Pittsburgh Spine Injury Lawyers

Pittsburgh Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Strong advocacy when accidents cause spinal cord damage and other catastrophic injuries


Injuries to your spinal cord change your life in an instant. Some spinal cord injuries cause paralysis. Many spinal cord injury victims live with constant pain and an inability to work or do daily tasks, and many require immediate surgery and long-term rehabilitative care. Most patients with spinal cord injuries never have a life comparable to their life before the accident. The people and companies that caused your spinal cord damage deserve to be held accountable for your medical bills, living expenses, and pain and suffering.

At Carmody and Ging, Injury & Accident Lawyers, we understand how traumatic spinal cord injuries are. We work with neurosurgeons, neurologists, pain management doctors, and many other healthcare providers, including your medical team and our network of doctors. Our lawyers have been fighting for personal injury victims for a combined 60 years. We are respected by former clients, insurance companies, and defense lawyers for our ability to obtain just settlements and verdicts. Call us now to discuss your spine injury claim.

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What is a spinal cord injury?

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs from the base of the brain through the spinal candle and ends near the L1 (first lumbar) vertebra. The spinal cord is part of your nervous system that allows the brain and body to communicate. The nervous system has three basic functions:

  • Motor function (muscle movement)
  • Sensory function (your ability to touch and feel)
  • Autonomic function (the reflex actions that your brain controls, such as your blood pressure)

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage to the spinal cord or the spinal nerve roots within the spinal canal. An SCI can cause “temporary or permanent loss of movement and/or feeling.” The level of an SCI is “the lowest point on your body where you have normal muscle movement and feeling after an SCI.”

SCIs are classified as complete or incomplete:

  • Complete. The SCI accident victim loses all sensory feeling and motor function below the spinal cord injury.
  • Incomplete. The SCI accident victim has some sensory or motor function below the spinal cord injury.

A severe SCI can result in paralysis – the inability to control muscle movement (and other functions). Tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia) is paralysis generally caused by a cervical injury that affects your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs. Paraplegia is paralysis that is generally due to a thoracic, lumbar, or sacral injury that affects all or part of the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.

What are the symptoms of a spinal cord injury?

Some of the signs and symptoms of an SCI are:

  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Exaggerated reflexes
  • Loss of (or changes in) sensation – including touch and feeling heat or cold
  • Pain or stinging sensations due to nerve fiber damage
  • Lung difficulties including difficulty breathing
  • Changes in sexual functioning

Emergency signs and symptoms include:

  • “Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head, or back”
  • “Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body”
  • Loss of sensation in the patient’s fingers, toes, hands, or feet
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Breathing difficulties
  • “An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back”

The tests used to diagnose an SCI include X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. A neurological examination is performed after the swelling subsides.

What are the possible complications of a spinal cord injury?

Complications of SCIs, according to the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Difficulty regulating your bowels
  • Pressure sores
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Swelling of your extremities
  • An increased risk of blood clots
  • Difficulty breathing and coughing
  • An increased risk of pneumonia and lung disorders
  • A higher risk of broken bones and osteoporosis
  • “Uncontrolled tightening or motion in the muscles (spasticity) or soft and limp muscles lacking muscle tone (flaccidity)”
  • A lack of fitness and mobility
  • Heart disease
  • Diabetes

Medications can help with some of these complications.

How do doctors treat spinal cord injuries?

According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), a national center operated by the American Institutes for Research, the relationship between your brain and body is different after a spinal cord injury. Individuals often cannot perform the same tasks and functions as they did before the Pittsburgh accident that caused the injury.

According to the Mayo Clinic, after the SCI patient is carefully transferred to the nearest emergency room, the ER staff works to immobilize their spine. The initial healthcare treatment includes helping the patient breathe, stay immobilized, and avoid additional complications. Surgery may be necessary to treat any bone, vertebrae, or disk damage and to keep the spine stable.

The rehabilitation process helps SCI victims start their lives again. The rehab team works to restore functional abilities and quality of life. A rehab team includes:

  • Physiatrists. These doctors lead the rehabilitation effort.
  • Psychologists. These doctors help Pittsburgh spinal cord injury victims adjust to the physical and emotional difficulties of living with an SCI.
  • Rehabilitation nurses. Nurses help patients manage issues like bladder and bowel care and educate SCI victims about a range of healthcare issues.
  • Physical therapists. These healthcare providers help spinal cord injury victims regain their strength and stamina, usually through a series of exercises.
  • Occupational therapists. These healthcare providers help patients learn or relearn how to do daily physical tasks like eating, walking, sleeping, doing chores, working with a computer, and other tasks.
  • Recreational therapists. These people help patients maintain a physical, social, emotional, social, and spiritual life.
  • Speech therapists. These healthcare providers help patients communicate and with swallowing difficulties.
  • Social workers. These people help you and your family have the resources and information you need – and help SCI victims transition from an in-patient setting to community living and home living.

Some patients may also work with neuropsychologists and dieticians. New rehabilitative technology includes:

  • Modern wheelchairs that are lighter and easier to use. Some wheelchairs can help patients reach higher levels, climb stairs, and travel over rough ground.
  • Voice recognition software and other computer technology.
  • Electrical stimulation devices that “use electrical stimulators to control arm and leg muscles to allow people with spinal cord injuries to stand, walk, reach and grip.”

The Mayo Clinic states that most of the recovery occurs in the first six months, though some patients benefit from rehabilitation during the first two years.

Who is responsible for my Pittsburgh spinal cord injury?

At Carmody and Ging, our Pittsburgh spinal cord injury lawyers determine why accidents cause injuries and who is responsible. Many different types of accidents can cause the twisting, force, and pressure that cause spinal cord injuries. We represent adults and children who suffer an SCI due to:

We also represent victims who suffer a spinal cord injury due to acts of violence.

Bicycle Accidents
Personal Injury

Do you have a spinal cord injury lawyer near me?

Our office is located at 801 Vinial Street in Pittsburgh. We’re on the 3rd floor of the Deutschtown Center building. We’re right across the street from Penn Brewery, and there’s plenty of parking onsite. You can take the bus to Troy Hill Road; we’re just around the corner. If you’re too injured to travel, we can arrange a video conference or come to your home or a healthcare facility.

We understand how scary a spinal cord injury is. Rest assured that at Carmody and Ging, our Pittsburgh spinal cord injury lawyers have the experience and resources to hold responsible defendants accountable and to fully understand how your SCI has changed your life.

Contact our Pittsburgh spine injury attorneys now


Do you have a moderate or severe spinal cord injury? Does a loved one have paralysis due to an SCI? Carmody and Ging is here to help. Our local lawyers understand the unique challenges involved in representing clients who are in catastrophic accidents. We want you to be able to live your best life possible. To schedule a free consultation with a seasoned Pittsburgh spinal cord injury lawyer, please call 412.281.2929 or fill out our contact form. We fight for injury victims in Allegheny County and throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Carmody and Ging - Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyers