The Extent Of Your Virginia Spinal Cord Injury May Affect Your Settlement

If you’re considering a spinal cord injury lawsuit in DC, you should be aware that there is a wide range of classifications of spinal injury. Injuries may range from partial paralysis to total loss of mobility, requiring many different levels of care. 

Understanding the Extent of Your Spinal Cord Injury

The extent of your back injury may be taken into account when the court awards damages. This can be done using the Functional Independence Measure (FIM), which many doctors use to determine a patient’s physical capabilities and predict the patient’s future lifestyle.

Patients are rated from 1 to 7 on the FIM scale: 1 indicates a total reliance on a personal caregiver to perform an action; 7 means the patient can perform the task completely independently; the numbers in between represent a range of capabilities.

FIM Categories

The FIM scale measures a patient’s physical responses across 6 different categories:

  • Basic mobility includes standing, sitting, getting out of bed, and walking. 
  • Locomotion assesses how independently a patient can move around in public. 
  • Self-care includes tasks such as getting dressed, bathing, and preparing meals.
  • Continence is the ability to control bladder and bowel movement. 
  • Communication assesses the ability to use speech and be understood vocally.
  • Social cognition includes identifying, processing, and responding to social cues.

A patient’s number rating on the FIM scale could affect the amount he is awarded, since a low number often indicates a need for automated or personal assistance. For example, a person who scores 2 on communication scale but 5 on the self-care scale may be able to dress himself without assistance, but may require a speaking device in order to communicate effectively.

Speak With a Fairfax Spinal Cord Injury Today

If you have suffered a paralysis accident in Virginia, our Fairfax spinal cord injury attorneys can get you the compensation you deserve. Call Shevlin Smith today at (703) 721-4233 for your free consultation.


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