This page details the legal ramifications of a spinal cord injury. This page is meant to provide hope for seriously injured people because spinal cord damage is downright scary. It details the symptoms and prognosis of spine injuries. It also answers important questions like: When should you hire a spinal cord injury lawyer like Sean Reis? How much does an attorney cost? What value does a back injury lawyer bring to the table?
This page details the following subjects:
- Spinal cord injury definition
- Symptoms and prognosis
- Difference between a spinal cord injury and a back injury
- Legal liability for serious injuries
- When should you hire a lawyer?
- How much does a spinal cord injury lawyer cost?
- Spinal cord injury statistics
Spinal Cord Injury Definition
To understand this concept, you must first make the distinction between your spine and your spinal cord. Your vertebra, discs, spinous process, and spinal nerve are the structural components of your back. Your spinal cord is a
large group of nerves which runs through the center of the spine and carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Spinal cord damage occurs in a small number of back and neck injuries. But when it happens, depending on the location and severity, the symptoms can vary widely, from pain or numbness to full blown paralysis. If the damage is permanent, the injury victim may become a quadriplegic (injury is at the neck) or paraplegic (injury is below the neck). In most cases the damage results from a serious blow to the back or neck.
Symptoms and Prognosis
Serious spinal injury victims often require long-term treatment in an intensive care unit. While every injury is different, serious injuries require an incredible amount of medical care. This type of treatment is extremely expensive.
Treatment of a serious spinal cord injury starts with stabilizing the spine and controlling swelling to prevent further damage. After stabilization, the victim remains in acute care/inpatient for 8–12 weeks and then goes to an outpatient rehab phase which lasts 3–12 months. At any step along this process, your doctor may order simple bed rest to complex surgery.
In many cases, spinal cord injuries require substantial, long-term physical and occupational therapy. This is especially true if the damage interferes with the victims daily lifestyle and work.
The Difference Between a Spinal Cord Injury and a Back Injury
A back injury may include strained muscles, broken vertebra, herniated disks, or a multitude of other issues. Many of these injuries are serious and require lots of medical treatment. Spinal cord injuries are different in that you can have a serious back or neck injury but the spinal cord may not be affected. But if your spinal cord is affected you may lose all use of your lower extremities (feet, legs, arms, hands, torso, etc). A spinal cord injury is considered more severe than a back injury.
Legal Liability for Serious Spinal Cord Injuries
If you or a loved one is a victim of a spinal cord injury, why should you even think about legal liability? It’s simple, if someone else is legally at fault for your injury, either they or their insurance provider should pay for your medical bills, long term care, lost wages, and any other damages that you have sustained.
Spine injuries can occur in any type of accident. It doesn’t matter if your injury was caused by a traffic accident, premise accidents, or a defective product, if someone else is at fault for your injury, you should contact a San Diego personal injury attorney to learn about your legal rights. Don’t get stuck with a medical bill that you shouldn’t have to pay.
When Should You Hire a Lawyer?
As soon as possible! Serious back injury cases like these should be addressed immediately. An experienced attorney will begin to take immediate steps to ensure you receive all the care that is required to recover properly. Your counsel will also begin to work up the case by investigating who was at fault, what kind of insurance policy is at play, if any, and explaining liability to the insurance company.
You should not be trying to do this without guidance. DIY is reserved for hobbies, your long term care and medical treatment should not be left to inexperienced hands. Insurance adjusters are trained to minimize the amount of money they pay out for serious claims. Do not speak with them until after you’ve consulted with a spinal cord injury lawyer.
How Much does a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Cost?
Most back injury lawyers are paid with a contingency fee. The client pays their lawyer a percentage of the total recovery. Once the client decides to hire the lawyer, they will enter into a written fee agreement which will fully explain everything.
Most victims will not have to pay anything out of pocket. The attorney will front the case costs on your behalf. This can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in serious injury cases.
Spinal Cord Accident Statistics
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center has found the following facts about spine injuries:
- 38% of all spinal cord injuries are caused in vehicle accidents
- 30% are caused by slips or falls
- 13.5% are caused by violence and crime
- 9% are caused when engaging in sports and recreation activities
The typical hospital stay following a serious spine injury is 11 days and rehabilitation lasts, on average, 35 days. Incomplete tetraplegia is the most frequent neurological damage for victims (45%), incomplete paraplegia (21.3%), complete paraplegia (20%), and complete tetraplegia (13.3%). Men account for 80% of those injured. These are extremely frightening statistics.