Stephen Hasner | Car Accidents | March 19, 2019
Of all of the local stories we’ve read over the past year, few touched our hearts as much as hearing about a program at the Habersham YMCA that helps Savannah residents with spinal cord injuries. Our experience representing Savannah-area clients with disabling spinal cord injuries has taught us how physically, emotionally, and financially traumatic it is to face day-to-day life after a life-changing accident.
Fortunately, the Habersham YMCA program is one of many resources Savannah residents contending with spinal cord injuries can tap into for help with their everyday needs. In this blog post, we review some of the services, programs, and providers around Chatham County working to allow spinal cord injury victims adapt and thrive.
Help Getting Around
For many victims of spinal cord injury, impaired mobility poses an immediate and pressing problem. Spinal cord injuries frequently result in partial or total paralysis. People with spinal cord injuries often need assistance moving any distance. Fortunately, in Savannah and around Georgia, programs have grown up to help them get around.
Over shorter distances, spinal cord injury victims often resort to assistive technology—most commonly, wheelchairs—to help them move from place to place. In Georgia, the Disability Resource Center and the Tools for Life Program at Georgia Tech are two initiatives that help Georgians facing life with a spinal cord injury transition to using assistive technology. Both offer assistance in all aspects of choosing, adapting to, and affording assistive devices, especially wheelchairs.
When it comes to traveling long distances, people living with a spinal cord injury have options in and around Savannah. Chatham Area Transit offers public transportation services on city buses and via special on-call paratransit vehicles for eligible riders. Passengers in wheelchairs also have several taxi services to choose from in the Savannah area.
Of course, many people living with a spinal cord injury want to drive themselves. Assistive devices and adapted driving technology make that a reality, as explained in this helpful informational article from the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. For help learning the ins and outs of adapted driving, Georgians may want to seek the help of a driver rehabilitation specialist.
Help Getting Back to Work
A spinal cord injury can affect your ability to earn a living, but it doesn’t need to stop you from doing so. In many cases, victims of spinal cord injury can return to their previous jobs with relatively moderate adaptive needs. But, even when it’s not possible to return to the same job you had in the past, help is available to get you back into the workforce. The Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, which has an office at the Oglethorpe Mall, exists “to help people with disabilities to become fully productive members of society by achieving independence and meaningful employment.” Its services include vocational assessment, guidance, training, and job placement. In addition, here is a list of vocational rehabilitation services from private, non-profit Statewide Independent Living Council of Georgia.
Help Getting Active
For many, an especially difficult facet of facing life after a spinal cord injury is the loss of athletic and recreational activities you enjoyed before your injury. While many recreational and athletic pursuits may now be difficult, there are new options, too. For instance, adaptive sports continue to gain in popularity. Georgia-based BlazeSports offers a wide range of resources and opportunities for aspiring adaptive athletes, including a popular wheelchair tennis program in partnership with the Savannah Area Tennis Association. If athletics aren’t your thing, not to worry. Many popular attractions in and around Savannah are also wheelchair-friendly, making them a handy recreation option for people living with spinal cord injury.
Help With Finances
Living with spinal cord injury costs a lot of money. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the first year of care for a spinal cord injury can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, at least. Over a lifetime, spinal cord injury can add millions in extra costs in a person’s life. Insurance may cover some of those costs, but it’s rare it will cover all of them, leaving victims of spinal cord injury in need of financial assistance.
The Georgia Brain and Spinal Injury Trust Fund Commission is a state-run commission that funnels assistance to needy Georgians with spinal and brain injuries. Unfortunately, the Commission’s resources are limited only to the neediest cases. Its assistance is only available to those who have exhausted all other financial avenues. It is not a primary source of help, in other words, but rather is a last resort.
Many spinal cord injuries result from the negligent or wrongful actions of someone other than the injury victim. When that is the case, the injured person may have a right under Georgia law to seek damages from the party or parties responsible. With the help of an experienced spinal cord injury attorney, victims can recover the compensation they need to pay the expenses inflicted on them by someone else’s carelessness or recklessness.
Spinal cord injuries result from a wide array of circumstances, from motor vehicle and workplace accidents to instances of medical malpractice. Each of these injury-causing scenarios poses its own complex legal and factual challenges for someone seeking to recover compensation from an insurance company or liable party. To ensure you receive the maximum damages available under the law, it is important to have an attorney on your side who understands the medical, emotional, legal, and financial challenges of living with a spinal cord injury.
At Hasner Law, we have counseled Savannah-area residents facing the new reality of spinal cord injury. Frequently, clients come to us feeling overwhelmed by the challenging turn their lives have taken. As the inspiring story of the Habersham YMCA program demonstrates, however, life and happiness are still possible after a spinal cord injury. Our lawyers are honored and proud to be able to help spinal cord injury victims not just in the task of taking legal action to recover the compensation they need and deserve, but also in the process of finding resources and support in and around Chatham County that will allow them to continue to live a meaningful life.
Call Hasner Law if You Need Help With a Spinal Cord Injury Case in Savannah
If you or a loved one have sustained a spinal cord injury in the Savannah area, contact the compassionate, skilled attorneys at Hasner Law today at (912) 234-2334 to schedule a free consultation.
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