Spinal cord injury lawyer
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Statistics indicate that every year between 12,000 to 15,000 cases related to serious spinal cord injuries are reported in the United States. Out of this, 10,000 are paralyzed permanently whereas a significant number of other patients die.
Most spinal cord injury incidents involve young and healthy people. Males between ages 15 and 35 account for the highest number of victims.
What causes these injuries? The leading causes of spinal cord injuries are car accidents, a surgical error, or a fall. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center (NSCISC) reported that motor vehicle accidents account for 36.5% of all new spinal cord injuries.
How Law Firms Categorize Spinal Cord Injuries
If you happen to hire a vertebrae injury lawyer, you will notice that they classify spinal cord injuries into level and type. The level implies the specific area of the spine that was affected whereas the type of injury refers to the physical limitations caused by the injury.
The spinal cord is one of the most important parts in the body. It serves as a vital connection between the brain and central nervous system and is responsible for bladder control. When the vertebrae are damaged, as a protective ring surrounding the spinal cord, a lot of internal and external damages can occur to your body.
If your spine was twisted or thrown out of place, doctors will provide emergency care to determine its damaging impact as a vital part of your skeletal structure. The vertebrae and nerves are numbered and identified based on where it is in the spinal cord. Each region performs a certain function for the body.
Break Down Of Vertebrae Regions
The vertebrae of the spine close to the brain have a lot of cervical vertebrae (C1-C7). When these vertebrae get damaged, the victim is at risk of suffering from the most serious side effects associated with spinal cord injuries. The other set of vertebrae are Low cervical nerves (C1-C8). Just like the high cervical nerves, any form of injury to these vertebrae poses life-threatening side-effects. If impacted in this region, an injured person can lose functions in the arms, leg, and chest. It will change breathing rates, bladder, and bowel movements.
On the other hand, the middle of the spine has Thoracic Vertebrae (T1-T12). This is the area where the upper part of one’s rib meets the spine. It controls your stability, and really impacts your legs and chest. Damage to this area can similarly have far-reaching side effects on the injured person. Same as cervical vertebrae, non-functioning thoracic vertebrae can affect breathing, bladder, and bowel movements.
Just below the low cervical nerves, we have the Lumbar Nerves (L1-L5). A person whose Lumbar nerves have been damaged is likely to experience compromised strength in the hips and legs as well as the ability to do things such as lifting, bending, and turning. Bladder and bowel movements are also impacted if this section were injured.
The lowest point of your spine contains the Sacral Nerves (S1-S5). There are five sacral nerves and five sacral vertebrae. If the client has had a spinal injury affecting this area, then there is no doubt that he or she will have serious long-term impact. This section affects the legs and hips area. There is minimal possibility of permanent paralysis.
The more damages that are done to the spinal cord, the more your body will have severe wounds. Your lawyer will demand justice to alleviate some of the worries you may have in addition to healing. It may require frequent medical care, follow-up appointments and therapy to recover. As a vital facilitator between your brain and body (response, actions), having an injured section means messages sent from the brain are unable to flow successfully. If the communication is lost, it will be difficult to regain sense, or strength of certain limbs in a similar process. A common example is paralysis of one’s arms or legs. The medical term is tetraplegia – in a lumbar nerve injury, signaled communication stops from the lower back, which makes it harder to walk, bend, and function as usual.
Types of spinal injuries
Spinal injuries are usually categorized as either complete or incomplete. A good vertebrae injury lawyer i will be able to explain to you some of the details about the same.
When a person suffers from a complete spinal injury, it simply means that the whole width of the spine in that specific area is entirely affected. Such an injury leaves the victim without muscle control or sensation under the damaged area of the spine.
On the other hand, an incomplete spinal cord injury is one that does not affect the whole width of the spine. This means that there will still be parts around the damaged areas that will remain as they were hence able to function normally.
A victim with an incomplete spinal cord injury will still be able to feel and move below the injured part but may still face serious limitations. Generally speaking, the side effects of an incomplete spinal cord injury will differ from one person to another.
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment, Rehab, and Improvement
It will not be easy to find a backbone injury attorney who hasn’t already worked with clients of this nature. Such lawyers are experienced in various aspects of spinal cord injuries and therefore able to walk the client through the treatment and recovery journey.
Do you know how to recognize a spinal cord injury if you or a loved one were struck and knocked down due the negligence of another, whether it was by car, bike, bus, or domestic pet?
