Spinal Cord Injuries After Car Accidents
Spinal cord injuries can have permanent effects on your mobility and ability to work. If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury as the result of a motor vehicle accident, you need to make sure you’re getting the compensation you deserve.
If your car insurance company is denying you or your loved one benefits or you’ve reached your maximum benefit amount, call an auto accident attorney at our law firm as soon as possible to discuss your options.
What to Do
If you have been injured in an accident, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Even if your pain is mild, it could get worse if not treated by a medical professional. Since spinal injuries are particularly sensitive to movement, wait for an ambulance after the accident and avoid moving unless necessary to ensure your own safety.
Make sure to save all documentation from CT scans, X-rays, and other procedures, as well as all police reports about the accident. If you are concerned about being billed right away, let the staff know that the injuries are the result of a car accident, and they will take steps to follow up with you about car insurance instead of immediately billing your health insurance.
Types of Injuries
Herniated discs are a very common type of spinal cord injury. This injury occurs when the padding between spinal discs is damaged, putting pressure on the spinal cord. With rest and proper care, herniated discs can heal, but they may require some time off from work.
Fractured vertebrae can put pressure on or sever the spinal cord. This is a severe injury that may require months to heal, and could even result in permanent paraplegia or quadriplegia. It may require surgery, a brace, physical therapy as the victim recovers.
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the spaces in your spine narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord. It is sometimes slow to show symptoms, which can make diagnosis after a car accident difficult.
There are other types of injuries as well, such as pinched nerves and bulging discs. Any of these injuries can have serious long-term complications if left untreated.
Signs and Symptoms
Common signs of a spinal cord injury include:
- Discomfort or pressure
- Tingling or numbness in extremities
- Weakness loss of motor function
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Difficulty breathing or walking
- Loss of ability to feel cold or heat
Because the spinal cord is a key part of the central nervous system, any injury to the spinal cord could be noticed in symptoms in the arms, legs, hands, or feet. Even minor numbness or tingling could be a sign of pressure on the spinal cord due to an injury.
This is why it’s important to seek medical care after an accident, instead of waiting for symptoms to clear up on their own. A medical professional needs to examine you carefully to make sure there are no subtle signs of a spinal cord injury.
If you start showing any new signs or symptoms in the days after an accident, it’s important to seek follow-up medical treatment as soon as possible. An injury that was initially minor can grow much worse quickly, especially if you lifted something heavy or sustained even a minor fall.
Michigan Car Insurance Law
Michigan drivers are required to have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, also known as no-fault car insurance. This special type of insurance pays for your own injuries and damage to your car, even if the other driver is at fault. There are limits to your own insurance coverage, and any losses in excess of your coverage can only be recovered through a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Your car insurance company could try to claim that your injuries weren’t caused by the accident. Although this is rare in spinal cord injuries, it could happen if your initial injury seemed mild at first and then worsened, or if you did not seek medical attention immediately after the accident.
Getting Personal Injury Protection Coverage
When you’re a passenger in someone else’s car, your own car insurance should cover your injuries. If you don’t have insurance of your own, you may be covered by another household member’s insurance or by a special fund provided by the State of Michigan.
In some cases, an insurance plan that should include you will try to argue that you are exempt from coverage. Instead of trying to deal with the insurance company yourself, engage a personal injury attorney from our law firm who specializes in car accidents and auto insurance issues.
Talking to an Attorney
Don’t wait to talk to an attorney after a car or motorcycle accident. Your statute of limitations to file a lawsuit is just one year if you need to sue your insurance company, and three years from the date of the accident if you need to sue the at-fault driver. A statute of limitation is the maximum amount of time you have to initiate a legal case after the event.
Michigan car insurance law is complex, so you need a specialized auto injury lawyer to help. Aside from skill, you should look for law firms that prioritize good attorney-client relationships.
You may also need an attorney if you begin missing work, which is very likely to happen due to the severity of spinal cord injuries. Your car insurance will likely cover six-weeks worth of missed wages. If your injuries are persistent, you may exceed those limits and need to pursue litigation to get the compensation you need.
Car insurance work loss benefits provide a source of income as a percent of your missing wages. These benefits are generally capped at three years, regardless of the number of wages reimbursed. If you are permanently disabled by the accident, you may need to file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
An experienced car crash injury attorney at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. can walk you through your options and understand the laws that apply to your case. There are many complicating factors, including whether each driver was partially at fault, so an attorney will need to review your case carefully.
Getting You Financial Relief
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, you need a law firm on your side who specializes in car accident law and is dedicated to the fight for justice. Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. specializes in personal injury law, including auto accident cases.
We provide assistance to victims and their families as they go through the legal process of getting compensation. Our team handles each case with dignity, no matter how severe and life-changing your injuries are. Call us toll-free at (866)-466-9912 to schedule your confidential free consultation.