Types of Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Cases We Handle
Williams Kherkher represents people who have suffered brain or spinal cord injuries in accidents caused by the negligence of another party. Both of these types of injuries can result in major lifelong implications for victims, but there are some differences between the two types of injuries. Brain injuries can be divided into two types. An acquired brain injury (ABI) is usually the result of an illness or other possible conditions with the body not associated with impact to a person’s head. Some of the most common causes of ABI include stroke, hypoxia (lack of oxygen), or tumors. In some cases, victims may have possible medical malpractice claims. The other type of brain injury is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is usually the result of some kind of blow to a person’s head. Some of the most common causes of TBIs include, but are not limited to:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Assaults or other violent acts
- Slip and fall accidents
- Sports injuries
The effects of brain injuries are not as visible to the average person as other types of injuries, such as broken bones. As a result, many insurance companies downplay the severity of such injuries and often minimize the actual cost of treating the injuries on their initial settlement offers. Williams Kherkher understands that an ABI or TBI has enormous physical, mental, and cognitive effects on victims. Some victims require full-time assistance and many others are never able to regain meaningful employment. Our firm fights to make sure that all types of brain injury victims get the compensation they need and deserve for all of their past, present, and future needs. We will work to make sure negligent parties are held accountable. Spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, are more evident to the average person. A spinal cord injury may be complete or incomplete. With a complete spinal cord injury, the victim loses all feeling and all ability to control movement below the spinal cord injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury involves a victim retaining some degree of sensory or motor function below the affected area. The spinal cord is a long and fragile tube-like structure that is the primary pathway connecting the brain to a person’s nervous system. The spinal cord is protected by three layers of meninges (membranes lining the skull and vertebral canal) and the surrounding bone called vertebrae. The extent of a spinal cord injury is often determined by the particular vertebrae that have been affected. The human vertebral column includes 33 vertebrae that are divided as follows:
- Cervical Vertebrae (C1-C7)— Injuries to the high-cervical nerves (C1-C4) in the neck are among the most severe types of spinal cord injuries. Victims may suffer paralysis in their arms, hands, and legs. It can be difficult for victims to breathe on their own or control bowel or bladder movements. A victim may also have an impaired or reduced ability to speak, and many victims require full-time 24-hour care with virtually all activities. Injuries to low-cervical nerves (C5-C7) can impact a victim’s ability to control their arms and hands, and C6 or C7 injuries can result in possible inability to control bowel or bladder movements. A C5 injury may require some assistance with daily activities.
- Thoracic Vertebrae (T1-T12)— Injuries to the vertebrae in the upper back (T1-T5) often affect a victim’s trunk (the central part of the body) and legs, but hand and arm function are usually unaffected. Many people who suffer T1-T5 injuries will require wheelchairs. Injuries to the vertebrae in the middle of the back (T6-T12) usually affect muscles in the trunk, but some victims may be able to walk with braces.
- Lumbar Vertebrae (L1-L5)— Injuries to the lumbar nerves in the lower back can result in loss of bowel and bladder control. These injuries generally affect a person’s hip and legs, and some victims may require wheelchairs while others could be able to walk with braces.
- Sacral Vertebrae (S1-S5)— Injuries to the vertebrae in a person’s pelvis can also result in loss of bowel and bladder control, but many victims can walk again.
- Coccyx— The coccyx is comprised of three to five vertebrae that are commonly referred to as a person’s tailbone. Coccyx injuries do not have the same types of effects on other parts of the body as other spinal cord injuries, but victims may suffer severe pain—especially during bowel movements.
Doctors use specific names to refer to spinal cord injuries. Tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia) refers to injuries creating paralysis of all limbs. Paraplegia refers to the loss of sensation and movement in the lower half of the body, while triplegia involves loss of feeling and control in one arm and both legs.
Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are about 17,700 new spinal cord injury cases every year. An estimated 288,000 people are living with spinal cord injuries in the United States. The NSCISC reported that 38.5 percent of spinal cord injuries are the result of motor vehicle crashes. The second most common cause of spinal cord injuries is falls, which accounted for 31.6 percent of these injuries. The estimated average yearly expenses for high tetraplegia victims (C1-C4) is $1,102,403 for the first year and $191,436 for each subsequent year. Low tetraplegia victims can face costs of $796,583 in the first year and $117,437 each subsequent year, while the first year is estimated to involve expenses of $537,271 for paraplegia victims in the first year and $71,172 each subsequent year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBIs resulted in an estimated 2.5 million emergency department visits and 282,000 hospitalizations in the United States in 2013. Almost 50,000 people died from TBIs that same year. The CDC reported that the leading cause of TBIs in 2013 were falls, accounting for 47 percent of emergency department visits. People being struck by or against objects was the second-leading cause with 15 percent, and motor vehicle accidents were third with 14 percent.
Contact a Houston Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
Did you or your loved one sustain a brain or spinal cord injury as the result of an accident caused by another party’s negligence? If so, you will want an experienced attorney on your side that has successfully helped people like you get the justice they deserve. Williams Kherkher represents catastrophic injury victims not only in Houston but across the nation. You can have our firm provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (713) 352-7071 to schedule a free consultation.