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Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury and the Impact Compensation Can Have on the Journey to Recovery

A motor vehicle accident is the most common cause of a spinal cord injury in the United States. This type of accident can result in forceful contact directly to the back, which could damage the spinal cord or the surrounding tissues. Injuries may vary depending on which vertebral segment was affected from the impact. 

If the injury is located in the higher areas of the spinal cord, a person will likely have paralysis that will affect all of their limbs (tetraplegia or quadriplegia). If the injury is located in the lower area of the spinal cord, paralysis may also occur, and will affect the legs and lower body (paraplegia).

Those who have sustained a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another party may be entitled to file a personal injury claim. It is encouraged for a spinal cord injury victim to seek legal assistance from an experienced spinal cord injury attorney. Filing a claim can be complicated to do on your own, which is why it would be beneficial to have an attorney on your side who will assess and strengthen your claim.

At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our Newport Beach spinal cord injury attorneys have over 60 years of collective legal experience in handling personal injury cases. We have won more than 5,000 cases and recovered over $1 billion in settlements for our clients. Due to our achievements, we have been ranked as one of the top personal injury law firms in Newport Beach.

To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at our Newport Beach personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling  (949) 822-9593 or emailing info@westcoasttriallawyers.com.

Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury

There are multiple factors that have been known to contribute to a spinal cord injury. This includes the following:

  • Slip and Fall Accident. Nearly 31 percent of spinal cord injuries have been caused by a slip and fall accident. The most common age group to suffer from this type of accident are 65 year olds and older. As the body ages, health conditions may arise. This includes having poor posture, bad vision, slow reactions, or side effects to medications that make it difficult for an elderly person to function their body properly.
  • Motor vehicle accident. 38 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents. As intense force is inflicted onto a person’s back, it can cause damage to the spinal cord or the surrounding tissues.
  • Physical violence. About 13 percent of spinal cord injuries are caused by physical violence. Gunshots or knife stabbings that pierce through the skin and damage the spinal cord could result in either temporary or permanent paralysis. Physical therapy may be required in order to regain or improve your motor and/or sensory functions.
  • Sports-related activities. Sports-related activities account for 10 percent of spinal cord injuries. High-impact sports, such as football and hockey, involve players tackling one another. If a player aggressively slams into another player from behind, the spinal cord could suffer some serious damage.
  • Alcohol. Alcohol can affect your stability and vision. This can cause you to fall more often than usual when walking. If a person is under the influence of alcohol while behind the wheel, it can make it difficult for them to see clearly or be aware of their surroundings. This could trigger a motor vehicle accident. Either scenario can result in a spinal cord injury. 
  • Illnesses. People who have been diagnosed with certain types of health conditions, such as osteoporosis, cancer, or inflammation in the spine, are more prone to sustain a spinal cord injury. Each of these conditions have the ability to weaken the bones and/or muscles, which could make it more likely for a person to experience a fractured bone. 

Incomplete vs Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury is life-changing. Those who suffer from a spinal cord injury may deal with symptoms that can make it difficult for them to perform basic day-to-day activities. Each spinal cord injury victim will experience different symptoms depending on which vertebral segment is damaged. The two larger categories of spinal cord injury are incomplete spinal cord injury and complete spinal cord injury. 

Incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when a person has a slight feeling and some function in body parts that are located underneath the injury. This may indicate that the spinal cord can still function up to some degree where it can send receptors to the brain. A condition like this is also understood as partial paralysis.

Complete spinal cord injury occurs when a person no longer has a sense of feeling and cannot function body parts that are located beneath the injury. This may indicate that the spinal cord is no longer able to function at a capacity to which it can send receptors to the brain. A condition like this is also called complete paralysis.

Whether a person suffers from a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury, one thing for certain is that they will come across obstacles that will make it difficult for them to live a normal lifestyle. This can take a toll on a person’s mental health, which can cause them to mourn losing the life they had prior to their spinal cord injury.

It is encouraged for spinal cord injury victims to not only seek assistance from a physical or occupational therapist, but from a psychology therapist, as well. This can mentally help spinal cord injury victims who are having a hard time coping with their life-changing injury.

How Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury Can Support a Victim’s Lifelong Medical Needs

If a person suffers a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident, they are entitled to compensation for their losses, which includes economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages refers to costs that can be readily calculated based on the past and future tangible financial expenses and losses related to the spinal cord injury, such as:

  • Medical bills. This can be expensive as spinal cord injury treatments may require life-long check ups with doctors and therapists.
  • Lost wages. This is the income the victim would have made if they did not suffer from a spinal cord injury.
  • Household services. This includes a live-in caregiver. A live-in caregiver will prepare meals, clean the house, shop for groceries, remind you to take your medication, or offer transportation for doctor appointments or other events.

Non-economic damages refers to costs that are calculated on the invaluable losses that a victim of a spinal cord injury faces upon getting hurt. This can include compensation for:

  • Pain and suffering. The pain that comes from a spinal cord injury can negatively impact the victim’s quality of life. 
  • Loss of companionship or consortium. The victim may not be able to keep a relationship, have intercourse, and/or the ability to have a child.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life. The victim has no intention of seeking enjoyment in their lives due to the complications of living that come with a spinal cord injury.

These damages can be recovered by filing a personal injury claim against the party at-fault. Compensation will help relieve the victim from financial burdens caused by the negligence of the at-fault party.

West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help

If you are a spinal cord injury victim due to the negligence of another individual, West Coast Trial Lawyers has experienced Newport Beach spinal cord injury attorneys that will help you get the justice you deserve. 

To schedule a free, no-obligation at our Newport Beach personal injury law firm, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (949) 822-9593 or emailing info@westcoasttriallawyers.com

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