Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when a traumatic event results in damage to cells within the spinal cord or severs the nerve tracts that relay signals up and down the spinal cord.

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What is a spinal cord injury?

Spinal Cord Injury Victim Recovers in Physical Therapy | Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when a traumatic event results in damage to cells within the spinal cord or severs the nerve tracts that relay signals up and down the spinal cord. If your injury stems from someone else’s negligence, it’s crucial to consult with a seasoned spinal cord injury attorney.

Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys are committed to understanding your unique situation and guiding you through the legal avenues for maximum compensation. If you or a loved one has recently experienced a spinal cord injury, we suggest getting an attorney to help provide you with the following for your case:

  • Legal knowledge about spinal cord injuries
  • Skills negotiating with insurers
  • Focus and dedication to winning your case as you or a loved one recovers
  • Commitment to your recovery and compensation 
  • Motivation to proceed with your case through obstacles
  • Free consultation

Why are some spinal cord injuries more severe than others?

Experiencing a spinal cord injury can profoundly change one’s life, especially when it stems from the negligence of others. These injuries can alter not only your physical well-being but also your life’s emotional and financial aspects.

Depending on where on the spinal cord the injury occurs and the kind of trauma that causes it, you find various levels of impact and outcomes. Every spinal cord injury is different and unique to what the individual went through when the injury occurred.

Some of the symptoms individuals with spinal cord injuries may notice include loss of voluntary motor function, loss of or diminished sensation, muscle spasms, impaired coordination, and balance, loss of bladder control and bowel control, changes in sexual function, difficulty breathing or coughing, or intense pain and stinging from nerve damage.

Why a Specialized Spinal Cord Injury Attorney is important

Spinal cord injuries are intricate, often permanent, and can lead to mounting expenses and lifestyle changes. Choosing legal representation is not just about finding a lawyer; it’s about partnering with the right advocate who genuinely understands the impact, cares about your situation, and amplifies your voice.

At Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, our commitment follows through. We are here to not only maximize your compensation but to provide genuine support in light of your unique situation. We will navigate the complexities of your case and ensure you achieve the best possible quality of life post-injury.

Whether you’re facing the aftermath of an accident caused by an individual’s negligence or a corporate entity, our primary focus is you. Let us shoulder the legal burden while you prioritize healing and adjustment.

Moreover, while our attorneys might not be medical doctors, they possess a deep understanding of the intricacies involved in spinal cord injuries. You can rest assured that you have a knowledgeable advocate in your corner.

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common Causes of spinal cord injuries

Based on the 2023 SCI Data Sheet by the National SCI Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are about 18,000 new traumatic spinal cord injuries each year in the United States. While diseases and disorders can also cause spinal cord injuries, they are not often due to someone else’s negligence.

The most common causes of traumatic spinal cord injury cases that our attorneys see are due to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth injury
  • Workplace accidents
  • Premise liability accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Construction accidents

Legal damages related to spinal cord injuries

Lawyers who specialize in spinal cord injuries work hard to get their clients the maximum compensation possible for their injuries. A spinal cord injury is considered a catastrophic injury and deserves financial compensation if it was caused by the negligent action of someone else. Below, we will list some of the things you can be compensated for based on what we cover in your free case evaluation.

Medical expenses

This category covers the medical bills you incur from your injury. Medical care for a spinal cord injury is expensive, and having these bills paid by the party responsible means that you can access the treatments you need without the hassle of worrying about where the money is going to come from.

Therefore, this category factors in all medical costs, such as hospital bills, medical care, personal care attendants, and rehabilitation and therapy needs. This includes any current and future medical expenses directly related to the spinal cord injury.

Lost wages

Based on how severe these injuries can be, it’s not hard to understand why the ability to work may be affected. This may be temporary or permanent, depending on your unique situation. A claim for a loss of wages seeks to ensure the victim is adequately paid for any time missed from work or the loss of future wages because of the injury. Even missing a couple of hours to go to a doctor’s appointment would constitute missed wages if earnings are affected.

Loss of consortium

Spouses of injured parties tend to claim this one. While not easily financially quantifiable, it speaks to the loss of the victim’s ability to meet marital obligations, including but not limited to companionship, financial support, and intimacy.

Pain and suffering

Pain and suffering includes physical, psychological, or emotional effects associated with the spinal cord injury. 

Some people are able to adjust to their new normal quite well, while others experience pain and suffering for longer periods; every journey and injury is different.  Chronic pain, emotional distress, and depression are examples of factors considered under the umbrella of pain and suffering.

Loss of enjoyment of life

Loss of enjoyment of life refers to enriching or enjoyable activities you previously participated in that are no longer possible because of your injury.

For example, an individual may no longer be able to engage in a sport or recreational activity they frequently enjoyed due to pain or impaired mobility after a spinal cord injury. The lasting impact of this on your life may be quantifiable in your claim. 

Wrongful death

When a spinal cord injury devastatingly results in death, the spinal cord injury claim can also include wrongful death damages. Along with the other damages listed above, wrongful death damages include funeral and burial costs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Spinal Cord Injury Cases

What are the initial and ongoing medical costs of a spinal cord injury?

