A spinal cord injury (SCI) will have far-reaching effects on your life. Paraplegia or quadriplegia from a SCI will, in most cases, never heal. It will limit your independence, ability to work and ability to care for yourself. Luckily, Massachusetts law provides additional compensation for certain types of spinal cord injury cases of disability and when gross negligence is involved.
The leading cause of spinal cord injuries, especially in young people, is motor vehicle accidents. Other causes can include:
- Workplace accidents
- Construction site injuries
- Accidents during sporting and/or recreational activities
- Tumors, blood loss to the spinal cord, and/or stenosis
Sheff & Cook has established a reputation as a superior spinal cord injury law firm in the region. We bring decades of experience to each client, as well as a plethora of SCI specialists who can be called in to assist in settlement or testify if a SCI case goes to trial.
We recognize that spinal cord injuries will have devastating effects that will last a lifetime for SCI victims and their families. One of the most important components in demonstrating these damages is a life care plan. At Sheff & Cook, we utilize a cutting-edge litigation approach to demonstrate the long term necessary care and treatment for a victim of a SCI. Physicians, nurses, rehabilitation specialists and economists all participate in the creation of this plan. Its presentation during the course of trial or mediation is invaluable to the jury to understand the baseline of necessities for a person suffering from a spinal cord injury. In tandem with other experts, it is a powerful tool to demonstrate the gravity of the injury and the long term needs of the SCI victim.
Our clients are not simply cases to us. In fact, we have developed many special relationships with the victims of SCI that have extended well beyond the resolution of their cases. We develop detailed lifetime plans for our clients to help them get the results they need to cover future living and treatment expenses. Our representation is not only skilled, but also compassionate for victims of spinal cord injuries in Massachusetts.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of someone’s negligence, contact our team to discuss your options.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the long nerve tract within the backbone or vertebral column (spine), usually the result of trauma to the back.
Of critical importance in an SCI is the location of the trauma and spinal cord injury. Injuries in the cervical region of the spine can cause significant damages and disabilities in both the arms and the legs. Internal organs and body systems can be affected. Injuries further down the spine, i.e. the lumbar spine area, may only affect the legs (lower extremities) and have a lesser effect upon the functioning of organs and systems.
Also, the degree of injury or trauma may affect the amount of residual functioning of an individual who suffers a spinal cord injury. Some victims have some sensory or functional abilities. Some victims have no function or sensation. Some SCI patients have spasticity (involuntary muscle spasms and prolonged stiffness); some patients are completely flaccid (no function or movement at all).
Classification of Spinal Cord Injuries
The classification of SCIs is based upon location of the trauma, as well as the amount of residual physical and sensory function that the injured victim has following the SCI.
In an incomplete SCI, some function remains below the primary level of the injury. A person with an incomplete injury may be able to move one arm or leg more than the other or may have more functioning on one side of the body than the other.
When the nerves of the spinal cord are significantly damaged, usually through an external trauma, there can be a total loss of all motor and sensory function below the level of injury. This condition is known as a complete SCI. Nearly 50% of all SCIs are complete. Both sides of the body are equally affected.
Even with a complete SCI, the spinal cord is rarely cut or transected. More commonly, loss of function is caused by a contusion or bruise to the spinal cord or by compromise of blood flow to the injured part of the spinal cord.
The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) has a grading scale, which describes the severity of the injury. The scale is graded with letters:
- ASIA A: injury is complete spinal cord injury with no sensory or motor function preserved
- ASIA B: a sensory incomplete injury with complete motor function loss
- ASIA C: a motor incomplete injury, where there is some movement, but less than half the muscle groups are anti-gravity (can lift up against the force of gravity with a full range of motion)
- ASIA D: a motor incomplete injury with more than half of the muscle groups are anti-gravity
- ASIA E: injury has not impacted bodily function
Unfortunately, the greater the severity of the injury, the less likely it is that there will be a recovery.
Sheff & Cook’s Approach
Experience and teamwork make Sheff & Cook a superior choice when you need a spinal cord injury lawyer. We provide every client with a team of lawyers and specialists, not just a single attorney. This unique team approach leverages the experience and expertise of our entire firm to deliver superior results for our spinal cord injury clients. Insurance companies will put their own team to work to try and limit your compensation, which is why you need a personal injury firm with the passion and experience to get you justice and restitution.