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Spinal Cord Injury

I May Have a Spinal Cord or Back Injury, Do Need an Attorney?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) impairs your brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body. An injury can cause paralysis, loss of sensation, chronic pain, and other serious medical problems.

Man with Pain in the neck

Most SCIs occur between age 16 and 30, leaving many patients with lingering effects for decades after their injury. A spinal cord injury survivor with high tetraplegia faces an average annual expense of $1.1 million in just their first year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC).

You can receive financial compensation for someone else’s negligence in an accident. The compensation you receive can help cover the costs of recovery and allow you to move forward with your life despite your injuries.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves and cells in the spinal column that communicates signals from your brain to the rest of the body. Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can occur from direct injuries to the spinal cord itself or from damage to the bones and tissue surrounding it (vertebrae). 

Depending on how much damage occurs, the body’s sensation, movement, strength, and functions below the injured site can change temporarily or permanently. When spinal cord injuries are minor or do not result in cell death, almost complete recovery is possible, yet more severe spinal cord injuries can cause paralysis. 

Accidents involving motor vehicles and catastrophic falls are the leading causes of spinal cord injury in the United States. About 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur each year, affecting between 249,000 and 363,000 American adults. 

The two classes of spinal cord injury include:

  • An Incomplete injury – Your spinal cord still transmits signals to and from the brain
  • A complete injury – No nerve communication and no motor activity below the wound site

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

Injuries to the spine affect different body parts, depending on their location. These could be:

Cervical Injuries (Top)

Injuries to the cervical spine can cause quadriplegia, meaning that the arms and legs paralyze or weaken. It may affect all areas of the body at or below the level of injury. A cervical injury can cause numbness, pain, breathing problems, urinary and bowel dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction.

Thoracic Injuries (Middle) 

Because of the rib cage, thoracic injuries are less likely to occur. Paraplegia (paralysis of the legs) and numbness are symptoms of thoracic spinal injuries. In such cases, the hands and arms are usually unaffected.

Lumbar Injuries (Lower Middle)

It is possible to suffer a paraplegic injury from a lumbar injury. The condition may also lead to numbness, bowel, bladder, and sexual dysfunction. 

Sacral Injuries (Bottom)

Sexual dysfunction and bowel and bladder dysfunction are the most common symptoms associated with sacral injuries. These types of damages can cause hip and leg weakness or paralysis. 

Other Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries

Unlike the human brain, the spine cannot regenerate cells. Because of this, it is essential to remember that some symptoms of a spinal cord injury may show up instantly, while others may appear gradually. Besides lack of movement and feeling, and chronic pain, spinal cord injuries may cause the following medical issues:

  • Low blood flow and heart rate
  • Blood clots
  • Respiratory difficulties
  • Organs lose part of their function
  • Wounds and sores on the skin
  • Muscle tissue loss
  • Loss of bone density
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Inability to control bladder and bowel movements
  • Problems with swallowing or speaking
  • Behavior and mood changes

The above is not a complete list of injuries that may result from spinal cord injuries. To help you understand what issues you may face now and in the future, we work with skilled medical professionals to understand your injury and the prognosis.

Do I Have a Time Limit for Filing a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?

Yes! If you have suffered spinal injuries, you will have a limited time to sue the allegedly negligent person and their insurance company. There is a two-year statute of limitations in California for personal injury claims. If you don’t file within that time frame, you lose the opportunity to recover any financial compensation for the losses. 

Causes of a Serious Back Injury

Our team at Power Trial Lawyers PTL will investigate your case to figure out what happened. It is our goal to determine what happened to you. A spine injury may result from negligence. They are often traumatic and may cause debilitating conditions for years to come. Data on The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center website shows the following causes are most common:

  • Vehicular accidents: 39.3%
  • Falls: 31.8%
  • Victims of violence: 13.5%
  • Sports: 8%
  • Surgical and medical: 4.3%
  • Other: 3.1%

Based on our work with spinal cord injury survivors and their families, we know that spinal cord injuries may also result from:

  • Workplace Injuries
  • Shallow Water Diving
  • Crushing Injuries
  • Chiropractic Malpractice
  • Infections That Go Undetected
  • Epidural Use
  • Genetic Malformation
  • Physical Work

Whether you suffer because of the reckless actions of another or your injury occurs for a different reason, you have a right to speak out if you develop a spinal cord injury. A Power Trial Lawyers PTL attorney can evaluate what happened, the validity of your claim, and advise you on the best course of action for receiving compensation for your injury.

What are the Lifetime Costs of Paralysis?

A patient with complete paralysis may face healthcare and living expenses in the millions of dollars. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury, during the first year following a spinal cord injury, a patient with high quadriplegia – meaning little movement below the neck – could incur an average of $1,102,403 in costs. Statistical Center (NSCISC). Care costs could top millions of dollars if paralysis happens at age 25.

This estimate does not account for:

  • The subsequent year’s medical bills and medical expenses (which can range from $44,000 to $200,000)
  • Changing vehicles and homes for accessibility
  • Travel expenses to see your spinal cord injury specialists
  • Loss of income if a victim cannot work because of a disability
  • Income loss of a family member or loved one who takes on the role of caregiver or a professional caregiver
  • A decline in quality of life

A seven-figure legal settlement may barely cover the lifetime care needs when you factor in all the expenses associated with paralysis. An investigation into a spinal cord injury case is necessary to determine the case’s worth. Often, these back injuries have significant long-term consequences for the victim, making it challenging to decide on the overall value of these cases. A spine injury often results in higher compensation because of the long-term nature of the injury.

What is the Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries?

Are you in pain from a spinal cord injury because of a motor vehicle accident, a fall, or some other type of accident? At Power Trial Lawyers, we understand the challenges you face – now and perhaps for the rest of your life, and we’re here to help you through it all. Because of our experience representing individuals with severe injuries, we understand the potentially life-altering consequences of a spinal cord injury.

Among other damages, our attorneys frequently seek compensation for:

  • Medical costs–medication and equipment
  • Income lost
  • Inevitable losses
  • Physical suffering and pain
  • Mental suffering
  • Loss of companionship
  • Assistive care in the home
  • Modifications to the home
  • Modifications to vehicles
  • Occupational training–If you suffer a spinal cord injury, you might have to change careers
  • Psychiatric counseling

As experienced spinal cord injury attorneys, we know the medical and rehabilitation experts in the area and can find qualified experts. Our spinal cord injury experts engage life care planners and economists to help us calculate the costs and needs of accident-related care and services. 

They include:

  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physicians
  • Pain specialists
  • Psychologists

During our process, we strive to get to know every client personally, including their unique needs, after such a traumatic accident. Having different disabilities and impairments affects people differently. To effectively present a case and receive the maximum value for our clients, our attorneys meticulously examine how spinal cord injuries affect you in every way.

The Power Trial Lawyers PTL Understands Your Spinal Cord Injury Damages

After sustaining a catastrophic spinal cord injury, you may not know how to get help. The gravity of spinal cord injury cases makes it too risky to hire a law firm that doesn’t have the experience to handle your case. Our attorneys at Power Trial Lawyers PTL are confident that we can successfully represent clients with devastating injuries and costly damages. 

Our team of spinal cord injury attorneys will examine your case with care and help you determine who is liable for your losses. Based on decades of experience, available resources, and a reputation for success, we can help you if you have suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury or have a loved one who has. Please get in touch with us immediately.

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