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Relevant Spinal Cord Statistics
The SCI Data Sheet produced by the National SCI Statistical Center (NSCISC) has found that:
- Every year, there are, on average, 17,730 new spinal cord injuries in the United States.
- Approximately 249,000 to 363,000 individuals are living with some sort of spinal cord injury in the United States.
- The male population accounts for about 78 percent of these new spinal cord injuries.
- The average age at the time of a spinal cord injury is 43 years old.
- Hospital acute care unit stays have averaged 11 days.
- Rehabilitation stays have averaged 31 days.
All of this amounts to millions of dollars in damages and expenses for each spinal cord injury victim. This is why you should call our Temecula spinal cord injury lawyers to help recover the enormous costs of your injury.
Spinal Cord Injury – What Happens?
A spinal cord injury is any damage to part of the spinal cord or the spinal canal nerves. These traumatic injuries often result from some sort of cut to the spinal cord or a sudden blow to the spine. Consequently, these spinal cord injuries lead to a loss in sensation, function, and strength below the damage site. While there is no cure, assistive devices, drug treatments, surgery, and rehabilitative services have helped many people with this injury live independent and productive lives.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury versus a Complete Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can be divided into two types of trauma: complete and incomplete injuries.
- Complete spinal cord injury: A complete injury is sustained when there is permanent damage to the affected spinal cord area. This type of spinal cord injury can result in tetraplegia or Paraplegia.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury: An incomplete injury occurs when there is partial damage to the spinal cord. The effects of this injury largely depend on the portion of the spine that is injured and the severity of the injury.
The Costs of Living With a Spinal Cord Injury
Unfortunately, there is no cure to these crippling spinal cord injuries; and victims are often left with a lifetime of expenses related to their ongoing treatments. Even if the rehabilitative services and surgeries can help a victim get back to some sort of normalcy, these patients still require many accommodations to make their homes and vehicles more handicap-accessible. It can take a lot of money to get these victims the best quality of life they can have.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) estimates that individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury by the age of 25, can expect lifetime treatment costs to be roughly:
- High tetraplegia (C1 to C4 vertebrae): $5,010,748
- Low tetraplegia (C5 to C8 vertebrae): $3,661,165
- Paraplegia: $2,450,234
- Incomplete motor function at any vertebra: $1,674,012
The Different Spinal Cord Injury Levels
The higher the injury is on your spinal cord, the greater the effects.
The spine is divided into four areas:
- Cervical nerves (C1 to C7): This area consists of the vertebrae on the spine closest to the brain. When an injury occurs in this area, the head and neck area above the shoulders are the most vulnerable. Damage to the cervical nerves will usually result in a partial or permanent loss to the sensory functions, and can carry many associated complications.
- Thoracic vertebrae (T1 to T12): This area includes the middle of the spine and controls an individual’s stability, provides support to organs, and allows a person to stand and sit upright. Damage to this area usually affects the upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal muscles.
- Lumbar nerves (L1 to L5): This area comprises the lowest portion of the spinal cord, affecting the hips and legs. Those who suffer an injury in the lumbar region will most likely experience suffering in their ability to lift, bend, turn, and twist. They may experience a decrease in their overall strength.
- Sacral nerves (S1 to S5): This area is located below the lumbar spine and above the tailbone. Injuries that result here often affect the back of the thighs, buttocks, pelvic organs, and the hips. Generally, there is no indication that damage to this area will result in an inability to walk or permanent paralysis, but it can still result in some loss of function to the hips and legs.
Spinal Cord Injury Signs and Symptoms
A critical aspect of a spinal cord injury is that the symptoms can appear rapidly or over time. That is why understanding some of the more common signs and symptoms can help keep you safe. It could also help your attorney pursue maximum damages, once he or she understands the full extent of your injuries and the treatment necessary.
Some of these symptoms can include:
- Muscular problems: Difficulty with coordination, stiff muscles, extreme muscle spasms, exaggerated reflexes.
- Sensory problems: Issues including a reduced sensation to touch, numbness, tingling, and a pins-and-needles feeling.
- Whole body problems: Sweating or feeling faint.
- Urinary issues: Urinary retention or leaking urine.
- Sexual issues: Sexual dysfunction or a problem with fertility.
- Other common problems: Painful or abnormal sensations, bowel problems, shortness of breath, coughing issues, an inability to clear the lungs.
Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits You Might Pursue in Temecula
If your spinal cord injury resulted from a medical professional’s error, or a medical professional directly caused your injury, you may have a claim against them for medical malpractice. In order to succeed in a medical malpractice suit, your attorney must show that the doctor had a duty of care, the doctor breached this duty, you suffered a spinal cord injury as a result, and the breach of duty of care caused your injury.
These medical malpractice suits are often extremely difficult to prove and require an experienced spinal cord injury attorney, like those at Gomez Trial Attorneys, to help.
Medical malpractice suits often require complex evidence that links the doctor’s actions directly to your damage. Our knowledgeable attorneys can gather the necessary evidence to prove causation by reviewing medical procedure notes and relevant medical documents, investigating the doctors involved with your procedure, interviewing those who witnessed the procedure, and consulting with the experts.
