These injuries cause pain, require medical attention, and often leave victims disabled. Learning about spinal cord injuries, how they occur, and how to recover compensation are critical steps for the victim to begin the recovery process.
Filing a lawsuit against the parties responsible for these injuries allows clients to pay for medical care, recover their financial security, and return to everyday life as much as possible. Victims deserve dedicated representation that seeks the truth and holds wrongdoers accountable.
How are Spinal Cord Injuries Defined?
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) stated that approximately 450,000 Americans are left to cope with a spinal cord injury, with about 17,000 occurring every year.
These injuries cause a range of medical issues for victims, including trauma to vertebrae, bruising of the spinal column, or severing of the spinal cord. Understanding which injury has occurred and the symptoms is critical for recovery.
Complete Injury of the Spinal Cord
According to the AANS, around 50% of spinal cord injuries are complete, meaning that the victim has paralysis below the location of the injury. While the spinal nerves may not be severed, it may be so badly bruised that it no longer functions properly. Blood flow to the spine may also be compromised.
Incomplete Injury of the Spinal Cord
An incomplete spinal cord injury means the spinal cord was not totally damaged or disrupted and involves loss of function below the injury, but the victim retains some movement or feeling. For example, the victim may lose function in their left leg, but their right leg functions normally.
The AANS notes that most spinal cord injuries do not include transection of the cord. However, there are instances when the nerves of the spine are damaged beyond repair and causes further medical issues such as:
- Spinal fluid leakage
Spinal contusions generally last a few days as feeling returns to the affected regions. Victims experience tingling or jolts long after feeling returns.
Transverse myelitis is a neurological disorder caused by inflammation across both sides of one level, or segment, of the spinal cord. Attacks of inflammation can damage or destroy myelin, the fatty insulating substance that covers nerve cell fibers. This damage causes nervous system scars that interrupt communications between the nerves in the spine and the rest of the body.
Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury
Because half of all spine injuries are incomplete, symptoms include:
- Extreme neck pain
- Headaches or pressure
- Intense back pain
- Loss of bodily control
- Loss of the ability of feel
- Muscle weakness
- Urinary and bowel issues
- Thoracic pressure
- Severe and debilitating nerve pain
- Shortness of breath
- Lumps or swelling on the spine or head
- Twisting in the back and neck
- Total loss of ability to use arms and legs
- and more severe injuries
Spinal injury victims should seek out medical attention as soon as possible. While the lawsuit requires medical records, victims must be treated before their condition worsens.
If you were involved in a serious accident, and suspect someone was injured, take the following steps:
- Call 911
- Do not move the victim without assistance from emergency medical technicians
- Ask the victim not to move
- Support the victim’s head and neck as much as possible
- Stop bleeding whenever possible
What Are Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury?
Victims suffer from spinal injuries because of various circumstances. Common causes of these injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
Automobile impact can cause a host of spinal injuries due to the shock and impacts of a car accident. Whether you are in a motor vehicle accident while in a car or walking on the street, your spine can be damaged through an auto accident resulting in fractured vertebrae, herniated discs, and other spinal cord damage. If you are in a car accident and spinal cord injury occurs, a team of experienced spinal cord injury attorneys can help you pursue full and fair compensation for your medical bills in your spinal cord injury claim.
- Failure of Safety Equipment Such as Helmets and Other Protective Gear.
Many helmets that come off a production line may include flaws that reduce their effectiveness. No company’s manufacturing process is without errors, and many use an acceptable range rather than exact specifications.
Helmets used for work and can fail to properly protect your spinal cord from injury. If your spinal cord was damaged while wearing a protective device then an experienced spinal injury attorney maybe able to help you. If such injuries occurred at work, you can also be entitled to a worker’s compensation and compensation for lost wages.
Additionally, helmets for the prevention of sports injuries sometimes fail against a traumatic blow from a fall in a skateboarding half-pipe or two players colliding. Even high school football can lead to catastrophic injuries with similar forces as the body can experience during major car accidents. These impacts can lead to serious spinal cord injury that could require surgery, physical therapy, and hefty medical expenses.
- Improperly Placed Medical Devices
The improper placement of a spinal cord stimulator or other medical devices in the back can cause permanent spinal cord injury. A reputable law firm can help you determine if your injury occurred due to medical malpractice and if you can seek spinal cord injury damages to help prepare for future medical expenses to treat your condition. Sometimes legal action is the only path forward to justice for your pain and suffering.
