According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year, worldwide, there are between 250,000 and 500,000 people who suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI). In the United States, there are approximately 12,500 new cases of spinal cord injury every single year.
SCIs can often prove fatal. For those who survive suffering a spinal cord injury, life can be very difficult for them and their families, including:
- Partial or complete paralysis
- Need for at-home care or to stay in an assisted living facility
- Inability to continue working
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Urinary tract infections
- Muscle spasms
- Pressure ulcers
- Respiratory problems
- Chronic pain
WHO reports that the majority of SCIs are the result of preventable accidents, such as falls and car crashes. Considering the devastation SCIs cause victims and their families, the fact that most could have been prevented and were not, is unacceptable.
Those who were injured or lost a loved one due to an SCI caused by someone else’s negligence should talk to a Los Angeles spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible. You cannot make this call too soon, because every second you wait, evidence crucial to protecting the rights of you or your loved one could be lost.
What a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Do to Help Victims and Families
An experienced personal injury attorney can be there for victims and families when they need it most, helping to guide them through the legal process of bringing those who hurt them to justice. Personal injury lawyers negotiate with insurance companies, battle opposing attorneys and face off against individuals and large corporations on behalf of injury victims and families on a daily basis.
Spinal cord injury attorneys know every task that needs to be completed to ensure your rights are defended. In addition, with them by your side, you can be assured that you’ll have someone fighting for your best interests who knows what he or she is doing, including:
- Investigating and gathering the evidence crucial to proving who was at fault for causing a victim’s injury;
- Negotiating with insurance companies to ensure victims and families receive the money they need for medical bills, lost income, long-term care at home or in an assisted living facility, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs and funeral expenses;
- Taking the person or corporation responsible for an injury to court if it is in the best interest of the victim;
- Ensuring negligent individuals and corporations are held accountable for hurting victims and families and are prevented from injuring others in the future.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include the following:
- Vehicular accidents account for nearly 32 percent of spinal cord injuries, making them the top cause of all spinal cord injuries. Within the umbrella of auto accidents are included truck accidents, bus accident, bicycle accidents, airplane accidents, as well as snowmobile, boat, tractor, bulldozer, train, tractor and road grader accidents.
- Slip and Fall accidents account for nearly 30 percent of spinal cord injuries. This can include falls on the same level from slips, trips or stumbles, falls on stairs and steps, falls from a ladder, falls from a tree, falls from scaffolding, falls due to ice and snow, or falls from a cliff, from playground equipment, or into water.
- Acts of violence are the third cause of spinal cord injuries—about 14.4 percent. These include gunshot wounds, assault with a blunt object, and falls as a result of being pushed. Acts of violence which result in spinal cord injuries also include explosions, stabbings, and impalements.
- Sports and recreational activities account for nearly 9 percent of spinal cord injuries. Diving injuries are the top cause of spinal injuries due to sports or recreational activities, followed by winter sports, surfing, snow skiing, horseback riding, football, parachuting, hang gliding, parasailing, trampoline accidents, wrestling, gymnastics, rodeo, baseball, field hockey, soccer, water skiing, basketball, volleyball, pole vault, auto racing and swimming.
- The remaining spinal cord injuries are the result of medical or surgical complications, pedestrian accidents, and “unclassified,” consisting of such things as machinery accidents, lightning strikes and being kicked by a large animal.
Categories of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be split into the categories below:
- The cervical vertebrae hold up the neck, and when this area is injured, the nerves which regulate the posterior of the head as well as affecting the arms, hands, diaphragm muscle and shoulder are affected. Because the diaphragm is used to breathe, such injuries to the cervical vertebrae can be life-threatening.
- The thoracic vertebrae are below the cervical vertebrae and control the muscles of the chest, certain areas of the stomach and specific upper back muscles. Injuries to the thoracic vertebrae can render the victim unable to move on their own or even to breathe and may also limit the necessary functions of the gastrointestinal region.
- The lower back is supported by the lumbar vertebrae which also control the muscles in the buttock region, certain areas of the legs and genitals, the region of the back closest to the hips, and the lower stomach region. Injuries to the lumbar vertebrae are the most likely to cause paraplegia as well as cessation of bladder and bowel function.
- The sacrum at the base of the spine is formed by five fused vertebrae known as the sacral vertebrae. When this area is damaged, the victim may lose all capability of controlling the lower legs, thighs and feet.
- The tailbone has the medical name of coccygeal vertebrae and damage here controls the sensations in the lower back. While injuries here can be excruciatingly tender, they tend to be less serious than damage to the other vertebrae. The paralysis or damage to the spinal region will differ according to which area is damaged as well as whether the cord is severely bruised, fractured, partially severed or completely severed.
Many victims of spinal cord injuries must spend the remainder of their life in a wheelchair, and in many cases expensive home and vehicle accommodations will be required. While the victim who suffers partial paralysis may be able to be self-sufficient to some extent, others may require round-the-clock caretaking. This level of caretaking can cost astronomical sums of money and even if a family member intends to be the primary caretaker for the injured victim, they are also entitled to be paid for their time.
Why You Need to Call Los Angeles Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Josh Glotzer Today
Glotzer & Leib, LLP is dedicated to ensuring the rights of injury victims and families are protected. We believe that if a person or company’s negligence led to someone getting hurt, they must be held accountable, both for the sake of the victim and to keep others from suffering due to similar negligence. Our Los Angeles spinal cord injury lawyer has extensive experience, as his case results show, and will do whatever the law allows to make sure his clients receive the security for their futures and closure they need.
Call us (844) 821-5271 or fill out our online contact form to learn more about Glotzer & Leib, LLP or to set up a free consultation.