Tucson Spinal Cord Injuries
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A TUCSON SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER FOR FREE
Spinal cord injuries are unfortunately too common in the United States. Often occurring as a result of a car accident, a spinal cord injury can mean permanent or temporary disability. If you have received a spinal cord injury, you may no longer be able to work. In such cases, it may be a wise option to hire an attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit or to negotiate with an insurance company.
If you or your loved one has received a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our Tucson personal injury lawyers.
What is the Spine?
The spine consists of 33 individual bones. Each bone is stacked on top of the other. In medical terminology, these bones are known as the vertebrae. Each individual bone is known as the vertebra. Though making up only a fraction of the bones in our body, the spine allows us to stand upright and allows us to do many complex maneuvers with our bodies. The spine also protects the spinal cord. The spine can be divided into three main areas that are moveable and two areas that are fused and set in place. Below is a brief explanation of each part of the spine.
The cervical or neck section of the spine mainly functions to support the weight of the head. There are seven cervical vertebrae or bones. Each vertebra is labeled with a C and with a number corresponding to its location.
The thoracic, or mid-back, section of the spine mainly functions to hold the rib cage in place and protect the heart and lungs. There are twelve bones in the thoracic section of the spine. Each vertebra is labeled with a T and with a number corresponding to its location.
The lumbar or low back section of the spine mainly functions to support the body weight. There are five lumbar vertebrae. Each vertebra is labeled with an L and with a number corresponding to its location.
The sacrum is the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine. It connects the spine to the hip bones.
The coccyx or tailbone is the bottommost part of the spine. It has a curved appearance, which makes it look like a tail.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury
The spine protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord is only 18 inches long and is about as thick as the average human thumb. However, it is essential to the daily functioning of your body. The spinal cord acts as a highway of information from your brain to the other parts of your body. That is why damage to the spinal cord can be so devastating. Damage to it may mean that information from the brain cannot be transmitted to the other parts of your body.
Not all spinal cord injuries are equal. Some are more severe than others. Oftentimes, a spinal cord injury is measured by its level and type. The level describes the specific area of the spine that received the injury and the type describes the effects of the injury.
Spinal Cord Levels
In general, a spinal cord injury located at an upper part of the spine is more serious than a spinal cord injury that is located at a lower part of the spine. For instance, damage to the upper cervical spine (C1 to C4) can mean complete paralysis. Individuals with damage to their C1 to C4 vertebrae may no longer be able to breathe on their own or even speak. Many individuals with damage to their C1 to C4 vertebrae suffer from quadriplegia, i.e., all four of their limbs no longer function.
Damage to the spinal cord in the low cervical spine (C5 to C8) is still serious but an individual with an injury to this area of the spine may still be able to live somewhat independently. For instance, an individual with an injury to their C5 vertebrae may still have the ability to raise his or her arms but may not be able to move his or her legs.
Damage to the thoracic spine or the mid-back can result in the loss of movement of the legs. However, an individual with thoracic spine damage may be able to use their hands and arms as normal.
Individuals with damage to their lumbar or sacrum may have trouble moving their legs. However, many may still be able to walk on their own with aid such as braces.
Spinal Cord Injury Types
The previous section dealt with spinal cord injury levels, i.e., the area of the spinal cord damage. However, spinal cord injuries are also categorized by type. The two types are complete and incomplete.
A complete spinal cord injury means that the entire width of the affected spine has been damaged. This means that the individual with a complete spinal cord injury will have no sensation beneath the damaged area of the spine. On the other hand, an incomplete spinal cord injury affects only a part of the width of the spine. This means that there can still be sensation beneath the affected area.
Keep in mind that damage to the spinal cord is different than damage to the spine. If someone damages his or her spine, but his or her spinal cord was not damaged, the individual may not suffer from permanent paralysis once his or her spine has stabilized.
Top Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Violence (gunshot wounds, knife wounds, etc.)
- Sports and other recreational activities
- Surgical errors
- Diseases such as polio
Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
Because of the high costs of a spinal cord injury, a lawsuit often follows a spinal cord injury accident caused by the negligence of another. In most cases, a spinal cord injury attorney will need to prove that the defendant was negligent. To show that the defendant was negligent, the lawyer must show that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. For instance, drivers have a duty to stop at a stop sign. However, if a plaintiff received a spinal cord injury because the defendant ran a stop sign, a lawyer may show that the defendant was negligent.
In some situations, the defendant may have a valid defense to a spinal cord injury lawsuit. For instance, if a plaintiff engaged in extreme recreational activity such as skydiving, the sky diving business may not be found to be at fault for the spinal cord injury.
What Can I Be Compensated for If My Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Is Successful?
- Lost wages. Since an individual with severe spinal cord injury can no longer work, a successful lawsuit can mean compensation for all the days that an individual was unable to work. It can also mean compensation for future wage loss as well.
- Medical expenses. Hospital bills are expensive. Even simple X-rays can be hundreds of dollars. Medical expenses are often the greatest part of the compensation received from a successful spinal cord injury lawsuit.
- Pain and suffering. Though spinal cord can mean a loss of sensation, it does not mean there is no less suffering than any other injury.
- Medical care. Those with spinal cord injury may need around-the-clock care. Compensation can be provided to pay for this cost.
Read More: How to Calculate the Value of a Case
Should I Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
Because of the life-altering impact a spinal cord injury can have on an individual and because an individual generally has one chance to sue the responsible party, hiring an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer is advisable.
Do I Qualify for Disability for a Spinal Cord Injury?
Because severe spinal cord injury prevents an individual from working, many individuals can receive disability if they have severe spinal cord injuries. In determining whether an individual with spinal cord injury qualifies for disability benefits, the Social Security administration generally looks to see whether the disability prevents an individual from being mobile and also whether the mobile loss will last for at least one year.
The Social Security Administration has listed three ways to qualify for disability for victims of spinal cord injuries.
- Complete Functional Loss of a Body Part. Though paraplegics and quadriplegic individuals normally qualify for disability automatically, you do not have to have to lose the function of your limbs to qualify. For example, spinal cord injuries can paralyze the muscles in the stomach or intestines. These individuals can also receive disability.
- Incomplete Functional Loss of at Least Two Extremities. Another way to qualify for disability is to lose function in at least two extremities. Extremities in this context mean arms and legs.
- Other Kind of Problems Related to Spinal Cord Injury. The Social Security Administration has stated that individuals with a less severe spinal cord injury and mental impairment issues may also qualify for social security. For instance, if an individual with a spinal cord injury can no longer cognitively function, he or she may also qualify for disability.
CONTACT A TUCSON SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER
Spinal injuries can be devastating. The experienced Tucson attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help you with your spinal cord injury claim. 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.