Across the United States, thousands of individuals sustain spinal injuries each year. Some of these can occur as a result of true accidents such as those sustained at sports games and during recreational activities, but others are directly related to negligence or issues of malpractice.
Common causes of compensable spinal injuries include surgical mistakes, slipping and falling on someone else’s property due to a hazard, or preventable car accidents. Many of these spinal cord injuries have far reaching repercussions for the injured party, impacting their physical capabilities, work opportunities, and quality of life.
Victims of spinal cord injuries are likely to suffer permanent damage or changes to sensation, strength, and other physical body functions. Although medical research surrounding spinal cord injuries has advanced in the last few decades, the path to recovery is typically long and difficult.
If you have suffered a spinal injury due to the negligence of another person, it is imperative to seek the advice of a Las Vegas spine injury attorney who will aggressively protect your interests and fight for the compensation you deserve.
Spinal Cord Injuries
The body’s spinal cord includes a collection of nerves that run through the spinal canal and into the brain. The spinal cord is essential for sending commands to the heart, bowels, lungs and muscles. When any of these vertebrae are damaged as a result of an accident, a spinal cord injury can occur.
The most common spinal cord injuries happen when the spine is compressed or pulled, which are movements that frequently occur in motor vehicle accidents. In many vehicle accidents, the neck, head, or back is twisted in a way that the victim suffers a significant blow, leading to dislocated vertebrae or spinal fractures.
Damage can also cause related problems, such as swelling, fluid buildup, and bleeding around the spinal cord. Overtime, these problems can lead to sensory and mobility impairment.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are classified into two primary categories: complete and incomplete. A complete injury is one that leads to complete loss of muscle function and sensation whereas, an incomplete injury may preserve some degree of function.
Spinal cord injuries can cause symptoms such as loss of the ability to feel touch or heat/cold, difficulty breathing, and loss of bladder control. Reflex problems and spasms are also common.
Diagnosing a Spinal Cord Injury
Immediately following an accident, not every spinal injury victim will experience symptoms, and some may not realize the extent of their injury until later on. It is important to get medical attention right away to rule out the possibility of a spinal cord injury. Paralysis or numbness may develop gradually or as the swelling or bleeding around the site of the injury worsens.
An experienced and specialized physician can provide a full assessment and diagnosis of a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injury symptoms will range from one victim to another, but some of the most common and easy to identify include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of control of the bladder and bowels
The time that lapses between the original injury and when you seek medical attention can increase the chances of complications and other issues. If you feel any of the symptoms of a spinal cord injury following an accident, you should monitor your condition carefully and speak to a medical professional as soon as possible.
If you think someone else might have suffered a spinal cord injury, do not move them from the scene of the accident until the paramedics arrive. Moving a spinal injury victim could worsen their condition and have catastrophic consequences.
Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries can have some of the most long-lasting impacts on a victim. This makes it even more important for anyone recently injured in a slip and fall, medical malpractice, or vehicle accident to get immediate medical attention. A doctor will often begin by taking a medical history and completing a physical exam asking questions about the source of the injury.
Additional tests are usually needed to confirm a spinal cord injury, including a CT Scan, an MRI scan, or x-ray of the back and neck to identify any dislocations or fractures. Surgery might be necessary for a patient who could benefit from removing bone fragments, fusing broken bones, or realigning bones. Spinal surgery comes with its own set of risks and can have significant recovery time. Some of the side effects associated with spinal cord injury include the possibility of blood clots, pressure sores, muscle spasms, kidney disease, and blood pressure changes.
Spinal Cord Injuries Caused by Negligence
Any kind of spinal injury can be catastrophic and life-altering, but it can also be very frustrating to realize that your injuries could have been prevented but for the actions of a negligent party. Furthermore, mounting medical bills, time off from work, and temporary or permanent disability can leave a spinal cord injury victim with no choice but to pursue legal action against the party responsible for causing their injury.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury due to the conduct of another person, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries based a theory of negligence. To prevail in a typical negligence claim, you must be able to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) the party had a legal duty not to harm you or to act as a reasonably prudent person under the circumstances; (2) they breach this duty of care; (3) their conduct was the actual and proximate cause of your injuries; and (4) you sustained damages as a result.
In cases of medical malpractice, the defendant will be held to a standard of professional negligence, which considers the standard of care a medical professional of similar training and experience would use under the circumstances.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident or through medical malpractice, it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury lawyer right away.
At The Law Offices of Gina M. Corena, PLLC, we will use our years of experience representing injury victims to pursue the compensation you are entitled to.
Gina Corena is a skilled litigator that has practiced in Nevada her entire career. Ms. Corena prides herself in her devotion to representing injured clients and has acquired millions in settlements and litigation awards for her clients since founding The Law Offices of Gina M. Corena, PLLC. Named a Top 40 under 40 Attorney by the American Society of Legal Advocates and one of the “Ten Best Attorneys” in Nevada for her exceptional and outstanding client services, Gina Corena is a litigator that will fight for you.
For a consultation and review of your case, contact us online or by phone at (702) 680-1111.