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Spinal Cord Injuries

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Have you suffered a spinal cord injury in Ottawa?

There are roughly 86,000 Canadians living with a spinal cord injury in Canada. On top of that, there are approximately 4,000 new cases of spinal cord injury occurring each year.*

Accidents can happen to anyone, resulting in catastrophic injuries that can change you and your family’s life forever. If you’ve been the victim of a serious accident, it’s important to know how your personal injury classifies, as it will affect the benefits you’re eligible for and the compensation you can receive. Backed by over 10 years of industry experience, MG Law’s spinal injury lawyers are here to support those impacted by serious spinal cord or catastrophic personal injury. We promise to give each and every one of our clients our undivided attention. This way, our professionals can establish everything necessary to make a claim, so you can move forward.

If you’ve been the victim of a serious spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, it’s important you understand the extend that your life may change. For instance, individuals with a spinal cord injury are re-hospitalized 2.6 times more often than the general population. They also require contact with their doctor or physician 3 times more often and 30 times more hours of home care services.* These injuries can be very stressful, frustrating and painful to recover from, and it’s important your mental health in taken care of alongside your physical health in your road to recovery.

When a serious spinal cord injury happens, you may have to completely relearn how to do what were once simple everyday tasks. Whether it’s getting from point A to point B, feeding yourself, working at your job or walking your dog, it’s not just about recovering from your accident. It’s also about relearning how to function independently and reimagining the life you once saw for yourself.

*Statistics accurate as of October 2012 as sourced from UHM on 15 April 2021

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What is a spinal cord injury?

Many things such as a serious car accident, motorcycle accident, slip and fall or swimming pool accident can cause a spinal cord injury. Depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury, they can be life-changing injuries that result in a significant decline in your quality of life, having an extreme impact on your functions and/or abilities. They can also have a profound psychological and financial impact on not only the victim, but their families as well.

It’s also important to determine whether or not your injury is classified as a catastrophic injury. Individuals who have suffered a catastrophic injury are entitled to more sizeable accident benefits and damages if they pursue catastrophic injury claims. Learn more about what classifies as a catastrophic injury is and how to access compensation here.

A spinal cord injury is caused by damage to your spinal cord that results in temporary or permanent impairment to your spinal cord. Your spinal cord is responsible for your motor, sensory and autonomic functions. Essentially, your spinal cord is a group of nerves that carry instruction from your brain to the body. Your spine is made up of vertebrae that are interlocking bones that protect your spinal cord. Depending on where on your spinal cord the damage has occurred, your injury could result in very serious, permanent loss of function.

Types of spinal cord injury

At birth your spine is made up of 33 vertebrae. However, most adults only have 24, as some of the vertebrae at the top and bottom of your spine have fused together as you age and grow.

Where you sustain injury to your spine will have an impact on how it affects you. For instance, a spinal cord injury closer to your neck can result in full body paralysis or paralysis just below the neck. A spinal cord injury closer to your lower back may only cause paralysis in your legs.

Each region of the spine protects a different grouping of nerves in your body, and the severity or extent of your symptoms will depend on which section of your spine has been injured.

There are two common types of spinal cord injury – complete or incomplete. In the case of a complete spinal cord injury, the victim often loses all ability to move or feel below the place the injury occurred. An incomplete spinal cord injury is when the victim retains some movement and/or function below the place the injury occurred.

Accounting for 52% of spinal cord injuries, paraplegia is the most common type of spinal cord injury. Paraplegia results from injuries to the spinal cord below T12. People suffering from paraplegia experience impairment in their motor or sensory function in the lower half of their body, including the legs, feet and toes. Depending on the individual and their injury, they may also experience impaired mobility in their abdomen.

Quadriplegia refers to paralysis of the entire body from at least the shoulders down, resulting in injury to the cervical section of the spine. People suffering from quadriplegia will experience impairment in their motor or sensory function in their arms and legs.

Besides experiencing a lack of mobility or motor function, other symptoms of quadriplegia can include:

  • Trouble sitting upright
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Incontinence
  • Loss of sexual function
  • Chronic pain
  • Weakened bones, osteoporosis and fractures
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Pressure sores
  • Abnormal muscle tightness
  • Vascular dysfunction
  • Hyperthermia and/or hypothermia
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Full or partial paralysis
  • Issues with walking or moving around independently
  • Loss of control in your bladder and/or bowels
  • Inability to move your limbs
  • Loss of feeling or numbness in your limbs
  • Signs of shock
  • Pain in your back or neck area
  • Pressure or stiffness in your back or neck area
  • An unnatural positioning of your head

Didn’t consult with a spinal injury lawyer at the time of your accident? We can still help.

If you didn’t meet with a spinal injury lawyer when your accident happened, that’s okay. We can still work with you to get you the compensation you deserve. You have up to two years from the time of your accident to pursue legal action and financial compensation.

It’s important to note that if your injury was the result of a slip and fall, the timeline changes. If the fall happened on municipal property, you only have 10 days to provide written notice to the municipality. If the fall happened on private property, you only have 60 days to provide notice.

The two-year limitation period does not begin for a child until they reach the age of 18, but that doesn’t mean you should wait until your child turns 18 to reach out to a spinal injury lawyer. It’s still a good idea to contact a lawyer while all of the details are still fresh, but even if you waited, you may still have a case.

Call us today at 613-730-8460 and get started with your free consultation. This meeting will allow us to get to know you and learn more about your accident, while at the same time giving you a chance to ask any questions you may have for us. You don’t have to face these unknown hurdles alone with MG Law at your side.

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Frequently asked questions

Spinal cord injuries are not something that should be taken lightly. They have profound and lasting impacts on a person’s quality of life and often result in much higher catastrophic injury settlements.

It’s important to meet with a spinal injury lawyer who is experienced at dealing with these claims. Our team at MG Law will fight tirelessly to get you the results that you deserve. We will be there for you every step of the way, to get you the spinal cord injury compensation you need.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a spinal cord injury, it’s important to consult with a spinal injury lawyer as soon as possible, when all of the details are still fresh. We can help walk you through the process of getting police records, hospital records, interviewing witnesses and dealing with your insurance company.

Our team of spinal injury lawyers won’t just help get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, we’ll also connect you with a community rehabilitation team to provide you with assistance and support transitioning from your hospital stay to life back at home.

Your community rehabilitation team will be by your side every step of the way as you’re discharged from the hospital. This ensures you have a safe, accessible place to go home to, you have the proper appointments set up to help you recover, and much more.

If you or someone around you may have sustained a spinal cord injury, it’s crucial that you take the proper steps to help them, without causing further potential harm.

  • Call 911 as soon as you’re able.
  • Do not move the injured person unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • If you must move them to safety, try to keep their head and neck as still as possible.
  • If they are wearing a helmet or equipment, do not try and remove it.
  • Try and keep the person as still as possible, even if they feel alright or want to walk on their own.
  • If the person is not breathing, perform CPR. However, avoid tilting their head back and instead move their jaw forward.

It’s important to remember that injuries can take some time to present themselves. If you’ve been in an accident, it’s important to take these steps regardless of how you feel, as it may take a few days or weeks for the full extent of your injuries to become apparent.

1. Call the police and report your accident

Police reports are a valuable part of any court proceeding, so ensuring that the police have all the information you have available will reflect positively on your case.


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