Category Archives: Spinal Cord Injuries

Recovering compensation for brain and spinal cord injuries

When California residents sustain traumatic injuries to their spinal cords or brains, the effects are often permanent and life-changing. Both of these types of serious injuries can cause paralysis, loss of mobility and many other conditions that make it difficult for victims to function as they used to. At our firm, we help people who have suffered from such traumatic injuries to recover the financial compensation that they deserve.

A majority of brain and spinal cord injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents, and many involve negligent drivers. That’s why we work with clients to pursue claims against the drunk, distracted and drowsy drivers whose negligent actions forever altered their lives. We also work with family members of injured car accident victims to recover damages for the long-term costs of caring for someone who has a serious injury.

Over the years, our law firm has earned a reputation for helping severely injured accident victims to win significant verdicts. We understand the devastating impact that a spinal cord or brain injury can have on a person’s quality of life and ability to earn income. That’s why we are committed to helping our clients recover the full value of their accident injury claim.

If you or a family member recently suffered from a traumatic spinal cord or brain injury, we may be able to help you. We have experience working with people who have suffered from all types of car accident injuries including quadriplegia. To learn more about the legal services that we offer, visit our page on traumatic injuries.

The effects of spinal cord injury on the gastrointestinal tract

Spinal cord injuries can be the result of slips and falls, birth defects or car accidents. California residents may benefit form learning more about the long-term complications that acute or chronic injuries to the spinal cord could have. One of these complications is gastrointestinal tract dysfunction.

After a chronic spinal cord injury, the flexibility and motility of the large intestine decreases. Colonic motility is the mixing of food back and forth in the colon and the contracting of the muscle that brings on the urge to have a bowel movement. Electromyographic studies, which assess the health of colonic muscles and the nerves controlling those muscles, show that people with spinal cord injuries have more colonic myoelectrical activity.

As patients with spinal cord injuries age, complications related to gastrointestinal tract dysfunction become more numerous. According to Medscape, 20 percent of spinal cord injury patients develop bowel evacuation problems, 43 percent experience excessively high blood pressure associated with the gastrointestinal tract, 43 percent develop abdominal distention and 74 percent develop hemorrhoids.

The ability to manage neurogenic bowel incontinence, which is the inability of the nervous system to control bowel movements, has the potential to change as patients gain weight or age. Bowel dysfunction occurs most often in patients who have had spinal cord injuries for at least five years. Patients age 60 or older have even more gastrointestinal complications, as do those who have had spinal cord injuries for at least 30 years. Colorectal cancer occurs in these patients more often than others.

People who suffer spinal cord injuries due to the negligence of other people or entities might be able to secure fair compensation for the immediate and future complications from which they suffer. Personal injury lawyers could help these people protect their rights throughout their cases.

Source: Medscape, “Gastrointestinal Changes in Spinal Cord Injury,” Terry Winkler, Sept. 10, 2014

Understanding spinal cord injuries

California residents may benefit from reviewing some of the information available on the Spinal Cord Injury Fact Sheet produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spinal cord injuries may be caused by suffering damage to the neck, upper and middle back, or lower back. Because the spinal cord is responsible for transmitting signals from the brain, any damage to the spine could result in significant permanent or temporary neurological damage.

According to the CDC, approximately 200,000 people with spinal cord injuries are currently living in the United States. Researchers estimate there to be 12,000 to 20,000 new cases every year. The CDC also claims that alcohol is a contributing factor in about 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Some of the long-term psychological complications that may result from these injuries include anxiety and depression. Spinal cord injuries can also adversely affect gastrointestinal, urinary, respiratory and musculoskeletal body systems.

On average, these injuries may cost patients between $15,000 and $30,000 each year. Depending on the severity of the injuries, these costs can amount to $500,000 to $3 million during a patient’s lifetime. The CDC estimates that 46 percent are caused by motor vehicle accidents and that 22 percent are caused by falls. Violent incidents causes 16 percent of the injuries and sports constitute the remaining 12 percent. Approximately 50 to 70 percent of all spinal cord injury patients are 15 to 35 years old.

People who have suffered a spinal cord injury caused by another person’s actions or inaction may be entitled to obtain restitution to help offset the damages. Plaintiffs in these cases are often entitled to recover restitution that can account for medical expenses, loss of income, ongoing healthcare and other related hardships. In order to receive an award thorough civil action, lawyers may need to prove that the defendant is liable for the ensuing damages.

