San Bernardino Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
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San Bernardino Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Spinal cord injuries are catastrophic injuries. Much like our brains, our spinal cords can’t repair themselves. Spinal cord injury survivors lose sensations and physical abilities. Numerous San Bernardino residents struggle daily with the effects of a spinal cord injury. Car accidents, construction accidents, or slip and falls at San Bernardino residences or businesses are just some of the causes of spinal cord injuries.
The consequences of such injuries are generally severe, and may require lifelong treatment—and, unfortunately, many spinal cord injuries occur due to someone’s preventable negligence or recklessness. If you or someone you love has been the victim of a spinal cord injury in San Bernardino, speak with a compassionate San Bernardino spinal cord injury lawyer courtesy of Gomez Trial Attorneys today.
GOMEZ TRIAL ATTORNEYS: YOUR SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYERS IN SAN BERNARDINO
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury in San Bernardino, you can reach out to an attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys today. Our team of spinal cord injury lawyers works diligently to help clients pursue the compensation that they deserve.
We understand the unique medical issues involved in spinal cord injuries and consistently prioritize our clients’ health, safety, and family concerns throughout the legal process.
- Our firm has received national recognition from CNN, The New York Times, NBC, BBC, ABC News, CBS, and other sources.
- John Gomez is an 11-time recipient of the San Diego Outstanding Trial Lawyer Award.
- We have obtained settlements and jury verdicts over $1 million, $10 million, and even $100 million. While past results are no guarantee of future compensation, Gomez Trial Attorneys is proud of our track record of success representing our San Bernardino neighbors.
While other firms are satisfied with their work, we constantly push to improve. Gomez Trial Attorneys is always seeking to strengthen our team and benefit our clients in any way necessary.
A LITTLE ABOUT THE SPINAL CORD
Think of our spinal cords as large collections of nerves. The spinal cord has a “tunnel” that runs through its center called the spinal canal. Nerves run through the spinal canal and into the brain.
The spinal cord runs from the base of the brain to a spot just above the waist.
- Thirty-three vertebrae protect the spinal cord.
- These vertebrae make up the spinal column.
- Vertebrae are small, ring-shaped bones.
Without our spinal cords, our bodies can’t function. The processes we take for granted (like breathing, blinking, and our hearts beating) would be impossible without our spinal cords.
COMMON CAUSES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES IN SAN BERNARDINO
Negligence and recklessness can lead to spinal cord injuries in:
- Pedestrian accidents
- Vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Workplace accidents
Spinal cord injuries also originate from:
- Sports injuries
- Slip and falls
- Defective products
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center tells us that car accidents cause the most spinal cord injuries. In fact, car crashes cause as many as 40 percent of these injuries. Falls account for another 30 percent of injuries, acts of violence make up roughly 13 percent, and close to 10 percent of spinal cord injuries occur because of sports or recreational activities.
SO, WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE FOR SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURIES?
Certain people or entities commonly held liable for spinal cord injuries include:
- Product manufacturers
- Vehicle operators
- Business owners
- Construction site employees or operators
THE SIGNS OF A SPINAL CORD INJURY
If you believe that you or someone else has suffered a spinal cord injury, take the appropriate steps to promote safety.
Telltale signs that may indicate someone has a spinal cord injury include:
- Extreme, shooting pressure (or pain) in the back or neck
- Loss of sensation in extremities
- Difficulty talking or breathing
- Visible kinks or twists in the back or neck
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE SUFFERED A SPINAL CORD INJURY IN SAN BERNARDINO
If you believe that you’ve experienced a spinal cord injury, seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you have the option, push for second opinions.
Getting to the doctor promptly may also help with your spinal cord injury case (if you decide to proceed with one). It shows that you are taking recovery seriously, it helps create evidence of your condition right after the injury, and it improves your chances of receiving appropriate treatment. The sooner you’re treated for your injuries, the sooner you can get back to as normal of a life as possible.
TYPES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
There are many different kinds of spinal cord injuries. Someone’s exact injury may impact their own experience and recovery in unique ways after the incident.
