Articles Posted in Spinal Cord Injury

boatAs with other governmental entities, the Navy and the Army, as arms of the federal government, are entitled to sovereign immunity from lawsuits. Under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), they have waived sovereign immunity for actions that are conducted pursuant to statute or policy but not for those actions that are inherently discretionary. This is known as the discretionary function exception. While discretionary functions often arise when employees make certain decisions or undertake certain actions, courts have disagreed about whether the maintenance of premises can be considered discretionary. A recent Fourth Circuit case extends the discretionary function exception to apply to premises liability lawsuits.

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In order to obtain workers’ compensation benefits for an injury, you have to prove that the injury occurred on the job. As a recent case out of the state Supreme Court shows, this burden of proof goes beyond just saying that the injury happened at work.

gavel-952313-mMr. Price was working as a laborer in August 2013 when he alleged he injured his back. He said he was throwing wet tents into a truck when he started experiencing pain in his lower back that radiated down one of his legs. Price went to an emergency room one day later, and he was diagnosed with spinal stenosis and a herniated disc.

A claims administrator rejected Price’s claim for workers’ compensation benefits, finding that there was no evidence to show that Price sustained his injury at work. His supervisor at the time completed an accident report in which three witnesses said they didn’t notice anything wrong with Price on the day in question. They also said he was “goofing off” at the end of the day. Price was laughing, jumping up and down in the truck, and attempting to block tents from entering the truck. The supervisor additionally said he worked with Price throughout the day and saw him jumping in and out of trucks with no complaints about pain. He said he asked the staffing company that Price worked for to terminate Price’s employment after Price failed to show up for work the next day. A staffing agency rep said Price didn’t mention the injury until after he was informed that he’d been fired.

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436905_in_the_lab_1.jpgRecent sporting injuries like the spinal cord injury of a football player from Rutgers University this month are shedding light on developments in treating these devastating injuries. According to an October 18, 2010 article in the LA Times newspaper, new uses for embryonic stems cells are giving hope to victims of spinal cord injuries.

The article outlines the story of an Atlanta-based patient who was the first to be treated this month with therapy that utilized human embryonic stem cells. Research clinicians were testing the safety of specialized nerve cells that they hoped would repair damaged spinal cords. The results remain to be seen in the human patients of the study, but rats that were treated using the same methods showed marked improvement in the ability to walk and even run with a limp.

The hope of researchers is that patients who are treated with this new stem cell process will be able to not only regain mobility, but that they will also be able to regain the use of their bladders, legs and arms where applicable. There is no cure for spinal cord injury paralysis, but this new method could enhance the use of limbs and joints that were previously limited.

In West Virginia, most spinal cord injuries are the direct result of auto accidents, falls or violent crimes. These types of injuries are devastating to many victims, causing permanent paralysis either below the waist (paraplegia) or chest (quadriplegia) in vast majority of cases. Although you can recover damages for catastrophic spinal cord injuries caused by the negligence of someone else, lesser injuries may be harder to prove. This is why you need a West Virginia personal injury lawyer on your side.

Spinal cord injuries typically occur after a direct blow to your spine. The most obvious symptoms include immediate paralysis below the injury site, loss of movement and sensation, loss of bowel or bladder control and weakness or loss of muscle function altogether. According to the Mayo Clinic, though, symptoms of spinal cord injuries aren’t always as easily detected. Lesser, but still significant, symptoms of spinal cord injury include exaggerated reflexes or spasms, changes in sexual function or sensitivity, pain or stinging in your back, difficulty breathing or general numbness.

Getting an immediate medical examination is crucial if you think you’ve experienced a spinal cord injury. More than half of the 10,000 annual spinal cord injuries occur from car accidents, so it’s especially important to have your spinal cord and back examined after a crash. Keep in mind that a spinal cord injury doesn’t have to be as extreme as a tear or severing of the spinal cord. Injuries can also include spinal cord bruises (contusions that can cause internal bleeding), spinal cord concussions and spinal compression.

xwheelchair.jpgAccording to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in West Virginia and across the United States are motor vehicle accidents (including automobiles and motorcycles), which account for more than 40% of new spinal cord injuries each year. 25% of spinal cord injuries are caused by falls (especially in victims over the age of 65), and another 15% are attributed to acts of violence, most often gun shot cases. The remaining 20% of injuries are the result of sporting and recreation incidents, alcohol use and degenerative diseases such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and spinal cord inflammation.

In most cases, a sudden blow to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae causes a permanent spinal cord injury. Symptoms of this condition can range from extreme pain to complete loss of feeling in the limbs. Further, victims of spinal cord injury may have trouble breathing or maintaining normal bowel function.

There are more than 11,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year. That means about 30 people experience this type of traumatic injury every day in America. The most often observed results are paraplegia (loss of sensation below the waist) and quadriplegia (loss of sensation and functionality below the neck/chest).