San Diego Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
With our crowded roadways and busy urban settings, one person’s negligence or wrongdoing can have a lifelong impact on another person’s quality of life. A reckless person who was replying to a text while driving could leave a pedestrian or another driver paralyzed. Or a shop owner could fail to fix a broken handrail, causing a customer to fall and dislocate a vertebra.
The legal team at jD LAW, understand that you may be in shock after a spinal cord injury and are unsure about how to move forward with a mountain of medical expenses. But if you have been a victim of spinal cord injury caused by the negligence of another, you are entitled to pursue compensation to cover the full extent of your losses and set your life on a better path. Contact us at (760) 630-2000 to review all options available to you.
Damage to the spine can occur in any number of scenarios, but the key element is blunt force trauma. A large amount of force and pressure can dislocate, bruise, or crush the spine’s vertebrae and nerves, resulting in pain, discomfort, loss of flexibility, and paralysis. Even if the spine isn’t directly injured in an accident, untreated internal bleeding or swelling can build up and affect the spinal cord. Other than blunt force trauma, lacerations or penetrations of the spinal column can also damage the nerves and connective tissue of the spine.
These types of trauma can occur due to:
- Auto accidents, which are the number one cause of spinal cord injury, account for up to 38% of all injuries, as stated by the National Spinal Cord Statistical Center.
- Falls, even from heights as low as 6 feet, can push vertebrae out of place, or crush them if the surface below is hard enough. The same research by the NSCSC found that falls result in 31% of all spinal cord injuries.
- Acts of violence are responsible for more than 13% of spinal cord injuries. These violent encounters most commonly involve gunshot wounds, followed in frequency by knife wounds.
- Sports injuries account for approximately 8% of all spinal cord injuries. Athletes most at risk include those involved in impact sports or those who dive into shallow water.
The degree of disability caused by spinal cord injury depends primarily on two main factors:
- What part of the spinal cord was injured; and
- How severely the spinal cord was damaged.
Where Did the Damage Occur?
After a spinal cord injury, doctors will assess the extent of the damage to the spine and assign a neurological level, which refers to the area that has the least amount of function. If an injury affects motor control over the arms or feeling in the toes, then the doctors will check for damage in the relevant vertebrae. Cases involving paralysis will depend on how high or low on the spine the damage occurred.
- Paraplegia: In this case, paralysis affects the legs, pelvic organs, and all or part of the trunk. These regions are controlled by the lower portions of the spine.
- Tetraplegia: This condition, also called quadriplegia, is caused by spinal cord injury higher on the spine. With tetraplegia, paralysis affects the legs, pelvic organs, trunk, hands, and arms.
How Is the Severity of a SCI Classified?
Spinal cord injury is classified as complete or incomplete. A person with complete spinal cord injury has lost all motor function (ability to control movement) and sensory function (feeling) below the neurological level of the injury. A person who has some motor or sensory function below the level of the injury has incomplete spinal cord damage. Degrees of incomplete spinal cord injury can vary widely.
Any type of spinal cord injury will require extensive medical treatment. Victims will need emergency care, rehabilitation, and ongoing care to deal with related health issues. Complications of spinal cord injuries may include:
- Risk of urinary tract infections
- Susceptibility to pressure sores
- Circulatory problems, such as low blood pressure, swelling of the extremities, and deep vein thrombosis
- Respiratory issues, if the abdominal and chest muscles are affected by paralysis and make it difficult to breathe
- Loss of muscle tone or spasticity (uncontrolled tightening or motion of the muscles)
- Weight loss, muscle atrophy, and risk of obesity from limited mobility
- Sexual health and fertility issues
If you have suffered spinal cord injury in a car crash, a motorcycle accident, a slip and fall, or any accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is in your best interests to speak with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Most personal health care plans will still leave you with a large amount of medical bills after a catastrophic injury, and the at-fault party’s insurance policy will try and minimize liability.
At jD LAW, you will find San Diego personal injury lawyers who are dedicated to fighting for the full compensation you deserve. Founding attorney, James N. Dicks, is a former Los Angeles Police Department investigator who has vigorously and successfully defended the rights of personal injury victims throughout the San Diego area. Call us at (760) 630-2000 to schedule a free consultation. We can discuss your options under the law.
- The Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury
- Spinal Cord Injury - MedlinePlus
- Spinal Cord Injury Information Page - NIH
Don’t Wait A Second Longer
When you have been injured, or a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another, you need legal help. Contact jD LAW, today to get the justice you deserve.