Spinal Injuries

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Personal Injury Attorneys, Experienced In Spinal Injuries In Bradenton & Sarasota

Tampa Spinal Injury Lawyer

What You Should Know About Spinal Injuries

Spinal injuries are among the most serious types of injuries experienced by accident victims in the United States. According to National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) data, 18,000 Americans experience spinal cord injuries each year, with between 250,000 and 375,000 Americans currently living with a spinal cord injury (SCI).

Spinal injuries often result in partial or complete paralysis, which can be both life-altering and very expensive to treat. In fact, the Christopher Reeve Foundation estimates paralysis cases cost victims between $500,000 and $1 million in medical expenses in the first twelve months alone.

If you’ve been in an accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury, you could be eligible for significant compensation. However, getting the compensation you deserve can be complex, often involving multiple insurance companies, medical providers, and sometimes even law enforcement. For that reason, you should always contact a knowledgeable attorney before signing any settlements or attempting to pursue compensation on your own.

Even when working with an attorney, knowledge is power when it comes to getting compensation for a spinal cord injury.


Spinal Injury FAQ's

If you’ve been in an accident that resulted in a spinal injury, call 911 immediately to ensure that you get proper medical care. If the injury resulted from a car, truck, boat, or motorcycle crash, or an act of violence, you’ll also want to make sure the proper law enforcement entities (such as local police) write and file a full incident report.

After taking care of your medical needs and interacting with law enforcement, you’ll want to call an experienced lawyer as quickly as possible. Just as with other types of accidents, you should avoid “admitting fault” at any stage of the process, regardless of the specific details of the accident.
After an accident, victims should:

  • Say No to Quick Settlements: In many cases, an insurance company will attempt to offer you a “low-ball” settlement directly after an accident. You should avoid agreeing to this or signing any settlement papers at all costs. Accepting a settlement early on will usually limit your ability to fight for the compensation you deserve later on.
  • Avoid Self-Incrimination Yourself: As we just mentioned, anything you say involving your own involvement or fault in an accident can and will be used against you during settlement negotiations. This is why you should ask for the advice of an attorney before communicating with any insurance companies, including your own.
  • Be Careful With Your Insurance Company: You may think your insurance company has your best interests at heart. However, at its’ core, it’s a for-profit institution attempting to maximize profits for owners and shareholders. An experienced insurance company will negotiate with both your insurance company and any other insurance companies involved in an attempt to get the best possible result for your case.
  • Document Evidence, If Possible: While it may not be possible due to the nature of your injuries, most lawyers recommend taking photos of the accident scene, as this can help provide evidence that can help your negotiations later.

Spinal injuries can be caused by a variety of different types of accidents, with some of the most common being vehicle crashes, falls, and violence, with most violence-related spinal cord injuries being gunshot-related. By percentage, the most common causes of spinal injuries include:

  • Vehicular: 38.2%
  • Falls: 32.3%
  • Violence: 14.3%
  • Sports: 7.8%
  • Medical/Surgical: 4.1%

When it comes to getting compensation for spinal injuries, the type and cause of the accident matters, as it will directly affect who may be liable for the injury. For example, vehicle-related injuries may be confined to the drivers’ respective insurance companies, but a slip and fall or sports-related incident case could extend to the insurance companies of the facilities where the accident took place.

According to the NSCISC (National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center), most spinal cord injury victims experienced substantial paralysis at the time of hospital discharge. One study showed that 47.4% of victims experienced incomplete quadriplegia, 19.7% experienced incomplete paraplegia, 19.9% experienced complete paraplegia, and 12.4% experienced complete quadriplegia. Only 0.6% of those studied experienced no neurological damage after being discharged from the hospital.

In addition to the core condition of paralysis, spinal cord injury victims are also at risk for a variety of other conditions. Many of these conditions are painful, and some of them can be fatal. Common secondary conditions for spinal injuries include:

  • Osteoporosis
  • Respiratory and lung problems
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Sepsis
  • Urinary tract infections

Just like many other serious conditions, spinal cord injuries can sometimes result from medical malpractice. While only about 4% of spinal cord injury cases result from medical errors, such errors are often unreported, so the true number may be much larger. Some of the most common reasons for medical malpractice related spinal cord injuries include:

  • Surgical errors
  • Failure to diagnose a preexisting condition
  • Chiropractic errors
  • Anesthesia errors
  • Emergency room errors (such as a failure to immobilize the head and neck after an accident)

Unfortunately, it can be very challenging to prove medical malpractice in court or settlement negotiations, so victims need to be especially vigilant in protecting their legal rights. In addition to calling an experienced attorney immediately after a botched medical procedure, most experts suggest:

  • Get a new doctor: Botched spinal operations and other procedures that lead to spinal damage can be deadly, so obtaining immediate medical attention is key. A new doctor can examine you and get the proper scans and records to demonstrate your injuries were caused by medical malpractice. If you don’t get a new examination quickly, a doctor or hospital will have more grounds to claim the injury was caused by an accident or was pre-existing (rather than a result of medical malpractice). In essence, your new exams are evidence that can be used to help you secure a larger settlement or to bolster your case during a jury trial.
  • Obtain your medical records as soon as possible: Accurate medical records from the doctor or hospital that committed the error are often the best type of evidence in medical malpractice cases. Offending doctors or hospitals may alter or destroy records, so act as quickly as possible to get these.
  • Record or write down conversations with doctors and hospitals: The more information you have about the procedure that injured you, the better. That’s why you may want to record or take notes on your interactions with medical providers, especially if you are about to undergo a major operation.

A spinal injury can change your life forever, leaving you with disabilities and millions of dollars of medical bills. Choosing the right personal injury attorney can often mean the difference between making the most of life with your condition and struggling to get the care you need.

An experienced accident attorney can help you:

  • Figure out what to say and do right after a life-altering accident
  • Assist you in organizing and obtaining your medical records, medical bills, and insurance documents
  • Work with and put pressure on insurance companies and navigate the red tape to get you the maximum possible compensation for your injuries
  • Take your case to trial, if necessary