Tulsa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Fighting for Oklahomans who suffer paralysis, loss of bodily functions, and pain due to SCI
The spinal cord is the part of the body the carries messages to and from the brain. Any damage to the spinal cord or the nerves that are part of the spinal cord can cause changes in or loss of bodily functions, loss of strength, an inability to control your limbs, loss of bowel and bladder control, and other severe physical difficulties. Some victims may never be able to work again. Many spinal cord injury victims need extensive physical therapy, assistive devices, and emotional support and care.
At Biby Law Firm, we have a strong record of success in settling cases and holding responsible parties liable for the injuries they cause. In spinal cord cases, we work with surgeons, neurologists, personal physicians, rehabilitation specialists and others health providers to fully understand a victim’s long-term medical and physical needs. We work with your medical team to understand what technical solutions may now be possible. To schedule a free consultation with a Tulsa spinal cord attorney, contact us today. If you cannot travel because of your injuries, we can come directly to you, or set up a video call instead.
How are spinal cord injuries categorized?
Spinal cord injuries are classified as complete or incomplete, according to the Mayo Clinic. A complete spinal cord injury means that the victim loses all feeling (sense) and all ability to control motor functions. An incomplete spinal cord injury is an injury where the victim retains some motor and/or sensory function below the site of the injury. Incomplete spinal cord injuries can range from moderate to severe.
Spinal cord injuries are considered catastrophic injuries, even when the injuries heal.
How does paralysis differ from spinal cord injuries?
Paralysis, defined as the loss of muscle function, is often the result of a spinal cord injury, but it can also be the result of a genetic defect, a spinal lesion, or an untreated infection. Paralysis can be partial or complete, temporary, or permanent. It can affect a specific area (localized), or it can affect multiple muscle systems (generalized). Per the Cleveland Clinic, “generalized paralysis is broken down based on how much of the body is paralyzed:
- Monoplegia affects one limb only, such as one arm or one leg.
- Hemiplegia affects one side of the body, such as the leg and arm of the same side of the body.
- Diplegia affects the same area on both sides of the body, such as both arms or both sides of the face.
- Paraplegia affects both legs and sometimes parts of the trunk.
- Quadriplegia affects both arms and both legs and sometimes the entire area from the neck down. The function of the heart, lungs, and other organs might also be affected.”
What are the signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury?
Doctors look for the following signs, along with conducting diagnostic tests and reviewing the patient’s own statements of pain, to determine if someone may have suffered a spinal cord injury:
- Loss of movement
- Numbness/tingling of extremities (Radiculopathy)
- An inability to feel or an altered ability to feel heat, cold, or touch
- An inability to control one’s bladder or bowels
- Spasms or exaggerated reflex actions
- Sexual sensitivity or changes in sexual function
- Pain or a stinging sensation due to damaged nerve fibers
- Difficulty coughing, breathing, or clearing lung secretions
In addition, ER doctors also look for:
- Extreme pressure or pain in the back, head, or neck
- Weakness in any part of the body
- Difficulty walking or keeping one’s balance
- “Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes” (Radicular symptoms)
Additional physical problems that can develop if someone has an SCI include circulatory problems, loss of muscle tone, reduced physical fitness, pain, and depression.
What Tulsa treatments are available for a spinal cord injury?
Sometimes, numbness or paralysis is delayed. It’s critical to seek medical help immediately after an accident of any kind.
Diagnostic tests for an SCI include X-Rays, CT scans, and MRIs. SCI patients normally require emergency treatment to try to stabilize their condition such as preventing shock and immobilizing the neck. Surgery is often required to repair fractures, herniated discs, and to stabilize the spine.
Rehabilitation normally requires long-term physical, occupational, and vocational therapy. Many victims may need to work with a pain management doctor.
Newer treatments include:
- Computer tools such as voice recognition software
- Electronic daily living aids
- Electronic stimulation devices to stimulate arm and leg muscle movement
- Robotic gait training
Some people experience some recovery during the first six months. Others may need several years to see any improvement. Many victims also need psychological help to cope with their new lives.
What types of accidents can cause a spinal cord injury in Tulsa?
Spinal cord injuries usually occur when the body suffers a violent blow, the body twists one way when the body wants to go another, or there is just undue force on the body. Some of the main causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Vehicle accidents. Any car, truck, motorcycle, ATV, bus, or train accident (even at low speeds) can cause a driver, passenger, or bystander to suffer a spinal cord injury on impact.
- Slips and falls. If a business owner, nonprofit owner, or homeowner fails to keep their property in safe condition for people who have a right to be on the property, such as people buying goods and services, the owners can be held accountable for the premises liability.
- Workplace accidents. Lifting, moving, and operating heavy machinery can cause an SCI. Slip and falls, overexertion, and repetitive motion can also cause an SCI. Employees who suffer an SCI at work can file a workers’ compensation claim. Independent contractors who suffer an SCI can file a personal injury claim against the employer who failed to take reasonable precautions to protect the worker.
- Construction accidents. Workers who fall from scaffolds or ladders, who are pinned by machines, or who are just in the wrong place at the wrong time can suffer an SCI. They can either file a personal injury claim or a work injury claim based on their employment status.
Oilfield accidents, sports, and assaults are other common reasons someone may suffer a spinal cord injury.
How common are spinal cord injuries?
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center:
- The number of Americans in 2020 who have a SCI is estimated to be about 294,000 people.
- The average age of a person who sustains an SCI is 43.
- Four out of five new SCI cases are male.
- The average length of stay in 2017 for an SCI is 11 days of acute hospital care. The average rehabilitation lengths of stay are 31 days.
- The largest category of SCI results is incomplete tetraplegia at 47.2%. About 30% of SCI victims will be rehospitalized at some point.
How much money is a Tulsa SCI claim worth?
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most expensive injury claims there are because of the amount of medical care they require, and because of the loss of productivity by victims. The initial costs of direct care can be millions of dollars, but that only accounts for care and medical expenses. Wages, benefits, and other costs can vary wildly depending on multiple factors.
However, it is impossible to determine how much your claim is worth without first looking at your medical records and your employment history. We also review the costs associated with a member of your family being a long-term caretaker, and how any underlying conditions could be exacerbated by an SCI.
You can make a claim for those medical bills and treatments, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Your spouse may be able to make a claim for loss of consortium, too. It al depends on your experience. Tulsa SCI attorney Jacob Biby can help you through the process, and guide you towards what is best for you and your family.
Distinguished representation for Tulsa spinal cord injury victims
At Biby Law Firm, your Tulsa SCI lawyer works hand-in-hand with your team of physicians to document your losses, and tell the story of how your life has changed due to your injuries. Jacob Biby has earned the respect of former clients and his legal peers through his dedication to doing what’s best for his clients in a persuasive yet compassionate way. For help with a respected spinal cord injury lawyer, call us at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form. We don’t receive a fee unless your case settles or there is verdict in your favor. We proudly serve the communities of Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Wagoner, Muskogee, and the surrounding areas.