Spinal cord injuries can debilitate people. If you suffered a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence, you know how traumatic that is. Your spinal cord is an integral part of your body’s messaging system, and because of the critical role it plays in your healthy functioning, any injury can lead to serious impairments. Contact the San Antonio spinal cord injury lawyers at The Law Offices of George Salinas to learn more.
Your Spinal Cord
Your spinal cord consists of a nerve network that traverses the middle of your back from your brain’s base to near your waist. These nerves make up a messaging system that sends crucial physical commands throughout your body and allows you to experience physical sensations and control your bodily movements.
Your spinal column consists of 33 vertebrae (small bones) that protect your spinal cord. Small cushions, or gel-filled discs, sit between and protect your vertebrae and keep them from rubbing together. Ligaments connect your vertebrae, and muscles and tendons surround and support your spinal column.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury that someone else’s negligence caused, you need skilled legal guidance. The personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas have the experience and knowledge to guide your claim toward its most favorable outcome.
A traumatic blow to the spinal cord or spinal column can lead to a partial or complete loss of sensation and function in the part of your body that the injured area controls (typically, areas below the injury). Significant loss of feeling is known as paralysis. The four primary categories of paralysis include:
- Paraplegia – paralysis below the waist, which can result in the loss of all or nearly all feeling in the legs and hips
- Quadriplegia – paralysis below the neck that usually affects all the organs and limbs at and below the injury site
- Hemiplegia – paralysis of the limbs on one side of the body
- Monoplegia – paralysis of a single area of the body, such as an arm or leg
Any form of paralysis is debilitating and can lead to significant physical, emotional, and financial devastation.
Incomplete and Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
The difference between complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries is critical. A complete injury obstructs all signals from the brain to the body (at and below the injury site), and some paralysis is nearly inevitable. Incomplete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, allow some functioning to remain at and below the injury site. Those who suffer from these incomplete injuries can usually continue to regain functioning for about a year and a half (or even longer) after the accident.
Living with paralysis of any kind, however, is costly, and such injuries frequently cause complex secondary or chronic health conditions that health insurance companies don’t adequately cover.
Spinal cord injuries can also lead to vertebral disc disorders. A herniated disc occurs when you tear or rupture one of the gel-filled discs between your vertebrae, which causes the gel-like filling to leak out and put pressure on the nerves within your spinal cord. A bulging disc protrudes (rather than spills) into your spinal canal and pinches the nerves therein.
These serious spinal cord injuries can cause pain and incapacitation. If you were in an accident that injured your back, neck, or head, seek immediate medical attention.
Complications Associated with Spinal Cord Injuries
Additional health issues can complicate spinal cord injuries:
- Lung diseases and disorders
- Spasticity or tightening of muscles
- Urinary tract infections
- Pressure sores
- Depression and anxiety (which, in addition to physical impairments, can especially debilitate victims)
Signs of Serious Injuries
Take every spinal injury seriously, but look for signs that indicate major injuries:
- If you experience extreme pain
- If you lose bodily strength or coordination
- If you experience tingling or numbness in an area of your body
- If you lose bowel or bladder control
If you experience any of these symptoms after an accident, you need immediate medical attention.
Spinal Cord Injuries: The Costs
Every spinal cord injury—like every accident—is unique. If you suffered a spinal cord injury, however, you understand how traumatic that can be. Furthermore, the extensive expenses associated with these injuries may include:
- Medical treatments
- Assisted living during recovery (or long-term)
- Adaptive home modifications
- Adaptive vehicle modifications
- Ongoing physical therapy
- Counseling for emotional trauma
Spinal cord injuries can so overwhelm people that they can’t envision the comprehensive physical, emotional, and financial costs that they will face.
In fact, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) finds that during the first year after their injuries alone, spinal cord injury victims can incur expenses that range from about $350,000 to more than $1 million. Furthermore, during the course of their lifetimes, some sufferers will accrue nearly $5,000,000 in injury-related expenses. Spinal cord injury victims face daunting costs.
San Antonio Spinal Cord Injury FAQ
Did you know that somewhere between 250,000 and 450,000 people in the United States are currently living with a spinal cord injury? According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, another 17,000 people receive a new diagnosis every year. For the overwhelming majority of people, these injuries are permanent.
There are various causes for spinal cord injuries, but a large number of them come down to negligence. Motor vehicle accidents, recreational accidents, and falls are among the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. If you have sustained a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence, it’s important to understand your rights. You may qualify for financial compensation.