Source: CDC, “Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Fact Sheet “, October 17, 2014

California woman sues after being injured in car crash

On July 10 around 7:50 a.m., a 37-year-old woman driving to a nursing class on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz was injured in a crash caused by a truck driver who failed to brake in time and jackknifed on the busy road. On July 17, she filed a lawsuit in Santa Clara County Superior Court against the truck driver and the company for which he works. Her attorneys say that the lawsuit is seeking all current and future costs related to the injuries that she suffered in the accident.

The suit alleges that the woman’s lacerated liver and spinal injuries suffered in the accident were due to the driver’s negligence. Both the driver and his employer are facing claims of being negligent in the driving, hiring, training and supervision of the tractor-trailer.

The woman’s father says that after the accident, she called her mother to say goodbye since she did not think that she would live; she was trapped in her car and had trouble breathing. Firefighters had to use the Jaws of Life to get her out of the vehicle before she was transported by ambulance to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Although she was initially listed in critical condition at the time of the accident, she was released three days later.

A person who suffers injuries in a motor vehicle accident can face a long period of recovery both in and out of a hospital. If the accident occurred because of someone else’s negligence, the injured individual could take steps to hold the negligent party accountable. A legal action may allow the injured person to recoup the cost of medical bills as well as long-term care costs.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, “Injured driver files lawsuit in Highway 17 fatal crash“, Stephen Baxter, July 17, 2014

Why wearing a seat belt is so important in an accident

Even though California is ranked one of the highest in the nation for wearing seat belts, there is still that small percentage of drivers who don’t. Accident victims are brought in to emergency rooms every year with serious or even fatal injuries, simply because they were not wearing their seat belt.

But it might be difficult for some of our readers who have never been involved in a car accident to imagine what injuries could be suffered in a crash. That’s why we wanted to take time this week to share with our San Francisco readers what can happen to your body when you’re not properly restrained.

Many people never assume that they will be involved in a car accident because they consider themselves a good driver. Unfortunately, you cannot always predict what another driver will do. They may run into you because they are intoxicated or distracted behind the wheel. Even minor crashes can result in bruises or broken bones that may require medical attention. More serious crashes can involve more severe injuries such as head traumas or spinal cord injuries that may temporarily or permanently disable you, making you unable to work.

As you may already know, if your vehicle suddenly stops for whatever reason, your body continues moving at the speed the vehicle was travelling. If you’re not wearing your seatbelt, this could mean that you are ejected from the car. Many times, injuries suffered because of an ejection are life threatening.

Although wearing your seatbelt does not always guarantee that you will not suffer injuries in a motor vehicle accident, they may reduce your chances of suffering more severe or fatal injuries. They almost always prevent the risk of ejection from a vehicle, if the restraint is worn properly that is. These are things we hope our readers will keep in mind when they take to California’s roadways.

Source: The Midland Daily News, “Trauma team: In car crashes, seat belt use reduces injury severity,” Emma Johnson, April 2, 2014

Number of spinal cord injuries suffered in falls raises concern

As we age, it becomes harder to fight illness and injury. Our bones become more brittle, making a broken leg or a broken hip not only much more likely but also more difficult to repair. This isn’t exactly groundbreaking news for San Francisco residents, but it does make the results of a recent study even more of a concern.

The study was conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and cases involving spinal cord injuries were the focus. Historically, motor vehicle accidents have been the number one cause of spinal cord injuries across the nation. Data from this recent study showed that falls have surpassed automobile accidents as the leading cause of this type of injury.

According to the data, the overall increase in the number of falls that caused trauma to the spinal cord was due largely in part to an increase amongst the senior population, aged 65 and older. In fact, the number of spinal cord injuries suffered per million by those aged 18 to 64 actually decreased in the same time period from 2007 to 2009.

Not only are seniors suffering falls at a higher rate, but as noted above, recovery is more difficult at this age. In fact, researchers found that seniors are four times more likely to die while receiving emergency treatment for this type of injury at a hospital. For those seniors that make it out of the emergency department, a traumatic spinal cord injury is six times more likely to prove fatal during inpatient care.

Researchers speculate that the increase is in part due to the aging of the baby boomer generation or possibly to a more active elderly population. Safety features available in cars could even contribute to the increase in spinal cord injuries by preventing some of the collisions from becoming fatal accidents.

Source: Insurance Business, “Falls overtake auto wrecks as leading cause of spinal cord injuries,” Feb. 5, 2014

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