San Antonio Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Spinal cord injuries leading to paralysis are very traumatic injuries with long term medical considerations. Cases involving spinal cord injuries typically require a number of experts to testify regarding the varying medical issues and future complications associated with paralysis. If you’ve suffered paralysis due to a severe spinal cord injury, contact our skilled San Antonio spinal cord injury lawyer today.
San Antonio Spinal Cord Injury Resources
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Why Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
Does the Type of Injury Matter in a Lawsuit?
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
What Are the Signs of Spinal Cord Injury?
What is Paralysis?
Different Types of Paralysis
Treatment Options for Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injuries
How to Deal With a Spinal Cord Injury
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
Costs Associated with Future Medical Care for Paralytics
How to Prove Fault in a Spinal Cord Injury Case
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered?
How Long Do I Have to File A Case?
Contact a Lawyer Today
Benefits of Hiring a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
When you hire a San Antonio spinal cord injury lawyer, you benefit from a legal professional supporting your claim from start to finish. Rather than going up against an insurance company alone and risking mistakes such as settling quickly for a lowball amount, your lawyer can help you work through the claims process while protecting your best interests.
An attorney can accurately evaluate your spine injury case to give you an idea of what it could be worth. Then, your lawyer can negotiate for a fair amount using proven legal strategies. If the insurance company refuses to offer an amount your lawyer deems reasonable, he or she can take your spine injury claim to trial to demand fair and full compensation.
One of the greatest benefits of hiring an attorney, however, is peace of mind. Living with a spinal cord injury can be hard enough without also dealing with the legal aspects of a personal injury claim. When you hire an attorney, you can rest assured someone is safeguarding your rights 24/7. Hiring a lawyer can give you the peace of mind you need to focus on your future.
Does the Type of Injury Matter in a Lawsuit?
If you are injured in an accident and suffer a catastrophic injury, such as paralysis, you need a San Antonio personal injury attorney who has represented victims in other cases who have suffered the same or similar injury. These accident cases are very complex and require substantial involvement from expert witness in various fields of expertise.
Insurance companies frequently undervalue serious injury claims in an attempt to save money on client payouts. Before accepting a settlement, consult with an attorney about the potential value of your case. An attorney can fight for the compensation that you need to pay for current and ongoing medical care for a catastrophic injury.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury refers to damage done to any part of the spine, including the bones (vertebrae), disks, nerves and muscles. A spine injury can be caused by a sudden blow to the spinal cord that results in a bone fracture, spinal concussion, contusion, or dislocation. It could also be caused by something crushing or compressing the spine, causing it to flex too greatly and crack or break. Spinal disk injuries are also possible if the cushiony, jelly-like disks between the vertebrae suffer damage, rupture or slip out of place.
Spinal cord injuries can cause temporary or permanent damage. It may be possible for an accident victim to make a complete recovery from a spine injury with treatments such as surgery, therapy and rehabilitation. This describes an incomplete spine injury, meaning the spine has only sustained partial damage. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, the victim will typically retain some sensation and movement below the level of injury.
The most severe spine injuries, however, cause permanent damage. Since the spine is responsible for transferring messages from the body to the brain, a permanent injury can cause irreversible paralysis, or the loss of feeling and function below the point of injury. This is known as a complete spinal cord injury.
The higher up on the spinal cord an injury occurs, the more it will affect the victim. There are five main parts of the spine. From the bottom to the top, they are the coccyx, sacrum, lumbar, thoracic and cervical spine. An injury to the lower portion of the spine could result in nerve damage or paralysis below the waist (paraplegia), while an injury to the cervical spine could cause paralysis from the neck down (quadriplegia).
What Are the Signs of a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury can manifest itself in many different ways after a traumatic accident in San Antonio. A victim may immediately notice signs of injury, such as sudden back pain or numbness. However, some patients experience delayed symptoms. The adrenaline from an accident can mask pain and other sensations. This is why it is critical to avoid major movements after an accident. Moving or twisting your spine the wrong way could exacerbate an injury (make it more severe).
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Back pain
- Intense stinging sensation
- Pressure in your neck, head or back
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation (numbness)
- Weakness or incoordination anywhere in the body
- Trouble walking or balancing
- Tingling sensation anywhere in the body
- Altered sense of touch or temperature
- Muscle spasms
- Trouble breathing
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Sexual dysfunction
Even a spinal cord injury that is classified as severe may not show immediate symptoms. Numbness or pain may come on gradually. This is why it is safest for an accident victim not to move until paramedics can arrive and immobilize the spine. The time between the injury and treatment can be critical for mitigating serious or permanent damage; as an accident victim, you should always seek professional care immediately if you think you have a spinal cord injury.
What is Paralysis?
Paralysis occurs when someone experiences an injury to their spinal cord, which prevents that person from regaining the full use of their arms, legs, or other body functions. According to a study initiated by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, 1 in 50 people live with paralysis — totaling approximately 6 million people worldwide.
Paralysis can be caused by sudden trauma to the spine, such as in a car accident or severe fall. Fracturing the spine or suffering a broken neck in a traumatic accident can result in irreversible paralysis. A spine injury can also be caused by strokes, infections or diseases, including autoimmune diseases and nerve conditions. The signs of paralysis include loss of sensation in the arms and legs, numbness, weakness, spasms, and reduced motor function.
What Are The Different Types of Paralysis?
- Paraplegia describes complete or incomplete paralysis affecting the legs and possibly also the trunk, but not the arms.
- Quadriplegia is complete or incomplete paralysis affecting the legs, trunk and arms.
- Monoplegia is paralysis of only one arm or one leg.
