Spinal cord injuries are considered a type of ‘catastrophic injury.’ This chronic (and often permanent) condition can cause complete or partial paralysis, dramatically affecting one’s quality of life and well-being. Treatment for a spinal cord injury may require long-term hospitalization and rehabilitation to help fully complete one’s medical recovery.
Along with severe physical, emotional, and mental tolls, the economic effects of medical care for a spinal cord injury can be devastating. Lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation can cost over a million dollars in the first year. If an injury is caused by someone other than yourself, you may have recourse for legal action. If a person or business was somehow negligent, reckless, careless, or acted intentionally, that party could be sued. While a lawsuit cannot fix a devastating injury, it can prevent financial devastation and hold wrongdoers accountable. To learn more about your rights in a personal injury claim, contact an experienced Los Angeles spinal cord injury attorney at Dordulian Law Group today.
Your spinal cord is essentially a long tube that runs from the skull base to the waist, transmitting neurological signals from the brain to other parts of the body. The body’s central nervous system consists primarily of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal column protects the spinal cord. The spine itself can be divided into four separate sections (not including the tailbone):
A spinal cord injury initially begins when the spine absorbs a sudden, traumatic blow. The vertebrae may be fractured or dislocated. It is relatively rare for the spinal cord to be completely severed. Typically, an injury to the spine will compress or fracture the vertebrae, destroying and crushing sensory and motor axons (the “wires” of the nervous system). Depending on the force of a spinal injury and where it occurs, the injury may result in complete recovery, complete paralysis, or somewhere in between.
Spinal cord injury symptoms frequently include changes in strength, sensation, and other body functions below the injury site. Generally, the higher an injury occurs along the spine, the more severe the symptoms. A C1 or C2 spinal cord injury is considered the most severe, resulting in paralysis to a person’s hands, arms, legs, and torso, and also affecting bowel control, bladder control, and the ability to breathe. Some spinal cord injury victims will need around-the-clock care for the rest of their lives. People with spinal cord injuries may not be able to do the most basic tasks without assistance such as getting dressed, preparing a meal, or going to the bathroom. New-onset depression and anxiety are common following a spinal cord injury, especially among younger victims.
The inability to move part of the body or sense touch is called paralysis. Paralysis occurs when nerves are damaged, taking many different forms including:
The severity and prognosis for a spinal cord injury does not depend on the type of paralysis.
Any spinal cord injury is a medical emergency that must be treated immediately. Patients should be stabilized and not moved until help arrives. Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
A spinal cord injury may be diagnosed with an MRI, CT Scan, X-ray, or combination of imaging scans. Emergency surgery may be needed to remove pressure from the spinal cord. Recovery from a spinal cord injury may be complicated by other injuries such as multiple bone fractures or a traumatic brain injury.
According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), for people under age 65, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. For people over age 65, falls are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center has provided the following facts and statistics from their 2019 SCI Data Sheet:
A total loss of feeling and function below the level of injury is a complete spinal cord injury. With an incomplete spinal cord injury, some feeling and mobility will be present below the level of injury. Many people who regain sensation report chronic pain and a “pins and needles” tingling sensation. Other people report spasticity, which includes sudden, uncontrolled movements that occur in areas most affected by paralysis. A spinal cord does not need to be severed for an injury to be complete.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The following five causes account for 96.9% of spinal cord injuries:
- Vehicular accidents: Since 2015, 39.3% of spinal cord injuries have resulted from vehicular accidents. This category includes car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents.
- Falls: Since 2015, 31.8% of spinal cord injuries have resulted from falls, including high falls (from buildings and ladders) and low falls (on the same level or down stairs). Slip and fall accidents are also a common type of fall.
- Gunshot wounds/violence: Since 2015, 13.5% of spinal cord injuries have resulted from acts of violence, primarily nonfatal gunshot wounds. An estimated 37% of nonfatal gunshot wounds are unintentional.
- Sports accidents: Since 2015, 8% of spinal cord injuries have resulted from sport-related accidents. Injuries have resulted from diving, rugby, horseback riding, skiing, football, cycling, motor racing,
- gymnastics, and baseball.
