Spinal cord injuries can cause permanent, lifelong disabilities for victims. Whether you were in a car accident or were injured at work, you need representation from an experienced spinal cord injury attorney. At Bennett Johnson, LLP in Oakland, CA, our attorneys have helped countless spinal cord injury victims pursue compensation for their damages. If you or your loved one has suffered one of these serious, life-altering injuries, contact our law firm to meet with one of our attorneys. We will personally review and investigate your claim and help you understand the legal avenues available to you.
Spinal Cord Injuries in the United States
There are currently 450,000 Americans suffering from spinal cord damage. Approximately 8,000 new spinal cord injuries are diagnosed annually in the United States. Half of these are caused by auto accidents. The most common victims are men between the ages of 16 and 30, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all spinal cord injuries.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are common in a variety of different types of accidents. Our spines are vulnerable and delicate, and even minor accidents can cause lasting damage. The most common causes of these severe injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Surgical errors
- Violent crimes, including gun and knife wounds
- Sports and recreational accidents
- Falls from significant heights
- Construction accidents
These accidents and injuries are often the result of another party’s negligence or recklessness. When another party is at fault for your injuries, you need to speak with an experienced attorney to take legal action.
Approximately 8,000 new spinal cord injuries are diagnosed annually in the United States.
Common Symptoms of Spinal Cord Damage
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury are almost always immediately apparent. While you still need a proper medical diagnosis, you may have damaged your spinal cord if you experience:
- Muscle weakness
- Localized, unexplained pain
- Loss of bladder or bowel control, or both
- Sudden loss in coordination
- Sensations of tingling or numbness
Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury can have lifelong consequences for victims and their families. These injuries may require multiple surgical procedures and extensive physical therapy in an attempt to regain mobility. Victims with permanent paralysis may need a wheelchair or other equipment to make it easier to get around.
Unfortunately, most homes are not built with accessibility in mind. Victims may need to make major modifications to their homes to accommodate a wheelchair. Some may also need to make modifications to their vehicles in order to remain independent. In most cases, spinal cord injuries will prevent victims from returning to work, at least temporarily. Those who can eventually return to work are rarely able to return to the same line of work and at the same pay level.
When these injuries result from another party’s negligence, victims must take legal action to recover compensation for their damages. The attorneys at Bennett Johnson, LLP aggressively pursue compensatory damages for all medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and more.
Establishing the Legal Basis for a Lawsuit
The legal basis for your claim depends on the cause of your injury. The most common cause of spinal cord injuries is negligence. If, for example, a distracted driver veers over the line, hitting you head on, the other driver is considered negligent and at-fault. You must, however, prove that the driver was negligent to have a successful claim.
Other injuries are the result of defective products. If you are in a car accident and your seat belt fails, you may have a defective product claim against the seat belt manufacturer. Again, you must prove that the seat belt (or some other product) was defective in order to hold the manufacturer liable.
Contributory and Comparative Negligence
Contributory negligence means that your own negligence contributed to the injuries you sustained. If you were a pedestrian struck by a car, you would consider taking legal action against the driver. However, if you were crossing the street when the “do not walk” sign was flashing, the driver of the vehicle could assert that your own negligence contributed to your injuries.
Previously, the fact that you contributed in any way to your injuries would bar you from receiving any compensation from the other party. Many states now use the comparative negligence approach. There are two ways the court may view comparative negligence. First, the court may total your damages and then reduce the amount you are awarded by the percentage of your own contribution to your injuries. In other cases, if you are equally or more responsible for your own injuries, you will not recover any damages.
The Importance of a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
It is important to seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney following a spinal cord injury. Doing so can allow you to get the medical treatment you need so you can focus on recovery. Your attorney can handle all other aspects of your case. At Bennett Johnson, LLP, our attorneys will pursue all avenues to recover the maximum amount of compensation for your damages.
Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum® Members
At Bennett Johnson, LLP, our attorneys specialize in handling catastrophic injury cases. We are proud to offer advocacy for our clients marked by strategic representation and fearlessness. Our team of spinal cord injury attorneys have decades of experience, so you can rely on us to provide the meaningful and effective legal counsel you need during this difficult time. We are also proud members of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum®.
Contact Our Law Firm Today
A doctor can determine the extent of spinal cord damage by ordering a myelogram, CT scan, or MRI. Second to receiving the medical care you need, the most important action is to seek legal counsel. Timely action can ensure that you are able to pursue the full amount of compensation you are entitled to. Our spinal cord injury attorneys can carefully examine your case’s details and look into avenues for restitution for your damages. To learn more about your rights as an injured victim, please contact our firm today.