Long Beach Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Residents of Southern California need to make sure they don’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes or carelessness. When people suffer spinal injuries, they need competent legal representation to secure the compensation they need to keep going. Spinal cord injuries almost always entail some level of permanent damage, so injured victims need to find a reliable Long Beach spinal cord injury lawyer to maximize their lawsuit awards and afford ongoing medical care and disability relief.
The spinal cord carries signals from the brain to the rest of the body. While the spine controls conscious actions such as moving the arms and legs, it also sends signals from the brain that regulate unconscious processes like digestion and breathing. When the spinal cord sustains injuries, it does not have the ability to heal itself like the rest of the body. A severe spinal cord injury can leave a victim partially or completely paralyzed.
How Much is My Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth?
There is no way to determine the exact amount that a spinal cord injury case will be worth without conducting a complete investigation into the incident. The total value of these cases is incredibly difficult to determine because these injuries often result in significant long term consequences for a victim.
When we turn to data available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that the first year of medical care for a spinal cord injury victim can range from approximately $360,000 to more than $1.1 million, depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury.
However, the true costs of a spinal cord injury are going to be much higher than this. We must take into account various other expenses, such as:
- Each following year of medical costs (which can range from $44,000 to $200,000)
- Any costs to modify vehicles or homes to aid mobility
- The cost of traveling to and from spinal cord injury specialists
- Lost income if a victim cannot work due to disability
- Lost income of a family member who may have to become a caregiver
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord extends from the base of the brain down to the tailbone at the bottom of the spinal column. The cord is encased in multiple protective, flexible layers, and allowed to bend thanks to the vertebrae, the bones around the cord that run from the skull to the pelvic bone. Between each vertebra is a softer disc that acts as a cushion, affording the spine shock absorption while protecting the spinal cord within.
Some spinal cord injuries manifest over time with repetitive movements, as seen by our Long Beach spinal cord injury attorneys. Athletes and people who engage in regular intense physical activity may experience back pain over time thanks to the discs between their vertebrae wearing thin or bulging. While this may not sound very extreme, chronic back pain is extremely difficult to manage without medication, and people who develop degenerative back problems because of their work may be able to claim damages in personal injury suits.
A more straightforward kind of spinal injury would be any traumatic impact that damages or severs the spinal cord. Depending on how high on the spine the injury occurred, the extensiveness of the damage will differ. For example, a spinal cord injury right above the level of the hips may lead to impaired walking or problems with bowel control, while an injury right below the base of the skull could leave the victim completely paralyzed and entirely dependent on machines to continue breathing and processing nutrition.
Filing a Spinal Injury Lawsuit and Pursuing Damages
As you can see, spinal cord injuries are serious, and even mild ones can lead to astronomical medical expenses and other damages. When you work with a Long Beach personal injury attorney, he or she will advise you about what type of case to pursue. Depending on who or what caused the injury, your lawsuit could take many different forms.
For example, a spinal cord injury resulting from a drunk driver crashing into you will typically lead to a personal injury lawsuit. The defendant may also face punitive damages or criminal charges in addition to your civil action. You may be also able to file a lawsuit if you have been in a serious car accident, motorcycle accident, or bicycle accident in Long Beach. If a faulty vehicle part is the culprit, you may have to file a product liability claim in Long Beach against the part manufacturer or the technician who installed it. Your lawsuit could take many forms, and you’re likely facing multiple damages from the person or party responsible. An experienced attorney will be your best hope of reaching a satisfactory result.
What are the Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Turning again to the data provided by the NSCISC, we can see that there are various causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States. This includes the following (percentages taken from data gathered from 2015 to 2019):
- Vehicle accidents (39.3%)
- Falls (31.8%)
- Violence (13.5%)
- Sports and recreation incidents (8.0%)
- Medical or surgical mistakes (4.3%)
- Other (3.1%)
What are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?
When most people think of spinal cord injuries, the images they conjure in their heads immediately relate to paralysis. It is true that many spinal cord injuries result in some form of paralysis for a victim. This can be complete paralysis (quadriplegia) or partial paralysis (tetraplegia). The extent of the damage to the spinal cord determines whether the paralysis is complete or incomplete.
The following are the most common signs and symptoms that an acute spinal cord injury has occurred. However, every individual may experience may experience these symptoms differently:
- Breathing problems
- Loss of voluntary muscle movements in the legs, arms, and chest
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of feeling in the legs, arms, or chest
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
The signs and symptoms of many spinal cord injuries often resemble other medical conditions or problems. It is vital that any person who suspects they may have sustained a spinal cord injury seek immediate medical care so that a doctor can conduct a complete evaluation and make a diagnosis.
What is the Time Limit to File a Spinal Cord Injury Claim in Long Beach, CA?
Spinal cord injury victims and their families will have a limited amount of time to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in their case. The California personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date the injury occurs. This means that victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party. If they fail to file a claim within this timeframe, they will likely lose the ability to recover any compensation for their losses.
Contact a Long Beach Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
At our law firm, we believe in aggressively defending our clients’ rights and ensuring we explore every possible avenue of compensation available in Southern California on our clients’ behalf. Harting Simkins & Ryan, LLP is dedicated to providing our clients in Long Beach, CA, with the full range of our experience and resources for spinal cord injury cases. Reach out to us to schedule a consultation, and we can let you know what you can expect from a lawsuit.