Spinal cord injuries are not assessed like a normal wound. The medical term to categorize the level of impact is referred to as “completeness,” as follows:
An injury is ranked as complete if a patient cannot feel or control body movement below the spinal cord injury.
Injuries are ranked as incomplete if a patient has minor feelings surrounding the impacted area.
Of course, both vary depending on how the accident happened, and various injuries you may have also suffered in addition to fractures of the spinal cord. As mentioned previously there are two kinds of paralysis. Tetraplegia, or quadriplegia is when your arms, hands, legs, and pelvic region are affected by the injury. Paraplegia is more so used to describe a minor paralysis of just the legs and pelvic region. As a bystander, or victim you will not be able to determine this on your own – it requires specific diagnostic tests and professional judgment. However, there are warning signs:
- Loss of movement
- Altered sensations
- No bowel or bladder control
- Impacted reflex response
- Stinging senses from damages nerves
- Inability to breathe
- Pressure near lungs/chest
In most cases, corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone and dexamethasone are used to prevent any swelling that can cause damage to the spinal cord. Keep in mind that treatment depends on severity. Rehabilitation in therapeutic treatments will prompt for better results over time.
There are serious spinal cord injuries that can only be treated through surgery especially those involving C1-C8 nerves. A surgery called decompression laminectomy is used to remove any tissues or fluids pressing the patient’s spinal cord.
Doctors often prescribe this old-fashioned method to allow the affected area of the spine enough time to heal on its own.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
When one thinks of spinal cord injuries, he or she might assume it was a motor vehicle accident. While it is the leading cause of accidents, it is not the only cause of them per year. In the U.S., severe blows to the spine can also be an outcome of:
- Falls – those that are of an elderly age are prone to frequent falls. The spinal cord, or surrounding bones may be weaker – resulting in sizable damages.
- Violence – from hand-to-hand combat, to guns, knives and other forms of fighting, a spinal cord injury can occur. More so when weapons play a role in the injury.
- Sports – any athletic activity that requires force, like playing professional football – or simply diving in water can account for a small percentage of spinal cord injury cases.
- Alcohol – drinking can lead to taking actions that result in spinal cord injuries.
- Disease – a compromised body from cancers, arthritis or inflammatory disorders put those at risk of forthcoming injuries. Arthritis is especially hostile because it affects bones and joints.
Spinal Cord Injury Case Strategy
The goal of any spinal cord injury attorney will be to ensure that the victim together with their family gets the maximum recovery for the accident and injury. It is also upon the personal injury attorney to fully investigate on behalf of the client who has to face a spinal cord injury.
As you build your case you are going to need evidence to determine how spinal injuries are caused by negligence. If you were, for example, pushed down the stairs, or fell on a broken staircase you must prove the defendant is responsible for fault. Proving that the property owner, for instance, was aware of unsafe conditions in the staircase can be complicated during a spinal cord injury case.
In California, owners and occupants have a duty to maintain their property and reliable conditions to warn customers or visitors of possible hazards. It is referred to as the “duty of care.” This legal obligation dictates owners must engage with reasonable care to avoid others from getting hurt. As the plaintiff, you have to also prove that the spinal cord injury did not happen at your own hand. If you trip, or fall down the stairs, the defendant will raise an assumption of the risk, to argue that your lack of attention caused you to get hurt.
Several questions may arise, as to which party should be sued after your spinal injury accident. As there is a statute of limitations limiting how long you can pursue legal action against the defendant, working with a lawyer can accelerate the process. Mostly all cases, excluding murder have a time frame i which your case must be one. For personal injury cases the statute of limitations is two years.
The ultimate goal is to reach maximum compensation for your spinal cord injury case. The monetary settlement should reflect the damages caused, such as medical bills, time off work, long-term recovery and overall pain and suffering. The best thing is to ensure that you have a qualified and experienced spinal cord injury attorney who will be able to conduct your case thoroughly, and timely.
When your statute of limitations runs out, you will be unable to pursue your claim against the defendant. We understand that it may be difficult to balance your life at home, while recovering from a backbone injury, while working on your legal case. Some people make the mistake of settling on any lawyer who might not even be conversant with personal injury law. It is only a good and trustworthy personal injury attorney that will be able to help you to get justice. At Accident Lawyers Firm, we will guide you through the complicated process.