Herniated discs have a lot of names. You may have heard them referred to as bulged, ruptured, or slipped discs. The discs in our back protect our spinal bones. When the discs fail to act as shock absorbers, its nucleus can be pushed out of its outer layer. The nucleus moves into the spinal canal and, oftentimes, compresses nearby nerves to cause pain.
Too much force can break vertebrae.
These injuries are known as compression fractures. Injuries that break someone’s entire vertebral column are called burst fractures.
INCOMPLETE SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Incomplete spinal cord injuries occur when someone still has some feeling or movement below the point of injury.
Incomplete injuries commonly cause:
- Central cord syndrome: Occurs when the center of the spinal cord is damaged; often causes loss of function in the arms with some level of leg function preserved.
- Posterior cord syndrome: Occurs when damage impacts the back of the spinal cord; associated with poor coordination.
- Anterior cord syndrome: Occurs when the front of the spinal cord is damaged; generally causes impaired pain, touch, and movement below the injury.
- Brown-Sequard syndrome: Occurs when only one side of the spinal cord is damaged; loss of movement but preserved sensation on one side of the body, loss of sensation but preserved movement on the other side of the body.
SPINAL CORD INJURIES: THE LONG-TERM COMPLICATIONS
CHRONIC COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Did you know that more than one-third of spinal cord injury patients are re-hospitalized at least once within a year of hospitalization for their initial injury?
Spinal cord damage can have a profound and lasting impact on someone’s life.
- Over one-third of spinal cord injury survivors per year are re-hospitalized in the 20 years following injury.
- Spinal cord injuries are associated with reduced life expectancy within five years of the initial injury.
- Spinal cord injuries can lead to lifelong disability.
Other chronic complications associated with spinal cord injuries include urinary and bowel difficulties, respiratory issues, and even cardiovascular problems.
THREE COMPONENTS OF A SPINAL CORD INJURY CASE
If you want to take legal action against the reckless or negligent party who caused your spinal cord injury, we don’t blame you.
A lawyer will help you put together a case that encompasses three primary components:
- Cause: You need to determine and prove the cause of your spinal cord injury. You’ll work to describe the circumstances that led to your injury. Establishing cause may include the use of evidence, witness testimonies, and other tools.
- Liability: Liability is also a crucial part of a spinal cord injury case. If you can’t show that someone hurt you, then you don’t have a case.
- Compensation: You can’t go into the legal process without any idea of the compensation you’re seeking. Some people choose to pursue only bare-bones compensation so that they can account for bills and direct expenses. If you wish, your lawyer can also help you pursue other forms of compensation (like damages for pain and suffering) that are not as tangible to quantify.
COMMON SPINAL SURGERIES
Some people who experience spinal cord injuries choose to (or need to) undergo surgery. Surgeries may help correct spinal cord injuries.
ANTERIOR CERVICAL DISCECTOMY
Anterior cervical discectomies remove herniated material from nerve tissues in the neck. For some people, this produces immediate relief from aches and pains. The surgery is simple—a surgeon makes a small incision in the front of the neck and removes herniated disk bone spurs.
POSTERIOR SURGICAL SPINAL FUSION
A posterior surgical spinal fusion involves taking a bone graft from one part of the body and placing the graft on the backside of the vertebrae.
DISC REPLACEMENT SURGERY
Disc replacement surgery involves using an artificial disc to help spinal cord injury survivors regain some function. These discs can be implanted into the spine and are commonly made of either metal or biopolymer. The surgical process is complex.
THORACIC FUSION SURGERY
Thoracic fusion surgery is the most common surgery used to attempt to treat spinal cord injuries.
There are two approaches to thoracic fusion surgery:
- Anterior: Surgeons perform anterior thoracic fusion surgery through an incision in the chest. This way, a surgeon can see the spine from the front to determine which vertebra is broken. Bone fragments can be removed from the incision and then a spinal fusion can be performed.
- Posterior: Posterior thoracic fusion surgery is executed through an incision in the back. Then, surgeons align the patient’s vertebrae with metal screws and rods.
