Preparing for life after a spinal cord injury

Written on behalf of Abramson Smith Waldsmith LLP

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Damage to the spinal cord is permanent. This is your new reality if your loved one’s recent involvement in an accident resulted in paralysis from a spinal cord injury. The shock of the diagnosis may still be protecting you from an emotional breakdown, or you may be well past that phase of grief and ready to move forward.

Moving forward requires having as much reliable information as you can find about what you can expect from your loved one’s injury and recovery. You certainly want the best care for your family member, and this may mean psychological and vocational as well as medical.

Immediately after the accident

A spinal cord injury is unlike any other because it affects so many parts of the body. If emergency responders to the accident suspected your loved one had an injured back, they likely took immediate steps to immobilize the spine to prevent further damage.

Once in the hospital your loved one underwent extensive tests to locate the injury and confirm its severity. Then your loved one went to intensive care for the beginning of many visits with medical specialists including neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons.

Facing the future

The kinds of treatment and care your loved one needs will change throughout his or her life, especially if the paralysis is extensive. There is no easy way to prepare for the expenses you may face, including:

  • Medical care such as doctor bills, additional surgeries and hospital stays
  • Medication, including those to prevent infection and pneumonia as well as pain management
  • Treatment for collateral issues like muscle spasms, bed sores, respiratory complications and blot clots
  • Equipment, including a special bed, wheelchair, electronic aids or home renovations
  • Counseling, rehabilitation and vocational training

Of course, you and your loved one may discuss the option of seeking out experimental treatment. The future is looking bright for victims of spinal cord injuries, and new technologies continue to provide hope for those struggling after a life-changing accident. Even with a severe injury, there is every possibility that your loved one can live a rich and full life.

However, medical care is expensive, and this may be a high concern of yours. Reaching out to a skilled California attorney may be a smart move. With legal assistance, your loved one may be able to obtain compensation for the injuries that resulted from someone else’s negligence or recklessness.

Jeffrey R. Smith

Jeffrey R. Smith

Managing Partner

Robert B. Waldsmith

Robert J. Waldsmith

Partner, 1999

William B. Smith

William B. Smith

Partner, 1978

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Claims related to sports and recreation injuries can be complicated. These cases often include issues involving waivers and the “assumption of risk” defense.


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When you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI), life changes dramatically. Even mild TBIs can lead to years of recovery and rehabilitation.


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