Steps to Take After a Spinal Cord Injury

All sudden, serious injuries are painful and frightening, but few are as traumatic as a spinal cord injury. Injuries to the bundle of nerves that transmit messages back and forth from the brain to the body cause life-long consequences, including paralysis, loss of mobility, and loss of sensation and function. The severity of the effects of a spinal cord injury depends on the level of the spine at which the injury occurs. Because damage to the spinal cord prevents messages from the brain from traveling below the level of the injury, the higher the injury on the spinal cord, the greater the degree of paralysis.

When trauma from a car crash, fall, or other accident results in an injury to the neck or back, it’s critical to take steps to minimize the damage to the spinal cord and the consequences on the injury victim’s life.

Steps to Take After a Spinal Cord Injury

What to Do Immediately After the Spinal Cord Injury

The victim of a spinal cord injury should not move until medical professionals arrive to help, but loved ones or companions accompanying the injury victim can take essential steps to minimize the damage as much as possible. If the victim’s back or neck appears twisted or they’ve lost the ability to move, help them by taking the following steps:

  • Do not move the injury victim unless they are in immediate, life-threatening danger, such as slipping underwater after a diving accident or in the flow of moving traffic after a car accident
  • Stabilize the victim’s head, neck, and back either by holding them still or by rolling blankets or towels on either side of them
  • If you perform any first aid, avoid moving their head or neck
  • Call 911 and request emergency services
  • Preserve evidence at the scene by photographing the cause of the injury, such as the damaged vehicles and accident scene after a car accident, or a broken balcony rail after a fall at a business.
  • Add the contact information of anyone involved and any eyewitnesses

The paramedics will stabilize the head, neck, and back for safe transportation to the hospital for a thorough evaluation of the injury. Fast medical attention helps minimize further damage by reducing inflammation and bleeding around the spinal cord.

What to Do In the Days and Weeks After the Injury

If the spinal cord injury occurred due to someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally wrongful actions, they are liable for the damages. Damages in a spinal cord injury case are severe, permanent, and life-altering. By taking the right steps after a spinal cord injury, you increase the chances of a successful claim for compensation for medical expenses, future medical costs, lost income, lowered earning capacity, and non-economic damages like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. After experiencing a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s actions do the following:

  • Have the medical providers write a detailed report of the injury, its impacts on mobility, and the prognosis for recovery
  • Save all medical receipts and invoices, and receipts for related expenses such as for transportation, medical equipment, and any home adaptive measures
  • Gather the evidence and call a personal injury attorney with a strong history of representing clients in spinal cord injury claims.

Because of the life-altering impacts of a spinal cord injury, the best way forward is a strong, proactive Cherry Hill car accident attorney who can negotiate with the insurance company of the at-fault party or parties to maximize the amount of financial compensation and a sense of justice for the victim after the accident.