What Happens After A Spine Injury in Los Angeles
Updated: Apr 26
Find an attorney for spine injuries sustained from an act of negligence. Learn your rights after a spine injury accident.
Spinal cord injuries are scary, and unfortunately leave a victim incapable to return to the life they once had before the accident happened. If you or a loved one has been in an accident, you might have also incurred a slew of medical bills and lost a lot of potential income. If the injury was cause by someone else's negligence, it's best to find a spine injury accidents attorney to assist you in suing for damages.
Brief Overview of the Spinal Cord and Why an Injury is Serious
The spinal cord is a cord of nerve tissue that extends lengthwise from the brain down the back and into the vertebral canal, releasing spinal nerve pairs. The brain is the service center for initiating and organizing spontaneous actions because neural pathways bring impulses to and from it.
The spinal cord also protects cells. Your central nervous system comprised of the brain and the spine (CNS). The spine primarily transmits synaptic signals from the brain, assisting the body in daily activities such as walking, breathing, and speaking.
Your spine can fail as a conduit for sending and receiving motor, sensory, and reflex information if it is damaged, resulting in permanent disabilities. Paraplegia and quadriplegia are still the most severe spine injuries, although whiplash is still the most common soft tissue injury.
Foot drop or partial limb use are examples of mid-range symptoms experienced by spinal cord injury victims. Some spine injury victims can experience incontinence and other body function losses. Many ordinary parents and families are financially devastated as a result of hospital costs and other expenses incurred as a result of a bad back injury.
What is the anatomy of your spine?
From the lower back to the tailbone, your spinal column binds the brain to all nerves. The spine has three distinct sections:
Lumbar. These vertebrae support the body and enable movement. Those are the larger portions of the spinal column of human anatomy
Thoracic or vertebral column. This is found in the mid to lower back.
Cervical. This nerve travels from the brain stem to the nerve branches of the limbs and organs, transmitting and receiving electrical signals. However, when nerves are compressed, a person can become paralyzed and lose sensation.
The following are the different types of spine trauma:
Falling from a height
Swimming pool or hot tub accidents that involve jumping into shallow water can injure children's spines. Defective items, such as car seatbacks or seat belts, can cause your spine to snap.
How is it Diagnosed?
A spinal cord injury is normally referred to as an "SCI" by doctors. SCI refers to any damage to the spine that alters its work. Being diagnosed as soon as possible is critical for your wellbeing.
Loss of feeling, muscle activity, or autonomic function are all examples of changes. A spinal lesion may result in the loss of control of limbs and organs. Injuries can happen at any time and at any stage of the spine.
And if you think it's just a case of whiplash or Facet Joint Syndrome, get it checked out as soon as possible.
What Do You Need To Know About Spine Injuries?
Victims who have suffered back injuries as a result of serious car crashes, slip and falls, and motorcycle accidents can benefit from the help of a spinal cord injury lawyer. Many clients with spinal cord injuries are expected to change their lifestyles overnight, resulting in long-term health effects.
The spinal cord is responsible for a variety of functions. When you sustain a back injury, you run the risk of both short- and long-term complications. The survivor and their families must practice spinal injury management in order to understand the art of surviving during the healing process of a back injury.
The following are some of the most common complications associated with spine injuries:
Spasms. When increased spasms, consisting of uncontrolled limb reflexes, are referred to as spasticity. This disorder occurs when activated spinal cord nerves become impaired, interfering with normal brain and nerve signal signals, resulting in a loss of body movement and control in a spine injury victim. Medical therapies exist to help minimize spasticity, but spasms may also be helpful, enhancing muscle tone and helping the patient to maintain limb stability. By using these additional stimuli in your recovery plan, you would be able to improve your mobility.
Urinary Problems. Urinary tract infection, kidney infection, and bowel issues may occur when the nerves that regulate these functions are impaired by a strong impact or twisting motion, robbing the brain and body of their ability to coordinate. Your bladder and bowel may be unable to remove waste in a safe manner, necessitating the use of drugs, catheters, or other prescription treatments for certain patients. It will help if you drink plenty of water and eat more dietary fiber.
