If you sustained a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s actions, Sam & Ash Injury Law is here to help. You might be entitled to financial compensation for your medical care, physical therapy, lost income, and other losses.
At Sam & Ash Injury Law, we don’t think you should be left to shoulder the physical and financial burdens of a spinal cord injury that wasn’t your fault. We believe you deserve what’s right, and we want to help you get it. Call or contact us online for a free consultation with an Orange County spinal cord injury lawyer and find out if you could be owed money.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
The spinal cord is a tight bundle of cells and nerves responsible for sending signals to the brain and throughout the body. The spinal cord is a complicated structure and runs from the base of the brain through the backbone. The brain and spinal cord make up the body’s central nervous system. The cord transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body. The meninges, layers of tissue, and a vertebral column surround the spinal cord and protect it from trauma.
A damaged spinal cord can cause changes in sensation, strength, and other bodily functions below the injury site. This damage is often the result of a sudden or traumatic blow to the cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. Permanent damage might lead to paralysis below the injury site.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are grouped by level, type, and severity. The level of a spinal cord injury depends on the vertebra affected by the injury, as follows:
- Cervical– The seven cervical vertebrae are in the neck and are designated C1 through C7.
- Thoracic– There are twelve thoracic vertebrae in the upper back designated T1 through T12
- Lumbar– The five lumbar vertebrae are in the lower back and are designated L1 through L5.
- Sacral– The five sacral vertebrae are designated S1 through S5. They slowly fuse during early adulthood to form the sacrum.
- Coccyx– Below the sacrum is the coccyx. Most people know this level as the tailbone. Four vertebrae make up the coccyx.
Two types of spinal cord injuries indicate the area of the body affected by the damage:
- Tetraplegia– Tetraplegia describes a spinal cord injury level between C1 and T1. It can affect the shoulders, upper chest, head, hands, pelvic organs, arms, neck, and legs.
- Paraplegia– Paraplegia describes the condition of losing feeling or being unable to move the lower half of the body. It occurs anywhere from the T2 vertebrae to the S5. This type of spinal cord injury can affect the hips, chest, feet, stomach, and legs.
The two degrees of severity of a spinal cord injury include:
- Complete injury– A complete injury to the spinal cord is so severe that a person can lose all motor function and sensation below the site of the injury.
- Incomplete injury– An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when a person loses only some motor function and sensation below the damaged part of the spine.
The higher the site of damage, the greater the percentage of the body that is affected by it.
Spinal Cord Injury Causes
The spinal cord is a delicate structure that can become damaged in any number of ways. While blunt force trauma is one of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries, there are other risk factors as well, including certain illnesses.
Spinal cord injuries often result from:
- Slip and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Medical errors
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sport and recreational accidents
- Defective products
- Boating accidents
- Elder abuse
If someone else caused your spinal cord injury, do not hesitate to contact Sam & Ash Injury Law. You could be owed compensation, and we can help you demand it.
How Common Are Spinal Cord Injuries?
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, around 17,000 new spinal cord injury cases occur annually in the United States. Approximately 282,000 people live with a spinal cord injury. People between 16 to 30 years old are at greatest risk of spinal cord injury. Most patients who suffer a sports-related spinal cord injury are male.
Common Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
The symptoms you experience after a spinal cord injury depend on its level, type, and severity. The most common symptoms of a spinal cord injury according to the Mayo Clinic include:
- Exaggerated reflexes or spasms
- Changes in fertility, sexual sensitivity, and sexual function
- Loss of movement
- Intense stinging or pain from damage to nerve fibers
- Difficulty coughing, breathing, or clearing secretions from the lungs
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Altered or loss of sensation, including the inability to feel heat, cold, or touch
Some of the most common warning signs of a spinal cord injury include:
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Extreme pressure or pain in the back, neck, or head
- Trouble walking and balancing
- Incoordination, weakness, or paralysis in any area of the body
- Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in the fingers, toes, hands, or feet
- Impaired breathing
- Twisted or oddly positioned back or neck
If you notice any symptoms of a spinal cord injury after an accident, seek immediate medical care. A doctor can evaluate your condition and diagnose your injury to determine the type of treatment you need.
Potential Long-Term Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury could result in long-term complications, such as:
- Joint contracture
- Muscle atrophy
- Paralysis in the arms or legs
- Sexual dysfunction
- Increased risk of heart or lung issues
- Persistent pain
- Inability to regulate blood pressure or body temperature
Spinal cord injuries often cause life-altering consequences. Patients must often try to relearn basic skills. They may also require expensive, round-the-clock care.
Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury
If someone else caused your spinal cord injury, you can pursue compensation from them through a spinal cord injury insurance claim or lawsuit. This compensation might cover your:
- Diagnostic tests, physical therapy, prescriptions, and other medical bills
- Costs associated with modifying your home for accessibility
- Household services you must pay for, such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, or childcare
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Various out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
You could also pursue exemplary damages if you file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. This form of compensation punishes the defendant for their misconduct and deters similar actions in the future. You must show clear and convincing evidence of the defendant’s fraud, oppression, or malice for the judge or jury to award you this special type of damages. The burden of proof is high, so exemplary damages are relatively rare.
California does not bar you from seeking compensation for an injury for which you are partially at fault. In fact, the state follows a pure comparative fault system, which means that you can still be compensated for an injury that was 99 percent your fault. However, the amount of compensation you can receive will be reduced according to the percentage of fault you are found to bear.
Keep in mind that, in California, the statute of limitations allows a two-year window in which to file a lawsuit for most personal injury cases. This statute of limitations is important even if you are filing an insurance claim, as the threat of an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit provides valuable leverage during settlement negotiations.
Evidence To Prove a Spinal Cord Injury
Establishing that someone else is responsible for your spinal cord injury requires evidence, some of which can be difficult to obtain on your own. An Orange County spinal cord injury attorney from Sam & Ash Injury Law can help secure the available evidence on your behalf. We are ready to review the circumstances of your case to determine the type of proof we need, which could include the following:
- Statements from eyewitnesses
- Incident/police reports
- Pictures from the accident scene
- Security camera footage of the incident
- Photos of visible wounds, scarring, and other physical problems from the spinal cord damage
- Copies of your medical records and medical bills
Contact an Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Orange County Today
Sam & Ash Injury Law offers personal attention to every client who hires us. We are prepared to do whatever we can to remove the burden of an injury from your shoulders. We believe you deserve what’s right, and that means getting you the right doctors and medical experts to provide you with the care you need. It also means handling every aspect of your personal injury case so that you have the time and space you need to focus on your health.
Don’t wait another moment. Contact Sam & Ash Injury Law today for a free consultation with an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer in Orange County and discuss your spinal cord injury claim confidentially.