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nurse stretching patients spinal cordThe immense physical and emotional trauma of a spinal cord injury may alter your life in many profound ways. It can be challenging to cope with these changes as you learn how to live with your injury.

At The Melonakos Law Firm, our legal team wants to offer you the support and compassion you need to navigate this difficult time. We are ready to help you seek maximum compensation so you can focus on your recovery instead of your potential financial worries.

Our Greenville spinal cord injury attorneys have an in-depth understanding of South Carolina’s personal injury laws. We are ready to use our extensive experience to demand the money you need and hold at-fault individuals accountable.

Contact The Melonakos Law Firm today for a free evaluation with a Greenville spinal cord injury lawyer.

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

The spine is made up of bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae protect a thick bundle of nerves called the spinal cord, which runs from the base of the brain down into the tailbone. The spinal cord relays messages between the brain and the rest of the body. These messages control everything from sensory perception to muscle movements.

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a traumatic injury that damages the spinal cord. The spinal cord can suffer bruising, partial tears, or be completely severed. Paralysis frequently results from spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries can be life-altering and cause permanent disability.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are typically the result of physical trauma. A sudden, violent jolt to the body or a penetrating wound can damage bones, surrounding tissue, and the spinal cord to the point of significant injury. Some common causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports injuries
  • Workplace accidents
  • Violent crimes

Depending on the severity of the injury, it may take months or even years to recover. Many spinal cord injuries result in life-altering complications and irreversible disabilities.

Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

An SCI falls into one of two different categories:

  • Incomplete – An incomplete SCI occurs when the spinal cord is damaged but can still transmit messages to and from the brain. In an incomplete injury, a person may retain some motor and sensory functions below the injury site.
  • Complete – A complete SCI occurs when the nerves in the spinal cord are completely severed. Once the spinal cord is severed, there is a complete loss of communication between the brain and body parts past the injury site. Communication stops at the point of injury. There is no known cure for complete SCIs.

Physicians further categorize an SCI by indicating the level of a spinal injury according to where the damage is located. A complete or incomplete injury can occur anywhere on the spine, including the cervical (neck), thoracic (upper back), lumbar (lower back), or sacral (tailbone) regions.

The most common spinal cord injuries include:

  • Paraplegia – The loss of function and sensation impacting the lower half of the body, typically the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.
  • Quadriplegia (tetraplegia) – The loss of function and sensation of all four limbs and the torso. Organ systems may also be impacted, including the pelvic organs and the lungs.

The loss of motor function and sensation is known as paralysis. Paralysis is the most significant complication of a complete spinal cord injury. Over time, individuals with an incomplete SCI may be able to regain limited motion, coordination, and sensation. Individuals with complete SCIs are permanently disabled and cannot regain function because damaged neurons in the spinal cord cannot regenerate.

SCI Complications, Disabilities, and Treatments

A spinal cord injury can cause significant complications and alter a person’s quality of life. Some of the most common complications and disabilities associated with spinal cord injuries include:

  • Loss of bowel and bladder control
  • Loss of sexual function
  • Changes in circulation and low blood pressure
  • Changes in respiratory function
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss of muscle tone
  • Paralysis
  • Pressure injuries and bed sores
  • Inability to regulate body temperature
  • Pneumonia
  • Uncontrollable high blood pressure
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Depression

Your treatment options depend on the severity of your injury. In some situations, surgery can help repair broken vertebrae, remove sharp shards of bone, and relieve pressure and swelling on the spinal cord. Many people with spinal cord injuries require rehabilitation services like physical and occupational therapy. Educational training and working with a therapist can also benefit patients experiencing depression and anxiety following a spinal cord injury.

Compensation for Your Spinal Cord Injury Case in Greenville

Your accident case is unique. Although it is challenging to put a price tag on your injury, the Greenville spinal cord attorneys at The Melonakos Law Firm can review your situation and calculate the value of your case based on the facts and your specific needs. In general, you may be able to recover compensation for the following losses related to your spinal cord injury:

  • Medical expenses
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of consortium
  • Pain and suffering

Proving Negligence in a Spinal Cord Injury Case

Proving that the accident that caused your spinal cord injury wasn’t your fault requires evidence. You have the burden of proving that someone else caused your injury and that your injury resulted in measurable losses. Doing so may require evidence like:

  • Information from an accident report
  • Witness testimony
  • Photographs and videos from the accident scene 
  • Medical records 
  • Expert opinions
  • Accident reconstruction 

Having the right attorney can make a big difference as you seek compensation for a serious injury. Consult with a spinal cord injury attorney at The Melonakos Law Firm for more information on how an attorney can help collect the evidence you need to prove liability.

Is There a Time Limit to File a Spinal Cord Injury Claim in Greenville, SC?

South Carolina has a strict time limit for filing a personal injury claim. You have three years from the accident date to file your case in court. Only very limited exceptions could extend the deadline.

Discussing your situation with an attorney early in the process is the best way to ensure you have every opportunity to pursue the money you deserve. Attempting to file a case after the statute of limitations expires will generally result in the dismissal of your lawsuit.

Contact Our Greenville Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys for Help Today

Money can’t bring back what you have lost. However, it can offer you a measure of justice and the financial stability you need during this challenging time. At The Melonakos Law Firm, we are ready to vigorously fight for the compensation you deserve while supporting you as you recover.

Contact The Melonakos Law Firm today for a free consultation with a spinal cord injury lawyer in Greenville.

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