Weight Gain or Loss. A patient's weight gain or loss is often caused by a spinal cord injury, which affects a person's ability to exercise and eat. However, with the aid of nutritionists and physical therapists, good eating habits and exercise can always be possible.
Physical and mental disorders that may result from the injury include:
Depression: People who have experienced a spinal cord injury are likely to feel depressed. Some people feel depressed as they heal. Anxiety, sadness, and depression are some of the other signs that may be present. As a consequence, the patient needs family support.
Having friends and caregivers will make a significant difference. Victims must combat the depressive effects of their misfortune. Hiring therapists may have a lot of advantages. They may be able to assist the patient during this difficult time.
Sexual Dysfunction and Fertility Issues: People who have had a spinal cord injury often experience sexual dysfunction and fertility issues. However, a slew of other issues could arise. Furthermore, men are more affected than women by this problem. To improve fertility, doctors can prescribe medication and other treatments. Women's fertility is rarely affected by spinal cord injuries. However, following mishaps such as auto crashes, pregnancy remains a high risk, necessitating treatment by trained healthcare professionals.
Bed Sores: Patients with spinal cord injuries can develop bedsores as a result of sitting or lying in the same position for long periods of time. These dreadful sores are caused by skin pressure on your bones, which reduces blood flow and causes tissue deterioration, resulting in a pressure sore. "Bedsores" is how they earned their name. Immobile, obese, or bedridden people are more likely to develop bedsores.
To maintain healthy skin, you should change positions regularly, keep yourself clean, and eat a well-balanced diet. Red areas, bruises, sores, or protruding bones that cause friction sores should be checked on a regular basis by the patient or caregiver. Shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles are among the most prone skin regions. As a consequence, any scratches, bruises, or sores must be handled as soon as possible.
Injuries to the spine may also result in:
Pain that originates in the nervous system is known as neurogenic pain. This also induces burning and stinging sensations. It continues to be a normal occurrence. In certain situations, the limbs lose their ability to sense or move. Other areas of the body may also be in discomfort. The body compensates for the numb limbs in this way. Arms that are used regularly for wheelchair travel, for example, may become numb. This symptom is handled with a number of approaches.
Oral drugs are part of the treatment regimen. It may also involve intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. Transfusions and stem cell therapy can be used. It may also require the use of spinal or brain electrical stimulation. As an adjunct, homeopathic medicine such as acupuncture and acupressure can be helpful. If all else fails, surgery is always an option.
Possible Heart Problems:
Irregular Heart Rate: The heart rate is one of the major issues for this form of health problem. As a result, it can significantly slow down. On the other side, after the accident, it can rise to a severe standard. This could also lead to heart attacks. As a result, medication may be required. Treatments such as intravenous blood infusions for low blood pressure are of particular concern.
Blood Clots: One of the big problems with spinal cord injury is blood clots. In addition, being unable to move limits blood flow into the veins. Patients of these forms of spinal cord injuries are often given blood clotting medications by their physicians.
Automatic Dysreflexia: is a disorder that arises as a result of a stimulus. Skin irritations or a clogged catheter are two examples. A notification is activated below the injury as a result of this provocation. After that, the signal is sent to the brain. The news is not being received by the brain. As a result, the blood vessels constrict as a reflex. The heart rate then slows, and blood pressure rises. As a consequence, you're more likely to have a stroke or, in extreme cases, a seizure. Physicians can reduce the severity of the condition's symptoms by shifting the patient's location.
Pneumonia and asthma continue to be problems for many spinal cord injury patients, exacerbated by the weakening of muscles involved with breathing, leaving some patients dependent on breathing assistance. The nerve signals in your diaphragm may be disrupted over time. A doctor could give their patient a flu shot or another drug that helps them breathe better by regulating breathing problems.
What Are The Effects Of Spine Injuries?
As you can see, a spinal cord injury can affect a person's life in a variety of ways—the nerves in your body run down your spine and back to your core. If you have a serious spinal injury, you will need to seek medical treatment for the remainder of your life. Only a well-trained, experienced spinal cord lawyer will tell you whether you can settle or try to get the full benefit of your negligence claim. You must not go through this stressful time without legal representation, and you must retain lawyers; otherwise, you will have to sue someone who is responsible for your injuries.