- Hemiplegia is paralysis of one arm and one leg on the same side of the body.
- Cervical (neck) injuries usually result in four limb paralysis or quadriplegia/tetraplegia.
- Thoracic spine injuries often affect the chest and legs, resulting in paraplegia.
- Lumbar or sacral spine injuries can cause loss of function in the hips and/or legs.
What are Treatment Options for Paralysis and Spinal Cord Injuries?
Some people with paralysis regain the use of their arms or legs with substantial treatment and rehabilitation. This regiment of therapy encompasses several different areas of medicine, including surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other rehabilitative services.
Quadriplegics and Paraplegics often seek treatment from various medical providers including, neurosurgeons, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, psychiatrists, urologists, pulmonologists, dermatologists, and psychologists or psychiatrists.
How Do You Deal With a Spinal Cord Injury?
It is very important for someone with paralysis to treat the physical disabilities as well as the mental or emotional injuries associated with those injuries. First, a victim should remain still and get emergency medical help by calling 911. Once the victim is immobilized and taken to a hospital, emergency treatments such as surgery may be used to try to repair the damage. Then, the victim will be given a treatment regime that may include medications, rehabilitation and physical therapy to help achieve the point of maximum medical improvement.
The victim’s treatment plan will continue as long as is needed to maximize physical recovery. If it is not possible to reverse damage to the spinal cord, a victim may still be able to learn to live more independently and improve quality of life with ongoing medical treatments. The patient should also address his or her mental health by seeing a therapist or psychologist. A spinal cord injury victim can learn healthy coping mechanisms from a professional to better adapt to a temporary or permanent disability.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Any trauma to the back, neck or spine could permanently affect the spinal cord. An impact to the spinal cord could fracture the bones, cause slipped disks or result in other serious injuries. Trauma that severs the spine, such as a bad car accident or gunshot wound, could cause total disability for the victim. Certain types of accidents lead to spinal cord injuries in San Antonio more often than others.
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sports and diving accidents
- Slip, trip and fall accidents
- Severe accidents in the workplace
- Acts of violence such as stabbings or shootings
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous product defects
Auto accidents are the number one cause of new spinal cord injuries in the U.S. each year. An accident involving a car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or pedestrian could permanently damage the spine and surrounding nerves. If you or a loved one injured their spine due to a car accident, contact our San Antonio car accident attorneys.
What are the Costs Associated With Future Medical Care for Paralytics?
Depending on the extent of the paralysis, these injuries can lead to millions of dollars in past and future medical expenses. Another substantial factor in determining the cost of future medical care is the age of the person injured.
A Life Care Planner is often used to provide expert testimony concerning the cost of future medical care for a paralytic victim in a civil lawsuit. These experts are usually doctors or nurses who specialize in rehabilitative medicine. They personally interview all of the doctors and medical providers and develop a plan for the future care of the patient. This plan includes all future surgeries, physical and occupational therapy and rehabilitation as well as the cost of all prescriptions needed for life. These plans sometimes incorporate the costs needed to retrofit a home to accommodate a person with paralysis as well.
Proving Fault in a Spinal Cord Injury Case
To obtain a compensatory award for you or a loved one’s spinal cord injury in San Antonio, your side of the case will be responsible for proving fault. Hiring a spinal cord injury attorney in San Antonio can make this burden easier. Your lawyer can prove the elements necessary to establish fault: duty, breach, causation and damages. An attorney can collect evidence against a driver, doctor, criminal, employer, product manufacturer or another party to prove his or her fault for the accident in question.
Winning a settlement or jury verdict takes establishing through a preponderance of evidence that the defendant owed you a duty to exercise care, breached this duty and caused your spinal cord injury. Your lawyer must also establish damages. Proving losses from a spine injury could require medical records, scans, x-rays, treatment plans, prognosis reports, testimony from spinal cord injury experts, and statements from you and your family members.
What Type of Damages Can Be Recovered?
If your lawyer succeeds in bringing your spinal cord injury claim against one or multiple parties in San Antonio, you and your family could receive a reasonable compensatory award to cover your past and future foreseeable damages.
- All injury-related health care costs
- Surgeries, therapies and rehabilitation
- Medical devices and medications
- Live-in care or disability costs
- Home and vehicle modifications
- Lost wages and lost capacity to earn
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress or anguish
- Accident-related property damages
- Punitive damages
You could recover compensation that makes up for both economic and noneconomic losses. An award for a permanent spine injury could be significant – it could reach $1 million or more to pay for the lifetime costs of the disability. Every case is unique. Working with one of our San Antonio spinal cord injury attorneys could help you maximize your personal damage recovery.
How Long Do I Have to File a San Antonio Spinal Cord Injury Case
There is an important law known as the statute of limitations in Texas that imposes a legal deadline on all injury claims. The statute of limitations in Texas gives a victim no more than two years from the date of injury to file a related claim. If a victim did not discover his or her spinal cord injury right away, he or she will have two years from the date of reasonable discovery to file a claim.
There are some exceptions to the general rule. In the event that a spine injury results in the death of the victim, his or her family members have two years from the date of death rather than the date of injury to file a wrongful death claim. If a spinal cord injury case involves the negligence of a government entity, such as an accident on public property, the victim will only be given six months of the date of the accident to file a notice of a claim. It is important to contact a spinal cord injury attorney in San Antonio as soon as possible about a potential claim.
Contact an Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Personal injury attorney Justin Hill and his team have represented spinal cord injury victims in past cases. We have been able to fight for these victims and recover substantial settlements on their behalf. We have the resources and knowledge to protect you or your loved one in such a significant, complex case. Call Hill Law Firm today for a free case evaluation.