Any serious harm caused by a preventable accident in Phoenix can be traumatic for injured victims and their family members, but when an accident victim suffers a spinal cord injury or paralysis because of the negligence or carelessness of another person, holding the at-fault person or party responsible for the injured victim’s losses and pursuing a fair amount of compensation is more critical than ever. For the most part, spinal cord injuries are not like a minor accident injury that you can recover from and then return to your normal way of life. Severe spinal cord injuries are for life and they can even result in death in some cases. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in a Phoenix accident due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you need an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you recover the compensation you are owed from the person or party found at fault in the accident. Contact Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC as soon as possible to discuss your personal injury claim with a knowledgeable Phoenix spinal cord injury attorney.
Skilled Phoenix Personal Injury Attorneys
You may comprehend the extent to which your spinal cord injury will affect the rest of your life, but you probably don’t have a clear understanding of the full scope of your losses or the significant expenses you will incur as a result of your injury, and that is where our Phoenix personal injury attorneys come in. Our attorneys have years of experience representing clients in personal injury cases just like yours, and while every spinal cord injury is different, we know what it takes to calculate the value of your claim and ensure that you are fairly compensated for your current and future losses, even if you are partly at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. You are limited in the amount of time you have to file a personal injury claim for damages, so don’t wait to contact our firm.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury is characterized by damage to any part of the spinal cord, resulting in a loss of feeling and/or mobility. The spinal cord is the part of the central nervous system responsible for carrying messages from the brain to the body and vice versa, and when the cord is damaged, a debilitating loss of function can occur. There are two main types of spinal cord injuries – complete and incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury causes permanent damage to the affected portion of the spinal cord, typically resulting in paraplegia (paralysis of the lower body and legs) or quadriplegia/tetraplegia (paralysis affecting all four limbs). Individuals who suffer a complete spinal cord injury typically have no feeling or movement below the site of the injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, causes partial damage to the spinal cord, which can result in a loss of feeling and control affecting the area below the injury, but it is possible the individual will regain some feeling and control over time. In addition, spinal cord injuries can also cause pain, numbness, tingling, a loss of bladder or bowel control, and poor coordination.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
There is no single cause of spinal cord injuries in Phoenix. Rather, spinal cord injuries can result from a wide variety of accidents. Much like traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries typically occur because of a violent blow to the back area or any other forceful impact that jolts the body, such as being involved in a head-on collision or falling from a great height (i.e. a fall from dangerous scaffolding on a construction site or a violent jolt caused by a defective elevator that stops suddenly). Some common causes of spinal cord injuries in Phoenix include the following:
- Car accidents
- Slip and falls
- Truck accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Train accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Construction accidents
- Elevator accidents
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center, the majority of spinal cord injuries in the United States are caused by motor vehicle collisions (38.3%) and falls (31.6.%), with violence (13.8%), sports accidents (8.2%), medical and surgical accidents (4.6%) and other causes (3.5%) making up the remaining 30.1%.
Long-Term Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries
The consequences of a spinal cord injury depend a great deal on the severity of the injury (complete vs. incomplete) and the section of the spinal cord that is injured – the cervical, thoracic, lumbar or sacral section – each of which protects a different group of nerves. Generally speaking, the closer the injury is to the brain, the more the individual’s feeling and mobility will be inhibited, and if the spinal cord is severed, the injured victim will experience paralysis below the site of the injury. Some people confuse spinal cord injuries with neck and back injuries, but these types of injuries are actually quite different. An accident victim can sustain a neck or back injury without suffering any damage to the spinal cord, in which case the consequences of the injury will depend on the extent of the damage to the neck or back. However, if the spinal cord is damaged, the injury can be permanent and the long-term consequences of the damage can include problems with motor function and a loss of sensation and strength, as well as difficulty performing daily living activities, taking care of oneself, and earning a living. In addition to these issues, severe spinal cord injuries can also result in a loss of reflex function below the injury site and difficulties with bladder and bowel control, and other symptoms, such as sexual dysfunction, muscle spasms and sensitivity to stimuli, may develop over time.
