Legal teams and case managers supporting clients with spinal cord injuries should be aware of the many ways the injury can adversely affect the quality of a person’s life, and the expertise a skilled spinal injury medico-legal expert can bring to a case.
Spinal injuries can result from various causes, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, gunshot wounds, and other forms of spinal cord trauma. Spinal cord injuries can have a significant impact on an individual’s physical, emotional, and social well-being, and may require lifelong medical care, rehabilitation, and support.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is a traumatic injury that occurs to the spinal cord, which is a bundle of nerves that extends from the brain down the back and serves as the main pathway for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
Complete spinal cord injury
A complete SCI occurs when there is a total loss of sensory and motor function below the level of the injury. This means that the individual has no sensation or movement below the site of the injury. Complete spinal injuries are typically associated with more severe neurological deficits and can result in complete paralysis and loss of bladder and bowel control.
Incomplete spinal cord injury
An incomplete SCI occurs when there is some preservation of sensory or motor function below the level of the injury. This means that the individual may have partial sensation or movement below the site of the injury. Incomplete spinal injuries can vary in severity and can result in a wide range of functional abilities and disabilities depending on the specific area of the spinal cord that is affected.
Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, refers to a type of SCI that affects both the upper and lower limbs, as well as the trunk and pelvic organs. Individuals with tetraplegia may have partial or complete loss of function in all four limbs, and may also experience impairment in respiratory and trunk muscles.
Paraplegia refers to a type of SCI that affects the lower limbs and the trunk, but not the upper limbs. Individuals with paraplegia may have partial or complete loss of function in the lower limbs, but typically have intact upper limb function.
Spinal cord injury expert witness
Find a spinal cord injury expert witness – consultants and neurorehabilitation experts in traumatic spinal cord injuries, spinal disorders, and orthopaedic trauma for medico legal reports.
Spinal injury expert witness
Legal cases involving spinal cord injuries may require expert medical witnesses to provide testimony and opinions on the cause, nature, extent, and prognosis of the injury, as well as the potential long-term effects and associated damages. Selecting a qualified medical expert witness with expertise in spinal injuries is crucial in providing accurate and reliable medical information to assist in legal proceedings.
Clinical Negligence Claims
Spinal injuries can result from clinical negligence, such as surgical errors, misdiagnosis, or improper medical management. In medical negligence cases involving spinal cord injuries, an expert in spinal injuries may be needed to assess whether the standard of care was met, whether the injury could have been prevented or mitigated, and the extent of damages caused by the medical negligence.
Personal Injury Claims
Spinal cord injuries often result from accidents, such as motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports injuries, or other forms of trauma. Personal injury cases involving spinal cord injuries may require an expert in SCI to provide opinions on the cause, nature, extent, and prognosis of the injury, as well as the potential long-term effects and associated damages. This may include assessing the impact of the injury on the individual’s physical, functional, and emotional well-being, as well as estimating the costs of medical care, rehabilitation, and ongoing support.
Life Care Planning and Cost Projections
Legal cases related to spinal cord injuries may require an expert in Life Care Planning and Cost Projections to assess and quantify the current and future medical and rehabilitation needs, as well as the associated costs. Life Care Planning involves developing a comprehensive plan for the ongoing medical, rehabilitative, and supportive care needs of an individual with a spinal cord injury throughout their life.
Following spinal surgery and initial rehabilitation in hospital, a person with a spinal cord injured may present with a wide array of impairments ranging from sensations of numbness, tingling, limited movement of the arms and legs, sexual dysfunction and dysfunction of the bladder and bowel.
The associated complications like anxiety, depression, PTSD and adjustment disorder are also very common among those suffering from spinal cord injury. Depending upon the site of injury, the patient can also present with respiratory, or breathing difficulties, and may have difficulties in stabilising the temperature of their body.
Neurorehabilitation following a spinal injury is led by an interdisciplinary team of experts which include consultants, physical therapists, occupational therapists and psychotherapists.
The aim of spinal cord injury rehabilitation is aimed at increasing a person’s independence, relearning and reacquiring skills and making adjustments to compensate for the change in functional ability.
Selecting a medical expert witness for spinal cord injury cases is a crucial step in building a strong legal case. A medical expert witness can provide valuable insights and opinions based on their expertise and experience, which can help support the legal arguments and increase the chances of a successful outcome in a spinal cord injury.
Look for an expert witness who has specialised catastrophic injury knowledge and experience in spinal cord injuries. They should have a background in relevant medical specialties such as neurology, neurosurgery, musculoskeletal injuries, orthopaedics, or rehabilitation medicine. The expert witness should have a significant amount of experience in diagnosing and treating spinal cord injuries.
The spinal injuries specialists at NRC Medical Experts assess, evaluate and produce high-quality court reports and expert witness testimony to support legal teams to build the best case for your client.
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To instruct us or learn more about appointing an expert witness for cases involving spinal injuries, brain injuries, neurological disorders and multiple trauma cases, request a call back or contact us directly.