CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A NEW MEXICO SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER TODAY
As anyone who has ever suffered a back injury knows that spinal cord injuries can be debilitating. Even seemingly minor injuries can lead to missed time from work and hefty medical bills. Severe injuries can lead to months of rehabilitation or life-long paralysis. If your injuries were caused by the fault of another, you may be able to pursue compensation by filing a claim.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a dog bite accident and are interested in filing a claim, or to learn more about the rights and remedies that may be available to you, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced New Mexico spinal cord injury lawyers today.
WHAT IS A SPINAL CORD INJURY?
The human spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that run down the middle of a person’s back. These nerves carry signals regarding touch, pain, and sensation back and forth between the body and brain. A spinal cord injury is essentially damage to these nerves. Thus, when an injury occurs, the signals are disrupted resulting in temporary or permanent changes in strength and sensation in the affected area.
Being able to recognize the onset of a spinal cord injury may help ensure that you receive prompt treatment. Below are several symptoms that may indicate the presence or onset of a spinal cord injury:
- Loss of movement
- Loss or altered sensation
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Impaired breathing
- Muscle spasms
- Changes in sexual function and/or sexual sensitivity
- Radiating pain to lower body, including buttocks, legs, and feet
- Difficulty breathing
In the most severe case, the victim of a spinal cord injury may also experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe pain in the head or neck area
- Paralysis to any part of the body
- Total loss of sensation in any part of the body
- Difficulty breathing or concentrating
- Severe headache
If you or someone you know is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you seek prompt medical attention.
SPINAL CORD INJURY STATISTICS
- There are approximately 294,000 persons in the United States living with some form of spinal cord injury
- Approximately 78% of new spinal cord injury cases are males
- There are approximately 17,800 new cases of spinal cord injuries in the United States each year
- Common causes of spinal cord injuries include automobile accidents, falls, intentional violence, sports, and medical procedures
- Since 2015, about 30% of persons with spinal cord injuries are re-hospitalized one or more times during any given year following injury
COMMON CAUSES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents typically occur when someone slips on a wet, slippery, or uneven surface. When this happens, the force of the person’s body against the ground causes trauma to the person’s spinal cord. The injury may be minor or severe depending on the circumstances.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. Even in seemingly minor accidents such as fender benders, a person is at risk of suffering some sort of spinal injury. Head-on collisions and T-bone type accidents also carry a significant risk of resulting in spinal injury.
Spinal cord and back injuries are very prevalent throughout the athletic community. Contact sports such as football and hockey inevitably result in their fair share of spinal cord injuries. However, even non-contact sports that require twisting, bending, or stretching can result in spinal cord injuries. For instance, golf, bowing, and diving have all been associated with causing spinal cord injuries to participants.
Spinal cord injuries can arise even in the absence of direct physical trauma. For instance, underlying diseases such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer can contribute to or cause spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord injuries may also result from acts of intentional violence. Examples of such acts include gunshot wounds, knife wounds, and other blunt force trauma.
TYPES OF COMPENSATION FOR SPINAL CORD INJURY CLAIMS
The victim of a spinal cord injury typically incurs a variety of costs as a direct result of the injury. For instance, the victim may have to pay for trips to the emergency room and prescription drugs. Costs incurred may also include lost wages due to missed time from work.
If the accident which resulted in the spinal cord injury occurred as a result of someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions, the victim may be able to file a claim against the at-fault party to pursue damages for such costs. For instance, if you were rear-ended by a distracted driver and suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of the collision, you may be able to recover monetary damages from the other driver by filing a claim against him or her.
The type and amount of damages that may be awarded to a spinal cord injury victim vary depending on the facts and circumstances of the case. Generally speaking, such damages can be separated into three categories: economic damages, non-economic damages, and punitive damages.
Economic damages refer to real losses that are measurable and objectively verifiable. In spinal cord injury cases, the primary forms of economic damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Property damage
Non-economic damages refer to the subjective, unquantifiable, and intangible costs incurred by a spinal cord injury victim. Because this class of damages cannot be easily quantified, it is typically the jury’s responsibility to evaluate the value of a spinal cord injury victim’s non-economic damages. Types of non-economic damages in a spinal cord injury case may include:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Disfigurement and disability
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of consortium
Punitive damages are a third class of damages that may be awarded in narrow circumstances. Whereas the purpose of economic damages and non-economic damages is to make a victim whole, the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the at-fault party. For this reason, punitive damages may only be awarded under New Mexico law in cases where the victim establishes that the conduct of the at-fault party was malicious, willful, reckless, wanton, fraudulent, or executed in bad faith. Because this is typically a very difficult burden to meet, many personal injury plaintiffs are not awarded punitive damages.
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
A statute of limitations is a critical aspect of every personal injury case, including those involving spinal cord injuries. A spinal cord injury lawsuit must be timely filed. In other words, the spinal cord injury victim must file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations. If a lawsuit is not filed before the statute of limitations period lapses, the victim may be unable to litigate the claim in court.
Each state has its own statute of limitations period for different types of claims. In New Mexico, there is a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, including spinal cord injury claims. This means that a spinal cord injury victim has three years from the date of injury to file a lawsuit. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident on February 1, 2021, you would have until February 1, 2024 to file a claim against the correct party.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding how a statute of limitations affects your case, do not hesitate to contact an experienced New Mexico spinal cord injury lawyer. A quick consultation may help ensure that your claim is timely filed against all proper parties.
ZINDA LAW GROUP IS HERE TO PROTECT YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS
Following an accident, the victim of a spinal cord injury has enough to worry about as it is. Undergoing the recovery process and keeping up with bills is plenty of work. Navigating a lawsuit from start to finish may only add unnecessary stress.
Thankfully, Zinda Law Group’s New Mexico personal injury attorneys are here to help. From the initial consultation up to the disposition of your case, our attorneys dedicate themselves to providing exemplary legal representation. In addition to years of experience negotiating claims in favor of our clients, our firm also has the resources necessary to build your claim.
Our firm also believes that an injury victim should never have to worry about being able to afford excellent legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That's our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
If you would like to discuss the details of your case with an experienced New Mexico spinal cord injury lawyer, or to learn more about filing a claim following an accident, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free case evaluation.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.