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Riverside Spinal Injury Lawyer

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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.

Why Choose Our Firm?

  • We are seasoned litigators and effective advocates who understand that larger settlements come with being prepared to try cases. Our firm has never lost a litigated case, and we will not hesitate to take your case to trial if necessary to pursue the compensation you deserve.
  • Our founding partner was formerly an insurance defense attorney for more than a decade. Consequently, we know how insurance companies think, act, and settle claims, and we use that to your advantage.
  • We are compassionate and care for our clients and give them personal attention from start to finish. You will meet with an attorney, not a paralegal or assistant. We return all phone calls and stay in close communication with our clients.

Riverside spinal cord injury lawyer

How Can a Spinal Injury Attorney Help?

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 Does a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Determine Fault?

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:

  • Pictures of the accident scene and the area surrounding it.
  • Obtaining a copy of the police report if there is one.
  • Any available surveillance footage. 
  • Collecting medical records, including your physician’s or a medical expert’s prognosis regarding potential long-term injuries.
  • Collecting pay stubs and other proof of lost income. 
  • Subpoenaing witnesses. 

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. 

Levels of Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are categorized in two different levels – complete and incomplete.

  • Complete spinal cord injury causes permanent damage. Tetraplegia or paraplegia result from this level of injury.
  • Incomplete spinal cord injury means partial damage to the spinal cord. There is some remaining sensation and ability to move. How much depends on the area of the spine injured and the severity of the injury.

Seek medical attention for any type of injury to your spinal cord, especially if you experience the following emergency symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Difficulty balancing or walking
  • Lack of alertness (semi-consciousness or unconsciousness)
  • Oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
  • Shock (pale skin, bluish lips, and fingernails)

Other common symptoms that signal a spinal injury are: 

  • Loss of movement (paralysis)
  • Loss of or tingling sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Exaggerated muscle movement or spasms
  • Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
  • Pain or an intense stinging sensation (indicating nerve damage along the spinal cord)
  • Stiff neck, headache, or back pain 
  • Balance issues

Types of Spinal Injuries

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:

Cervical Spinal Cord Injury (C1-C8)

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. 

Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury (T1-T12)

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. 

Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury (L1-L5)

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. 

Sacral Spinal Cord Injury (S1-S5)

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. 

Common Causes of Spinal Injuries

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents: Riverside car accidents and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. They account for nearly half of all new spinal cord injuries every year.
  • Falls: After the age of 65, spinal cord injuries are most frequently caused by falls. In all age groups, slip and fall accidents account for more than 15 percent of spinal cord injuries.
  • Violence: Approximately 12 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by acts of violence, often involving knife or gunshot wounds.
  • Sports injuries: Impact sports, diving in shallow water, and other athletic activities cause approximately 10 percent of spinal cord injuries.
  • Alcohol use: Alcohol is a factor in approximately one out of four spinal cord injuries.
  • Diseases: Osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis, and inflammation of the spinal cord can also cause spinal cord injuries.

What is the Cost of a Spinal Cord Injury?

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
Expenses
Avg Expenses
Subsequent Years
Lifetime Costs
25 Years Old
Lifetime Costs
50 Years Old
High Tetraplegia
(C1-C4) AIS ABC
$1,163,425 $202,032 $5,162,152 $2,837,031
Low Tetraplegia
(C5-C8) AIS ABC
$840,676 $123,938 $3,771,791 $2,319,988
Paraplegia
AIS ABC
$567,011 $75,112 $2,524,270 $1,656,602
Motor functional
at Any Level AIS D
$379,698 $46,119 $1,724,594 $1,217,266

 

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. 

What Damages Are Available to Riverside Spinal Cord Injury 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: 

  • Hospital bills, rehabilitation costs, prescription medications, extended care
  • Travel and relocation expenses related to seeking health care or making changes to where and how one lives.
  • Future medical care
  • Home renovation
  • Specialized medical equipment
  • Lost wages
  • Diminished earning capacity 
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Wrongful death

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. 

Connect with Hanson & Mouri

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.

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