Gainesville Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
The vertebrae in the back and neck protect the spinal cord. Even still, sometimes, a severe traumatic event can cause damage to the spinal cord. A spinal cord injury (SCI) is perhaps the most severe injury someone can suffer. It occurs when the spinal cord is damaged or severed in some way. Depending on the patient’s prognosis, it can be considered a catastrophic injury.
SCIs can result in total or partial paralysis at and below the area of damage to the spinal cord. These injuries are problematic because the brain must communicate messages to the rest of the body and vice versa. The messages must travel through the central nervous system, and they do this through the spinal cord.
If the spinal cord suffers damage, communication cuts off below that point. Some of these injuries result in individuals being unable to use their legs or walk, known as paraplegia. While more severe cases can cause quadriplegia, the loss of use of all extremities. Some people with quadriplegia require assistance with breathing, eating, bathing, or even speaking.
People who suffer a spinal cord injury at the hands of another person or party should discuss their case with a knowledgeable Gainesville spinal cord injury lawyer.
Why Choose Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A.?
At Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A., our Gainesville personal injury lawyers understand the extreme challenges that spinal cord injury victims face. We have the resources and experts to account for all of your expenses in your claim, including all potential future medical costs and care and your lost income. Our award-winning attorneys have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars for accident victims like yourself.
We’ve been fighting for the rights of personal injury victims for over 40 years and have combined personal injury legal experience of over 100 years. We obtain successful results for clients with various injuries, including $1.6 million in recovery for a client with a back injury.
We serve personal injury clients throughout:
- Lake City
- The Villages
- St. Augustine
We represent individuals who may have sustained spinal cord injuries in the following types of ways and more:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Products liability
- Slip and falls
- Defective products
- Premises liability
- Medical malpractice
- Construction accidents
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Even though there are different ways injuries happen and various types of SCI, most SCIs result from trauma.
The most frequent causes of SCI include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Gunshot wounds
- Sports injuries
- Surgical complications
- Physical violence
The most common types of SCI include bruising of the spinal cord and compression due to pressure on the spinal cord.
Other types of injuries to the spinal cord include:
- Lacerations or severing/tearing of some nerve fibers
- Central cord syndrome, which involves damage to the corticospinal tracts within the cervical region of the spinal cord
SCIs fall into two categories of injury—complete spinal cord injury vs. incomplete:
- Complete spinal cord injury: Results in permanent consequences to the area of the spinal cord that is affected and below. Paraplegia or tetraplegia is the result of complete spinal cord injuries.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury: Partial damage to the spinal cord. Movement and sensation depend on the area of the injured spine and the injury’s severity. Often the victim’s health and medical history will impact their final prognosis.
A doctor must examine spinal cord injury victims to determine what type of injury they might have sustained.
When SCIs Cause Paralysis
The most significant concern with SCIs is that they will result in paralysis. Whether you suffer paralysis of one limb or one side of the body, your legs, or all of your appendages, you face significant adjustments in life. If a negligent or malicious person injures you, you may seek compensation for all your losses. A Gainesville spinal cord injury lawyer can help you as you sort out your accident and as you learn to live with a disability.
Approximately 1.7 percent of the U.S. population, or 5,357,970 people, report living with some paralysis. Sadly, many people live with permanent paralysis due to the negligent actions of another person, such as after a motor vehicle or workplace accident. Suppose this happened to you or someone you love.
In that case, speak with our skilled Gainesville spinal cord injury attorneys. We understand what you are going through and know how to maximize your compensation.
Paralysis is a central nervous system disorder resulting in difficulty or the inability to move one’s extremities. A traumatic injury generally causes it by damaging the spinal cord.
There are several different types of paralysis, which include:
- Monoplegia – Affecting only a single arm or leg
- Hemiplegia – Affecting a single arm and leg on the same side of the body
- Paraplegia – Affecting both legs
- Quadriplegia – Also referred to as tetraplegia, affecting all extremities
More than one-third of the 12,500 individuals suffering spinal cord injuries each year in the U.S. and nearly 400,000 people with paralysis were involved in motor vehicle accidents. In addition, almost 167,000 became paralyzed after a fall, some due to negligent property owners.
The Cost of Paralysis
One especially burdensome aspect of paralysis injuries is their financial burden. For example, spinal cord injuries cost approximately $40.5 billion annually. The individual costs arising from paralysis will depend on the extent of the damage.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates these costs annually. According to their latest estimates:
- High tetraplegia (damage to the C1-C4 cervical nerves) has an average price tag of $1,044,197 over the first year and $181,328 yearly afterward.
- Low tetraplegia (damage to the lower part of the spinal cord C5-C8 cervical nerves) costs an average of $754,524 during the first year and $111,237 each year after that.
