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Houston Back and Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

The vertebrae, backbone, muscles, discs, nerve endings, and other structures of the back all work together to allow movement. In your backbone, your spinal cord consists of nerves that allow your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. If any of these systems are injured, the results can be life-altering.

Since back and spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating and expensive injuries to sustain, if you have been diagnosed with a serious injury, you may wish to contact a back and spinal cord injury lawyer at Johnson Garcia Law. If your injuries were caused by someone’s negligence, you might be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation so you can afford the best quality care.

How Do Back and Spinal Cord Injuries Commonly Occur?

Back and spinal cord injuries can happen any time there is trauma to the back area, often through direct impact. Any situation where a solid object punctures the skin and damages the back area can also result in spinal cord injury. The most common causes of back and spinal cord injury include:

  • Car and other motor vehicle accidents (accounting for 39.2 percent of back injuries)
  • Falls (32.3 percent)
  • Violence, including assault and gun violence (14.3 percent)
  • Sports injuries (7.8 percent)
  • Medical and surgical incidents, including instances that can lead to medical malpractice claims (4.1 percent)

There are also other causes of spinal cord injuries, including swimming pool and diving board accidents, boating accidents, and other events. A smaller amount of injuries are caused by medical conditions.

What Kind of Damage Can They Cause?

Back injuries and spinal cord trauma range widely from mild pain to chronic pain to severe injury which leaves a person dependent on others for personal care. Types of damage caused by back and spinal cord trauma include:

  • Acute back pain. With this type of back pain, the pain goes away within a few weeks and there is usually no loss of mobility or function.
  • Chronic back pain. This injury may cause more severe pain and can last for over twelve weeks. The cause of the injury might be diagnosed but in some cases, doctors are unable to target a specific issue and instead focus on pain management.
  • Herniated or ruptured discs. When intervertebral discs are damaged, they can bulge out or get compressed, causing severe pain and difficulty with mobility. For some people, this type of injury can mean they recover from one bout of pain only to “throw” their back out again and experience pain again.
  • Incomplete spinal cord injury. Spinal cord trauma can affect part of the spinal cord, causing loss of sensation or movement in the body.
  • Complete spinal cord injury. This is a severe, permanently debilitating injury. Depending on where the injury occurs, paraplegia or quadriplegia can occur. With paraplegia, the patient is paralyzed from the waist down while with quadriplegia, all four limbs are paralyzed. These injuries are often identified by numbers and letters, ranging from C-1 to C-8. The numbers and letters indicate where on the spinal cord the injury occurred and thus the severity of the injury.

Back injuries can affect more than the back. Someone living with paraplegia or quadriplegia, for example, could be bound to a wheelchair and their condition may make them more susceptible to pneumonia, infection, and other life-threatening medical conditions. People with quadriplegia, specifically, who are paralyzed from the neck down may have major organs such as the lungs impacted and may need assisted living and round-the-clock care.

What’s the Recovery Like?

Recovery depends heavily on the type of injury sustained. For mild, acute back injury a patient will typically recover at home. Chronic back pain may require ongoing pain management or injections to lessen the pressure on the back.

For SCIs, patients will usually face a long stay in the hospital, especially with severe spinal cord injury. Doctors will work to stabilize the patient, prevent further spinal cord trauma, and prevent shock. Patients are often kept immobilized and doctors will take steps to ensure breathing and other major systems can continue to function well.

Patients with SCI may need surgery to stabilize the spine and to remove any foreign objects or pieces of bone or discs which can be compressing the spine. Today, there is significant research being done about how to regenerate nerves, prevent inflammation, and how to prevent cell death after a serious spinal injury. Eligible patients may choose to take part in clinical trials or experimental treatment as part of their recovery.

Long term, SCI patients may need treatment to deal with loss of muscle tone, pressure ulcers, incontinence, and other issues. Patients may work with a social worker, psychologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and other professionals to adapt to life with a different range of motion. They may also learn to use a wheelchair or other adaptive technology and will generally need to take medication to manage pain and other symptoms.

How Can a Lawsuit Help Victims of Such Injuries in Their Recovery?

If you have been diagnosed with a serious back or spinal cord injury, it is important to at least consider a lawsuit if your injuries were caused by a third party’s negligence. You not only have the right to file a lawsuit if you qualify, but spinal cord and back injuries are among the most expensive injuries to sustain. For someone who sustains a serious C1-C4 spinal cord injury resulting in quadriplegia, average lifetime medical costs are $5 million. The first year of medical care for a patient with paraplegia can be $550,381. Pursuing a lawsuit can give you compensation to pay these expenses.

Another thing to consider is that thanks to work by organizations such as The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, new developments in spinal cord and back injury treatment are being developed all the time, including new stem cell treatments, biomaterials, and other breakthroughs. Being able to afford newer treatments and medical technology can help change the lives of patients living with SCI and securing compensation through a lawsuit can help some patients afford this new life-changing technology.

There is a third reason for pursuing a lawsuit, too. The effects of serious back pain or spinal cord injury go far beyond the medical treatments necessary. SCI patients may find they cannot return to their jobs or that their income prospects are permanently changed. They may need to pay for expensive adaptive technology or may need to move or considerably renovate and adapt their home and vehicle to accommodate their injury.

Relationships, home life, and everyday activities can all be affected. Nothing will make a permanent spinal cord injury disappear but having financial resources can allow patients to adapt by helping them pay for important services and supports. Quality of life after a serious injury can be impacted by the resources a patient has access to and in many cases pursuing a lawsuit might be one way to secure the compensation needed for a high standard of care.

What’s The Process Like for Seeking Legal Recovery for Back and Spinal Cord Injuries?

If you have been injured, the first step after getting emergency medical care for your injury is to contact a back and spinal cord injury lawyer. Your attorney can work to determine liability and establish whether you may have a claim. If you work with a Houston back injury lawyer, your attorney will take of most of the steps of seeking legal recovery, including:

  • Filing a complaint against any liable parties and waiting for their response
  • Undertaking the discovery process, during which evidence is gathered and shared among parties
  • Negotiating with the other parties
  • Attending all court dates as your case works its way through the courts

Your attorney will advise you during every stage in the process, which is important since there will be many decisions to make. The other side may make settlement offers and there could be back-and-forth about settlement amounts and details of the case. Your attorney can navigate all of this, might be able to help you with your insurance provider if you need someone to negotiate with them, and will work to pursue a fair settlement for you.

The legal claims process for a spinal cord injury or back injury can be lengthy, often because these claims can involve substantial sums. While each claim is different, you might be able to pursue a claim for your medical bills, lost income, expected future medical bills, pain and suffering, in-home care, and other losses. Working with an experienced attorney is important to help you pursue fair compensation.

How Can an Experienced Houston Back Injury Lawyer Like Johnson Garcia Help?

The attorneys at Johnson Garcia Law have more than 30 years of combined experience and a track record of many successful claims and settlements, including multi-million-dollar settlements. Our team has worked with spinal cord and back injury survivors, and we understand the ways insurance companies and liable parties work to make lowball offers.

Our extensive trial and negotiation experience makes us unyielding to these tactics, so we continue to work towards a fair settlement even when the other parties want to settle quickly and inexpensively. We are willing to take qualifying cases to trial to ensure our clients get a chance at the compensation they deserve. If you have suffered a serious back or spinal cord injury, contact Johnson Garcia Law for a free consultation to discuss how we could be part of your recovery team.

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