We represented a man who suffered a permanent spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle collision. The wrongdoer’s inadequate limits of liability insurance coverage were quickly recovered, and the man’s local lawyer referred him to Robert W. Kerpsack Co., L.P.A., to investigate other potential sources of recovery.

The man was employed as a commercial truck driver at the time of the crash, and we obtained a copy of his employer’s business auto insurance policy. We presented a claim against the policy’s underinsured motorist coverage; however, the insurance company denied coverage for the man’s claim. We filed a declaratory judgment lawsuit and obtained an order from the court that the employer’s policy provided underinsured motorist coverage for the man’s damages. Shortly thereafter, the man’s underinsured motorist claim was settled. A portion of the settlement was paid to the Medicare program, which had paid the man’s medical bills.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

Each year, over 10,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries. These injuries can be caused by trauma or disease, and can result in temporary or permanent disabilities, including:

  • Loss of sensation
  • Loss of movement, or paralysis
  • Loss of bowel and/or bladder control

The most common cause of spinal cord injury (abbreviated as SCI) are automobile accidents, although assault, falls, and sports accidents are frequent causes as well.

Types of Spinal Cord Injury

The two general types of SCI are complete and incomplete injuries.

Complete injuries are those in which the victim loses all sensation and voluntary movement on one side of the body, or below the injury location.

Incomplete injuries are those in which the victim retains some feeling or movement in the affected areas.

SCI is further categorized by the area of the spine, or vertebrae, that sustained the injury. The vertebrae in the neck are referred to as the cervical vertebrae, and injuries to this area are referred to with the letter C and the number of the vertebrae, so an injury to the fourth cervical vertebrae would be called a C-4 injury.

In general, injury to the cervical vertebrae is likely to cause paralysis of all limbs, also called quadriplegia.

Below the neck, in the back area, the vertebrae are called the thoracic vertebrae, and injuries to those areas are referred to with the letter T and the number of the affected vertebrae. As such, an injury to the first thoracic vertebrae would be called a T-1 injury.

In general, injury to the thoracic vertebrae is likely to cause paralysis of the legs only, leaving the arms unaffected, a condition called pariiplegia.

The severity of the specific injury will also affect the severity of the condition. Some patients may retain some degree of control over affected body parts, while others may be left with no function at all, some even requiring a ventilator to maintain lung function.

If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI) as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact Robert Kerpsack today by calling (614) 766-2000 or completing our online form. We’ll review your case at no cost and no obligation, and we’ll help you get the compensation you need and deserve to provide for your family today and in the future.