CALIFORNIA SPINAL CORD INJURY ATTORNEY
MICHAEL REHM - (800) 978-0754
Spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic. They change lives. Serious spinal cord damage results in permanent disabilities. Injury victims suffer from a loss of bodily functions, physical and emotional pain, impairment of earning ability, and a potentially shortened lifespan.
California has some of the best spinal cord rehabilitation facilities in the nation. Even when neurological damage is irreparable, victims can take dramatic but difficult steps toward independent living. Still, funding a program of comprehensive care might only be realistic if the injury victim is able to obtain compensation from a negligent party who caused the injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The spine is also known as the “backbone.” It consists of vertebrae that are connected but separated from each other by cushions known as disks. The spine runs from the neck to the tailbone.
The spinal cord is a dense bundle of nerves that runs from the brain through the open space in the vertebrae. The nerves branch out into a spider web that controls the movement of muscles, the ability to feel sensations (such as touch), and other bodily functions.
A spinal cord injury is usually caused by an impact to the spine that damages the spinal cord or spinal nerve roots. The location and severity of the injury determines its impact on the victim. Severe damage to nerves in the neck may produce quadriplegia, or a complete loss of the ability to control arms and legs. An injury that occurs lower on the cord may cause paraplegia, or paralysis of the lower body. Victims with less severe injuries may retain some sensation or muscle control.
Victims of spinal injuries spend an average of 11 days in a hospital's acute care unit. They typically stay in a rehabilitation unit for another 31 days.
The expense of caring for and living with paralysis resulting from a spinal cord injury ranges from $550,000 to more than $1.1 million during the year the follows the injury's onset. Lifetime expenses range from $2.4 million to $5 million, depending on the extent of the paralysis.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents cause 39.3% of spinal cord injuries. Motorcycle riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians have the highest risk of experiencing spinal cord damage in a collision. Car occupants may also suffer spinal cord injuries when collisions cause vehicle rollovers or ejection from the vehicle. Extensive damage to a vehicle can also cause shards of metal to pierce the spine, causing spinal cord injuries.
Falls cause 31.8% of spinal cord injuries. Tripping, slipping on a wet surface, falling from a height, or falling on stairs can all cause spinal cord damage. Negligent property owners who allow hazardous conditions to contribute to falls may be liable for resulting spinal injuries.
Other causes that may be attributable to negligence include gunshot wounds, recreational injuries, and medical malpractice. A personal injury attorney can assess the facts and determine whether a careless party can be held accountable in court for causing a spinal injury.
Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries
California victims of spinal cord injuries are entitled to compensation for spinal cord injuries that are caused by the careless actions of another person or business. Compensation usually includes:
- Reimbursement of past medical expenses related to the injury.
- Payment of future medical expenses to treat the injury.
- Lost wages while the accident victim is recovering.
- Loss of future earning capacity if the injury prevents the victim from returning to work or the victim can no longer earn the same wages.
- The cost of coping with the injury.
- The cost of institutional care when a victim cannot live independently.
- Pain, suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
California spinal cord injury attorneys rely on medical professionals, including physicians and medical billing experts, to calculate past and future medical expenses. They rely on vocational experts and economists to calculate loss of future earning capacity.
California spinal cord injury lawyers often retain life planning experts to calculate the cost of coping the injury. Those costs may include the expense of vocational rehabilitation, a lifetime of wheelchair replacements, remodeling a home to make it wheelchair accessible, and the cost of vehicles that can be operated by a spinal cord injury victim. Other expenses may include the cost of hiring home health aides and workers who will perform chores, such as yard work and home repairs, that the accident victim can no longer perform.
California Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
A spinal cord injury lawyer must be able to help juries understand the impact of a severe injury on an accident victim's life. In addition to relying on expert witnesses, the lawyer will need to spend time with the victim and with the victim's friends and family members to understand every detail of the victim's struggle to cope with a new reality. Personal Injury Attorney Michael Rehm will make it a priority to gather every bit of evidence that is necessary to obtain the favorable outcome that the accident victim deserves. To speak directly with Attorney Rehm, call (800) 978-0754.