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Spinal Cord Injury

Doctors reading x-rays of spinal cord injury victimSpinal cord injuries can take a serious physical and emotional toll, robbing you of the life of a loved one, or your own health, mobility, and independence.  By some estimates, there are 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury every year in the United States.  With its dangerous roads and active residents, California accounts for its share in this unfortunate statistic.  If you suffered a spinal cord injury in Los Angeles, Ellis Injury Law can help. Our premier team of legal talent, investigative researchers, and medical experts together offer the most comprehensive representation available to victims of negligence dealing with spinal cord injuries.

Kinds of spinal cord injuries

A spinal cord injury is a rupturing, tearing, or bruising of the spinal cord, often due to some form of trauma that compromises the protection provided by the spine.  An injury could involve a fracture or misalignment of the vertebrae, or a ruptured (herniated) disk (the pad between the vertebrae; also known as a “slipped” disk).  Spinal cord injuries can be incomplete (so that motion or sensation is diminished), or complete (so that no motion or sensation remains at all).

Injuries are categorized based on their location in the spinal cord:

  • cervical spinal cord injury (tetraplegia or quadriplegia):  to the neck/upper back
  • thoracic spinal cord injury:  to the area near the rib cage
  • lombar spinal cord injury (paraplegia):  to the area of the lower back
  • sacral spinal cord injury:  to the area about the “tail bone”

Depending on the location or severity of the injury, the injured party may experience any number of resulting health problems such as:

  • paralysis or weakness of the limbs
  • loss of physical sensation
  • respiratory (breathing) problems
  • bowel or bladder dysfunctions
  • sexual dysfunctions
  • chronic pain or discomfort
  • emotional or psychological struggles

Most common causes of spinal cord injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur under a variety of circumstances.  Four of the most common include:

  1. during motor vehicle collisions (accounting for the largest number by far).
  2. due to falls and other accidents, occurring in a variety of settings that include public transportation (bus or subway), the workplace (particularly in                               factories or construction sites), or recreational areas (such as amusement parks or waterslides).
  3. as a result of acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds).
  4. during sports, exercise, and recreation (including horseback riding, surfing, and other activities).

Liability issues

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, you may at first blame yourself (“How could I have been so careless?”)  However, other parties may also be responsible under such circumstances.  For instance, property managers are responsible for providing a safe environment, whereas manufacturers are responsible for providing properly functioning equipment with appropriate instructions and safety warnings.  If such parties have not met their obligations, they are responsible (or “liable”), at least partially, for any injury that you suffered as a result.

An Ellis Law personal injury attorney can demonstrate the responsibility that others may have for your injury.  We work with a network of experts to present evidence of liability.  These include medical experts, who understand the kind of tests and exams necessary to understand your condition and treatment, and other kinds of investigators in the Los Angeles area.  We understand the legal framework and details necessary to successfully present your case in a California court and we have the resources at our disposal to obtain compensation for your injuries.

Compensation for spinal cord injuries

If a jury determines that another party is liable in your case, you may be awarded compensation to cover medical bills, rehabilitation expenses, lost wages, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering and other damages related to the injury.  The amount of settlements will vary, depending on the extent of your injuries and the degree to which the defendants are deemed liable for them.  However, more severe spinal cord injuries can require expensive medical equipment and changes to your home, as well as years of medical care and assistance.  Children with serious spinal cord injuries in particular will need a lifetime of additional care, equipment, and access to special facilities.   Settlements in such cases can be proportionately large.

In a recent case, a Los Angeles man was rendered a quadriplegic through a weightlifting accident that could have been prevented with the simple installation of a safety device to the weight machine.  In 2008, the plaintiff ended up getting a $10,000,000 dollar settlement based on a bad faith claim against the insurance company, which had initially refused to settle during the original 2002 trial.

Even if your injury is less severe, your case deserves the thorough and experienced treatment that the personal injury attorneys at Ellis Law can provide.

How a lawyer at Ellis Law can help

Spinal cord injuries can have devastating and tragic consequences.  At Ellis Law, we understand the complex legal issues involved in obtaining a fair settlement for your injury or the loss of a family member.  We can put together a team of experts to make sure you receive the compensation you deserve to cover your expenses and losses.  With Ellis Law, you can be sure that you will receive a comprehensive and caring evaluation of your potential spinal cord injury case.  Please call us at 1-800-INJURED or in the Los Angeles area at 310-641-3335 to set up a free consultation.

  1. NationalSpinalCordInjuryStatisticalCenter, Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance  https://www.nscisc.uab.edu/PublicDocuments/fact_figures_docs/Facts%202012%20Feb%20Final.pdf
  2. Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, What is my injury all about, and what is meant by complete vs. incomplete? http://www.christopherreeve.org/site/c.mtKZKgMWKwG/b.4514603/k.77E9/Spinal_Cord_Injury_Types.htm
  3. Claims Journal, Los Angeles Jury Awards Quadriplegic Man $10 Million in Bad Faith Case http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/west/2008/11/20/95675.htm