Here, we discuss some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to spinal cord injuries. If you have specific questions regarding your injuries and your right to seek compensation, contact an experienced San Antonio spinal cord injury attorney.
What are the signs of a spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injuries can threaten your life, but sometimes, symptoms don’t appear right away. If you suspect you may have suffered a spinal cord injury, get to an emergency care provider right away.
Common symptoms of spinal cord injuries include:
- Loss of movement;
- Loss of sensation;
- Loss of bowel or bladder control;
- Extreme back pain;
- Difficulty walking; and
- Difficulty breathing.
For a complete list of symptoms and advice about when to see a doctor, visit the Mayo Clinic online.
I think (or know) my San Antonio spinal cord injury was caused by someone else. What do I do?
Under Texas law, you may have the right to financial compensation if your injuries are the result of someone else’s actions (or inaction). However, it’s important to take prompt action and provide sufficient evidence for your claim.
Your exact actions will depend on the events leading up to your injuries, but a few steps to keep in mind include:
- Seek immediate medical attention: Spinal cord injuries are extremely dangerous. It’s important to take your injuries seriously. As soon as you begin to experience symptoms, go to the emergency room, or call a doctor.
- Report the incident: If you were in a car accident, you may need to file a police report. If the cops arrived at the scene, they likely took care of this step for you. If your injuries happened at a place of business or a personal residence, let the owner or a person in charge know what happened. This will not only help establish your claim but also allow that person to remedy any dangerous situations that may still exist.
- Contact an experienced San Antonio spinal cord injury attorney: According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the average cost of the first year of treatment for a spinal cord injury can range from $347,484 to over $1 million. This does not include indirect costs such as lost wages. This extreme burden is not one you should bear on your own. Our experienced San Antonio spinal cord injury attorneys can help you gather evidence to prove your claim and help you pursue a fair and just settlement to cover the current and future costs of your care.
How do I prove another party is at fault in my San Antonio spinal cord injury case?
Fault is an important component of your San Antonio spinal cord injury case. Unfortunately, sometimes this requires a fight. Faced with a San Antonio spinal cord injury lawsuit or increased insurance rates, the other party may not want to admit liability.
Your attorney, however, has many ways to prove your case:
- Physical evidence: Were you in a motor vehicle accident? Did you slip and fall at a place of business? In either circumstance, there is likely physical evidence. For a motor vehicle accident, this may include a police report, vehicle damage, or even dashcam footage. For a slip and fall accident, there may be an accident report or surveillance footage of your fall.
- Witness testimony: Witnesses can provide a lot of information about an accident. Even if you couldn’t get the name of any witnesses at the time of your injury, your attorney may track them down and use their testimony in your case.
- Your medical records: In some cases, a person may admit there was an incident but deny that it caused your injuries. Your medical records can help show the degree of your injuries, how they happened, and whether they are new or previously-existing injuries.
Will I have to go to court to recover damages after my San Antonio spinal cord injury?
The short answer is maybe. The goal is to settle your case out of court. However, this may not be possible if you and the other party can’t come to a settlement agreement. In this case, your attorney will argue your case in court where a jury will make the final decision.
How long do I have to file a San Antonio spinal cord injury case?
In Texas, victims have two years from the date of injury to file a San Antonio spinal cord injury lawsuit. Note that even if the effects of your injuries were delayed, the statute of limitations begins on the date of your accident. There are very few exceptions to this rule. If you believe you have a case and it is past the two-year mark, it is still a good idea to talk to our San Antonio spinal cord injury attorneys.
Do I need a San Antonio spinal cord injury attorney?
Spinal cord injuries are extreme circumstances. These injuries can completely change your life and have a significant effect on you physically, emotionally, and financially. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to sit down and talk to an attorney and discuss your case.
A spinal cord injury can bring up a lot of emotions. It’s okay to lean on others. While it may seem like everything is out of control, you can take control of your San Antonio spinal cord injury case. Don’t wait to get the care you deserve. If you have questions or need help with the next steps, contact our experienced San Antonio spinal cord injury attorneys.
If You Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury, Contact a Skilled San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer Today
Spinal cord injuries are serious, and they can lead to lifelong health battles. If someone else’s negligence left you with a spinal cord injury, you need a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with experience defending these always-complicated claims. Because such injuries often lead to ongoing and costly treatments and care, you need to fight for your legal rights and your rightful compensation. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at The Law Offices of George Salinas have the skill, commitment, and compassion to help navigate your claim toward the beneficial resolution to which you’re entitled. Please contact or call us at (210) 225-0909 to schedule an appointment today.
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