Spinal Cord Injuries
San Antonio Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Spinal cord injuries are physically, emotionally, and financially traumatic not only for the victims, but for the victim’s family too. Catastrophic injuries like these often result in thousands of dollars in medical bills. So not only is the victim left with the stress of little to no mobility, but they’re also left with crushing medical debt and often no job to pay off this debt. This stress is often compounded if a negligent party is the one who caused the injury. If you or someone you love is in this impossible situation, you need a spinal cord injury lawyer from Janicek Law on your side. We will listen to your story and help you recover financial compensation through a spinal cord injury lawsuit. Call us today at 210-366-4949 for a free consultation.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)?
A spinal cord injury is a type of catastrophic injury. An SCI is basically severe damage to the spinal column and spinal nerves, often caused by a traumatic blow to the head, neck, or back. Many spinal cord injury victims never fully recover due to the amount of nerve damage and spinal cord damage.
The spinal cord and all the surrounding nerves are responsible for almost all of our bodily movements and sensations. If a serious accident interrupts the “messages” that the nerves and spinal cord send to the rest of the body, victims can suffer from some form of paralysis for the rest of their lives.
How Common are Spinal Cord Injuries in the U.S.?
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), approximately 17,000 spinal cord injury cases occur annually in the United States. But the organization estimates that 450,000 Americans are currently living with spinal cord injuries.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries:
- Complete Spinal Cord Injury: A complete injury basically paralyzes everything below where the injury occurred. For example, if the injury occurs in the cervical spine (the neck), victims will experience paralysis from the neck down. The AANS claims that at least 50% of all spinal injuries are complete.
- Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: Meanwhile, victims with an incomplete injury still have some function below their injury site. Most people with an incomplete injury are considered partially paralyzed. So they may be able to move 1 arm or 1 leg below their injury.
Spinal cord injuries are also categorized by the severity of the injury. The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) has a grading scale which is listed below.
- ASIA A is basically a complete spinal cord injury. Below the injury site, the victim is completely paralyzed.
- ASIA B is a sensory incomplete spinal cord injury. With this type of injury, the victim experiences a complete loss of motor function.
- ASIA C is a motor incomplete spinal injury. Victims with this type of injury may have some movement, however, some of their muscle groups can lift against the gravitational force with a full range of motion. In other words, the victims have muscle groups that are anti-gravity.
- ASIA D is another type of motor incomplete injury. The main difference between this injury and the last is that the majority of victims’ muscle groups are anti-gravity.
- ASIA E is basically no spinal injury at all. The person can function and move normally.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury occurs from some kind of traumatic accident. The most common causes of a spinal cord injury are:
- Car accidents, which is the leading cause of a spinal injury for Americans under the age of 65 according to the AANS
- Slip and fall accidents, which is the leading cause of a spinal injury for Americans over the age of 65
- Sports injuries
- Medical malpractice incidents such as surgical errors or medication errors
- Diving into the shallow part of a pool
- Domestic violence incidents, such as shootings and stabbings
- Any incident that causes violent, sudden twisting of the head, neck, or back
Symptoms of a Spinal Injury
If you’ve just endured a car accident, for example, and you begin to experience the symptoms listed below, seek medical care immediately. You may have suffered a catastrophic injury to your spine.
- Difficulty walking or a complete inability to walk
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Tingling and numbness in the limbs, fingers, and toes
- Difficulty moving the limbs or a complete inability to move the arms or legs
- Pressure and pain in the neck and back
- Unnatural positioning of the head, neck, or back
- Difficulty breathing
Can You Suffer From a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and a Spinal Cord Injury At The Same Time?
Yes, it’s very possible to suffer from a TBI and an SCI at the same time, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. In fact, a 2013 study estimates that up to 74% of spinal cord injury victims also suffer from traumatic brain injuries.
For example, if a person dove head-first into the shallow end of a pool, they likely hit their head really hard on the cement bottom while also damaging their spinal cord. In this case, the person would likely have symptoms of both catastrophic injuries. The same set of injuries can occur in a car accident, a violent assault, or even a sports accident.
Spinal Cord Injury Damages
Both complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries are expensive, to say the least. A spinal cord injury can result in thousands of dollars in medical costs, hospital bills, equipment costs, medication costs, etc. for the rest of the person’s life. The CDC estimates that spinal cord injuries alone cost Americans a combined $9.7 billion annually. This exorbitant amount of medical debt is even worse when someone else’s negligence caused such injuries.
That’s why personal injury attorneys at Janicek Law fight so aggressively for SCI victims to recover compensation for their damages. When you hire our experienced legal team, we’ll help you recover damages for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future rehabilitative expenses
- Caregiver or emotional support animal (ESA) expenses
- Expenses associated with necessary medical equipment such as motorized chairs, braces, etc.
- Lost wages
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of enjoyment of daily life
- Funeral and burial expenses if the SCI resulted in wrongful death
Texas Statute of Limitations for a Spinal Cord Injury Claim
Because spinal cord injuries fall under the umbrella of personal injury, the Texas statute of limitations for an SCI case will be the same as any other personal injury case. Victims of serious injuries have two years from the day of their accident to file a personal injury lawsuit against the negligent party. So if you’re seeking spinal cord injury compensation, it’s best to contact a personal injury lawyer at Janicek Law as soon as possible.
How San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyers Can Help You With Your Spinal Cord Injury Case
When you hire a personal injury attorney, they’ll do much more in your legal case than just help you recover fair compensation for your medical bills and suffering. They will basically handle all the legal stress so that you and your family can focus solely on recovering physically, emotionally, and financially from your severe injuries.
An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will also handle all communications between your insurance company and the negligent party’s insurance company. These types of communications are generally a big concern for SCIs caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Another big part of any personal injury legal case is determining negligence. In some cases, it’s obvious who’s at fault. Meanwhile, in other cases, spinal cord injury lawyers have to bring in accident reconstructionists and qualified medical experts to help them figure out how the injury actually occurred.
Our legal team will also use the four elements of negligence to determine who’s at fault.
- Duty of Care: Every person owes each other a specific duty of care on the roads, in hospitals, in assisted living facilities, etc.
- Breached Duty of Care: A person breached this duty of care by causing a major accident, therefore putting one or more people in a dangerous situation.
- Causation: The victim suffered a spinal cord injury as a direct result of the negligent party’s breached duty of care.
- Damages: The victim suffered a variety of damages due to their SCI for which they deserve adequate compensation.