St. Louis Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Spinal cord injuries can cause symptoms ranging from tingling in your hands to quadriplegia or death. If you are disabled due to a spinal cord injury, you could lose the ability to work or even perform your daily activities like dressing and showering.
To discuss the compensation you might need as a result of your spinal cord injury, contact NST Law to speak to a St. Louis personal injury lawyer.
Read on for an overview of spinal cord injuries and how a spinal cord injury lawyer can help you recover compensation for one.
Table of Contents
What is a spinal cord injury?
The spinal cord runs through the spinal canal of your spine. This arrangement protects the spinal cord while providing flexibility.
Spinal cord injuries happen when your spinal cord gets severed or compressed. This can happen when bone fragments from a fractured vertebra protrude into the spinal canal. It can also happen when the discs between the vertebrae bulge or herniate into the spinal canal.
Most spinal cord injuries result from trauma. According to one study, over 96% of spinal cord injuries are caused by trauma, accidents, or violence.
Nerve roots branch off the spinal cord at each vertebra. As a result, the location of the injury will dictate the symptoms of your spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury in your neck could cause symptoms anywhere below your neck, including in the muscles that control breathing. A spinal cord injury in your back will only affect your lower limbs.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can take a few forms, including:
In a complete spinal cord injury, the nerves of the spinal cord are severed. The result is total paralysis. Complete injuries include complete quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down) and complete paraplegia (paralysis from the waist down).
Incomplete injuries happen when some, but not all, nerves get severed. As a result, you might experience paralysis in a region, like an arm. You might also experience limited loss of function. For example, you might have numbness in your toes but still be able to move them.
Spinal Cord Compression
Spinal cord compression occurs when the nerves remain intact but get pinched. The inflamed nerves cause symptoms such as the following:
- Loss of dexterity
Doctors can sometimes relieve pressure on the spinal cord from herniated discs or dislocated vertebrae.
Spinal Cord Injuries Involving Motor Vehicle Accidents in St. Louis
Motor vehicle accidents can cause spinal cord injuries in many ways. Some examples are described below.
The physics of car accidents place a great deal of stress on the spine. When you collide with another vehicle, your spine hyperextends. When you come to a stop, your spine compresses.
The compression can fracture vertebrae and crush discs. In 2020, 4,788 Missouri drivers suffered disabling injuries like spinal cord damage.
When you collide with a semi-truck in St. Louis, the massive weight of the truck can cause severe neck and back injuries that can damage your spinal cord.
Motorcycles do not protect your neck and back the way a passenger vehicle does. In a motorcycle accident, your odds of dying are 8.6 times higher and your odds of being injured are 2.4 times higher compared to a car accident.
Treatment and Recovery for Spinal Cord Injuries
Doctors cannot cure a severed spinal cord. Instead, you will need extensive support and care for the rest of your life. This may include:
- Mobility devices
- Breathing assistance devices
- Skilled nurses
- Service animals
After an incomplete injury, you will retain some functions. Ongoing physical and occupational therapy will help you recover as many functions as possible.
What is a St. Louis spinal cord injury lawsuit worth?
Missouri law allows you to recover both economic and non-economic damages in a negligence lawsuit. Economic damages cover the financial costs of your injury, such as medical bills, lost income, and diminished earning capacity due to permanent disabilities.
Non-economic damages cover the diminishment in your quality of life. These damages include pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and disfigurement.
Missouri does not cap damages in motor vehicle cases. The state caps non-economic damages only in medical malpractice cases.
Who’s liable after a motor vehicle accident resulting in a spinal cord injury?
To seek compensation after a traffic accident, you must prove negligence. This means another driver failed to drive with reasonable care and caused your injuries. Eyewitnesses, traffic citations, and physical evidence, like skid marks, can prove the other driver’s carelessness.
You must also prove causation. This is usually done with medical records and expert testimony from doctors.
Some examples of liable entities include:
- Trucking companies
- Bus operators
- Manufacturers of defective auto parts
- Government contractors (for negligent road designs)
Under Missouri’s comparative negligence rule, a judge or claims adjuster can reduce your damages in proportion to your share of the fault for your accident. This means that if you bear 20% of the fault, you only receive 80% of your damages.
What if the accident killed my family member?
Missouri authorizes a family member or person appointed by the court to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In the lawsuit, you can recover compensation for the following:
- Loss of the victim’s income
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of services and companionship
- Pain and suffering of the accident victim
The court apportions the damages among the victim’s survivors.
How long do I have to sue for a spinal cord injury in Missouri?
You have five years to start a lawsuit for personal injuries like spinal cord damage. If you fail to file within the statute of limitations, a judge must dismiss your case.
Time can pass quickly after a severe injury. You should speak to a St. Louis spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss any deadlines in your case and the actions you must take to preserve your right to compensation.
Why should I hire NST Law to handle my spinal cord injury case?
NST Law was founded over 32 years ago. During that time, the firm’s lawyers have recovered over $1.5 billion for clients. The firm focuses on injury cases and has experience helping accident victims who suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries.
NST Law thoroughly investigates each case and identifies all possible sources of compensation. The firm’s St. Louis spinal cord injury lawyers customize a legal strategy based on your accident and circumstances.
Contact NST Law today for a free consultation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Spinal cord injuries vary widely. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about them.
Wearing a seat belt reduces the chances of a spinal cord injury. In Missouri, people who do not wear a seat belt suffer disabling injuries 14.4 times more frequently than people who do.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury usually appear immediately. As you heal, you may recover some lost functions.
Your spinal cord carries signals for both voluntary and involuntary responses. In addition to paralysis, you could suffer the following symptoms:
- High or low blood pressure
- Inability to sweat
- Sexual dysfunction
In severe cases, you may even lose the ability to breathe without assistance.
Doctors cannot cure a complete injury. You may regain some functions when you suffer incomplete injuries or spinal cord compression.
Yes, if you have been named a guardian or conservator for your loved one, you have the authority to sue on their behalf.