- Medical and surgical incidents: Since 2015, 4.3% of spinal cord injuries are attributed to medical or surgical causes. Medical errors may be by the surgeon, surgical assistant, anesthesiologist, or anesthesia team.
People with spinal cord injuries are at high risk of additional severe health complications, especially pneumonia, urinary tract infections, pressure sores, and life-threatening blood clots in the legs (deep-vein thrombosis) or lungs (pulmonary embolism). These conditions have the potential to drastically shorten lifespans. The mortality rate for a spinal cord injury is highest in the first year following an injury.
Citing ongoing research studies throughout the world, the Mayo Clinic reports many scientists are optimistic that medical advances will someday make recoveries from spinal cord injuries possible, with spinal cord injury recovery eventually becoming routine. Today, spinal cord injury treatments and rehabilitation allow many people to lead productive, independent lives. Such medical care, however, can be exorbitantly expensive. Individuals who sustained spinal cord injuries due to someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or maliciousness, have the right to hold that person (or entity) responsible via a civil lawsuit. Compensation for a spinal cord injury lawsuit may be substantial, and can include:
Compensation recovered in a spinal cord injury can provide comfort and ease financial burdens for victims and their families. It also holds the negligent party accountable and may deter and prevent future incidents that could hurt other individuals.
DLG is a Glendale, CA personal injury law firm specializing in spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and other catastrophic injury cases. We have more than 20 years of experience and have recovered more than $100 million in settlements and verdicts. Over the years, our fierce dedication for our clients’ rights has led to us securing substantial financial awards from catastrophic injury cases, including:
We prepare every case for trial, and have an excellent reputation among defense counsels and insurance companies. Many of our cases have settled on the eve of trial for far more than was initially offered. We don’t settle for anything but the largest possible financial damages award for each and every client we represent. If you look at some of the examples above, companies that try to settle for miniscule (and unjust) sums like $5,000 for a catastrophic injury end up paying over $1 million when the client is represented by an experienced and dedicated DLG attorney. We fight for every penny you deserve following a catastrophic injury.
“I had a great experience with Dordulian Law and will refer them out to anyone that needs them. The accident is stressful enough the last thing I wanted to do was deal with the stress of fighting with the insurance company. Rafi helped me every step and guided me through my treatment. I couldn’t be more grateful for his help.”
Dordulian Law Group’s spinal cord injury attorneys are welcoming and friendly with every client, but tireless advocates and strong negotiators in the courtroom. We work with the best experts and life care planners to anticipate future needs, ensuring that our clients receive everything they require.
When researching and eventually choosing the best spinal cord injury attorney in Los Angeles, you want a firm like DLG that will treat you with compassion, empathy, and respect, while ultimately recovering the maximum fair financial compensation you deserve. At DLG, we understand how difficult acclimating to life following a spinal cord injury can be. We do everything we can to ensure that the lawsuit process is as smooth and stress-free as possible for you, our client. See our client testimonials and case results for many examples where we’ve made a tremendous difference in our clients’ lives and futures.
Our goal in a spinal cord injury case is to recover the maximum possible compensation for our client. And with Dordulian Law Group on your side, you never have to worry about upfront costs. Our no fee guarantee means that if you don’t win, you don’t pay. We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, which means our fee is a portion of the monetary recovery. There are zero upfront fees, and we only get paid when you get paid. We believe members of the Los Angeles community who have suffered catastrophic injuries like a spinal cord fracture deserve free legal advice and the best legal representation available – without having to pay exorbitant upfront fees.
Because a statute of limitations restricts the time you have to file a lawsuit, do not delay in contacting DLG today. In most spinal cord injury cases, you have two years from the date of the incident to file a lawsuit seeking financial damages (although this time frame can vary on a case-by-case basis, so please contact DLG as soon as possible to ensure you do not lose your chance at legal recourse). Do not let the statute of limitations expire before contacting an experienced DLG attorney. Once the statue of limitations expires, you no longer have the option to pursue a civil lawsuit seeking damages. As the laws can be complex and difficult to decipher, do not hesitate to contact a DLG attorney at any time – we’re here to answer any questions you have 24/7.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.