If your spinal cord injury resulted from a another individual’s negligent actions or failure to act, the theory of negligence allows you to be compensated for your losses. To succeed on a negligence claim, you must prove the following four elements: the at-fault party (defendant) owed you a duty of care, they breached this duty, you suffered a spinal cord injury as a result, and the breach directly resulted in your injury.
You will need substantial relevant evidence to prove your damages and the other party’s liability. Discussing your case with a spinal cord injury attorney from Gomez Trial Attorneys as soon as possible could help you get the investigation started quickly.
A Dangerously Faulty Product
When you are injured in an accident and believe a product resulted or contributed to the cause of your accident, you may have a product liability case against the manufacturer. In these types of cases, the manufactures can either be held strictly liable for their defective products or they can be found negligent.
However, to proceed with a negligence suit against a manufacturer, you would have to prove the following elements:
- The manufacturer had a duty to sell you a safe product,
- The manufacturer breached its duty because it knew or should have known of the product defect, and
- This defect caused your spinal cord injuries.
Compensation Available in Temecula for Your Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are horrific injuries that can turn life upside down for any victim and their family. These injuries often require lifelong treatments and accommodations that are incredibly costly.
However, if you have been in an accident that resulted in your spinal cord injury and can prove the other party was at fault, you can collect damages under California laws. These damages include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages: These types of damages consist of the quantifiable loss a victim suffers as a result of the accident, and their value does not change depending on the jury that is evaluating them.
- Medical bills (past and future medical expenses, including prescription drugs)
- Lost income (including past and future salaries or wages)
- Lost earning capacity
- Home modifications
- Rehabilitative and vocational training, services, and treatments
- Personal property expenses (car, or any other belongings damaged in the accident)
- Vehicle modifications
- Domestic and attendant care services
- Medicine equipment, including wheelchairs and other mobility devices
- Additional out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages: These types of damages subjective losses are not easily quantifiable, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of enjoyment of activities
- Loss of a limb
- Paralysis and physical impairment
- Loss of reputation
Punitive damages: In California, if the defendant’s actions are especially egregious, the court may award the victim punitive damages. These damages exist to punish the defendant for their actions and deter them, as well as others, from committing the same act again.
Temecula Spinal Cord Injury Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
Did you know that another individual suffers a spinal cord injury every hour of every day? Each year, there are about 17,730 new spinal cord injuries in the United States. The Temecula community in particular makes up a significant number of these individuals suffering with spinal cord injuries each day. These injuries can be devastating and can cause many to become permanently paralyzed or even die.
If you are a Temecula resident dealing with this terrible injury, we know you are going through a tough time, and you probably have many questions and concerns that need answering. For these reasons, below we cover some of the most frequently asked questions that many spinal cord injury victims have. With this information, we hope to show you that you do not have to deal with your injuries alone. Better yet, with the help of an experienced Temecula spinal cord injury attorney, you may also pursue damages that can help you continue to live your life as happily and productively as possible.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury can result when the spinal cord, or any part of the spinal nerves at the end of the spinal canal is damaged. These injuries can result in permanent changes in an individual’s sensations, strength, and other bodily functions below the injury site. These damages not only affect victims physically but also emotionally and mentally.
Is there a cure for a spinal cord injury?
Even though scientists are optimistic that research will advance enough to develop a repair or cure for spinal cord injuries but as of today, there is no cure. Fortunately, there are treatments and rehabilitation programs that allow many patients with spinal cord injuries to lead independent, fruitful lives.
What happens to your body after a spinal cord injury?
The ability to control your limbs after a spinal control injury depends on two factors: the place of the injury on your spinal cord and the severity of that injury.
The severity is classified as complete or incomplete.
- Complete: This means that if you lose all your sensory feelings and all your motor functions below the place of your injury, your spinal cord injury is complete
- Incomplete: In situations where you retain some of your sensory and motor functions below the affected area, this severity is called incomplete.
If your body becomes paralyzed, there are two additional classifications:
- Tetraplegia (or quadriplegia), which results when your hands, arms, legs, trunk and pelvic organs are all affected by the injury; and
- Paraplegia, which occurs when you experience paralysis in part of or all of your legs, pelvic organs, and trunk.
What are some different spinal cord injuries?
Your spinal cord can be damaged in four different sections: the thoracic, lumbar, cervical, and sacral areas. Each of these sections protects different nerve groups that control the body.
The part of the spine that is hurt will dictate which part of the body is affected.
- Sacral injuries: Sacral injuries are injuries that result in the loss of bowel functions, bladder functions, and sexual dysfunction. This injury does not affect the shoulder, arm, or hand functions.
- Cervical injuries: Cervical injuries weaken both the arms and legs or result in paralysis or quadriplegia. This injury affects all parts of the body below the level of injury. Symptoms of this injury include bladder problems, bowel problems, breathing problems, sexual dysfunction, and numbness.
- Thoracic injuries: Thoracic injuries can lead to leg paralysis, bladder problems, bowel problems, sexual dysfunction, and numbness. However, thoracic injuries are less common because the rib cage protects this portion of the spinal cord.
