Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Legal Aspects of Spinal Injury
Perhaps one of the most common questions asked in the wake of a spinal injury is: where do I begin? Dealing with newfound immobility can be traumatizing, and patients generally have a long road of healing, recovery, and physical rehabilitation ahead of them with no guarantees of recouping the mobility they may have lost. Family members and friends of the patient should work on organizing legal counsel for the victim. Be forthcoming with all the details of the accident. Personal injury lawyers need to have all the pertinent facts of the case in order to have the best chance at reaching a settlement for the patient.
Many spinal injury patients may understandably be concerned with the financial aspects of their recovery. After all, healthcare in the US is remarkably expensive relative to many other first-world nations, and spinal injuries necessitate a variety of expensive treatments, especially if the patient’s mobility has been permanently compromised. Fortunately, most personal injury lawyers work on a contingent fee basis / contingency , meaning that they only receive compensation if they are able to secure a claim for the patient. Otherwise, the patient is not responsible for compensating their services. If a settlement is indeed reached, however, the patient does not receive the full amount. His or her lawyers are then compensated for their services from the settlement. Even with a contingent fee basis / contingency, the patients may be responsible for other legal fees depending on their locality and circumstances of their injury. Most cases are handled on a contingent fee basis / contingency, and fee for service is infrequently used.
Costs do not end there, however, especially if the patient has experienced a permanent injury. Long-term physical therapy and rehabilitation are often necessary to make sure the patient’s mobility does not undergo further decay. Patients may experience extremely sharp back pain during the first few months of post-operative care, since traditional back surgery involves long, deep incisions that take months to heal completely. The extent of the surgery will of course be dependent on the severity and location of the patient’s injury. Back pain will also fluctuate depending on if the spinal nerves were permanently damaged. Normally, the spinal nerves serve as pathways for motor control signals from the brain, as well as helping the body to interpret external stimuli (pressure, heat, cold, pain, etc.). If the injury damages the spinal nerves, they do not recover, since they have no native regenerative capacity. In these cases, patients may lose partial or total sensation below the point of injury, which minimizes back pain but obviously causes much more serious problems with long-term mobility.
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