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Riverside Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys

Often, spinal cord injury occurs due to a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine. Injuries occur in auto accidents, construction site accidents, assaults, and slip and falls, and serious injuries may change the course of victims’ lives. If you suffered spinal cord injuries in an accident due to another party’s negligence, an experienced Riverside spinal cord injury attorney can help you understand your rights and help lend support and guidance as you file a spinal cord injury claim.

At Gomez Trial Attorneys, for example, we successfully achieved a $1.5 million settlement for a past spinal cord injury victim, and we have considerable experience in managing spinal cord injury claims throughout California. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys today to see if we can put our experience to work for you.

The Limitations Imposed by Spinal Cord Injuries

For most victims of spinal cord injuries, decreased mobility represents one of the biggest challenges. Typically, spinal cord injury victims suffer decreased movement and sensation below the site of injury. In the case of complete spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord severs completely, victims may suffer full paralysis below the site of the injury.

Incomplete spinal cord injury, in which the spinal cord suffers damage but does not sever completely, can also cause decreased mobility, but depending on the severity of the injury, the victim may retain some mobility and function. However, many victims discover that their spinal cord injuries pose other, unexpected limitations, as well.

Decreased Bowel and Bladder Control

As a result of a spinal cord injury, many victims suffer decreased bowel and bladder control. Due to the damage to the spinal cord, which usually transmits nerve impulses from the bowels and bladder to the brain, the victim may no longer recognize these important signals. The bowels and bladder may continue to store feces and urine, but the victim might hold both for longer than necessary or might suffer from incontinence. This can lead to an increased risk of urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and kidney infections.

Lack of Skin Sensation

While the lack of skin sensation on its own can prove frustrating enough for victims of spinal cord injuries, the lack of sensation also brings with it another hazard: victims may not feel a subsequent injury to the same area. Burns, cold damage, and deep contusions can result if the victim does not notice friction or pressure around the site of the injury in the same way that he or she would before the initial injury.

Poor Circulation

Due to the lack of movement, as well as the damage to the body that occurs in a spinal cord injury, many victims experience poor circulation. This may lead to feeling lightheaded when rising or leave the victim with swelling in the extremities, especially without regular movement and therapy.

Sexual and Reproductive Challenges

Both men and women may notice sexual and reproductive challenges as a result of spinal cord injuries. Men may notice changes in erection and ejaculation, including difficulty achieving either, while women may notice increased vaginal dryness or decreased sensation during sexual contact.

Trouble Breathing

Many victims suffer decreased lung function as a result of spinal cord injuries, especially if those injuries impact the muscles in the chest. Shallow breathing can, in turn, substantially increase the risk of pneumonia and other types of infection.

Obesity

Many victims notice a distinct decrease in their calorie output as a result of spinal cord injuries. Failing to properly control calorie intake can result in a substantially increased risk of obesity, which can leave a victim struggling with secondary health complications, including diabetes, heart disease, and blood pressure issues.

Pain

While some victims, especially those with complete spinal cord injuries, may suffer from a lack of sensation below the site of the injury, others struggle with ongoing pain, often due to muscle spasms or tension. Pain occurs more often in victims with incomplete spinal cord injuries.

Some spinal cord injury victims find that some of their symptoms resolve with time, especially for individuals who suffered incomplete spinal cord injuries. Victims with complete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, may not see much improvement in their symptoms over time.

How Much Compensation Will I Receive for a Riverside Spinal Cord Injury?

For victims of spinal cord injuries, compensation quickly increases in importance. Most spinal cord injury victims require extensive physical and occupational therapy before they can return to work after an accident. Many find that they need to adapt their jobs or their plans for the future as a result of their injuries. Not only that, but medical bills can also grow exponentially following a spinal cord injury.

How much compensation should you seek after a spinal cord injury? While an attorney cannot guarantee that you will receive any specific amount of compensation (or any at all), several common factors often influence the amount of compensation that a victim receives after a spinal cord injury.

The At-Fault Party

The compensation you receive for a spinal cord injury after an accident in Riverside may depend heavily on who caused your accident. If you suffered a spinal cord injury in an auto accident, for example, the average driver’s liability insurance may provide just $15,000 in coverage for your expenses. If multiple parties suffered injuries in that accident, the victims may have to split $30,000 in coverage.

Many entities carry substantially more valuable insurance policies that can provide additional compensation in the event of a spinal cord injury. Big trucks, for example, must have much more substantial insurance coverage than private passenger vehicles. Premises liability insurance may also provide a higher level of compensation.

Following your accident, you should consult an attorney as soon as possible about your legal right to compensation and the insurance policy that covers the liable party to get a better idea of how much compensation you should seek, including what the average insurance policy offers.

Your Medical Bills

The medical bills for a spinal cord injury will quickly mount and may cause unnecessary stress, especially if your family has lost its primary source of income. Make sure to track all of your medical expenses, so that you can include all of your medical bills as part of your spinal cord injury claim.

Your expenses may include:

  • Emergency care. Following a spinal cord injury, you may need ambulance transportation to the nearest hospital as well as care in the emergency room. Some injuries may result in an immediate need for surgery.
  • Hospitalization. You may face a long hospital stay following a spinal cord injury. Every day of your stay further adds to your medical expenses. You may also receive multiple bills after your hospitalization, including bills from each doctor that saw you during your stay. If you received surgery, you may receive a separate bill for those procedures, as well as for the anesthesiologist who cared for you during surgery.
  • Medications. Many spinal cord injury victims need pain medication to help manage their symptoms, especially in the days immediately after the accident.
  • Durable medical equipment. As a spinal cord injury victim, durable medical equipment may become a normal part of your life. A wheelchair can improve your overall mobility and make it easier for you to get around. Even victims with incomplete spinal cord injury, including those who still have some mobility, may choose to use a wheelchair to get around at least part of the time. Other victims may need crutches and braces. You may also use specialized equipment to aid in mobility.
  • A stay in a long-term care facility. Many spinal cord injury victims require long-term specialized care before they even consider getting back to normal. A stay in a rehabilitation facility can take some of the pressure off of family members to care for the injured individual, but it also brings with it a hefty price tag.
  • Modifications to your home. Following a spinal cord injury, you may need to make substantial modifications to your home to ensure as much independence as possible. You may need to install wheelchair ramps to make it possible to get in the house or widen doorways to allow you to more easily get through the space. Some victims need to modify their bathrooms or shift kitchen countertops to make it easier to utilize those areas. These modifications are often extremely expensive, especially for people who live alone or have limited help.
  • Therapy. Victims with spinal cord injuries may need substantial physical and occupational therapy to learn how to cope with their new limitations. Occupational therapists can make it easier to transfer into the wheelchair or provide advice about navigating with extremely decreased mobility in the hands and arms. Meanwhile, physical therapy can help maintain muscle tone throughout the body, increasing strength and mobility. Many victims of spinal cord injuries also require psychological therapy to help deal with depression and other emotional impacts of the accident.

Your Lost Wages or Lost Earning Potential

Time off work usually proves inevitable for spinal cord injury victims. Not only do you have serious injuries that may require a long recovery, but also you may need time to adjust to your new limitations. During your recovery, you might lack the ability to work at all. Your employer might prefer that you wait until you have a better idea of how much you will recover before making any modifications that could allow you to return to the workplace.

In some cases, your employer might not have the capacity to make modifications that will allow you to return to work: for example, most spinal cord injury victims cannot complete the responsibilities necessary for a job that involves manual labor, regardless of modifications. Your lost wages may add up at a time when you desperately need money coming in to help cover your medical expenses. By including these expenses as part of your spinal cord injury claim, you can receive much-needed compensation that will help you keep up with your bills.

Pain and Suffering

In addition to the other elements of your claim, talk with an experienced spinal cord injury attorney to get a better idea of how to include pain and suffering, including mental and emotional anguish, in your damages claim.

Who Pays the Medical Bills for a Spinal Cord Injury?

If you suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, you need to prepare yourself to handle expensive medical bills, many of which will remain with you for the rest of your life. As the person receiving that care, ultimately, you will bear liability for paying those bills. However, in many cases, you may have some recourse for gaining compensation for those bills. Your health insurance can help pay for many of your medical expenses. Many victims also find that a spinal cord injury claim will offer substantial compensation that will make it easier to handle those expenses.

A Riverside spinal cord injury attorney can help identify the party that caused your injuries. Sometimes, multiple parties may share liability for an accident. Identifying all of the parties that share liability may increase the compensation that you ultimately receive, since you can file a spinal cord injury claim against each party.

The parties that share liability:

  • Bore a duty of care to you at the time of the accident
  • Violated that duty of care
  • Contributed to your injuries through that violation
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John Gomez, Riverside Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

In an auto accident, for example, the driver of the vehicle may bear primary liability for causing an accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury. However, an employer who continued to employ a driver with a history of tickets or distracted driving might share liability for your injuries.

When You Need a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in Riverside, Call Us

To file a spinal cord injury claim, start by talking with an experienced personal injury attorney who has dealt with spinal cord injury victims in the past. If you suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident due to another party’s negligence, our experienced Riverside personal injury attorneys can help you seek compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys at (619) 237-3490 for your free consultation.

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