Spinal Cord Injuries
A life-changing bicycle accident can happen in an instant and can happen to anyone. If your story is like many others, you took as many precautions as you could. You wore a helmet. You had safety gear on your bike. You obeyed the traffic and bike laws. In spite of all this, you sustained a serious injury because of someone else’s negligence. Fortunately, our Atlanta bicycle accident attorneys are here to help.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a bike accident, there is a chance that your life will never be the same. The most immediate concern is to receive medical treatment for your injuries. Many spinal cord injuries result in months or years of continued treatment. Sadly, some individuals never regain full use of their bodies or fully recover.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident, there is a good chance that you can recover significant compensation for your losses. To schedule a free consultation with one a bike accident attorney in Atlanta, call Slappey & Sadd today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online.Spinal Cord Injury Basics
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down the entire length of your back. It is directly responsible for assisting the brain in controlling the nervous system and many core motor functions. Injuries to the spinal cord can create severe complications that affect other parts of the body and major motors skills. These can include:
- Loss of motor control or sensation in extremities
- In most extreme cases partial or total paralysis
- Loss of bowel and bladder
- Higher risk of infection and complications
- Emotional distress
- Loss of sexual function
Depending on where the spinal cord is injured, a victim can lose motor function from the waist down. This is defined as paraplegia. If the injury is higher in the back or neck and the victim losses sensation in all extremities this is referred to as quadriplegia.Treatment for spinal cord injuries
At the scene
The immediate treatment for a spinal cord injury is to immobilize the victim for transport to the hospital. Immobilization is critical in trying to prevent any other damage to the spinal cord. Emergency workers might immobilize the spine and neck with a backboard and neck collar.
Emergency room treatment
Once you arrive at the emergency room, the immediate care needs will be addressed first. This might include:
- Stabilizing breathing
- Further immobilization of the neck and spinal cord until more tests can be performed
- Preventing shock
- Treatment to avoid other complications (e.g., blood clots)
Once you are stable, the hospital will perform more tests to determine the extent of your spinal cord injury. This will likely include x-rays and MRIs.
Continued hospital treatment
If it is determined that you have a spinal cord injury, you will likely be admitted to the intensive care unit or transferred to another facility that can better care for your immediate and long care needs. Treatment may include medications, continued immobilization, surgery, and other known treatments that are used to treat spinal cord injuries. Hospital stays for spinal cord injuries are often very lengthy.
Once the full extent of your injuries are known and the initial treatment is completed, you may begin rehab. Rehabilitation will be different for every injury, depending on the extent of the spinal cord damage. Your therapists will likely focus on muscle strength and fine motor skills. If you are paralyzed, you will learn adaptive lifestyle skills.
In many cases, the negligence of drivers with whom bicyclists share the road results in serious accidents. Some of the more common examples of driver negligence that can cause a bicycle accident include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Driving into designated bike lanes
- Passing without providing bicyclists with sufficient space
- Running stop lights or stop signs
- Impaired driving
- Driving on the wrong side of the road
- Failing to slow down in work zones
- Driving without headlights
The damages from a spinal cord injury can be significant. First, there are the obvious economic losses. These include the actual medical care you immediately need and need well into the future, even for life. Further, your lost wages but for the accident can amount to a hefty sum. If you are paralyzed and you cannot return to your previous occupation, the amount of lost wages and run into the hundreds of thousands, even millions.
In addition to actual economic losses with a severe injury like a spinal cord injury from a bicycle accident, there are other injuries you may suffer. These might include:
- Pain and suffering both immediate and long-term
- Emotional distress from how the accident has changed your life
- Changes to your personal life, including to your relationships and sex
- Ability to interact with children and family due to physical limitations
It is important to keep in mind that many spinal cord injury cases involve a lifetime of damages. This means that victims need to establish not only their current losses but also their future losses as well. For this reason, it is critical that spinal cord injury victims retain a law firm that is familiar with catastrophic injury litigation and that has the resources to produce evidence of future losses. In many case, this means the use of forensic accountants and medical experts who can provide solid, empirically-based evidence of a victim’s future losses.Call Us Today to Retain an Atlanta Bicycle Accident Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury in a bicycle accident, it is imperative that you contact an attorney as soon as you can. At Slappey & Sadd, we are committed to helping bicycle accident victims recover compensation for their injuries and work hard to secure the largest possible settlement or award for each client we take. To schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at 404-255-6677 or contact us online.