RECOVERABLE DAMAGES AFTER A SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY
WHAT COMPENSATION CAN I GET AFTER A SPINAL CORD INJURY?
When someone suffers a spinal cord injury because of another person’s recklessness or negligence, the injury survivor has a right to pursue damages.
- Damages refers to compensation for specific losses incurred as a result of the injury.
It’s tricky to predict what sorts of damages someone may be eligible for following their injury. The best way to find out what sort of compensation you may be eligible for after a spinal cord injury is to consult with a spinal cord injury attorney in San Bernardino.
With that said, we can offer some examples of the most commonly pursued damages in spinal cord injury cases:
- Medical costs: A very wide range of medical costs may be compensable following a spinal cord injury. Emergency transport, specialized medical services, surgery and prescription costs, custom equipment, and more all qualify. Some people also work with their lawyers to pursue damages for home and vehicle modifications and long-term rehabilitation. It’s important to remember that past, present, and even projected medical bills associated with your spinal cord injury may qualify for compensation.
- Pain and suffering: Nobody deserves to endure pain because of someone else’s mistakes. If you’ve experienced pain and suffering as a result of your spinal cord injury, you have the right to pursue damages for your experiences.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: Some spinal cord injuries rob innocent survivors of their enjoyment of life. If this describes you, a court may very well award additional compensation to help account for this.
- Mental anguish: Many spinal cord injuries cause long-lasting complications; and, even when they don’t, it’s not uncommon for injury survivors to experience mental anguish because of what happened. Mental anguish damages are meant to help ease some of the strain of experiences like these.
- Lost wages: It is very common for injuries to cause a person to miss time from work. When this occurs, the person has a right to pursue damages to account for lost wages.
- Diminished earning capacity: Lost wages are one thing—but what about when someone’s injuries are so impactful that they permanently change the person’s ability to earn money? Lots of people find that they can’t earn a living anymore after a spinal cord injury. If someone’s earning capacity is diminished as a result of their injuries, they can pursue compensation.
Some spinal cord injuries result in many expenses not listed here. If you have questions about expenses following a spinal cord injury, reach out to our team of qualified San Bernardino spinal cord lawyers for answers.
FREQUENTLY ASKED GENERAL QUESTIONS ABOUT SPINAL CORD INJURIES
WILL I BE PARALYZED IF I BREAK MY NECK OR MY BACK?
If you break your neck or your back and the nerves in the spinal cord are not damaged, there is a good chance of avoiding paralysis. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict with certainty the exact consequences of a spinal cord injury—working closely with your treatment providers is the best way to determine what your recovery may look like.
IS THERE A CURE FOR SPINAL CORD INJURIES?
No. There is no all-encompassing cure for spinal cord injuries. For many injury survivors, spinal cord damage means living with a lifetime of consequences. Recovery from these injuries tends to be slow and difficult, though medical technology is constantly evolving, giving more hope to those struggling with spinal cord injury.
HOW IS SPINAL CORD INJURY SEVERITY DETERMINED?
Recall that every spinal cord injury is unique. Because an injury can occur in so many different ways, it may be difficult to determine the severity of a given injury.
Spinal cord injury severity is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
- Medical professionals agree that lower spinal cord damage is more likely to lead to paraplegia, while damage to the upper spinal cord is more likely to lead to quadriplegia.
WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES?
Spinal cord injuries are categorized by level. A spinal cord injury level describes which vertebra in someone’s back is injured. A C1 injury, for example, impacts the first cervical vertebra (the first vertebra in the neck).
- The higher the vertebra’s number, the lower it is in the back.
WHAT AREAS OF THE SPINAL CORD CAN BE INJURED?
The segment of the injured spine determines the spinal cord injury. For example:
- Thoracic spinal injuries occur in the middle and upper back. The thoracic spine is made up of twelve vertebrae. Accidents generally cause thoracic spinal injuries, but some do occur due to damage over time (from sprains, poor posture, etc.).
