Like the brain, the spinal cord cannot repair itself, which makes suffering from a spinal cord injury catastrophic. The spinal cord controls essential bodily functions, such as feeling and movement, which can be lost forever after a spinal cord injury. Victims of spinal cord injuries often suffer from lifelong disabilities, including everything from movement problems in the feet to complete paralysis.
Spinal cord injuries are most commonly caused by sudden trauma to the spinal column or spinal cord. And in many cases, the sudden trauma that causes a person’s spinal cord injury is the result of another person’s negligence or malicious behavior. Some of common causes of spinal cord injuries include auto accidents, slip and fall accidents, and acts of violence. If you’ve suffered from a spinal cord injury due to the careless or malicious actions of another party, know that you have the right to hold that party legally responsible for the results of their actions.
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a spinal injury accident in Southern California, contact LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. Our experienced personal injury attorneys can fight for your right to recover financial compensation for the damages you’ve incurred, including compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
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Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord’s role in the body is to carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body. When part of a person’s spinal cord is damaged, their spinal cord can no longer carry messages in the same way it once did. So, when a person suffers from a spinal cord injury, they lose some or all of their sensory and motor function below their injury. How much sensation and motor function a spinal cord injury victim loses depends on where their spinal cord was injured and how severely it was injured.
There are two general categories that describe the severity (or, in medical terms, the “completeness”) of spinal cord injuries:
● Complete: If an individual has lost all of the sensory and motor function below their spinal cord injury, their injury is called a complete spinal cord injury. ● Incomplete: If an individual has lost some, but not all of the sensory and motor function below their spinal injury, their injury is called an incomplete spinal cord injury. Incomplete spinal cord injuries can vary in severity depending on how much connection between the brain and body has been lost.
There are three terms that describe the location of the paralysis that results from a person’s spinal cord injury:
● Tetraplegia: A partial or total paralysis that affects all four of the limbs and the torso. Tetraplegia is also sometimes called quadriplegia. ● Paraplegia: A partial or total paralysis that affects the lower half of the body. ● Hemiplegia: A partial or total paralysis that affects one side of the body.
Causes and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are most commonly caused by some type of sudden trauma to the spinal cord or the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs of the spinal column. Some common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
● Car Accidents ● Motorcycle Accidents ● Truck Accidents ● Slip and Fall Accidents ● Falling From Heights
● Acts of Violence ● Sports Injuries ● Medical Errors ● Electrical Accidents
Spinal cord injuries disrupt communication between the brain and the body, which can cause one or more of the following symptoms:
● Partial Paralysis or Complete Paralysis ● Loss of Ability to Feel Touch, Heat, and/or Cold ● Changes in Ability to Feel Touch, Heat, and/or Cold ● Loss of Bowel Control ● Loss of Bladder Control ● Spasms ● Exaggerated Reflex Activities ● Changes in Sexual Function ● Changes in Fertility ● Pain or Intense Stinging Caused By Nerve Fiber Damage ● Difficulty Breathing
Monetary Compensation for Los Angeles Spinal Cord Injury Cases
In California, a victim in a spinal cord injury case can receive compensation for the damages they incurred due to the negligence or malicious actions of another party, including damages related to medical bills, lost wages, lost future income, and pain and suffering.
Spinal cord injury victims may be able to recover damages for their past and future medical expenses. This includes, but is not limited to, the cost of hospital visits, clinic visits, spinal surgery, physical therapy, trauma care, long-term care (including the costs of in-home care), medical equipment, and medication.
Even a less severe spinal cord injury will likely prevent an injury victim from working while they recuperate from their injury. If a victim has lost wages due to their spinal cord injury, they can pursue damages for these lost wages.
Loss of Future Earnings
Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent disability, which can prevent a victim from ever being able to work again. Spinal cord injury victims who are disabled by their injury can pursue damages for the future wages they likely would have earned had they not been injured. Additionally, they can pursue damages for the loss of anticipated bonuses, tips, and opportunities for advancement.
Pain and Suffering
A spinal cord injury is a life-changing injury that can cause immense pain and suffering. The impact a spinal cord injury has on the injury victim’s life cannot be understated. This type of injury has a devastating effect on a person’s physical, emotional, and social well being. In California, victims can pursue monetary damages for these types of non-economic losses.
In some cases, a court may award victims of spinal cord injuries punitive damages. These types of damages are awarded as a punishment for a liable party that exhibited particularly harmful or malicious behavior.
The Cost of Medical Expenses for Spinal Cord Injury Victims
A spinal cord injury is one of the most costly injuries anyone can suffer from. In the first year of treatment alone, the average cost of medical care for a spinal cord injury victim ranges from around $350,000 (for individuals with incomplete motor function) to around $1,000,000 (for individuals with high tetraplegia). Then, the average yearly cost for ongoing care can range from around $40,000 to around $200,000. Depending on the severity of a spinal cord injury, the estimated lifetime cost of care for this type of injury can range from just over $1,000,000 to just under $5,000,000.
It’s important to note that these average figures only account for the cost of a spinal injury victim’s medical care. They don’t take into account an injury victim’s indirect costs, such as their loss of wages and productivity. The average indirect cost of a spinal cord injury is approximately $72,000 per year.
Needless to say, the financial cost of a spinal cord injury is immense. But if your spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence or malicious actions of another party, there is an alternative to paying these costs out of your own pocket. You may be able to have your medical costs and indirect costs covered by filing a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party.
Do You Need An Attorney for a Spinal Cord Injury Case?
If you would like to recover financial compensation that appropriately reflects your losses, you should seek the help of an attorney that specializes in spinal injury cases. While the vast majority of spinal injury cases are settled with insurance companies, attempting to negotiate with an insurance company on your own will likely result in you receiving a mere fraction of what you could receive if you had legal representation advocating for you.
The goal of an insurance company is to settle a claim for as little money as possible, as quickly as possible. Insurance companies count on the fact that injury victims usually do not know how much their injury claim could be worth and they tend to try to rush victims into taking lowball offers. But a personal injury lawyer that specializes in spinal injury cases will have a full understanding of the type of compensation you’re entitled to. This includes compensation for not only past medical expenses, but also for future medical expenses, the loss of past and future wages, and pain and suffering. Our attorneys will aggressively negotiate with insurance companies in order to reach a settlement that is fair and appropriate. Additionally, our trial lawyers can take a case to trial when an insurance company is not negotiating in good faith.
Contact a Los Angeles Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury due to the careless or malicious actions of another person or entity, contact the spinal cord injury lawyers at LA Lawyers Group today to receive a free case evaluation. An injury attorney at our law firm can fight for your right to recover the appropriate financial compensation for the losses you’ve suffered.
Call LA Lawyers Group today at (818) 386-6777 to receive your free consultation with one of our Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyers.