CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A COLORADO SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER FOR FREE
Though any injury to our bodies can be devastating, damage to the spine is perhaps one of the worst injuries we can receive. Whether from a car accident or a nasty fall, spinal cord injury can mean months of rehabilitation or even lifetime treatment. Those who suffer from serious spinal cord injury may no longer be able to work or even move.
If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Colorado spinal cord injury lawyers.
What Is the Spinal Cord?
Before explaining what a spinal cord injury is, we have to understand what the spine is.
Colloquially speaking, the spine is known as the backbone. The spine is simply a connected column of bones that runs from your skull to your lower back. Each bone that makes up this column is known as a vertebra while a collection of these bones is known as vertebrae.
There are four sections of the spine that you should be aware of: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral.
The cervical section is made up of seven vertebrae. The thoracic section has 12 vertebrae. The lumbar section has five vertebrae. The sacral section contains five vertebrae that are fused together as one bone. Below the sacral section is the coccygeal section, otherwise known as the tailbone.
These sections of the spine protect what is known as the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that run down from the base of your brain and along the vertebrae that make up your spine.
What Does the Spinal Cord Do?
You can imagine the spinal cord as the conduit your brain uses to move the rest of your body. Essentially, the brain is the command center in which its instructions are passed along the spinal cord. When the spinal cord is functioning correctly, the brain sends messages along the spinal cord to allow complex bodily processes. Without the spinal cord, your motor function (the ability to control the movement of your muscles), your sensory function (the ability to feel things), and your automatic functions (those functions that you do not have to think about to do, e.g., your heart beating) would be impaired.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is an injury to the spinal cord that can lead to temporary or permanent loss of movement and feeling. Which limbs or movement get impaired after a spinal cord injury depends on two principal factors: the location of the spinal cord injury and the severity of the spinal cord injury.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
- Motor Vehicle Accidents. Because motor vehicle accidents can involve immense force against the spine, it is not surprising that many motor vehicle victims suffer from spinal cord injuries.
- Falls. Slip and falls, such as on a wet or slippery floor, are another leading cause of spinal cord injury.
- Acts of Violence. Though mainly consisting of gun attacks, knife wounds can also cause spinal cord injury.
- Sports and Recreational Activities. Sports and recreational activity such as football and diving in shallow water can lead to spinal cord injury due to the impact involved.
- Certain types of diseases such as arthritis can cause spinal cord injuries.
Preventing Spinal Cord Injuries
Drive with Caution
Though we are always susceptible to injury in a car accident, there are ways to lessen the injury to your spine. For instance, wearing a seatbelt has been a proven way to lessen the amount of injury you receive in a car accident.
If you have young children, do not forget that your children may need to wear an age- and weight-appropriate child safety seat. Remember that children under the age of twelve should ride in the back seat as the front passenger airbag can injure them.
Watch Your Step
Many spinal cord injuries from falls can be prevented with proper precaution. This means that if the road is icy out, wear appropriate shoes or apply salt and rubber glue to your regular shoes. If it is raining, do not run in shoes that are not particularly resistant to slippage. Falls also can occur in your home. That is why you should always have a bathroom mat outside your tub or shower since the likelihood of a fall is much greater when your feet are wet.
Do Not Dive into Shallow Water
Though jumping in a puddle is not likely going to injure you, jumping from a high distance into a body of water can. Remember, when you jump into water, you are breaking the surface tension of the water. When you fall from a high distance at a high speed into water, the water is not able to disperse as quickly. As a result, the water will feel more like a solid object than liquid. Hence, the expression that hitting water at high speed is like hitting concrete.
Follow Safety Regulations While Playing Sports
Though safety equipment and safety regulations do not make sports 100% safe, they do mitigate some of the harms that can occur. This means you should wear helmets while playing football and not engage in behavior that can increase spinal cord injuries like diving headfirst in a baseball game.
Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
Spinal cord injury lawsuits are a subset of personal injury lawsuits. Like other personal injury lawsuits, a spinal cord injury lawsuit is based on the legal theory of negligence. To successfully win a spinal cord injury lawsuit, you must prove that the party that caused the injury was negligent or fell below the duty of care that was expected of the party. In every negligence case, it is expected that you should show four things:
1. That the party that caused the injury owed you a duty of care
2. That the party breached that duty
3. That the breach of that duty caused your injury
4. That the victim suffered injuries
For instance, if you were involved in a car accident and you suffered severe spinal cord injury, you will want to show that the car accident was caused by the negligence of the other driver. If the other driver was texting or under the influence at the time of the accident, you are able to show that the other driver breached his duty of care. This is because drivers owe a duty to other drivers not to drink and drive or text while driving. Once you show that the driver breached that duty, the rest of the requirements for a negligence lawsuit follow. You will be able to show that the breach caused the injury since the accident may not have occurred if the other driver did not drive under the influence. Finally, the injury would be the spinal cord injury.
A spinal cord injury may also be a result of a defective product. If, for instance, your spinal cord injury was caused by a defective seatbelt or airbag, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the defective seatbelt or airbag.
Defenses That Defendants May Use Against Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
Many defendants – especially large companies – will defend themselves from spinal cord injury lawsuits by blaming the victim for the injury. For example, if the spinal cord injury victim was intoxicated at the time of the accident, a defendant may argue that the spinal cord injury would not have occurred if the victim himself or herself was not intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Another way defendants may defend themselves from a lawsuit is by arguing that the spinal cord injury victim assumed the risk. This assumption of risk defense is often utilized by recreational companies like skiing or bungee jumping companies. However, this defense is not viable if the company was careless in maintaining its facilities.
Possible Compensation in Spinal Cord Injury Cases
Though monetary award may not fix permanent spinal cord damage, monetary award attempts to compensate the victim for the losses caused by the accident and injury. This means that a successful spinal cord injury lawsuit plaintiff may be compensated for lost wages, hospital bills, and other losses. Non-economic compensation is more subjective, such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
Should I Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
Because a spinal cord injury can be extremely debilitating and because immense expenses can arise as a result, an experienced lawyer would be a valuable asset in help fighting for the compensation you deserve. An experienced lawyer should take depositions, investigate the seriousness of your injuries, hire experts, and aggressively negotiate with insurance companies to help you seek the compensation you deserve.
CONTACT A COLORADO SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER
The experienced Colorado spinal cord injury attorneys at Zinda Law Group may help you seek compensation for your injuries. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to worry about affording legal representation, which is why we work on a contingency fee basis. You don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.