More than 17,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries every year. Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are classified as any injury to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal that results in reduced mobility, whether it is temporary or permanent. A sudden blow or cut to the spine can case a traumatic SCI, which often results in a permanent loss of strength, sensation, and function below the site of the injury.
Most people hear “spinal cord injury” and envision a severed spinal cord, but for most SSCI victims, the spinal cord remains intact and is simply bruised. Motor vehicle accidents, worksite incidents, sports injuries, and falls can lead to SCIs and the need for a spinal cord injury lawyer.
There is no cure for severe spinal cord injuries, but research is rapidly progressing in testing surgical and drug therapies. Drug treatments to halt the progression of paralysis, decompression surgery, nerve cell transplantation, nerve regeneration, and complex drug therapies are all being explored thoroughly as ways to treat SCIs. In some cases, doctors can recover motor function and sensation, at least in part, through a combination of physical therapy and by simply waiting for the effects of the injury to recede. Drug therapies combined with a spinal cord injury lawyer can help you get the compensation you deserve and get back on your feet sooner.
Today, more than 1.2 million Americans struggle through day-to-day life with paralysis from an SCI. The overwhelming majority of SCI victims are male. The average age at injury has trended older recently: from 29 in 1970 to 42 years old in 2017. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of SCIs, followed by sports-related injuries – which account for more injuries in children and teenagers – falls, and acts of violence. Victims of spinal cord injuries may suffer serious physical, emotional, and financial damages.
If you need help, please contact a spinal cord injury attorney at Burg Simpson by calling (720) 500-5995 or filling out our FREE case evaluation form.
Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries
As with any other medical or rehabilitative treatment, the associated costs far outpace inflation. Every year, paralysis costs the health care system billions of dollars. Spinal cord injuries alone cost the system approximately $40.5 billion a year, which is more than a 300 percent increase in the past 20 years – from $9.7 billion in 1998.
As a result, people living with paralysis or any time of SCI are often unable to keep or attain health insurance that sufficiently covers the complex secondary or chronic conditions commonly linked with paralysis. Because, as experts point out, an SCI is much more than a one-time incident. The original injury damages or kills nerve cells in the spine, but hours and possibly days after, a torrent of other events can take place, including a loss of oxygen and a release of toxic chemicals at the injury site. These secondary events can damage the spinal cord even more.
Types of Damage Claims for Spinal Cord Injuries
Whether the injury occurred as a result of a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, a defective product, or a work-related accident, you need a law firm with the resources and experienced spinal cord injury lawyers like Burg Simpson. We are capable of handling complex lawsuits and recovering the compensation you deserve. Each of these serious injuries can lead to damages for:
- Disability: These damages are established by medical testimony. A doctor must examine a plaintiff claiming permanent disability and establish that objectively.
- Disfigurement: When an accident or injury has left someone deformed, typically from scars, the victim might be entitled to damages for any mental suffering as a result.
- Loss of enjoyment of life: This is defined as a diminished ability to enjoy the day-to-day activities of life.
- Loss of income: This can include both the wages lost during recovery as well as any potential future income.
- Medical expenses: Bills and expenses for medical services, such as doctors, hospital stays, emergency room treatment, ambulance fees, and nursing services. This is also includes future medical expenses, if proven that the victim will need ongoing medical care.
- Mental distress: This can consist of mental or emotional suffering connected to the SCI. Mental distress can include fright, terror, apprehension, nervousness, anxiety, worry, humiliation, mortification, feeling of lost dignity, embarrassment, grief, and shock.
- Pain and suffering: An award for past (and future) physical pain as a result of the injury. This is typically determined, in part, by the nature of the injury, the certainty of future pain, its severity, and how long the plaintiff is expected to be in pain.
These damages can be split into two categories of damages, economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are intended to compensate financial losses. These can include such quantifiable things like loss of current and potential earnings, medical bills and other expenses, and loss of employment or business opportunities.
Non-economic damages are compensation for more subjective, non-financial losses, such as emotional trauma, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other less-tangible losses.
Finally, there are punitive damages, which reference damages awarded as a deterrent and imposed as a punishment. Punitive damages are not considering either economic or non-economic since they are not meant as compensation.
Additional Health Concerns for Denver Spinal Cord Injury Victims
Most severe injuries – especially spinal cord wounds – can cause damages that go well beyond the initial injury and medical costs. SCIs can lead to a number of complications, also known as secondary conditions, such as:
- Autonomic dysreflexia: A potentially life-threatening condition triggered by an irritant below the injury. Symptoms can include high blood pressure, pounding headache, flushed face, sweating above the level of injury, gooseflesh below the level of the injury, nasal stuffiness, nausea, and a slow pulse.
- Deep vein thrombosis: SCI victims are at risk for deep vein thrombosis from the beginning. Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body, usually in the lower leg or thigh.
- Sepsis: Also called blood poisoning, this is a life-threatening illness most SCI victims are prone to because of the body’s hampered ability to defend itself. Symptoms typically include infection, fever, and elevated heart and respiratory rates.
- Side effects of paralysis: These aftereffects include bladder and bowel control, respiratory health issues and spasticity, which can range from mild muscle stiffness to extreme random leg movement.
Finally, there is the emotional toll SCIs can take, which can sometimes be too much for victims. That is just one of the many reasons it is critical for you to reach out to an experience spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible following a severe injury case, to help establish what your damages are and help you go about recovering them from the party responsible.
How Partial Fault Is Handled in Spinal Cord Injury Cases
Most states – and courts – recognize the legal concept of comparative negligence, which apportions parts of responsibility based on portions of liability. In other words, each party shares responsibility for the accident and is then assigned a percentage of that fault. For example, if the injured party is found to be 10 percent at fault, and another party 90 percent, the injured party can still recover 90 percent of the assigned damages.
The concept of comparative negligence, and all its various iterations, can be overwhelmingly complicated. If you or a family member have been seriously injured or killed in an accident or through medical malpractice, or because of a defective product, you will need an experienced serious personal injury lawyer to represent you. Burg Simpson has the experience and resources to ensure you can recover the damages you deserve for your injuries and losses.
Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today
Burg Simpson represents spinal cord injury victims nationwide. Our personal injury lawyers have in-depth knowledge of spinal cord injury lawsuits, and our firm has the resources to handle the most complex cases.
To learn more about personal injury cases, and more specifically, spinal cord injuries, call our spinal cord injury attorneys. Call us at (866) 344-7582 or fill out our FREE case evaluation form now.