- Compression fractures are common in the bottom part of the thoracic spine.
- Thoracic spinal injuries usually impact feeling in the legs and chest.
- Cervical spinal injuries occur in the neck.
- Lumbar spinal injuries occur in the lower back. There are five vertebrae in the lumbar spine. Disc herniation and spinal fractures are the most common types of lumbar spine injury.
WHAT ARE THE LEVELS OF SPINAL CORD INJURY?
Level C1-C3. These are the highest levels of spinal cord injury. They may cause total paralysis of the trunk, arms, and legs.
Some common outcomes of level C1-C3 injuries include:
- Mechanical ventilation
- 24-hour assistance
- Dependence on powered wheelchairs or mechanical lifts
Level C4. Level C4 injuries cause full-body paralysis but leave some level of neck and shoulder movement. Most people with C4 injuries can breathe without a ventilator. They may need total assistance for daily living tasks, but can communicate their needs and use a standing table.
Level C5. A C5 injury victim may bend their elbows and raise their arms. They likely will experience total (or some) paralysis of the trunk, legs, hands, and wrists. Hand splints may help people with C5 injuries. C5 injury survivors also often need assistance with daily activities, but are relatively independent in a power wheelchair.
Level C6. People injured at C6 experience impaired hand movement and wrist flexion. Paralysis usually impacts the hands, trunk, and legs. People injured at C6 experience weakened breathing, but can speak. Some people with C6 injuries can drive properly adapted vehicles.
Level C7-C8. C7-C8 injuries usually cause trunk and leg paralysis. Most people injured at C7-C8 maintain arm and hand dexterity. Injury survivors may need assistance with daily tasks. Sometimes, they can drive adapted vehicles. Personal care attendants are helpful.
Level T1-T5. Most T1-T5 injuries cause lower trunk paralysis. Someone’s vital capacity may be somewhat impaired if they experience a T1-T5 injury. Usually, these injury survivors can use manual wheelchairs and drive modified cars. Walking with braces is possible.
Level T6-T12. T6-T12 injuries are unique. People with these injuries experience leg paralysis, but retain good trunk stability. This means that they can often cough productively. Usually, people with T6-T12 injuries can also drive modified cars. Some use standing frames; others walk with braces.
Level L1-S1. People injured at L1-S1 generally experience loss of some function in the hips and legs. They can manage their bladders and bowels alone with special equipment. Some people use wheelchairs after L1-S1 injuries. Other people choose to use braces.
HOW WILL MY SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY AFFECT ME FINANCIALLY?
A spinal cord injury can warrant thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars in recovery costs. Nobody can predict exactly how much your spinal cord injury may impact you financially, but these factors influence costs:
- Injury severity
- Projected recovery timeline
- Other damages
- Timeliness and quality of medical care
- Legal representation
SOMEONE ELSE SUFFERED A SPINAL CORD INJURY. WHAT DO I DO?
Call 911 first. It’s crucial for someone with a spinal cord injury to receive medical attention. The sooner you can get a medical expert on-scene to deal with the injury, the better. Many spinal cord injuries are emergencies—they need to be treated by the right person within a certain timeframe.
- Keep the injury victim stationary: If someone moves after a spinal cord injury, it can very easily cause additional damage. Keep the injury victim stationary.
- Do not remove protective gear: Many people who suffer spinal cord injuries are wearing protective gear when the injury occurs. Consider the multitudes of injuries that occur at construction sites every year, for example. Someone who’s in protective gear at the time of their spinal cord injury should stay in that protective gear. Do not remove the gear. Removal could further injure the spine.
- Perform modified CPR (if necessary): Modified CPR is sometimes necessary to save someone’s life after a spinal cord injury. If someone has suffered a spinal cord injury and is not breathing, lower their jaw gently before pumping their chest at around 100 beats per minute.
- Roll if the victim is choking (on vomit, blood, etc.): If you have somebody else with you, you can work together to gently roll the injured person. Ideally, the injured person should lie on their side. Do everything you can to keep the head, back, and neck aligned during this process.
