We understand that an accident victim, as well as their families, will no doubt suffer major bereavement, distress and grief following a major catastrophic loss like quadriplegic spinal cord injury (SCI).
You will no doubt have questions about how life is going to be different than it used to be. It’s difficult to know how to think, how to feel, how to interact, and how to cope – because now your life is no doubt filled with many, many uncertainties after a quadriplegic injury.
How do you cope? You will have thoughts, feelings and questions, such as –
Our quadriplegic spine injury lawyers understand that losing the control and sensation of one’s body for toileting, mobility, sexual activity, and, in general, to be independent, allows one to maintain a certain life style, which is an important element in how we perceive ourselves during the grieving process. Even more importantly – we understand your worry about who and how will you pay for your care after suffering a quadriplegic injury, for your rehabilitation, supplies, your transportation or your home, or apartment.
Who will pay for all of the things you are used to if you are not able to get back to work, and make a regular income?
Unfortunately most people do not understand the incredible living costs, the medical and rehabilitation costs and the overall needs over the course of a quadriplegic victim’s entire life. Fortunately, our spinal cord injury lawyers routinely work with economists and experts that can quantify the lifetime costs for victims of quadriplegic spinal cord injuries. We work with some of the Province’s best doctors, occupational therapists and accountants who can help narrow your needs and associated costs, which can easily range from $5,000,000 to $15,000,000 dependent on the age of the victim. Our law firm understands that compensation can no doubt restore some routine, reduce worry and instill a sense of anxiety-free peace to their daily lives as they and their loved ones face the struggles and challenges of coping with their new day-to-day reality, even if it can never make them fully whole.
After a quadriplegic injury, it’s very difficult to think clearly. You will be filled with anxiety, worry and you’ll find a tremendously difficult to handle many emotions that you will feel. You will feel difficulty feeling your body accurately because of the onset of nerve damage. For example, you may feel that your legs are not straight when they really are. When you’re sitting up you might feel like you’re leaning over. You might feel like your body, below your neck is almost like a floating balloon – or you might feel limbs move when they actually are not. New feelings like this can no doubt add to your grief and worry.
Remember, the grief that you feel is a normal and healthy reaction for an accident victim that recently suffered a quadriplegic spinal cord injury. You may feel psychological symptoms such as:
All of these feelings are normal – and no one will ever tell you that quadriplegia is not a truly devastating injury with profound consequences. But remember, at some point you will more likely than not want to make adjustments and bounce back. Most quadriplegic accident victims effectively learn to deal with the changes caused by their spinal cord injuries and with practice and experience, life and daily activities become more manageable and less scary.
The important thing is, if you have suffered a catastrophic quadriplegic spinal cord injury, and that injury was caused by another person, vehicle, or company – do not wait to speak to an experienced injury lawyer. Many people make the mistake of waiting to speak to a lawyer when in fact, this can make things worse. Your insurance company will put in place the people that they want, when in fact you and your lawyer have the full right to hire your own team to help you with discharge to a rehabilitation centre (such as the Hamilton Rehabilitation Centre) and then eventually home.
Remember, it may cost millions of dollars to hire the right people to take care of you for the rest of your life. It’s important that you start early, and have your lawyer put the proper funding in place through the insurance companies and rehab centers that have experienced and knowledgeable occupational therapists that will not only work with you and your family now – but long into the future.
Quadriplegic injury results from injury to one of the eight cervical segments. Unlike paraplegia, were paralysis involves the lower extremities only, quadriplegia involves paralysis of all four limbs and torso. Quadriplegic injury above C4 may at times require ventilator assistance, or electrical implant for a person to breathe, since the diaphragm is controlled by the spinal nerves of the upper area of the neck.
Typically, the severity of damage to a person spinal cord, in addition to its location, will dictate how much paralysis that a person will experience. When the spinal cord is injured in the cervical areas, all areas of the body below the level of lesion (injury) may be affected. A quadriplegic injury can be accompanied by the loss of physical feeling, breathing issues, the inability to properly regulate body temperature, bladder and bowel dysfunction as well as sexual dysfunction.
Quadriplegic spinal cord injuries will be classified as complete or incomplete. With a complete quadriplegic injury, there is a total disruption of communication between the brain and the rest of the body at the level of cervical damage. No messages can be relayed up or down the spinal cord below the point injury, or to the rest of the body so all voluntary movement and sensation below that cervical level is eliminated. When a spinal cord injury is incomplete, some exchange of information is still possible between the brain and various parts of the body through the spinal cord.
A quadriplegic injury can happen to anyone-young or old, male or female, of any race, religion, or socioeconomic status. They are often caused by motor vehicle (car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle and pedestrian accidents) or diving accidents, but they can also result from medical conditions such as tumors or infections, gunshot wounds, falls, or freak accidents.
