If you are reading this there is no doubt that you have questions. You have worry. You have anxiety. You have difficulty perceiving your body because of the terrible nerve damage.
After a serious injury and hospitalization, perhaps you, like many paraplegic spinal cord injury victims are constantly thinking over and over, in a deep sense within, that life is going to be different from what it used to be. There is no doubt that it is very difficult to know exactly what to think, or how to feel, because there are so many uncertainties and fears and doubts that have set in so quickly into your life. Various thoughts, feelings and questions are common, such as:
After a paraplegic spinal cord injury, we have heard clients say that they are unable to think clearly. They can’t process thoughts properly. This could be a reaction to the serious injuries or may be due to your pain, drugs, poor sleep and/or being in the hospital. You may also have received a brain injury at the time of your spinal injury, which can contribute to mental and psychological changes even though they may be mild or short lived. It is certainly not uncommon for accident victim s to sustain a brain injury and a spinal cord injury in the same accident.
Our Hamilton lawyers understand that the onset of a paraplegic injury is no doubt catastrophic, and has devastating impacts including far-reaching physical, social and psychological consequences. Not only are the lives of paraplegic victims changed in a moment from a physical perspective, but research on the psychological impact following the sudden onset of SCI has clearly shown time and time again that accident victims will develop severe negative emotions in response to the injury which could threaten employment, psychological and social integration back into society.
If you are reading this, you already know that a paraplegic spinal cord injury occurs when there is serious damage to the spinal cord, that interrupts communication between the brain and the rest of your body. Paraplegi injury refers to the impairment or loss of motor and/or sensory function in the thoracic, lumbar or sacral (but not cervical) segments of your spinal cord, secondary to damage of neural elements within the spinal canal. With paraplegia, arm functioning is normally spared but the trunk, legs and pelvic organs may be involved depending on the level of injury. After a spinal cord injury, your sensory, motor and reflex messages are seriously affected and may not be able to get past the damage in the spinal cord. Normally, the higher on the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more dysfunction the person will experience. The simplest and most useful method of classification of acute SCI is into complete and incomplete injuries. Complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries are based on whether any movement and sensation occurs at or below the level of injury.The ASIA classification is the most widely used international system to document sensory and motor impairment following SCI.
There are very common questions. Paraplegic injuries are a devastating event for which we have yet to find a cure. Several treatment methods have been introduced over the years to minimize subsequent nerve damage and improve functional recovery. However, there are not yet methods to reverse injury or replace damaged neurons. Paraplegia, requires an absolute lifelong commitment to rehabilitation and adaptation to acquired disabilities. It’s hard to think of this now but your lifelong rehabilitation is the a permanent priority. Your Rehabilitation should and will, with proper funding, focus on achieving and maintaining good health, maximizing function, and promoting good quality of life.
If you are suffering because of the wrongdoing of another person, driver or company, our experienced Hamilton spinal cord injury lawyers will not only prosecute and establish that the defendant or accused party is guilty of wrongdoing and liable for your damages, but we must also specify how you have been impacted and represent to a Court or settlement the entirety of your damages in monetary terms. In other words, we ensure that your receive enough compensation to help care for your needs for the remainder of you life.
Firstly, there is nothing predictable about the psychological and physical sequelae of a paraplegic type injury. Every individual is different, but yet many are surprisingly similar. Typically, medical and rehabilitation needs are extensive following a severe spinal cord injury, and routinely extend beyond the scope of any one clinical discipline. Many people must be retained to help you in the rehabilitation centre, during your return home and for the rest of your life.
Typically our lawyers retain very experienced life care planners to help gather the appropriate objectively evaluate your current and future needs resulting from the onset of your injury. The rehabilitation and care of a paraplegic injury is ideally delivered by what we call an “interdisciplinary team” (meaning different medical practices) working in a collaborative fashion. Traditionally, the lifelong core rehabilitation team that help paraplegic victims has consisted of:
Physical Therapy: which traditionally focused on aspects of mobility, such as ambulation, wheel chair mobility, and the performance of transfers. Maximizing mobility often requires one to address strength, balance, coordination, and endurance. Bracing and other orthotics are often incorporated into the treatment plan.
Occupational Therapists – who typically focuses on helping our lawyer determine the particular requirements of ongoing attendant care and assist on the performance of activities of daily living (ADLs). Strategies address strengthening, active-assisted range-of-motion, and fine motor control, as well as accessibility of the environment both at home and in the community. Occupational therapists are a core requirement that are always incorporated into the treatment plan to facilitate and promote functional independence.
