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Compensation for Spinal Cord Injury

11 Ways a Spinal Cord Injury Can Change Your Life Forever

When an individual suffers from a spinal cord injury, there are several complications that may emerge. This includes having problems with:
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  • Bladder control. Since the message carrier has been damaged, your brain will not be capable of controlling your bladder properly. This could increase the chances of getting a urinary tract infection. You may also experience a kidney infection or kidney stones. However, if you are in rehabilitation, you will learn certain tactics that will help you empty your bladder.
  • Bowel movement. After a spinal cord injury, a reflexic bowel or areflexic bowel may occur. A reflexic bowel will disrupt messages sent between the colon and the brain that are passed on by the spinal cord. Since you are unable to feel your bowel movements, your stool will start to build up in your rectum. This can cause a reflex bowel movement. For an areflexic bowel, your reflex control in your anal sphincter will decrease. You will also be unable to feel your bowel movement. Your rectum can’t empty itself either. To resolve these issues, you may be offered rehabilitation. The therapist(s) will help you learn new techniques that will improve your bowel movements.
  • Blood clot. Strokes may result in a blood clot blocking the arteries that are supplying the spinal cord. A blood clot could take place in these arteries or may also be formed in a blood vessel in other parts of the body. It could then travel in the bloodstream and head directly to the spine.
  • Pneumonia. Injuring your spine will increase the chances of you suffering from a respiratory tract infection. The chest and abdominal muscles may become weakened. These body parts are vital for deep breathing and coughing, so having them injured will increase chances of getting pneumonia.
  • Chronic pain. This is common after an individual sustains a spinal cord injury.
  • Depression. Due to intense pain, procedures, and treatments, individuals may develop depression. They could experience a variety of emotions because of their spinal cord injury. Symptoms may include:
    • Frustration,
    • Anger,
    • Anxiety,
    • Lack of motivation,
    • Fatigue,
    • Suicidal thoughts,
    • Insomnia
    • Hopelessness,
    • Emptiness, or
    • Irritability.
  • Sexual health. After a spinal cord injury, an individual’s sexuality, fertility, and sexual function will be impacted. Men will become more aware of changes made to their erection or ejaculation. Women will start to notice changes with their lubrication. It is recommended to see a doctor that primarily specializes in urology or fertility to help with this problem.
  • Osteoporosis or osteopenia. This is a prior complication to a spinal cord injury. When an individual develops either disease, they will be more prone to having a spinal cord injury after falling. This happens primarily because the individual’s bones are thinned and weakened. Impact to the bones will result in a fracture due to its fragile nature.
  • Autonomic dysreflexia. This is common with spinal cord injuries. Autonomic dysreflexia occurs when there is an excessive amount of high blood pressure. Symptoms of this problem include:
    • Nausea,
    • Headache,
    • Red blotches on the skin that is above the level of spinal cord injury,
    • Slow heart rate,
    • Goose bumps that are below the level of spinal cord injury,
    • Cold skin below the level of spinal injury, or
    • Sweating that is above the level of spinal cord injury.
  • No feeling in the skin. You may lose skin sensation below the level of your spinal cord injury. This makes it difficult for your skin to send a message to your brain when it gets injured. If you are undergoing rehabilitation, you will be taught proper skin care routines that will help you avoid your sensation-related problems.
  • Fitness and health. Once you suffer a spinal cord injury, it will be difficult or nearly impossible to move your body the same way you did prior to your injury. You may experience either weight loss or gain, depending on your body type. Furthermore, you could be at risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.

Available Damages

Accidents happen. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your losses. Below is a brief explanation of damages. Damages are a type of monetary award that is determined by a court of law to help compensate an aggrieved individual for any losses or injuries sustained as a result of someone’s negligence.

Economic Damages
Economic damages are intended to compensate a plaintiff for losses that a dollar amount can readily be attached to. Economic damages are calculated by determining the amount of out-of-pocket losses an aggrieved individual has or will expect to incur as a result of their injuries.

A few examples of economic losses include:

  • Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Medical Bills
  • Lost Wages

Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages are essentially intended to cover losses that are thought of as subjective and will not necessarily cover out-of-pocket losses. Non-economic damages may include compensation for:

  • Emotional Distress
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Punitive Damages
The third type of damages a California court may award are known as punitive damages. Punitive damages are intended as punishment and are only awarded when a defendant’s behavior is especially harmful. Punitive damages are relatively rare and in fact were only incorporated in 5 percent of all verdicts.

Furthermore, there is no real set standard for calculating and awarding punitive damages. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and will vary depending on the specific circumstances of a case.

Limitations for Damages in California 
For the most part, there is no real cap on compensatory damages following a personal injury claim. This means that courts are able to award any amount they feel is appropriate and reasonable.

However, the only exception is regarding medical malpractice cases. In these cases, the limit for pain and suffering and other non-economic losses is $250,000.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligent actions done by another individual, West Coast Trial Lawyers has spinal cord injury attorneys that have extensive experience in handling personal injury cases. Our attorneys will help you recover maximum financial and emotional compensation from your losses. This includes medical expenses, lost wages, property damage, emotional distress, and pain and suffering.

No fees will be charged until your case has been settled. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation with the attorneys at our firm. Reach out to our friendly legal team 24/7 by calling (213) 927-3700 or emailing [email protected].

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If you have been injured in an accident, you can count on the legal team at West Coast Trial Lawyers to fight for your rights every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule your free case evaluation with a personal injury attorney.
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