What Are the Different Types of Spine Injuries?
There are two forms of spinal injuries:
A full injury is one in which you lose all of your sensation and muscle functions.
The word "incomplete damage" refers to the fact that your nerve impulses still pass through the affected regions of your spinal cord, but only partially.
The severity of your symptoms and the care you receive can be determined by the position of the damage in your spine.
The following are some of the signs of a Spine injury:
Radiating pain to one side of your body (unilateral), which also runs down your arm from your body.
Pain radiating from both sides of your body (bilateral), down your arms, and into both sides of your body
Feelings of tingling or numbness in the body's extremities (hands and feet)
Your digits are tingling or numb (knuckles and toes)
The prognosis for a patient's complete or partial recovery is uncertain, with families' worst fears sometimes come true as a result of car accidents that result in temporary or long-term paralysis.
However, in the event of a bad car accident or a serious incident:
Full or partial paralysis
Loss of the ability to maintain social status or a healthy social life
What Role Does Spinal Cord Research Play in Your Case?
Both of these things hinder day-to-day tasks. However, all not hope may be lost. Prolotherapy, platelet-rich plasma, and stem cells are examples of new studies and therapies.
However, some brands are also using Human Growth Hormone. Wearable robotic exoskeletons are also being tested. And lab-engineered tissue support materials have shown a lot of promise.
What Do You Do if You Suspect a Spinal Cord Injury?
Back fracture pain is exacerbated by spinal nerve strain caused by simple actions like lying in bed for long periods of time. A bulging disc injury can cause severe, sharp pain in your trapezius, upper rhomboids, or scapula, resulting in continuous back, leg, neck, and shoulder pain.
Check Your Adrenaline Rush
A victim's body releases adrenaline shortly after the accident. This rush can induce euphoria, which can mask the seriousness of the injuries. This normal human response helps us to fight or run, but it can also make the situation more complicated. When the adrenaline eventually wears off, you may feel intense pain in your back, feet, legs, or hands, which may spread to other areas of your body. A circumstance like this exacerbates the problem. So get yourself checked out by a doctor right away.
Getting Your MRI Or CT Scan
Only hard tissue can be photographed with X-Rays. As a consequence, they are aware of certain problems. They can detect a cervical lordosis, for example. As a consequence, detecting whiplash or another related modality is not a concern.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scans, on the other hand, can detect damaged tissue. As a result, it is better at identifying spine injuries.
Taking an ambulance to the hospital is better.
This is one of the most important treatments following a serious injury. You will be taken to the hospital in an ambulance for X-rays, Cat scans, MRIs, and other examinations. Additionally, you will be checked out and stabilized as a result of this. Many people who are involved in auto accidents do not seek care or employ an attorney.
Insurance company lawyers take advantage of these victims, alleging they feigned injuries and saying little to get the insurance premiums reduced or removed!
How Much Will My Spinal Cord Injury Cost Me?
If a person is paralyzed, he or she may need a system that is specifically designed for them.
As a consequence, you can require:
Lifts for Wheelchairs
Van or bus with specialized equipment
It's possible that you'll need to make changes to your home to make it ADA-compliant.
It's particularly difficult to bear these costs when it's someone else's fault. All responsible defendants are investigated, located, and sentenced by the right legal counsel, who holds them accountable and makes them pay damages for:
Your medical costs
Future expenses related to the injury
Wages that have been lost
They may also be required to cover the following:
Loss of future earnings
Pain and Suffering
They might also be required to pay punitive damages.
Do Not Negotiate With An Insurance Companies
Insurance firms aim to persuade juries that newer vehicles will protect them from serious accidents. These businesses hope to deprive a victim of maximum compensation. They fail to mention that modern cars lack the same crumple zones as older cars, allowing the force of the impact to be passed to the passengers.
Physical therapy is needed for many spinal cord injuries. Occupational therapy is also an integral aspect of the healing process. Both of these things hinder day-to-day tasks. All of this leads to monetary losses.
They now argue that the observable damage would not support the alleged damages.
Ironically, the insurance industry led legislative attempts to make bumpers safer and more difficult to destroy in order to avoid having to settle bumper property damage claims. Insurers struggled to remove the crumple zone, which injected inertia into the bodies of passengers.
