Spinal cord injury attorneys in Virginia
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) affect thousands of people across the United Sates. These devastating injuries may be caused by seemingly minor accidents, such as a slip-and-fall on a wet store floor.
People who suffer from SCIs know that they are far from minor, though. Damage to the spinal cord is life-altering and overwhelmingly expensive. If someone else caused your SCI, you may be eligible for significant compensation from the responsible party’s insurance company.
To secure your family’s future, talk to us, the experienced Virginia personal injury lawyers at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. John Singleton and Ken Gibson are former U.S. Marines, and if we take your case, our team will tackle any obstacle, no matter how difficult. Call (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 for a free case evaluation.
The spinal cord is a column of nerve tissue that runs from your brain down the middle of your back to the rest of your body. Your spinal cord is protected by the spinal column, which consists of 33 interlocking bones known as vertebrae. The nerves protected by the spinal column allow your brain to control voluntary and involuntary movement, including walking, breathing, and using the bathroom.
A spinal cord injury harms the bones of the spine and the nerves within it. The nerve damage can ultimately lead to paralysis. This is why accidents that cause spinal cord injuries are so dangerous. While a cut or bone fracture will typically heal with time and proper treatment, a severe spinal cord injury can affect you for the rest of your life.
Common accidents that can cause a spinal injury include:
- Car collisions
- Truck crashes
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Dog attacks
- Swimming and diving accidents
- Sports accidents
In fact, one of America’s most famous and tragic diving accidents happened in Virginia in 1967 when Joni Eareckson Tada was 17 years old. She damaged her spinal cord in a diving accident in the Chesapeake Bay. The accident left her paralyzed from her shoulders down, and she has spent the past several decades in a wheelchair as a quadriplegic.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be in a lot of pain, as well as suffering deep emotional trauma. Few injuries affect people as deeply as ones to the spine, and few injuries cost as much.
The lifetime cost of an SCI depends on the severity of the injury. Treatment will likely include surgeries, medications, physical therapy, and hospital stays, all of which can be incredibly expensive. A less severe spinal injury may require less treatment, but no SCI is cheap.
Let’s look at what the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation estimates the lifetime costs of an SCI to be for survivors of similar ages:
If you are 25:
- High tetraplegia - an injury between the first cervical vertebra and fourth cervical vertebra, which causes partial or total paralysis of all four limbs, leaving you unable to breathe without assistance. This injury will cost $4,724,181.
- Low tetraplegia - an injury between your fifth and eighth cervical vertebra, which causes partial or total paralysis of all four limbs, but you can breathe on your own. This will cost $3,451,781.
- Paraplegia - partial or total paralysis in your lower body and legs. This will cost $2,310,104.
- Any loss of body function will cost $1,578,274.
If you are 50:
- High tetraplegia will cost $2,596,329.
- Low tetraplegia will cost $2,123,154.
- Paraplegia will cost $1,516,052.
- Any loss of body function will cost $1,113,990.
Note that these are just estimates, and they don’t include indirect costs, such as lost wages, benefits, productivity, and more. These indirect costs average $71,961 a year.
The dollar amounts above relate to the costs of day-to-day care, not to the other losses an SCI victim might suffer. But you can still seek damages for these losses in a personal injury claim, as well as money for your daily expenses:
- Medical bills from the initial injury
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future income
- Loss of income for a family member who has to quit a job to care for you
- Loss of future benefits, such as medical care, retirement, etc.
- Loss of household services you previously performed, such as property maintenance, childcare, etc.
- Cost of necessary household and vehicle modifications, such as wheelchair ramps, lifts, etc.
Depending on the location of the injury, spinal cord damage may result in the complete loss of sensation and control over a portion of your body. People who suffer a spinal cord injury may require assisted living care for the rest of their lives.
Severe spinal cord damage will prevent you from returning to the day-to-day activities you enjoyed before the accident. Frequent effects of spinal cord injury include:
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Loss of voluntary muscle movement
- Loss of feeling
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Bed sores and other skin problems
- Depression and anxiety
- Reduced quality of life
- Difficulty breathing
That depends on several factors, the primary one being: how was your injury caused? If your spine was damaged in a car accident, for example, the person you would file a claim against would likely be the at-fault driver. Ultimately, any party whose negligent actions or inactions caused – or allowed -- your injury can be held responsible.
This could include the driver of a truck that crashed into you, the manager of a store who didn’t post a warning sign over a wet floor, the manufacturer of a defective product (like a seatbelt that malfunctioned when you needed it most), or a municipality that was supposed to maintain a dangerous roadway.
Don’t assume you know who the liable party is. Several factors may contribute to every accident. That at-fault driver, for example, may have hit you because his brakes failed. In that case, the brake manufacturer could be at fault. Finding the party responsible for your injuries will take an experienced attorney and an in-depth investigation.
After an injury as serious as an SCI, you’ll be dealing with the responsible party’s insurance company. Or maybe more than one insurance company, if multiple parties contributed to the accident.
While you may think that insurance companies are easy to deal with, because offering fair settlements is part of their job, you’ll find out that the opposite is true. Many insurance companies work hard, even using tricks and teams of lawyers, to avoid giving people the compensation they deserve. After all, insurance providers are for-profit companies, and paying high settlements hurts their bottom line. So, they often do everything they can to pay as little as possible.
Successfully going up against a huge insurance corporation alone is a difficult, if not impossible, task. Insurance companies have resources that the average family simply does not have. But we do. GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys will conduct an investigation, work with expert witnesses, determine how much compensation to ask for on your behalf, and take your case to trial if necessary, to get you justice. We will leave no stone unturned until you are satisfied with your results.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, you are facing an uphill battle. By choosing our Virginia spinal cord injury lawyers, you’ll get compassionate, experienced representation with no upfront cost to you.
We work on a contingency basis, meaning we only get paid if we’re successful in your claim. Call us at (804) 413-6777 or toll-free at (855) 781-6777 for your FREE consultation today.
It costs you nothing for our firm to represent you. We only get paid when you do. Learn more
Prevention, empathy, and diligence are hallmarks of everything we do at GibsonSingleton Virginia Injury Attorneys. Our community can see these ideals lived out in our work to prevent personal injuries from happening.
- Safety Education
GibsonSingleton launches “Texts=Wrecks” campaign to reduce the number of people injured or killed by distracted drivers.
- Annual Coat Drive
During the fall, our team works to distribute coats to people in need in our community.
- Hands-on Service
John and Ken join the Gloucester Point Rotary Club in cleaning up the community.
- Supporting Local Schools
The Gibson family participates in Gloucester’s Botetourt Elementary Shuffle fundraiser.