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Spinal Cord Injury Expert Witnesses

Highly qualified specialists for high-stakes SCI litigation

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord caused by trauma. Depending on the location and nature of the injury, spinal cord injuries can cause partial or complete paralysis as well as other symptoms. A complete spinal cord injury means the spine is totally severed, and the person is unable to move or feel anything below the level of the injury. An incomplete SCI means there is some degree of movement and sensation below the injury, which can vary widely.

Spinal cord injuries are grouped into four categories based on the region of the spine that is injured.

  • Cervical spinal cord injuries: These occur in the neck region. Injuries to the cervical region can result in paralysis of both the arms and legs, also known as tetraplegia or quadriplegia.
  • Thoracic spinal cord injuries: These occur in the middle region of the back and can result in paralysis of the legs and lower trunk.
  • Lumbar spinal cord injuries: These occur in the lower back region and can result in paralysis of the legs but typically do not affect the arms or upper body.
  • Sacral spinal cord injuries: These occur in the region below the lumbar spine and can result in bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction but typically do not result in paralysis of the legs.

Spinal cord injuries are further classified based on the vertebrae; for example, a C7 spinal cord injury is near the bottom of the cervical region.

Spinal cord injury specialists are physicians with additional fellowship training in diagnosing, treating, and managing spinal cord injuries. In the United States, spinal cord specialists must complete a medical degree (MD or DO), a residency program in either neurology or physical medicine and rehabilitation, and a one- to two-year fellowship in spinal cord injury medicine. Board Certification in spinal cord injury medicine is administered by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR).

The value of a spinal cord injury specialist as an expert witness

The leading causes of spinal cord injury in the United States are motor vehicle accidents and catastrophic falls, followed by acts of violence, sports injuries, and medical malpractice. A spinal cord injury specialist can offer their professional opinion on the cause of a spinal cord injury and explain how negligence may have been involved to help attorneys understand what happened and why.

Just as importantly, a spinal cord injury specialist can explain the consequences of a spinal cord injury, the cost of treatment, therapy, and assistive technology to help the plaintiff maximize their independence and quality of life, and the long-term prognosis. Because spinal cord injuries are permanent, the damages are usually significant, and an experienced physician can help quantify those costs.

Start-to-finish medical support for spinal cord injury cases

Personal injury and medical malpractice matters involving spinal cord injuries have very high stakes, and the importance of having the right expert witness cannot be overstated. Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants has been the expert witness service of choice for many of America’s leading injury attorneys for decades.

Our network includes Board-Certified spinal cord injury medicine specialists who are available for both consultation and trial testimony, and we serve as an integral part of your team throughout the process. Contact us today for a free case summary review.

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