There is no longer a crumple zone to help avoid or alleviate the inertia of the effects. Insurance firms now argue that most rear-end crashes are too minor (fender benders) to merit payouts, if not outright fraud. They now argue that the observable damage would not support the alleged damages.
Insurance firms may charge the claimant with failing to adequately treat their injuries. It's a lose-lose scenario that no one can win on their own.
Thousands of people are injured each year as a result of these forms of incidents. A serious back injury means you'll miss work and lose money in the future. It also has unintended effects, such as reduced mobility and obesity.
Spinal Cord Injuries Often Lead to Catastrophic Injuries
A catastrophic injury is described differently in each state, but it typically refers to a personal injury that results in one or more of the following:
Long-term ailments and health conditions
The average life expectancy is reduced
Physical and mental disability
It is unlikely or extremely difficult to restore the victim's standard of life from before the injury occurred
A catastrophic injury differs from a typical personal injury in terms of the nature and degree of the harm. A traumatic accident is one that causes you to change your life forever as a result of the incident. If your condition falls into this category, a personal injury attorney will help you file a claim for further compensation.
Specific Examples to Help you:
Internal organ damage
Serious, permanently-damaging burns
Injuries to the spinal cord
Amputations that leave an individual disabled for the rest of their life
These injuries can result in severe emotional distress as well as mental health issues. You may need long-term medical treatment, rehabilitation, or therapy, as well as regular personal support if you have sustained a traumatic injury. They'll probably affect your ability to work as well, or worse; they'll make it hard for you to find work at all.
Catastrophic injuries are often visible. If you've lost a limb or have permanent scar as a result of an accident, that's evidence enough. What has to be proved in court is that the side effects you're getting are the product of someone else's negligence.
Proving it's Negligence that Caused the Injuries
The inability to show fair care is the main concept in describing "negligence." A plaintiff or victim, along with their Personal Injury Lawyer, must show that the defendant was responsible in some way that actually caused the claimed damages in order to win a personal injury lawsuit. It's important to pinpoint the duty of care violation and include a detailed overview of all costs incurred as a result of the violation.
It's important to note that a negligence allegation does not have to be made against a single individual or party. The plaintiff will file a complaint against the company or contractor in cases of malfunctioning medical devices, defective and unsafe pharmaceutical goods, poorly-constructed houses, and so on. The result of the case will decide whether the court focuses on a single liable person (or group).
Proving the other party's responsibility in the dispute is one of the most important aspects of obtaining full compensation. The bulk of accident and injury cases will hinge on proving the other party's negligence.
Any potential challenges with the legal process will be alerted to you by your personal injury attorney. In California, personal injury claimants face a variety of issues, including the unpredictability of liability among different parties and comparative negligence.
What Damages Are Owed to Victims of Negligence?
In addition to past and potential future medical costs, the victim's income lost (wage, salary, commissions, etc.), loss or reduction of future earnings (capacity), and the costs of living with the injuries—damages for the pain and discomfort, emotional distress, and the resulting loss of quality of life—should all be included in the sum of damages payable.
In California, there are two categories of coverage for personal injury lawsuits (and therefore Serious Injuries): economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are losses that are paid out of pocket, typically in the form of money.
Hospital expenses sustained as a result of the accidents
Expenses paid by you, the insurance provider, or loan/debts that have been incurred
Experts would need to carefully summarize what long-term care will entail
Wage/income lost (from being stranded in a hospital to being delayed on the way to a paid workday/commission)
Earning Capacity Reduction or Loss (typically as a result of long-term physical and emotional injuries that prohibit you from finding jobs)
Non-economic damages are more likely to be "intangible" or "unseen." It mostly has little to do with monetary or quantifiable expenses, but it may result in substantial loss or harm to the person. Human Effects is a term that is often used.
The following are some examples:
Disability, both physical and mental
Personal relationships lost (usually the loss of a spouse or domestic partner)
Loss of the enjoyment of life
Proving "Pain and Suffering"
Even when you have the most severe injuries, you will still have to provide evidence of suffering and pain. Although evident wounds and disfigurements are usually apparent, the plaintiff must show the seriousness of the effects. The more pain and suffering a plaintiff can demonstrate in court, the more money can be paid in damages.