- Lumbar injuries: Lumbar injuries usually lead to paralysis of the legs, bowel problems, bladder problems, sexual dysfunction, and numbness. This injury does not affect the shoulder, arm, or hand functions.
What are the most common symptoms of a spinal cord injury?
If you suffer a spinal cord injury, it is essential you understand some of the common symptoms. Knowing these symptoms will not only help you get the emergency medical treatment that you may need; but it will also help your attorney figure out the full extent of your injuries and treatment plans. All this information is essential for your attorney to pursue the maximum compensation possible.
These common symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Loss of movement
- Lack of coordination
- Extreme back pain or pressure on the head, spine, neck or back
- Altered sensation of your ability to feel cold or heat.
- Loss of function in any part of the body
- Numbness in the feet and hands
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Severe muscle spasms
- Loss of bowel control
- Loss of bladder control
- Difficulty balancing
- Difficulty walking
- Difficulty breathing or coughing
- Stinging in the spinal cord
- Sexual dysfunction, sexual sensitivity, or even fertility issues
- Inability to clear secretions from the lungs or throat
What are some common accidents that result in spinal cord injuries?
Spinal cord injuries can result from many different types of accidents, varying from penetration accidents that cut or sever the spinal cord to traumatic blows that cause the spine to dislocate, compress, or crush a vertebra.
However, according to medical research, the primary causes of spinal cord injuries include the following:
- Falling: Falls usually result in about 31 percent of all spinal cord injuries. However, for those over the age of 65, falling is one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries.
- Vehicle accidents: Cars and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of all spinal cord injuries. These accidents account for almost half of all new spinal cord injuries every year.
- Acts of violence: These violent encounters can make up over 13 percent of all spinal cord injuries and often involve knife wounds or gunshot wounds.
- Sporting injuries: Athletic activities that involve impact sports or diving in shallow water make up about 10 percent of all spinal cord injuries.
- Alcohol: Alcohol can significantly affect the number of spinal cord injuries, so much so that studies have shown that alcohol use is a factor in about one out of every four spinal cord injuries.
What evidence do I need to prove my damages after a spinal cord injury?
If you have been injured in an accident as a result of someone else’s actions, you must bring substantial evidence to prove liability and specific damages in order to collect compensation for your spinal cord injuries.
Usually, this evidence will include:
- Crime scene evidence or accident scene evidence
- Witness Interviews
- Any footage of the accident scene that is available
- Medical Reports
- Information that is taken by the insurance company
- Experts that include accident recreationists, economists, medical doctors, engineers, etc.
Is there a time limit to file my claim in Temecula?
California imposes a two year statute of limitations for personal injury cases. After that, the law bars you from collecting compensation for your injuries. However, this time may shorten or extend depending on the circumstances of the case.
Just because you have two years to file does not mean you should wait. It is best to file a claim as quickly as you can; this can help ensure evidence is not lost, witnesses are available to testify, and memories of the accident do not fade. Do not delay in contacting an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer froom Gomez Trial Attorneys to determine how much time you actually have to file your claim.
Why do you need the help of an experienced spinal cord injury attorney?
Spinal cord injuries are incredibly stressful and complicated. The amount of evidence required to prove damages and fault can make anyone feel defeated. However, you do not have to take on this legal claim alone.
With the help of an experienced Temecula spinal cord injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys, you will have the assistance required to obtain the damages you need and the justice you deserve. Our attorneys will take over the negotiation process, investigate the accident scene as quickly as possible, make sure that claims are filed timely and accurately, and that all aspects of your legal claim are taken care of both in and out of the courtroom.
If you or a family member suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, do not wait any longer. Contact a knowledgeable and skilled Temecula spinal cord injury lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys today.
Why You Want Gomez Trial Attorneys’ Temecula Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Fighting for You
Spinal cord injuries are horrific injuries that can leave victims and their families scrambling and trying to figure out what they need to do to get back to some sort of normalcy. Often, these families are hit with astronomical medical expenses and crushing financial blows due to the additional costs needed to provide the victim with devices and services that can help them get back to living independently. However, all hope is not lost.
Gomez Trial Attorneys are here to provide our clients with the following assistance:
- Collect evidence: No matter how your spinal cord injury happened, we can conduct a thorough investigation of the accident. We will interview relevant witnesses, try to obtain any footage of the accident, and consult with our experts—including medical doctors, engineers, and economists—who can help us prove liability and damages.
- Communications: We know that the insurance company or the defendant may try to low-ball the settlement offer. They might throw out a number that will not cover all of your costs and future expenses. However, with our assistance, we could help fight for the amount you deserve while taking over all the communications with them and ensuring you are treated with fairness and respect from all parties.
- Heading to trial, if needed: We want to fight for what is fair for you, and if that means taking your case to trial, we are ready. We can handle all aspects of these legal proceedings and help ensure that you understand the whole process from start to finish.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury at the hands of another person or entity, you should not have to shoulder the pain, hurt, and expenses alone. Contact Gomez Trial Attorneys or dial (619) 237-3490 today, and let us help you go after the justice you need and the compensation you deserve.
Gomez Trial Attorneys
27720 Jefferson Avenue
Temecula, CA 92590
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