Apart from trauma -related accidents, quadriplegia can be caused by tumors, ischemia (impression of spinal blood vessels), developmental disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, demyelinative diseases, and vascular malformation. Trauma to the spinal cord usually causes significant shifting of the vertebrae, which then pinch or crush the spinal cord within. This is what typically results when bones in the back are broken or ligaments are torn in a car crash. Torn fragments of bone or disc may then enter the bony canal where the spinal cord sits and also directly injure-by bruising, tearing, or cutting-its ting-its nervous tissue.
In other cases, such as falls, the spinal cord may only be bruised and no bones broken, yet the resultant tant swelling is enough to seriously damage the tissue. Trauma-induced induced bleeding into the spinal cord, such as may occur with stab wounds, is yet another way that the cord’s message-carrying ability can be disrupted.
Remember, your spinal cord extends as one long continuous structure from the base of your skull to your lower back (L1) where it then tapers off into a fibrous like band which is called the Conus Medullaris. Your spinal cord is protected by your vertebral column, which are stacked bones which extend from your head to pelvis. Your vertebral column is made up of 33 stacked bony “rings” that are separated by spongy discs which are analogous to “shock absorbers” and allows you flexibility, while your bones provide stability and protection for spinal cord that is suspended within it. The spinal cord is a delicate structure which resembles a cable (about the thickness of your little finger) and is approximately 52 cm long. It begins at the base of the brain and runs down the length of the back ending behind the 1st lumbar vertebra.
A spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is damaged following major trauma to the spinal cord from a variety of causes. In the majority of cases the cord is crushed destroying nerve cells and nerve tracts or pathways at that specific level within the cord. The level of injury is the exact point in the spinal cord at which damage has occurred. The levels are determined by counting the nerves from the top of the neck downwards, and these nerves are grouped into four different areas, Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar and Sacral. A quadriplegic injury is when a person suffers damage to his or her spinal cord in the cervical (neck area) and causes a complete or partial loss of motor and sensory function in the arms and legs, as well as part or all of his or her torso. The higher the level of injury, the greater is the paralysis and loss of body functions. Your spinal cord does not have to be completely severed – but simply damaged.
When your spinal cord is damages, your motor and sensory pathways are interrupted. Your motor carries information from the brain downwards to initiate movement and control body functions. Any damage to the motor nerve pathways, within the spinal cord, will result in the brain not being able to initiate movement and control within the body below the damaged site. This is known as paralysis. Your sensory nerve pathways carry sensory information from the body upwards to the brain such as touch, skin temperature and pain. This is coloured blue in the diagram. If the sensory nerve pathways are also damaged then the brain cannot feel the body below the damaged area.
No matter what their degree of function, life is far from over for those who have experienced quadriplegic spinal cord injury. An individual who experiences this trauma is still somebody’s son or daughter, mother or father, friend or lover, colleague or coworker. Paralysis does not take away these special relationships or roles, but it can change them and add numerous challenges to a persons day-to-day day existence.
Without talking like lawyers, and rather real people, we can try to fully say that it is your future at this point, that is important. If your quadriplegic spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of another person, driver or company, then you will have the right to claim damages to help care for your health and rehabilitation as you age with quadriplegia. In order to effectively and accurately analyze your needs as you age, our lawyers work with the provinces top life care planners to help systematically organize, evaluate and interpret your realistic life requirements and the funding of those requirements.
Whether you have suffered a quadriplegic spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident, trucking accident, as a pedestrian, or as a cyclist hit by a car, our lawyers will ensure that the at-fault driver’s insurance company will be paying your anticipated future needs. We will ensure to provide an organized concise plan for your current and future needs, with associated costs. While working with a multidisciplinary team, we will ensure that your chronic health care needs are funded and taken care of over time.
Because of the complexity of the medical issues involved in spinal cord injury cases, particularly quadriplegia cases, your knees will be quite wide-ranging and perhaps cost in the tens of millions of dollars, depending on your age. Along with identifying the associated costs involved in your long-term care, our life care planners will work with our accountants in order to help quantify and objectively evaluate the costs of your current and financial needs resulting from the onset of injury, and throughout the course of your life.
Matt Lalande has been representing victims who have suffered terrible and devastating life-changing injuries since 2003. Remember, suffering the onset of a quadriplegic spinal cord injury does not mean your life is over. It just means that you have to at some point adapt to living the rest of your life more carefully and more cautiously. Although no two quadriplegia cases are the same, the overriding message does not change. It is absolutely vital that you contact a lawyer sooner rather than later. Our lawyers work with the provinces top occupational therapist that can assist with your immediate funding, discharge, care and all other associated costs required with your injury.
You will no doubt experience a significant lifestyle change that will require patients and resolve. We also work with the provinces top psychologists that routinely assist spinal cord injury victims to help them through periods of grief, through to acceptance, and eventually – determination and will.
Call us today at 905-333-8888 or fill in a contact form, 24/7 or in the alternative chat with our online assistant who will be more than happy to set up an immediate appointment with our Hamilton quadriplegic injury lawyers. No matter where you are in Hamilton, or throughout the province, we are happy to talk to you to discuss a plan to move forward and help you recover and have the best life that you can live – with compensation you deserve to assist your needs now, and into the future.
*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)