After experiencing a spinal cord injury, moving on with life is often paved with essential medical care and therapies. Initial and ongoing costs are different for everyone based on complex factors related to the injury. Comprehensive treatment can carry a significant financial burden, and cumulative costs over a lifetime can be another challenge on top of the physical and emotional hurdles.

However, if your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t shoulder these costs on your own. By partnering with a dedicated spinal cord injury attorney, you have the chance to seek rightful compensation to ensure your well-being so you can focus on healing and moving forward without the added financial stress.

What is the impact of a spinal cord injury on quality of life?

Experiencing a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be one of the most dramatic and unexpected shifts someone faces in life. Unlike many other health concerns, the consequences of SCI stretch across numerous aspects of daily living and well-being.

Not only does an SCI directly impact the nervous system, but it can also affect a variety of body functions, such as muscle movement, skin health, digestion, and more. This often means that those with an SCI face challenges requiring frequent medical intervention and potentially the assistance of a caregiver.

Suddenly, everyday tasks like eating, dressing, or even moving demand relearning and adjustment. Due to impaired breathing, devices like wheelchairs or, in severe cases, ventilators might be needed. These changes to function and independence undeniably impact the quality of life.

Moreover, health complications like digestive issues, cardiovascular challenges, pain, and more can be an everyday concern in some cases. Many also experience challenges like cognitive difficulties or struggle to return to work.

Notably, SCI can also have emotional repercussions. Many people grapple with the mental toll of adjusting to their new situation, leading to feelings of depression, anxiety, and loss of identity.

It’s heartbreaking but important to note that the life expectancy among those with SCI is lower than that of the general population. However, depending on the treatments available, living beyond the statistical numbers is well within the realm of possibility. The challenge, of course, is consistently receiving the right kind of care without being limited by potentially high costs.

If you or a loved one are navigating life after an SCI caused by someone else’s negligence, it’s essential to seek expert legal guidance. The right support can make all the difference to your security and peace of mind during this challenging journey.

How much does a spinal cord injury attorney cost?

At Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, no upfront costs or fees are associated with your claim or lawsuit against the negligent party. Our lawyers operate on a contingency fee. This means they are only paid a percentage of your settlement, with no out-of-pocket costs to you.

We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while your attorney works on obtaining the compensation you deserve for your spinal cord injury case.

Call today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation from one of the experienced spinal cord injury attorneys at Alexander Shunnarah to understand your options. You deserve peace of mind. Trust us to help you find it.

What are the different types of spinal cord injuries?

As indicated before, spinal cord injuries can fall under complete or incomplete umbrellas. Let’s further discuss these two types of injuries as well as the common syndromes that are included in the incomplete category.


Complete spinal cord injuries result from the full compression or severing of the spinal cord, leading to a total loss of the brain’s capability to communicate with areas below the injury site.


Incomplete spinal cord injuries are those where individuals retain some sensation and/or movement below the point of injury. The effects of such injuries can vary widely. Some people might exhibit minimal muscle weakness, barely indicating an injury, while others might display symptoms almost as severe as complete spinal cord injuries. Notably, incomplete injuries are more common, comprising over 65% of all spinal cord-related injuries.

Distinguishing between complete and incomplete injuries isn’t always straightforward. Especially in the initial weeks post-injury, inflammation can mask the actual extent of damage. Once the swelling subsides, what might have initially seemed like a complete injury could reveal itself as an incomplete injury.

Central Cord Syndrome
This is when the center of the spinal cord in the cervical spine (neck) becomes damaged. Some level of leg movement is usually preserved, while there is a bigger loss of function and less recovery in the arms.

Posterior Cord Syndrome

Posterior Cord Syndrome is characterized by damage to the back of the spinal cord. This injury type tends to result in poor coordination.

Anterior Cord Syndrome

This is the opposite and speaks of the damage at the front 2/3 of the spinal cord. Individuals with this injury exhibit reduced sensitivity to pain and temperature but retain sensations of vibration and body position. Motor challenges and impaired strength can also be seen at the injury site and areas below it, but often, some movement can be recovered.

Brown-Sequard Syndrome

This spinal cord injury occurs when one side of the spinal cord is damaged while the other remains intact. In these cases, the same side of the body where the spinal cord lesion is found will exhibit weakness or paralysis and diminished ability to sense body positions. The undamaged side will see deficits in or complete loss of pain and temperature sensation.

Typically, medical professionals use a physical examination to determine where along the spinal cord the injury has occurred. Understanding the patient’s symptoms and the site of the injury helps the medical professional provide an accurate diagnosis.

A spinal cord injury lawyer is able to use the diagnosis, medical records related to the injury, and the treatment recommendations of the doctor in order to calculate the physical damages to account for when determining appropriate financial compensation for victims. But don’t forget, a specialized spinal cord injury attorney will understand there is much more to compensate for than bodily harm.

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