When I was a teenager in the 1970s, a young man down the street was the victim of a drunk driver. The crash severed his spinal cord and paralyzed him from the waist down. He was a lovely man and what happened broke all of our hearts because back then, a severed spinal cord was permanent. Up until recently, it was an article of faith that car wreck spinal cord injury victims would remain paralyzed and spinal cord damage was irreversible.
THERE IS HOPE FOR SPINAL CORD INJURIES
That devastating fate is no longer certain. Recently, doctors have been implanting electrodes into the spines of paraplegic and quadriplegic victims. Read Stimulating Spinal Cord Helps Paralysed People to Walk Again article at Nature. The result: of the three that have received the implanted spinal electrode, they are moving again and not just a little. One paraplegic is now walking up to a mile with a rolling walker. The electrode will not work on everyone, but doctors are in the process of starting a research study involving 50 to 100 more spinal cord injury victims to learn who is best suited for this incredible new advancement.
The obvious question lawyers like Dennis and King must ask is how will this medical advancement affect our spinal cord injured clients? That depends.
THE TECHNOLOGY IS NEW AND NOT YET WIDESPREAD
First, the technology is so new and only minimally proven that it will have no effect on recent cases. But as this technology becomes more accepted and frequent, it will have an impact. Remember, part of the value of any catastrophic spinal injury is not just the past medical bills, but the future medical care as well. This technology as become more widespread, will be expensive.
PEOPLE WITH SPINAL CORD INJURIES REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT CARE
People with catastrophic spinal cord injuries require significant care— both medical and personal care. The more a spinal cord injured victim can do for themselves, the less medical, vocational and personal care they will need. This technology could also limit the wage loss that tends to go with spinal cord injury. All of these factors will limit the size of damage money awarded based upon these factors. But what a great trade-off! We believe its always better when our clients get better, even if the case value (and thus, our fee) goes down.
At the same time, implantation with spinal electrodes will, at first at least, prove to be very expensive. This will increase the size of awards for present medical expenses.
Here at Dennis and King, we don’t just try to bring money to our Tennessee and Georgia accident victims—we try to bring hope as well. If you or a loved one was involved in a Tennessee or Georgia accident that caused a spinal cord injury, give us a call at(423)892-5533 or fill out the contact form on this website. We can help—even if you don’t hire us.