Spinal cord injuries are perhaps some of the most long-lasting and debilitating of all personal injuries. They can render you or a loved one partially or even completely disabled. They can cause temporary or permanent paralysis that changes the life of you and your family forever.
The spinal cord injuries tend to depend on the location of the injury, and become more severe as they get closer to the skull:
- Injuries to the bottom of the spine may cause some minor loss of function in the hips and legs.
- Injuries to the spine in the lower back may cause difficulty walking, but are unlikely to cause paralysis.
- Injuries to the spine in the mid-back may cause loss of function in the lower body, including temporary or permanent paralysis.
- Injuries to the spine near the neck and shoulders may cause paralysis in the hands, wrists and legs.
- In a worst-case scenario, injuries to the spine at the base of the skull can cause complete paralysis, including the loss of the ability to breathe independently, eat, or speak.
When Do I Need a Lawyer After a Spinal Cord Injury?
In Ontario, many of your initial medical expenses after suffering a personal injury, such as surgical procedures and hospital stays, are paid by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan, or OHIP. Due to their duration and potential for permanent disability, however, spinal cord injuries can cause costs that OHIP does not cover, such as drugs, long-term expenses, caregiver costs, and loss of income.
The compensation available to help you and your family depends on the circumstances behind the spinal injury and your insurance situation. Do you or your employer have an insurance policy covering loss of income due to injury? Did your injury take place on public or private property? Did it happen at your workplace, or in a car accident? Did it happen due to negligence or an unsafe environment?
You and your family may also face a situation where your insurance, WSIB, or long-term disability claim has been denied. Or, you may have been offered a settlement that is insufficient to cover the ongoing costs that you and your family have incurred.
The best way to get an estimate on how much you will need,, what compensation is due, and what you need to do to get it, is to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. A qualified personal injury lawyer can ensure that your documents are in order and filed in time for an insurance or long-term disability claim, that a settlement offer is reasonable if a lawsuit has begun, and, if it becomes necessary, represent you in court to get the compensation and help you and your family deserve.
What Should I Do After a Spinal Cord Injury?
For best results after suffering a spinal cord injury there are a number of steps you should take as soon as possible:
- Gather as much information as you can and document the accident. This includes taking pictures of the scene, getting the contact information of any witnesses, and documenting the cause of your accident. If you were injured in a car accident, this also includes the contact and insurance information of the other driver.
- If you were injured at work, report your injury to your supervisor, and file a claim with the WSIB as quickly as possible.
- Seek immediate medical attention, and make certain that the hospital documents your injury and treatment. Also, have your doctor or a specialist conduct a thorough examination to find and document any additional injuries or emerging symptoms. This is of vital importance, as spinal injuries can evolve over time.
- Document how the life of you and your family has been impacted after the accident. This includes all medical and care-giving expenses that has been incurred. This also includes any pain and suffering due to your personal injuries, no matter how small, as well as any impairment to your daily routine, from work to recreation.
Why Lerners after a Spinal Cord Injury?
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, Lerners Personal Injury Lawyers can help. Our qualified lawyers have experience with insurance claims, short- and long-term disability claims, workplace compensation, and personal injury law. We can help you and your loved ones navigate the legal landscape, figure out where you should be going for compensation, and help you get what you need and deserve to face all of the challenges the spinal injury presents. And if you cannot come to us – if you are recovering in the hospital or at home and unable to travel – we will come to you, as well as provide a free initial consultation.