WHAT WILL MY DOCTOR DO IF I MAY HAVE SUFFERED A SPINAL CORD INJURY?
<If there’s a possibility that you have injured your spinal cord, a doctor will examine you for certain symptoms.
Usually, these include:
- Abnormal muscle contractions
- Low muscle strength or paralysis
- Fractured or dislocated vertebrae
- Loss of sensation in the limbs
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
If you or someone around you displays any symptoms similar to these, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.
ARE THERE RESOURCES FOR SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY SURVIVORS?
Yes. Try looking for more information at:
- The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: A foundation with a mission to curing spinal cord injury. The foundation funds research and uses grants, information, and advocacy to improve the quality of life for people living with paralysis.
- United Spinal Association: Spinal cord resource center; offers answers and education pertaining to spinal cord injury and disease.
- Disability Resources: A pool of businesses and other resources that help people with disabilities.
- Disability.gov: The U.S. government’s website with information for disability services and programs.
WHO CAN SUE FOR A SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY?
If someone has experienced a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, they likely have the right to sue the individual or organization responsible.
DO I HAVE TO WORK WITH A LAWYER TO FILE A SPINAL CORD INJURY CLAIM IN SAN BERNARDINO?
Most people opt to work with an attorney after spinal cord injuries because our San Bernardino spinal cord injury lawyers help their clients maximize their chances of compensation. They also educate and empower injury survivors throughout the legal process. You do have to pay for legal services if your case is successful or settles, but many people find it’s well worth the sanity they save, and greatly enhances the odds of a successful outcome.
SHOULD I TALK TO AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER AFTER MY SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY?
No. It’s best not to speak to insurance adjusters until you have a lawyer. Even then, you’ll probably be better off working through your attorney to communicate with insurance companies.
If you’ve already spoken to an insurance adjuster and you don’t have a lawyer yet, it’s not the end of the world. You probably should avoid talking to them again until you’re working with an attorney. As long as you haven’t formally agreed to anything between you and the insurance company, you likely still have a case. Speak with your San Bernardino spinal cord lawyer to learn more.
OUR SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYERS CAN HELP YOU
Most people can benefit from filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for their injuries after a spinal cord injury.
A SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER CAN PROVE NEGLIGENCE
Negligence is the core element of most San Bernardino spinal cord injury cases. A negligent person is liable for the injuries their actions cause.
When you work with a spinal cord injury lawyer, he or she will do the work of proving negligence in your case. It takes work, evidence, and knowledge to build a case that shows someone was liable for an accident. It benefits you to work with an attorney who already knows how to handle cases like these. An experienced attorney makes proving negligence a fundamental component of their job.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST SAN BERNARDINO SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER FOR YOUR CASE?
Lots of people have questions about how they can select the best spinal cord injury attorney for their unique needs. The truth is that you’ll likely need to meet with a handful of lawyers to determine which one you want to work with.
Most lawyers offer free initial consultations so that you can ask them basic questions without needing to pay a fee.
- Look for a lawyer with experience litigating spinal cord injury cases like yours.
- Make sure your attorney has connections to professionals in other fields (like the medical sphere or automotive industry) so that they can help with your case if needed.
- Choose a personal injury lawyer who is compassionate and empathetic.
GOMEZ TRIAL ATTORNEYS: WE HAVE THE RESOURCES IT TAKES TO PURSUE COMPENSATION AFTER A SPINAL CORD INJURY IN SAN BERNARDINO
There are plenty of spinal cord injury lawyers in Southern California, but we’re proud to say that our firm takes strides to stand out amongst the noise. We maintain the manpower, finances, facilities, and knowledge to take on some of the biggest cases in the region. We partner with experts in our field and others to benefit our clients and help them build strong cases.
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury in San Bernardino, you deserve legal support. Reach out to us online today or call 866-TRIAL LAW (866 874-2552) now to connect with a legal professional who can answer your questions. Gomez Trial Attorneys are proud to serve our San Bernardino’s spinal cord injury clients.
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