Spinal Cord Injury Care Improving in Workers Compensation Cases
If you have received a spinal cord injury on the job, there is good news for you. The attorneys at Cantrell Green, a prominent Orange County law firm specializing in workers compensation, watch with interest the various improvements in medical care that is available through the workers compensation system. As such, they have noted that care protocols for spinal cord injuries have vastly improved in recent years. In fact, the science of spinal cord and nervous system recovery is progressing at a rapid rate in terms of both discovery and treatment trials.
This means that patients have a much better chance not only of survival, but recovery to a higher level in terms of quality of life. In fact, many spinal cord patients are able to return to work more quickly, and with fewer restrictions than in the past.
Workers Compensation and Spinal Cord Injuries
There is no central registry of spinal cord injuries within the workers compensation system, so it is not possible to evaluate how the severity or number of SCI injuries has changed. The national average, however, has seen a 27% decrease between 1993 and 2012 among working-age men, which is attributed to increased driver safety standards. Currently, despite definitive data, estimates show that about 10% of all spinal cord injuries fall within the workers compensation system across the country.
The Evolution of Spinal Cord Injury Treatment in Workers Compensation Cases
Up until shortly after World War II, the general prognosis for someone with a spinal cord injury was death. Since the 1970s, steady improvements have been made thanks to the development of a national network of specialist hospitals coupled with an interdisciplinary care approach.
Further, in the 1990s, the use of backboards to stabilize the spine at the site of the injury, improved emergency response and early intervention have worked together to improve outcomes for SCI patients, and increasing mobility even among the more severely injured patients.
On top of this, there has been significant improvement in the support of spinal cord injury patients thanks to the increased usage of nurse case managers, vocational rehabilitation specialists, and medical directors and their concerted focused on maximum patient recovery.
Treatment protocols and best practice standards for serious injuries have markedly improved in the past few decades as well. Twenty-five years ago, an SCI patient would have spent roughly twice the number of days as an inpatient than that same patient would spend today. In 1990, the median acute care hospital stay for an SCI patient was 15, as opposed to an average of 11 days in 2016. Inpatient rehabilitation timeframes decreased from 58 to 35.
The Future of Spinal Cord Injury Treatment
There is no question that a major factor in the reduction of nerve damage in SCI cases involves immediate care techniques. But there are some exciting advances on the horizon, currently in the research and development stages. While doctors are not offering a cure, many are excited about some significant advances that could soon provide patients with a far greater quality of life. For instance, several nerve regeneration trials, including those employing the use of cellular therapy, are showing promise. Other researchers are focused on using thought control systems that can bypass the spinal cord to send messages directly to limbs. And the use of adaptive technology such as exoskeletons holds promise as well.
Spinal Cord Injury Workers Compensation Attorney
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury while on the job, it is important for you to file a workers compensation claim right away. Timely filing of your claim will ensure that your expensive medical bills including bills for x-rays, MRIs, therapy, surgery, and hospital bills will be covered through the workers compensation system. Not only are your medical expenses covered, but you will also receive disability payments which constitute a percentage of what you would normally have earned had you not been injured.
Our attorneys at Cantrell Green are available to assist you. We will speak with your doctors to establish how your injury has affected your ability to work and will do everything possible to get you the benefits and compensation to which you are entitled. If you’re hurt on the job, give our workers’ compensation attorneys a call to learn more about the rights you have under workers’ compensation law. Our first consultation is always free.
Call our Workers Compensation Attorneys for a FREE CONSULTATION: 800-964-8047