Insights About A Spinal Cord Injury After a Colorado Motor Vehicle Accident
Perhaps an overtired commercial trucker veered into your lane on a snowy Denver freeway and slammed your vehicle into the guardrails. Or maybe you received the horrible news via phone that your daughter landed in the hospital after being involved in a collision with a DUI driver.
In either case, you need actionable insight about what to do regarding the accident and the spinal cord injury that it caused.
36.5% of all spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are caused by motor vehicle accidents, and the consequences can be severe. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA), 45% of these injuries are what are known as “complete” and 55% are “incomplete.” “Complete” does not refer to the cutting of the cord itself — it just means that there is a loss of function below the point on the spine where the injury occurred. “Incomplete” means that the SCI caused only a partial loss of sensation and function below that point.
Unfortunately, the spinal cord is less plastic than other tissues and organs in the body. Although many spinal cord injury victims can recover at least some function, the vast majority does not recover complete function, and over 50% of injuries lead to quadriplegia. (Being young when you get hurt reduces your risk of quadriplegia slightly.)
Actions to Take If You or Someone You Love Suffered A Spinal Cord Injury in a Car Accident
1. Collect as much evidence as possible from the scene.
Deputize someone you trust to collect this information for you, if you’re too hurt or exhausted. Record witness statements, take pictures of the accident and any injuries, and collect identifying information from anyone involved, including driver’s license numbers, phone numbers, license plate numbers and insurance info. Ask the police for a copy of the police report.
In general, strive to “over document” both the accident and the medical response to the injury, so that your Colorado spinal injury attorney can later sort the useful evidence from the not so useful. Documenting can help your doctor, too. For instance, by keeping a journal about the injury, you might identify signs of unpleasant side effects from a pain medication before they become dangerous or unbearable.
2. Ensure active and immediate care for the injured person.
In some cases, spinal injuries are obvious, and you will not need to be prodded to take the hurt person to a hospital right away. In other cases, however, the symptoms may be subtle and hard to detect. A concussed or shocked victim, for instance, may be numbed by adrenaline and other hormones and may not realize the extent of the problem until hours after the crash. Early medical intervention can prevent or partially ameliorate problems, like brain damage. When in doubt, seek qualified medical help, particularly if the injury involves the head or spine in any way.
3. Avoid discussing the accident with financially interested parties, especially insurance adjusters or other drivers involved.
Instead, contact an experienced Colorado spinal cord injury attorney as soon as you can. Given all that’s going on in your life right now, you might be tempted to wait to speak with an attorney. Don’t make that mistake. Critical evidence from the scene of the crash might be lost. Key witness testimony might be forgotten. In certain situations, you may need to file suit almost immediately to preserve evidence. Contact the Law Office of Steve Roberts, LLC, at 720-515-7058.