The spine is the body’s central support structure that keeps us upright, connects parts of the skeleton to each other, and protects the delicate spinal cord in its center. Injuries to the spine can damage the spinal cord and lead to paralysis. If you have suffered spinal injuries through the negligence of another, call Hanson & Mouri in Riverside, CA as soon as possible. We can help you pursue the maximum compensation for your losses.
A spinal injury can be devastating in every aspect of your life. You may be unable to work, care for your family, or perform day-to-day tasks that were once easy. With so much on the line and the considerable losses you may suffer, it is crucial to get help from an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer. A trusted attorney will handle your case while you recover and ensure you receive the amount of compensation you need to be financially secure now and in the future.
Spinal injuries often require lifelong care, which can make it challenging to estimate your claim’s value. An attorney has the resources to investigate your case and hire expert witnesses such as a forensic accountant and a medical expert, who you may need to weigh in on estimating your future losses and required treatment costs. When it comes time to negotiate with an insurance company, your lawyer will have your best interests at heart. Insurance companies employ highly experienced adjusters who will know the value of your claim but will attempt to deny or devalue it. Your attorney will protect your rights and will not accept a settlement offer that doesn’t compensate you completely.
How a spinal cord injury lawyer determines fault will depend upon the specifics of your case. They will conduct an investigation to collect evidence, possibly reconstruct your accident, identify all potentially liable parties, then make a final determination. After gathering enough evidence in support of your claim, your lawyer will present it to the responsible party. Examples of evidence can include:
The at-fault party will typically have liability insurance, which means the insurance company will complete their own investigation of the facts and make a decision regarding liability. If the insurer finds their policyholder is at fault, they may offer you a settlement. The first settlement offer is typically much lower than the actual value of your claim.
On the other hand, the liable party may not have insurance and may disagree that they are responsible. In that situation, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against them personally. Whether you will recover compensation will then depend on the jury and if the defendant has any assets.
Spinal cord injuries are categorized in two different levels – complete and incomplete.
Seek medical attention for any type of injury to your spinal cord, especially if you experience the following emergency symptoms:
Other common symptoms that signal a spinal injury are:
The level of a spinal cord injury determines which section of the spinal cord sustained trauma. As stated by Shepherd Center, there are four sections of the spine – cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral. Spinal cord injuries in different sections can affect different areas of the body as follows:
The cervical section of the spine is responsible for sending signals to the hands, arms, shoulders, neck, back of the head, and down the diaphragm. A cervical spinal cord injury commonly results in quadriplegia, which causes paralysis in the arms, legs, and torso, dramatically impacting a victim’s daily life.
Upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal muscles are affected by thoracic spinal cord injuries. The thoracic region of the spinal cord transmits signals to the back muscles and some parts of the abdomen. Thoracic spinal cord injuries rarely occur compared to other spinal injuries because the rib cage protects most of this area.
The lumbar section carries signals to the lower back, abdomen, external genital organs, and buttocks. Injuries affect the hips and legs. Damage to the lumbar region of the spine can lead to a specific type of injury called paraplegia, which is paralysis of the legs.
The hips, buttocks, pelvic organs, and backs of the thighs are affected and can be paralyzed by sacral spinal cord injuries. Similar to a lumbar spinal injury, victims often suffer a loss of control over bladder and bowel movements and sometimes sexual dysfunction.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. are:
Even minor damage to the spine can cost a fortune to treat. Making it all the more vital to hire an experienced lawyer who can make sure you recover the amount of compensation you will need for a lifetime of care.
The table below shows the average yearly expenses and lifetime costs associated with a spinal cord injury based on the age when the injury occurred, courtesy of NSCISC.
|Injury Severity||Avg First Year
25 Years Old
50 Years Old
(C1-C4) AIS ABC
(C5-C8) AIS ABC
at Any Level AIS D
These figures are estimates based on the costs of medical care and living expenses for spinal cord injury victims. Those costs include, for example, hospitalization(s), medical consultations, surgery, alternative medical treatments, rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical devices, and caregiving. However, the above-listed amounts do not include other injury-related costs, such as lost wages, employee benefits, and productivity. The NSCISC states that these costs, on average, can add up to over $78,000 per year for victims.
A spinal cord injury can be financially devastating. California law allows a personal injury victim to seek multiple forms of compensation or damages from the person or entity responsible for their harm. The types of damages that are available include compensatory damages for economic and non-economic losses. For instance:
In some cases, exemplary damages may be available. These are also known as punitive damages, and they are only awarded in cases involving a defendant who acted egregiously or exhibited gross forms of negligence.
Spinal injury claims are high-stakes cases involving substantial damages and complex medical and legal issues. If you have suffered spinal injury, it is in your best interests to get an experienced personal injury attorney on your side right away. Contact Hanson & Mouri today for effective legal representation in your spinal injury case.