CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A SANTA FE SPINAL INJURY ATTORNEY TODAY
Suffering a spinal injury is a lot to handle all on its own. Spinal injuries can be minor, but often they lean more toward the serious end of the spectrum. The spine is such a vulnerable part of the body that even small injuries may end up yielding catastrophic consequences for our physical, emotional, and mental health. The added pressure of a legal battle is the last thing that a recovering victim needs after enduring this type of injury. One of the best things you can do for yourself and your recovery is to let an attorney with experience handling spinal injury claims assist you with your claim. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you as soon as possible.
Spinal Injury Statistics
According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, recent 2020 estimates show that there are approximately 54 cases of spinal cord injury per every one million people in the United States. That equates to about 17,810 new cases every single year. Further, there are an estimated 294,000 persons currently living with spinal cord injuries in the United States.
Based on data from the same 2020 report, in the 1970s, the average age for spinal cord injuries was 29. However, starting in 2015 that number dramatically increased to make the average age for spinal cord injuries about 43. Most spinal cord injuries occur in males and the number one cause of spinal injuries is motor vehicle accidents.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Most people probably hear the term “spinal injury” and immediately think of the worst-case scenario. A lot of the time spinal injuries may be viewed as synonymous with being paralyzed. However, the truth is spinal injuries come in many different forms and can be caused by a wide array of accidents. The following list includes some of the common situations that may lead to a spinal cord injury:
- Sudden traumatic impact to your spine, such as a car accident, motorcycle accident, or sports accident
- A penetration to your spine
- Fluid accumulation in your spinal cord
- Arthritis, infections, inflammation, or any other type of non-traumatic ailment that may lead to spinal nerve damage.
COMMON TYPES OF SPINAL INJURIES
While spinal injuries come in many forms and may not always lead to the most severe result possible, they are almost always serious to some extent. This makes sense considering the spinal column is such a major part of our bodies. Spinal injuries happen in general when the protective bone surrounding our spinal cord is damaged by way of fracture, dislocation, compression, or some other trauma to the area. Here are a few of the common types of spinal injuries a victim may experience after an accident:
- Tetraplegia: Often referred to as quadriplegia, tetraplegia is a type of incomplete injury where your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected.
- Paraplegia: Paraplegia is an incomplete injury where either all or part of your trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected.
- Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries: This type of injury occurs when the head and the neck above the shoulders are affected.
- Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries: Lumbar spinal cord injuries occur where the hips and the legs are affected.
- Thoracic Spinal Injuries: This type of injury occurs where the upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal muscles are affected.
- Sacral Spinal Injuries: Where the hips, back of the thighs, buttocks, and pelvic organs are injured during a spinal injury.
A medical professional will categorize spinal injuries as either being complete or incomplete. Incomplete injuries mean that the ability of your spine to send signals to your brain has been completely severed. This can be confusing since an incomplete injury means complete loss of connection between spine and brain. However, the reason this type of spinal injury is called incomplete is because there still may be some sensation below the level of the injury. Complete spinal injuries, on the other hand, refer to a total loss of sensory and motor function below the site of the injury.
Common Effects of a Spinal Injury
Beyond affecting your motor functions, spinal injuries can take both a physical, mental, and emotional toll on recovering victims. A few of the other common effects of spinal cord injuries may include, but are not limited to:
- Loss or altered sensation
- Loss of bladder control
- Spasms or other reflex issues
- Changes in sexual function
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight gain
- Emotional trauma
How to File a Spinal Injury Claim
Seek Medical Attention
No matter what, the most important thing to do to file a claim is to seek medical attention for any bodily injuries. Taking care of your physical wellbeing, especially after a major injury, always needs to be the top priority. Usually, if you receive a spinal injury, the injury may feel pretty apparent. However, sometimes we may not always be aware of the extent of our injuries and may even write them off as not being a big deal. Regardless of how severe you feel like your injuries are, we want to encourage everyone to be safe and receive the treatment they need for all injuries big and small. Additionally, receiving medical treatment can make a big difference in your claim because you will have official documentation about your injuries, treatment, and treatment plan going forward.
Call the Police
Calling the police is always important if you can. Calling the police to the scene to give them the details of what happened shortly after you have been involved in any type of accident has a lot of benefits. Your memory recall will be better, and the police can create and file an official police report that may be used in helping you seek compensation for your claim.
Documentation can play a major part in helping you file a successful claim. Document anything and everything you can by taking photos, making notes, and speaking with any eyewitnesses who might have seen the accident take place. Do your best to obtain documentation of relevant information as soon as possible to ensure its accuracy and quality.
Speak with an Attorney
Having an attorney with experience handling spinal injury cases is the best way to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. An attorney may be able to help advise you on your options, open a claim with your insurance carrier, and negotiate any settlement offers.
After hiring an attorney, opening a claim with insurance, and conducting an investigation, you will likely have the option to negotiate settlement offers. Most cases settle as an attempt to limit the need to go to trial. Your attorney may be able to provide valuable advice about the appropriateness of any settlement offers and whether to accept or decline the offer.
Read More: How to Negotiate with Insurance Companies
When you sustain a spinal cord injury, there is the potential to recover two different types of damages. You can seek economic damages and non-economic damages for your injury.
Economic damages cover bills that are easily quantified with a set amount of money. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and other incidentals like gas money for driving to and from doctor’s appointments. Medical bills can be quite high in spinal injury cases, but the recoverable amount will ultimately depend on the circumstance of your injury.
Non-economic damages are based on the impact the injury is going to have on your life going forward, and are therefore less concrete. These types of damages generally cover things such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are not as quantifiable and are heavily dependent on the accident and your injury. Nonetheless, non-economic damages are particularly important in spinal injury cases as spinal injuries have the potential to impact a victim’s life in a long-lasting way.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
Statute of limitations
Each state places a statute of limitations on legal claims. The statute of limitations creates a time limit in which you can file a lawsuit and seek compensation for an injury. Each state has a different statute of limitations for spinal cord injuries. Under New Mexico law, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim for compensation.
Time is always an important and vital consideration in the legal process. Ultimately, if you wait to file a claim you may be barred from recovery altogether.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
You should not have to fight this legal battle alone. Our attorneys help victims get their lives back on track after serious injuries, and we may be able to help you too. If you want to discuss your case with a Santa Fe personal injury lawyer before dealing with insurance claims adjusters, feel free to reach out to Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a Santa Fe spinal injury lawyers. You pay nothing unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
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