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Few injuries are more serious, or costly, than an injury to the spinal cord. When a catastrophic workplace injury has rendered you or a loved one paralyzed or incapacitated, you may be facing hundred of thousands of dollars in medical treatment, surgery, rehabilitation, equipment and home care. That doesn’t even account for the lost wages and other expenses that arise with serious injuries like these. The road to recovery is long and difficult.
That’s the bad news. Now, here’s the good news:
Whether your work injury was the result of a car crash, a fall from height, or a gunshot wound among other things, work-related spinal cord injuries are typically covered under Georgia’s workers’ compensation system.
However, that fact won’t stop insurance companies from trying to reduce the amount they have to pay an injured worker, fight a catastrophic designation if the paralysis is limited, or deny a claim altogether.
To make sure you aren’t taken advantage of, we encourage you to contact our award-winning workers’ compensation law firm. Our Atlanta injury lawyers have decades of experience helping injured paraplegic and quadriplegic workers throughout Georgia. We have the knowledge and skills to fight for your rights to prove that your construction accident, commercial truck accident or other workplace accident caused this catastrophic spinal cord injury.
We’ll fight for your rights.Contact us today for your free consultation.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Your spinal cord is a thin bundle of nerves connecting the brainstem to your muscles and organs via the spinal column. This column of critical nerves is protected by vertebrae bones in the neck, chest and back. If these vertebrae are fractured or dislocated due to a sudden fall or blow, the nerves they protect are exposed and vulnerable to injury.
Spinal cord injuries are typically categorized in the following ways:
- Quadriplegia. Loss of movement in all four limbs; chest muscles are also affected and the individual usually needs a breathing machine.
- Triplegia. Loss of movement in one arm and both legs.
- Paraplegia. Loss of movement and sensation in both legs.
In addition, spinal cord injuries can vary in intensity and severity depending on where exactly the damage occurred in the spine.
The location of the injury may dictate which parts of the body are affected. Complete and incomplete SCI is often classified in one of these groups:
Cervical spinal cord injury (C1-C8)
This area of the spinal cord sends signals to the parts of the head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and diaphragm. Cervical injuries may cause paralysis or weakness in both arms and legs, resulting in quadriplegia or tetraplegia.
Thoracic spinal cord injury (T1-T12)
This region controls signals to muscles in the back and abdomen. Paralysis or weakness of the legs is common, along with loss of physical sensation, bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction. These types of injuries are less common because of the protection provided by the rib cage.
Lumbar spinal cord injury (L1-L5)
This part of the spine controls signals to the lower abdomen and back, the buttocks, some parts of the external genital organs, and parts of the leg. Symptoms include paralysis or weakness of the legs (paraplegia), loss of physical sensation, bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction.
Sacral spinal cord injury (S1-S5)
This region is responsible for sending signals to the thighs and lower parts of the legs, the feet, and genital organs. Loss of bowel and bladder function as well as sexual dysfunction and weakness or paralysis of the hips and legs are often reported with this type of injury.
Note: These are general symptoms and side effects of spinal cord injury. Individual outcomes can vary, which is why it’s important to see a doctor if you suspect you or a loved one are suffering from SCI.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics At a Glance
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries (SCI) are all too common in the United States, with approximately 17,000 new SCI cases each year — nearly 80% of them men. At one year after the injury, only 12% of people with SCI are employed; by 20 years post-injury, about one third is employed.
Vehicle crashes are currently the leading cause of spinal injury, followed by falls, acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds), and sports/recreation activities. All of these contributors to SCI can occur in the workplace, leaving an injured worker scrambling to file for workers’ compensation.
6 Factors That May Impact Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim
Listed below are a few of the many factors that can affect the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you receive and for how long. For this reason, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can ensure your case is properly handled.
- The seriousness of your injury
- Your age at the time of the injury
- Your overall education and skills
- Any past work experience
- Your ability to return to work
- Your qualification to receive Social Security Disability
How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Cost?
The average annual costs (medical/attendant care and living expenses) and the estimated lifetime costs directly associated with SCI can depend on each person’s education, level of impairment, and pre-injury employment history. The estimates below don’t include any indirect workers’ compensation damages such as lost losses in wages, fringe benefits, and productivity.
|Average Yearly Expenses (in 2015)||Estimated Lifetime Costs by Age At Injury (discounted at 2%)|
|Severity of Injury||First Year||Each Subsequent Year||25 years old||50 years old|
|High Tetraplegia |
(C1–C4) AIS ABC
|Low Tetraplegia |
(C5–C8) AIS ABC
|Motor Functional |
at Any Level AIS D
Fortunately, workers’ compensation should cover most of the costs associated with a workplace spinal cord injury. This includes medical costs (ongoing and future), permanent or disability benefits, rehabilitation, and even vocational retraining or education costs. By talking with a skilled workers’ compensation attorney, you can ensure you receive the maximum amount of benefits owed to you for an on-the-job injury.
Types of injuries covered by Georgia workers’ compensation claims
Our record of winning catastrophic work injury cases in Georgia speaks for itself:
Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Fighting Hard for Your Best Interests
All injured workers in Georgia should know there are different deadlines that apply to workers’ compensation claims. Failing to notify your employer within 30 days of your injury often results in the loss of some or all benefits you are entitled to receive.
As workplace spinal cord injury lawyers, we know which top-notch healthcare providers can get you the treatment you need for your paralysis, and who will be an advocate for your health and your workers’ comp claim. We will make sure that you get good rehabilitation specialists who will assist you with your case after a spinal cord injury has rendered you a quadriplegic or a paraplegic.
Our attorneys will also make sure that the insurance company pays for your claim. We will fight to ensure that you qualify for permanent workers’ compensation benefits because of your catastrophic spinal cord damage. And if your claim is denied, we will represent you through the process of getting the benefits started.
Call our law firm today if you or a loved one has suffered from a catastrophic spinal cord injury. We have the experience to ensure that all your medical bills are covered, that your case is declared catastrophic, and that you receive everything the law requires.