This can be done in one or more of the following ways:
The injured party should be able to testify to how much pain they are in and how long it lasted.
Witnesses to the suffering (such as relatives and friends), as well as your doctor, will attest to the injured party's suffering.
Proof collected by the plaintiff and their personal injury attorney that can attest to how the pain and suffering are remedied or mitigated (medical bills, etc.)
Apart from punitive damages and "pain and suffering," compensation is awarded equally to all parties (as per comparative negligence), but there are no set limits. The jury is told that there is no set norm, but they do have to decide what "a fair amount based on the facts and common sense" is (in accordance with Jury Instruction CACI 3905A).
Consequently, there is no set legal outline; all that matters is that it is fair. The next issue is proving what "fair" means to your personal injury attorney. Although several strategies have been used in the past, the absence of a standardized guideline remains the most important problem.
The California Law has decided that people of the state (in this case, the jury) should decide what is and is not "fair." This is why having an experienced Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer by your side is beneficial. A good legal firm should ensure that you are compensated or paid what you are owed.
Defining "Damage Caps" in California
In other states, the amount of punitive damages a plaintiff may claim in a personal injury case is limited. The term "damage caps" refers to these limitations. State law usually dictates a claim's damage cap.
To be awarded for punitive damages in a spinal cord injury lawsuit in California, a complainant must show that the defendant's actions were motivated by deceit, oppression, or malice. "Simple and convincing facts" is the standard of evidence that a plaintiff must follow in these circumstances. The norm for securing actual damages is much more difficult to meet than the standard for obtaining punitive damages and is based on which side has more weighty proof.
Is it true that California law has Damage Caps?
Unlike many other states, California does not have a limit on the number of punitive damages that the court can award in a personal injury case. According to the Due Process Clause and Supreme Court precedent, punitive damages would equally amount to compensatory damages given to the plaintiff in such cases.
This means that all punitive damages (or compensation) in a California personal injury case should be at least equal or tantamount to the actual damages incurred. Health bills, missed wages/salaries, other financial losses, and compensatory economic and non-economic damages are covered. In most personal injury claims, the amount of payable damages an individual may claim for pain and suffering (or known as non-economic damages) is normally limitless.
In medical malpractice claims, however, there are some exceptions. Non-economic damages (such as pain and suffering) are limited in California's medical malpractice claims; however, this is the only exception.
What to Do if it Leads to a Wrongful Death
You will be entitled to seek other legal remedies in addition to personal injury if you or a family member is involved in an accident that results in the death of one or more individuals.
In California, you will sue for damages for wrongful death. But only if you meet one of the following criteria:
A spouse or domestic partner of a victim whose name is on official documents
Children of the survivor
Any of the grandchildren (if victims children are deceased)
If the victim died without a will and no living children, brothers, or other relatives were available to inherit; then the damages will go to the victim's parents and stepchildren who were financially reliant on him, the victim's parents and stepchildren would be financially reliant.
Survival Action Lawsuit
A survival action could be brought alongside a wrongful death claim if the victim did not die immediately. The victim's estate files a survival action claim, and any estate beneficiary is entitled to a portion of the payout.
In certain cases, compensation will be provided for the loss of one or more of the following:
Any potential profits have a community property stake in the victim's partner.
Financial losses suffered by family members that would have been candidates for assistance if the deceased had not been killed
Relationships with spouses or domestic partners are lost for the survivor (which in turn is a loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, culture, and moral support)
The survivor is no longer capable of caring for, teaching, educating, or directing their children or stepchildren.
Between the time of the accident and the time of death, the victim's pain and suffering, as well as 'out-of-pocket' losses, including treatment costs and income loss, are all factored into survival payments.
If this sounds too confusing, or if you're unsure if your case meets the requirements for any of the claims mentioned above, you should seek legal advice from a qualified Personal Injury Lawyer.
Find Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers in California
What can you do if you end up in a terrible accident? What if you had lasting, paralyzing injuries that made it impossible for you every day? The best thing to do after a personal injury is to contact a legal team as soon as possible. Free initial case consultations are available via live chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1000Attorneys.com.