- Slip and Falls
Spinal cord injury can happen after a slip and fall. The impact of a slip and fall can cause catastrophic injury resulting in paralysis, nerve pain, or loss of a limb. Spinal cord injury caused by a slip and fall can lead to ongoing complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries. Your personal injury attorneys can help you determine if you’re eligible for spinal cord injury compensation, or a worker’s compensation claim if the injury happened at work.
How Should Families Deal With Spinal Cord Injuries?
When families are left to care for an injury victim, they can contact a spinal cord injury attorney for assistance. A lawyer who focuses on spinal cord injury cases can collect evidence that will identify a negligent party. If the lawyer can prove negligence, a lawsuit can be filed.
Which Mistakes Do Plaintiffs Make in These Cases?
Common mistakes made by plaintiffs filing personal injury lawsuits include:
- Assuming a personal injury lawyer is too expensive
- Convincing yourself you can adequately represent yourself
- Never questioning a personal injury attorney about their spinal cord injury lawsuit
- Speaking openly to the insurance company
- Assuming a lengthy court battle will ensue for a personal injury claim
- Avoiding medical care
- Allowing the statute of limitations to expire
- Signing documents without a lawyer present
- Assuming the case is lost
- Believing the victim is at fault
While lawyers charge for their time, victims and their families should not assume spinal cord injury lawyers are too expensive. A law firm often takes personal injury cases without payment because legal fees can be paid at trial or subtracted from a settlement. Many personal injury lawyers won’t charge for your personal injury case until they have helped you recover financial compensation for your spinal cord injury case. Additionally, they may offer a free case evaluation or free consultation to determine if they can help you recover damages for your spinal cord injury lawsuit.
If you are uncomfortable, feel you are not receiving appropriate representation, or the lawyer avoids your questions, consider hiring someone else. Your lawyer should be knowledgeable about the differences between a complete spinal cord injury and incomplete injuries, as well as the different effects of injuries in the lumbar, cervical, and thoracic vertebrae. Seek a lawyer who includes spinal cord injury litigation as one of their key practice areas. You are protected by the confidentiality of your attorney-client relationship.
Victims or their families may attempt to represent themselves to save money. Unfortunately, you will likely be arguing against an experienced lawyer who understands the law and will make your case difficult to win. Additionally, judges or courts may not allow you to represent yourself as it typically slows the legal process. Many cases do not even make it to trial because they are settled out of court.
Speaking openly to the insurance company may give them evidence to use when denying claims. Ask a lawyer what to say or ask the lawyer to write a statement on your behalf. Signing the insurance company’s documents without a lawyer present may present unnecessary hurdles in the case before a personal injury lawsuit is even filed.
If your spinal cord injury results in needing additional care, don’t avoid treatment for your condition. Avoiding medical care will save you money, but without medical care, a lawsuit cannot be filed. In addition, allowing the statute of limitations to expire invalidates claims as the state may refuse to hear the case.
How Will a New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Help You?
Every year, thousands of people suffer spinal cord injuries that change their lives forever and cause physical, emotional, and financial hardships. A New Jersey spinal cord injury lawyer can represent you or your loved one and ensure your genuine interest is in mind.
They will consult with the victim and family and review the evidence. The case will proceed when enough evidence exists to support your claim. The lawyer researches and files a lawsuit against all negligent parties, negotiates a settlement, or argues the case in court while the victim recovers.
What Are Clients Asking?
What Types of Evidence Should I Provide My Lawyer?
At your consultation, provide your lawyer with medical records, images taken at the accident scene, or police reports. Share your paychecks or an employer’s income statement. Write down anything you remember about the incident, and share contact information for eyewitnesses who have come forward
How Long Will It Take to Close My Case?
Your lawyer cannot promise the case will be closed quickly. While a settlement may be reached, it takes time to complete an investigation and file a compelling lawsuit supported by sufficient evidence. Sometimes your case may become part of a larger case, such as in a system-wide medical malpractice suit, or if a class action lawsuit needs to be filed against a manufacturer.
How Much Is My Lawsuit Worth?
Your lawyer cannot promise a specific sum when taking your case. A lawsuit’s value is determined by items such as the nature of the incident, losses you have suffered, medical costs, and lost income.
Contact a New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today
Please call the Law Offices of Sadaka Associates at 1-800-810-3457 or complete our online contact for a no-risk consultation. We will help you understand your legal options and seek compensation for your spinal cord injuries.