Recovering Damages for Spinal Cord Injuries
There is no cure for spinal cord injuries and even if the injured victim is able to regain some function or feeling in the affected limbs, recovering from a spinal cord injury is no easy task. Spinal cord injury victims who suffer partial or total paralysis or problems with motor function often experience severe emotional trauma due to the dramatic change in their quality of life and their ability to care for themselves. Caring for a loved one with a spinal cord injury can also be physically and emotionally demanding, not to mention financially costly. Spinal cord injuries typically require extensive medical treatment and long-term care, and the cost of surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation can result in significant financial hardship for the injured victim and his or her loved ones. These considerable medical expenses can be especially problematic if the injured victim is unable to work and earn a living in the same way he or she did before the accident, and that is where “damages” come in.
Damages refer to the financial compensation an injured victim is entitled to for the injuries and losses he or she has suffered due to the at-fault person or party’s negligence, and in Phoenix, injured victims can recover damages even if they are partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. Some states have established a cap on the amount of money you can recover in a personal injury case, but Arizona has no caps on damages due to medical expenses, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent disability, loss of future earning capacity, emotional distress, or pain and suffering. That means you can recover the full amount of compensation you are awarded by the court for your spinal cord injury and any other losses you have sustained.
Proving Negligence in Your Personal Injury Case
Most personal injury cases in Phoenix revolve around the legal theory of negligence, which generally means a person, business, company, government agency or another party failed to exercise the same amount of care that a reasonable person would under similar circumstances, and thus caused you injury or harm. In order to prove that another person or party is at fault for your spinal cord injury and hold that person or party liable for your damages, your personal injury attorney must establish the following basic elements of negligence:
- The person or party against whom you are pursuing a claim (the defendant) owed you a duty to act in a reasonable manner to avoid causing you harm,
- The defendant breached his or her duty by failing to act in a reasonable manner,
- The defendant’s actions were a direct cause of your injuries, and
- As a result of your injuries, you suffered compensable damages.
Understanding the Law of Comparative Negligence
If you accuse another person or company of causing your spinal cord injury, you can expect to be accused of sharing blame in the accident, in which case Arizona’s law of pure comparative negligence comes into play. Under this law, even if you are partly to blame for the accident that caused your injuries, you can still recover damages from the other person or party. Comparative negligence in a Phoenix personal injury case is calculated by considering the actions of each party that contributed to the accident and assigning each a percentage of fault. The amount of damages the injured victim is entitled to is then reduced by the percentage of his or her fault in the accident. For instance, if you are found to be 35% at fault for your own injuries, you can recover 65% of the total damages awarded by the court. This is true even if you are found to be 99% at fault for your injuries, so long as you didn’t cause the injuries intentionally.
How Our Phoenix Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help
Whether your spinal cord injury was caused by a car accident, a bicycle accident or a slip and fall, if the negligence of another person or party caused or contributed to the accident and your resulting injuries, your best option for recovering fair compensation may be to file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault person or party. Depending on the circumstances of your personal injury case, you may have a limited amount of time to file a claim, and if you wait too long, you risk losing your right to recover damages. Our attorneys know how challenging it can be for victims of spinal cord injuries to pursue a legal claim while coming to terms with their injuries, which is why we are committed to handling every aspect of your case, from beginning to end. Not only will we investigate the cause of your accident, examine witness statements and collect any medical records pertaining to your injury, we will also negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement agreement, or if the insurance company insists on offering a low-ball settlement, we will take your case to trial to recover your damages in court. Our legal team at Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC has earned a reputation for aggressively protecting our clients’ rights and fighting for the maximum recovery possible, and we will put our top personal injury attorneys on your case.
Contact Our Phoenix Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys Today
Accidents causing spinal cord injury can happen in the blink of an eye, and in that moment, the lives of injured victims and their family members are forever changed. A spinal cord injury is one of the most devastating kinds of injuries you can sustain in an accident, and these types of injuries are more common than you might think. In fact, there are more than 280,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the United States, with about 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occurring every year. Our legal team at Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC is dedicated to helping accident victims in Phoenix and the surrounding area recover the compensation they deserve for spinal cord injuries and other losses caused by negligence. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury or paralysis in a Phoenix accident due to another person’s negligent acts or because of a dangerous or defective product, do not hesitate to contact our Phoenix personal injury attorneys to discuss your options for legal recourse. It is your right to hold the at-fault person or party liable for your damages, and we can help.