Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers - Lee Steinberg Law Firm

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Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Over 85,000 people in the US suffer a spinal cord injury, also called SCI, each year. SCI is defined as any damage to the spinal cord that results in loss of function or mobility. 

These life-changing injuries are also caused by trauma or disease. They result in temporary or permanent loss of sensation, loss of movement (paralysis), loss of bowel or bladder control, and other ailments. 

Auto accidents are a primary cause of spinal cord injuries. In fact, car crashes result in approximately 12,500 spinal cord injuries in the United States every year. However, other traumatic events such as slips and falls and sports-related accidents cause many SCIs each year.

Although medical treatment and science have improved greatly over the years in the treatment of spinal cord injury, the results are staggering emotionally and financially for the patient and family. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury you believe was caused by the negligence of another, it is important to contact a Michigan spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Lee Steinberg Law Firm will review your case for free and advise you of various options for recovering compensation, such as the recovery of first-party no-fault benefits and pain and suffering.  

What are the Different Types of Spinal Injury?

A spinal cord injury involves any type of damage to the spinal cord. This damage affects the way the nerves in your body and the brain process electrical signals. When it is damaged, individuals suffer pain, numbness and loss of body control and strength.

The types of spinal cord injury depend on which part of the cord is affected. The most severe types of spinal cord injury result in damage to the cervical spine, or neck area. There are seven vertebrae that make up the cervical spine. Damage to the vertebrae closest to the brain is the most severe. Damage from C1 to C4 can result in a total loss of movement and function throughout the arms, legs, and torso. This is known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Sometimes these injuries are fatal. 

The thoracic spine is made of up 12 vertebrae located in the mid-back. Injury to the spinal cord from a thoracic injury can result in loss of movement and function in the chest and legs. This is also known as paraplegia.  

The lumbar spine is made up of 5 vertebrae which are located in the lower back. Spinal cord injury to this area is the least catastrophic, but can still cause major life changes. Typical symptoms from injuries to the lumbar spine include numbness and tingling down the legs, bladder problems, bowel issues, and trouble walking. 

What is the difference between a traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord injury?

Traumatic spinal cord injuries result from abrupt mechanical forces that compress or damage the spinal cord. Examples of traumatic injuries include car accidents, accidents involving a bike or motorcycle or severe falls

A non-traumatic spinal cord injury does not result from a catastrophic accident. Instead, it involves a progressive disease process such as degenerative disc disease, a tumor, or an autoimmune disease like multiple sclerosis. 

What Treatment Options are there for Spinal Cord Injury? 

There are several different ways to treat spinal cord injuries, but first the severity of the injury must be diagnosed. Spinal cord injury is diagnosed with X-rays, computed tomography (CT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). CT is quicker to obtain and provides better imaging of bony structures than MRI. However, MRI provides better detail of soft tissue structures near the spinal cord.

After a car accident, time is of the essence in treating a spinal cord injury. Medical personnel must immobilize the spine and take the person to a hospital immediately. It is important to not move a person with SCI because this can cause further injury.  

Once at the hospital, a team of doctors can perform surgery to relieve the pressure around the spinal cord and repair damage next to the cord. Sometimes multiple surgeries may be needed.

After surgery, the road to recovery is not easy. Typical treatment opinions include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, traction and braces, medication, functional electrical stimulation, and other rehabilitation. 

Who Pays for a Spinal Cord Injury After a Car Accident?

Michigan is a no-fault state, so there are specific rules for which auto insurance carrier pays medical bills and expenses if the wreck causes spinal cord injury or severe spine injury. In fact, there is a specific order for who pays.  

First up, your own auto insurance is responsible for paying medical bills from the crash that health insurance is not responsible for. This is called personal injury protection (PIP). This is true even if your car was not involved in the crash. The insurance company will pay up to the coverage limit that was purchased. In Michigan, you can buy unlimited PIP, which provides a person with the best healthcare following a car collision. 

If you don’t have auto insurance, in most situations you can still make a claim through the auto insurance of a resident relative. This means the car insurance for your spouse, brother, child, or parent who lives with you must pay your medical bills. 

If there is no auto insurance in the household, then you can turn to the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan (MACP). A person must first complete an Application for Benefits and turn in certain paperwork, like a police report. This organization will then assign an insurance company – like Allstate or Farm Bureau – to pay medical bills up to $250,000.

MACP claims can be confusing to start. A good Michigan spinal injury lawyer can make sure your application is done correctly and benefits start as quickly as possible.   

What If Insurance Doesn’t Cover Everything?

What happens if all of your PIP benefits are used up, or your health insurance doesn’t cover all the bills? If this happens, the insurance company for the negligent driver or car owner must pay your medical bills. This is known as a negligence case. But this only occurs if the other driver was at-fault for the Michigan car accident. 

In a situation involving a trip and fall, or wor place incident, then the insurance company for the at fault landowner or company is responsible for the medical bills, both past and future. However, it takes an experienced Michigan spinal cord injury lawyer to prove liability and win your case.  

How Can Spinal Cord Injury Affect a Person’s Life?

This depends on the severity of the injury and where the spinal cord injury occurred. The more severe the injury, the more it will affect a person’s movement, strength, reflex activities, body control, bladder control, levels of pain, and even the ability to breathe. 

Some spinal cord injuries are not significant and can result in a full recovery. A person may have numbness or tingling but with proper medical treatment, the sensation will resolve. 

Still, other spinal cord injuries are tragic and can result in total loss of a person’s ability to move their legs, arms, pelvic area, and trunk. This is known as quadriplegia. 

Spinal cord injuries are rated according to the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) grading scale, which ranges from A (complete spinal cord injury) to E (normal).

Michigan Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Who Fight for You

The Lee Steinberg Law Firm has been serving injured Michigan residents for almost 50 years. Our team of compassionate and dedicated Michigan personal injury lawyers has represented the catastrophically injured for decades. Spinal cord injuries are brutal and demand swift and aggressive representation. We have obtained hundreds of millions for our clients. Our firm never stops getting our clients the money they are owed. Call us for a free consultation at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-866-503-3043).