Rehabilitation Providers – typically provide daily care, monitor health, participate in patient education, and collaborate with the rehabilitation team to maximize patient independence with self-care activities. Rehabilitation psychology, social work or case management, and a physician.
Social Workers – typically provide emotional support and adjustment counseling related to illness or disability, identify community resources and supports, help address important social needs (e.g., finances, housing), and facilitate community reintegration through discharge planning. Case managers can also serve many of these functions but typically do not provide counseling.
Physiatrists and pain doctors – who will continue to help and diagnose conditions and underlying paraplegic impairments, participate in goal setting and formulation of treatment plans, monitor and manage medical issues, and contribute to educational needs. Physicians and pain doctors typically served as the lead of the rehabilitation team are funded by OHIP.
Psychologists – provide important mental and emotional support. Examples of activities include the screening and treatment of depression, addressing substance abuse, assessing cognition (particularly with comorbid brain injury), and facilitating client adjustment to new impairments and limitations.
Other common members of the team include speech language pathology, recreational therapy, respiratory therapy, and rehabilitation aides. Other areas of care and rehabilitation that you may no doubt face and require are:
The composition of your particular rehabilitation team will no doubt vary depending on the characteristics of your individual paraplegic impairments – but our job as your Hamilton paraplegic lawyersis to ensure that all of these individuals are paid and can assist you for life. The people you will require in your life and incorporated into your lifelong treatment will be quite dynamic in nature because we must must constantly adjust to your needs. As a paraplegic individual, we want to ensure that regular meetings and good communication occur by all team members to ensure the optimal environment for your rehabilitation. The ultimate goal is to achieve the best functional outcome in the most efficient manner.
With pediatric life care plans, recommendations may be made for psychoeducational testing to qualify your child for special education services, classroom accommodations, or curriculum modifications. In adult life care plans, we typically recommend supported vocational goals be funded. Vocational counseling support for an adult with a paraplegic injury is often necessary, particularly if you are no longer able to perform the essential functions of your pre-injury job. Our Hamilton personal injury lawyers can make sure that recommendations such as retraining, worksite accommodations, assistive technologies, job placement assistance, vocational counseling and other interventions are cited within your life care plan and properly paid for.
We believe it is vital to recognize vocational rehabilitation as a means of returning you to gainful employment if you are able, at some point, to get back to work. When a return work is not possible due to the nature of your paraplegia, we believe that it is equally important to consider vocational alternatives such as perhaps part-time work, volunteer opportunities, or other forms of purposeful activity. Studies have shown that work of some sort does have a therapeutic, psychological, and social value to it.
In short, the care and support paraplegic injuries, depending on the age of the victim, can range typically anywhere from two million ($2,000,000.00) to fifteen million ($15,000,000.00) dollars. The life care plan that we will retain will help cost our and us establish your paraplegic condition, enumerate all of your future needs, and provide both item-specific and overall costs of the recommendations. Personal assistance and Occupational Therapy typically represent the most expensive component of an individual paraplegic’s life care plan – but be rest assured that all projected evaluations to be completed over your life expectancy will be identified in the life care plan, no matter if such therapies may be deemed necessary on a long-term or on a periodic basis, depending upon your needs. Besides the individuals mentioned above that will care for and assist you, we want to assure that other modalities are completely paid for, such as:
No – we NEVER ask for money upfront. We work on contingency, meaning that you only pay your legal fees if we win, at the end of your case. We pay for everything upfront, including the costs of the life care plan and appropriate experts in your case that will assist us in fighting with the insurance company for every possible dollar.
If you or a loved one suffers from a paraplegic injury due to someone else’s negligence, it is vital that you retain an experienced lawyer for paraplegic injuries without delay. As experienced personal injury lawyers in Hamilton, and with the help of experts, we can quickly retain and determine the evaluation of a your or your loved one’s current needs and their anticipated needs throughout your life expectancy based upon applicable clinical practice guidelines, standards of care, published research literature, and collaboration with the members of all of your treatment team. Call us 24/7 at 905-333-8888. We will be happy to visit you and your family to discuss your concerns and legal options. Alternatively, you may fill in a contact form and someone from our office will get back to you within 24 hours.
*This information has been obtained from our experience and knowledge of spinal cord injury law as well as Medical Peer Reviewed Journals and Medical Studies from SCIRE (Spinal Cord Injury Research Evidence)