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Virginia Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

Spinal cord injuries are often devastating in that they frequently cause permanent or long-term damage as well as extensive pain and suffering. These injuries can be the result of a sudden incident, such as a car crash, or due to careless action, such as a physician making a crucial error during surgery. Many spinal cord injuries involve long and painful rehabilitation which may or may not prove successful. The possibility of not being able to make a full recovery is high and there could be lifetime expenses relating to a spinal injury. If you are in Virginia and have suffered a spinal cord injury you should consult with an attorney who is experienced in litigating these types of personal injury claims.

Every year in the United States, some 12,000 new spinal injury cases are reported. These can be the result of any number of incidents or accidents and the cost for treatment can easily soar into hundreds of thousands of dollars. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the average yearly expenses for those who have suffered spinal cord injury are as follows:

  • High Tetraplegia in the first year costs $1.1 million and $171,808 for each subsequent year;
  • Low Tetraplegia in the first year costs an average of $739,874, then $109,077 each year after;
  • Paraplegia in the first year costs $499,023 and $66,106 each subsequent year;
  • Incomplete motor function at any level, $334,170 in the first year and $40,589 each year after.

The estimated lifetime costs for patients based on age calculate in the millions. You can reach more about the CDC and the University’s findings here.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are almost always traumatic injuries and are usually caused by the spinal cord or vertebrae being crushed or severed. Because of the traumatic nature of spinal cord injuries, there are some common causes, although every case is unique. Spinal cord injuries are divided into the following categories, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center:

  • Motor vehicle accidents account for 36.5 percent,
  • Falls account for 28.5 percent,
  • Intentional acts of violence account for 14.3 percent
  • Sports-related injuries account for 9.2 percent
  • The remaining 11.4 percent are classified as other/unknown.

Treatment may include extensive surgeries, physical therapy, rehabilitation and occupational therapy. Many who suffer paralysis and other spinal cord injuries also require psychological care to cope with the devastating emotional impact that results from the loss of limb and body functions.

Due to the vast number of scenarios that can lead to a spinal cord injury, you will need to retain an attorney who is well-versed in personal injury law. For example, if you became a paraplegic as the result of being struck by a drunk driver the parameters of your case may differ greatly from that of a person who suffered spinal damage following the slip of a surgeon’s knife. Depending on the individual circumstances of the accident, different evidence may be required and your attorney will likely have a slate of experts who can provide testimony tailored to your injury.

Virginia’s Statute of Limitations

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is two years from the date of the injury, or the date that you first became aware of the injury. That differentiation is a gray area that your personal injury attorney is best-suited to explain.

Expenses and Damages Related to Spinal Cord Injuries

As previously mentioned, spinal cord injuries are among the most expensive treat. This is due to the long hospitalization and an even longer rehabilitation that is typically required. There will likely be future expenses for things like surgeries, special equipment – such as wheelchairs and ramps for your home and/or vehicle — and long-term physical therapy and medications. Someone who has suffered partial or full paralysis may no longer be able to function in their job or chosen career.

In addition to the treatment-related costs listed above, other damages could occur such as pain and suffering, temporary or permanent loss of wages, and the loss of companionship to your spouse. A dedicated spinal cord injury attorney will be able to explain all of these issues and determine what damages, if any, apply in your case. Your attorney can also prepare you for the emotional strain of pursuing compensation from the responsible parties and he will be able shoulder the burden of dealing with insurance companies and at-fault parties so that you can concentrate on your health and well-being.