Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers in Long Beach
Nearly 200,000 people suffer from a spinal cord injury (SCI) each year in the U.S., and most of these are the result of an accident. Even though it is protected by the bony vertebrae of the spine, the spinal cord can suffer disastrous injury through car crashes, acts of violence, falls, and sports accidents.
If you have suffered a spinal injury, please contact The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV immediately and discuss your case with one of our Long Beach spine injury lawyers.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs from the base of the brain down the back, carrying messages to the body. The vertebrae surrounding the fragile cord are commonly referred to as the backbone. If the vertebrae are fractured, the spinal cord itself is compromised. An example is when a vertebra is compressed in a car accident. The severity of the damage depends on the location of the injury.
In general, the nerves above the injury site continue to function normally, and those nerves located at or below the injury do not. The higher the location of the injury, the more severe the effects. A person may suffer from a complete injury when there is no feeling or voluntary movement on either side of the body, or an incomplete injury when some sensation or partial movement is intact.
SCIs can happen in almost any setting. It takes just one second of inattention or negligence, and you end up dealing with a debilitating injury that lasts a lifetime. Not only is it important to know about the consequences of receiving a spinal cord injury, it’s also vital to remember the situations in which you are most at risk. The question of liability varies depending on the specific circumstances of the accident, such as the location in which the accident occurred, what you were doing at the time, and other factors. Some of the most common accidents that can cause spinal cord injuries include:
- Car Accidents: Serious car accidents account for the majority of spinal cord injuries, according to experts at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Due to the size and weight of an average automobile, you might end up suffering from a host of different injuries. When it comes to liability, if it is determined that the other driver acted in a negligent manner, for example, driving in a reckless manner, driving while inebriated, or otherwise driving distractedly, he or she should be held liable for your injuries.
- Bicycle Accidents: Getting in an accident while riding a bicycle is especially dangerous, if only because of the lack of protection you have. While your helmet may do a satisfying job of protecting you from severe head trauma, it won’t mean anything if you are struck by a speeding car and suffer a spinal cord injury. Similar to liability in a car accident, a bicycle accident is often caused by the negligence of the other party.
- Slip-and-Fall: A fall can occur almost anywhere. When it comes to liability, however, you may only receive financial compensation for your spinal injury if the slip-and-fall occurred at a location in which the property owner had a duty of care to protect those on the property, and neglected to do so. Common locations that can result in a serious fall accidents include public swimming pools, restaurants, grocery stores, and other areas.
- Falling Objects: Most commonly found on construction sites, falling debris or equipment can be extremely dangerous. Most states have strict laws when it comes to accidents at construction sites, and victims who receive injuries from falling objects may be able to file a workers’ comp claim against their employer, and a personal injury lawsuit against anyone else at the site who was also to blame.
The precise effects of the SCI depend on the location and completeness of the injury. Usually, some swelling of the spinal cord immediately follows the injury and affects the entire body. Rarely does all functioning remain after a SCI, but as the swelling subsides, some function may be regained as the months go by. These functions include walking, blood pressure, body temperature, sexual function, bowel and bladder control, and pain levels. Any long-term damage to the spinal column falls under two categories:
- Paraplegia (or Leg Paralysis): Paraplegia refers to partial or complete paralysis of the legs and lower abdomen, though the arms and hands are generally unaffected. This usually occurs as a result of a traumatic injury to the spine at or below the “T1” region, which refers to particular bones in the thoracic spine. The lower the injury is, the more sensation and physical control a person will have above it. High injuries can result in little control over the "trunk" of the body, while lower injuries may allow for more comfortable breathing and control over lower abdominal muscles.
- Quadriplegia (or Tetraplegia): Quadriplegia, sometimes referred to as tetraplegia or four-limb paralysis, indicates partial or complete paralysis of both the legs and the arms. Depending on exactly what part of the upper spinal cord is injured, some arm movement and control may be possible, though hand control is almost always extremely limited. This type of paralysis is very serious and requires extensive medical treatment and ongoing care.
Any kind of paralysis, temporary or permanent, total or partial, requires a great deal of medical treatment and physical therapy for recovery. The degree to which a person can recover depends on the nature of the injury, as well as how hard that person is willing to work toward physical recovery. It is a long and difficult process that often involves a great deal of psychological assistance as well as medical treatment.
Recovering from paralysis, or learning to live with it, often requires a great deal of financial investment. While insurance and government disability assistance can help, additional funds may be necessary. If someone else caused your injury, he or she may be liable for some of the costs involved with paralysis treatment and recovery. Do not suffer for someone else's mistake.
An experienced Long Beach catastrophic injury attorney can help victims of SCI by working with the necessary experts to testify to your injuries. If the damages are clearly articulated and losses are relentlessly defended to the insurance companies, your case has a much better shot at winning. An attorney who has previously represented an SCI victim knows the painful road he or she is on and will constantly be there for the victim. With offices throughout California, The Law Firm of Joseph H. Low IV will represent you in any spinal cord injury case.
Contact us at (562) 901-0840 for a free consultation today and get the representation you deserve.