- Paraplegia (paralysis of the lower limbs or parts of the pelvic area) has an average price tag of $508,904 over the first year and $67,415 yearly afterward.
- Incomplete motor function at any level costs an average of $340,787 during the first year and $41,393 in each year following.
SCI patients are also at risk of developing secondary medical problems related to their condition, such as bladder and lung infections and bed sores. These conditions can increase the financial toll victims face.
Paralysis is expensive and not just monetarily. Patients with paralysis suffer many mental, emotional, and physical hardships. While necessary, having others care for them can be humiliating, as can any disfigurement they might have. Body image issues are prevalent, as is depression. People with paralysis can also seek compensation for loss of consortium as it changes their intimate and familial relationships.
With paralysis injuries incurring so many costs and being of such a high value, it’s no wonder insurance companies will try to evade the responsibility of paying when their insured is to blame for the injury. Insurance companies will hire large law firms to escape their duty to you. You need a Gainesville spinal cord injury attorney on your side who knows how to fight against them. You need an attorney who can recognize the games they play and fight for your rights. You’ll find that attorney at Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A.
Spinal Cord Injuries FAQs
What are the Most Common Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries can have many different symptoms of varying degrees.
Common signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Severe back pain or pressure on the spine, other areas of the back, head, or neck
- Lack of coordination or strength
- Temporary or permanent loss of sensation or function in any part of the body (paralysis)
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Loss of bowel or bladder sensation or control
- Difficulty walking or keeping balance while standing
- Labored breathing
- Aggressive muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
- Stinging in the spinal cord
- Inability to independently clear secretions from the lungs or throat
Anyone experiencing one or more of these symptoms should seek medical care right away. Some spinal cord injuries are treatable, and seeking immediate treatment can mitigate the consequences for some patients. The sooner you receive medical care, the better the potential outcome.
How Long Do Spinal Cord Injuries Take to Show Signs or Symptoms?
Most of the time, signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury are immediately apparent. However, depending on the injury’s severity, some symptoms may not be noticeable until a few days or weeks after the initial injury.
However, you should note that immediately following the spinal cord injury is the most critical in terms of medical treatment. Therefore, anyone who might have an SCI should be examined by a medical professional as soon as possible.
How is Paralysis Linked to Spinal Cord Injuries?
A severe spinal cord injury may cause paralysis. Paralysis refers to what happens if the brain can’t communicate through the spinal cord to the other parts of the body. It can include loss of motor function and/or sensation below the level of injury. The higher an injury occurs on the spinal cord, the more extensive the consequences. For instance, an injury high on the spinal cord or cervical region can cause quadriplegia, or paralysis below the neck, including the arms, torso, and legs.
Paraplegia is another form of paralysis, but it is less severe than quadriplegia. It results from damage to the spinal cord below the cervical area but above the waist or thoracic region. Paraplegia causes paralysis of the torso and legs.
Injuries to the lower spinal cord generally cause less paralysis or loss of motor ability and/or sensation throughout the body and extremities. Injuries higher on the spinal cord usually cause more widespread paralysis.
How Long Do You Have to File a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
Under the Florida personal injury statute of limitations, personal injury victims, including those suffering spinal cord injuries, typically have four years from their injury to file a legal claim. You give up your right to compensation if you don’t file a claim within this deadline. For individuals who suffer severe spinal cord injuries, giving up this right can mean extreme financial burdens for themselves and their families for the rest of their lives.
While four years might seem like plenty of time, SCI claims can be complex. Suppose you or someone you love suffers such an injury. In that case, hire our skilled Gainesville spinal cord injury as soon as possible. We are well-versed in all deadlines that might apply to your case and will take the proper action to protect your legal rights.
Call an Experienced Gainesville Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today
The experienced Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. Gainesville spinal cord injury attorneys have decades of experience handling these severe and catastrophic injuries. We work closely with a qualified, extended network of physicians, therapists, medical experts, actuarial accountants, and other consultants who can help you draft a plan to make your life as full and rich as possible.
Our spinal cord injury lawyers will work your case thoroughly and diligently, identifying all potential sources of compensation. We aim to secure the full and fair compensation that you or your loved one will need to pay for your continued medical care, rehabilitation, daily living assistance, wheelchairs, handicapped vans, and home modifications to make it handicapped accessible.
If you or someone you love recently suffered a spinal cord injury due to another party’s negligence, carelessness, or intentional actions, look no further than Steven A. Bagen & Associates, P.A. for help. We know what it takes to win these types of claims, and we start by offering free consultations for spinal cord injury victims and their families. You can schedule yours today by contacting us online or calling (800) 800-2575. The sooner you contact us, the sooner you can receive the compensation you deserve for your catastrophic injuries.