicable insurance coverage that can compensate you for your losses?
- Do you still have time to file an injury claim following this accident (i.e. has the statute of limitations not yet passed)?
Due to the complexity of these questions, if a Charleston spinal cord injury accident harmed you and you want to know whether you can proceed with a legal claim, you should reach out to an experienced Charleston spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can go over your accident, determine if you have a viable case, and help you figure out what steps you should take next.
5. How Much Time Do You Have to File an Injury Claim Following a Spinal Cord Injury Accident in Charleston?
Before you can go after monetary damages following your spinal cord injury accident, you first need to ensure that you still have time to file your legal claim. This is called the statute of limitations, and it is a law that dictates the amount of time an individual has to file a claim following an alleged offense. If you do not file your claim within that allotted time, a court will likely refuse to hear your case.
In South Carolina, the statute of limitations to bring an injury claim following a spinal cord injury accident is three years from the accident date. However, there are some exceptions to this rule that can impact the deadline. That is why, if you suffered a spinal cord injury in a Charleston accident, you should not wait to reach out to an experienced Charleston spinal cord injury accident lawyer.
An attorney can promptly review your case, determine the maximum amount of time you have to file your claim, and ensure that all your legal motions and files are appropriately prepared and filed before time expires.
6. What Are Some Common Spinal Cord Injury Complications That Can Arise Following a Spinal Cord Injury Accident?
If you suffered a spinal cord injury, numerous complications can arise from this trauma.
Some of the most common complications include:
- Bladder and bowel control problems;
- Skin sensation problems;
- Muscle tone issues, including uncontrolled tightening or limp muscles;
- Respiratory issues, including difficulty breathing;
- Fitness and wellness problems;
- Sexual health problems, including fertility issues;
- Joint pain, as well as muscle or nerve pain; and
- Mental health problems.
7. What Types of Damages Can You Pursue in a Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Accident Lawsuit?
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in a Charleston accident because of another person’s wrongful actions, you may be entitled to pursue certain types of damages. In South Carolina, these damages include:
Economic Damages: These damages refer to the easily measurable losses that result from an accident, such as:
- Medical bills related to surgeries, hospital stay, doctor visits, prescription medications, emergency services, and medical assistive devices;
- Future medical care expenses;
- Lost wages and lost earning capacity;
- Rehabilitative therapy;
- Personal property damage; and
- Other out-of-pocket costs related to the accident.
Non-economic Damages: These damages refer to the subjective losses that occur from an accident. These losses are typically not as easy to quantify and may be hard to prove.
- Physical impairment;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of enjoyment of life;
- Loss of consortium;
- Loss of companionship;
- Injury to reputation; and
- Other non-monetary damages.
In addition, a victim may seek punitive damages. However, unlike the other compensatory damages, which compensate the victim for their losses following an accident, punitive damages concern the defendant’s actions. As a result, the court awards these damages to punish the defendant for their egregious actions and deter others from committing these wrongful acts.
For a victim to recover these punitive damages in Charleston, their attorney needs to show through clear and convincing evidence that the harm resulted from the defendant’s willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.
8. How Much Is a Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Accident Case Worth?
When it comes to spinal cord injury cases, no two are the same. Consequently, no lawyer can tell you exactly how much money you are likely to receive for your spinal cord injury. This is because there are just too many factors that can impact the value of your case and, ultimately, the amount of money you can collect.
For example, the following factors will likely come into play:
- The severity and extent of your spinal cord injuries;
- The type of medical treatments you will need now and in the future;
- Your ability to work following the spinal cord injury accident;
- The credibility of the witnesses and evidence presented;
- The degree of the wrongdoer’s culpability; and
- Whether the spinal cord injury caused you to miss out on any significant life moments.
Even though no lawyer can tell you precisely how much money you will recover after your Charleston spinal cord injury accident, when you work with a knowledgeable spinal cord injury attorney, they can determine which factors may affect your claim, prepare the strongest case in response, and fight for maximum compensation for you.
9. After a Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Accident, Should You Hire an Attorney?
After a spinal cord injury accident, your whole life can flip upside down. Not only will you need to deal with debilitating symptoms and astronomical medical bills, but the fear and uncertainty of the situation can overwhelm anyone. The last thing you want to worry about in this situation is how to prepare strong legal arguments to prove your claim on your own.
Thankfully, with an experienced Charleston spinal cord injury accident lawyer from the Hughey Law Firm on your side, you do not have to take on this complex legal battle alone.
Once you retain us, we can:
- Go over your spinal cord injury accident, determine if you have a viable case, and figure out which legal options you can pursue.
- Answer all your questions and concerns regarding your case and the legal process.
- Investigate your Charleston spinal cord injury accident and gather the evidence necessary to prove fault and damages.
- Bring in experts such as accident reconstructionists, doctors, and financial specialists to substantiate your claim.
- Hold those at fault for your accident accountable for your losses.
- Handle all the discussions and negotiations with the insurance company on your behalf and go after the fair settlement you need.
- Proceed to trial if the other side is unwilling to play fair and fight for maximum financial damages.
If you or a family member suffered a spinal cord injury in a Charleston accident because of another person’s wrongful, reckless, or negligent actions, do not wait any longer to get the legal help you need. Contact our skilled and trusted Charleston spinal cord injury lawyers today for a free case evaluation.
A Charleston Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help You
The substantial losses that victims may incur can make spinal cord injury cases extremely complicated. The personal injury attorneys at the Hughey Law Firm in South Carolina know how to protect the rights of injury victims.
They seek the maximum amount of compensation for every client. We can help you after a catastrophic injury, so please call (843) 881-8644 or contact us online to set up your free consultation as soon as possible.