Johnson City Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
The spinal cord is the conduit for all information that the brain relays to the rest of the body. When the spinal cord is injured or damaged, it affects the brain’s communication with the body and the body’s functioning. This can cause temporary or permanent paralysis, and sometimes even death.
A spinal cord injury could be caused by a contusion or bruising of the spinal cord, while other cases are caused by lacerations that sever or tear nerve fibers. Compression injuries occur when pressure is placed on the spinal cord, and central cord syndrome encompasses damage specifically to the cervical region.
If you or your loved one suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of another party’s negligence in the Johnson City area, do not wait to seek legal representation. You deserve to be fully compensated for all your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. The person or entity responsible for your suffering should be the one to pay for your past and future expenses.
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC handle complex injury case for clients throughout Upper East Tennessee and fights to help victims get justice. You can have our attorneys review your case when you call (423) 282-1041 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Do I Need a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
Many spinal cord injury victims believe that the severity of their injury guarantees automatic compensation. While an insurance company may be willing to compensate you for your injuries, remain skeptical about the size of any settlement you are offered. Insurance companies are not concerned with your long-term well-being. Their only commitment is to their bottom line, and their goal is to pay as little as possible to resolve your claim. Even if an offer appears to cover all the medical expenses you have incurred up until now, it likely will not cover all your future rehabilitative or disability-related expenses.
Some insurance companies may even attempt to deny liability by claiming that a victim’s negligence caused their injuries. They may call you for a seemingly innocuous conversation soon after the accident, and then trick you into making statements that damage your claim and prevent you from recovering compensation.
Do not ever speak to an insurance company about the accident that caused your spinal cord injury until you have legal representation. You will want an attorney who can deal with the insurers on your behalf while conducting an independent investigation to determine all possible liable parties.
Why Choose the Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC to Handle My Case?
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC have been helping clients all over Upper East Tennessee since 1984. Our firm emphasizes a team approach to every case, so you will have multiple qualified attorneys dedicated to helping you.
Tony Seaton is a board-certified specialist in Civil Trial Practice with over three decades of legal experience. He has received an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, a peer rating denoting the highest level of professional excellence. In 2012, he was the recipient of the Tennessee Association for Justice Paladin Award.
Robert Bates won a substantial jury verdict in a case against one of the best defense lawyers in the state. He was a Dean’s Scholar at the Appalachian School of Law and was named to the Top 40 Under 40 list by the National Association of Personal Injury Attorneys in 2015.
The Law Offices of Seaton & Bates, PLLC will not charge you anything unless you receive a monetary award. Our firm can work toward a fair and full settlement to your case, but we will not hesitate to file a lawsuit if an insurance company is unwilling to provide adequate compensation.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury Cases We Handle
The spinal cord is the main pathway that connects the brain to the nervous system. The spinal cord itself is a long and fragile tube-like structure protected by three layers of membranes called meninges, which line the skull, vertebral canal, and the surrounding bone (vertebrae).
The vertebrae affected by a spinal cord injury often determines the extent of the injury. A human vertebral column includes 33 vertebrae, which are divided into sections. Many serious spinal cord injuries involve damage to vertebrae in one of the three following regions:
- Cervical Vertebrae (C1-C7) — Injuries to the high-cervical nerves (C1-C4) are more severe than injuries to low-cervical nerves (C5-C7). Injuries in the neck (C1-C4) are some of the most damaging kinds of spinal cord injuries. Victims can have difficulty breathing on their own and controlling bowel or bladder movements. Some may have an impaired or reduced ability to speak and suffer paralysis in the arms, hands, or legs. Many victims require full-time around-the-clock assistance with essentially all functions. Injuries to C5-C7 can affect a person’s ability to control their arms and hands. Some C6 or C7 injuries may affect bowel or bladder movements.
- Thoracic Vertebrae (T1-T12) — Injuries to the vertebrae in the upper back (T1-T5) are more severe than injuries to the vertebrae in the middle of the back (T6-T12). Injuries of T1-T5 can affect a victim’s legs and trunk or the central part of their body and may require a wheelchair. Victims of thoracic vertebrae injuries usually retain the use of their hands and arms. Injuries to T6-T12 also affect the trunk, but victims can often walk again with braces.
- Lumbar Vertebrae (L1-L5) — Injuries to the lumbar nerves typically affect the hips and legs and may cause loss of bowel and bladder control. Wheelchairs may be required in some cases, but others can walk with braces.
Two other regions of the spinal cord include the sacral vertebrae (S1-S5) near the pelvis. Injuries to this region can result in possible loss of bowel and bladder control, but most victims can walk again.
The coccyx is the three to five vertebrae more commonly known as the tailbone. Coccyx injuries can cause pain, but do not typically involve the same kind of wide-reaching effects of other spinal cord injuries.
People who have suffered spinal cord injuries will often face staggering medical expenses relating to their recovery. Many people will require highly sophisticated medical equipment, and some victims may need to have their homes modified to continue living there comfortably.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spinal Cord Injuries
If you have recently suffered a serious spinal cord injury, you are likely overwhelmed. To ease some stress, we have provided the answers to some questions we hear frequently below.
An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is partially severed, and the victim retains some function below the affected area, but a complete spinal cord injury is when a spinal cord is fully severed, and the victim loses all feeling and ability to control movement below the affected area. Examples of incomplete spinal cord injuries include anterior cord syndrome, Brown-Sequard syndrome, and central cord syndrome.
Complete spinal cord injuries may include:
- Monoplegia — paralysis of one arm or one leg
- Hemiplegia — paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side of the body
- Tetraplegia or quadriplegia — paralysis of all limbs
- Paraplegia — paralysis of the legs and the lower half of the body
- Triplegia — paralysis of one arm and both legs
The medical attention and disability services you require may vary depending on the type of spinal cord injury you incur.
According to the World Health Organization, up to 500,000 people globally are living with spinal cord injuries. The organization claims people with a spinal cord injury are two to five times more likely to die prematurely than those without a spinal cord injury.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reported 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases annually. In the United States, approximately 282,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury, although the actual figure could be as high as 347,000.
According to the NSCIC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries with 38.3 percent of cases since 2015, while falls were the next most common cause with 31.6 percent. High tetraplegia victims (C1-C4) incur estimated average yearly expenses of $1,102,403 for the first year and $191,436 for each subsequent year, while low tetraplegia victims have expenses of $796,583 in the first year and $117,437 each following year. Paraplegia victims incur costs of $537,271 in the first year and $71,172 each subsequent year.