Houston Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
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Few injuries are as traumatic and life-altering as spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Approximately 296,000 Americans live with spinal cord injuries, with 17,900 new cases yearly. Spinal cord injuries impair mobility and sensation.
Ongoing medical advances have paved the way for spinal cord injury survivors to live fulfilling lives. Unfortunately, access to the most innovative medical treatment options can be cost-prohibitive.
At Lanier Law Firm, we believe spinal cord injury victims injured because of someone else’s negligence deserve access to the most advanced medical care. We are dedicated to pursuing the amount of compensation necessary for our clients to access the best treatment options science can offer.
What is a spinal cord injury?
Acute spinal cord injury occurs when a traumatic back injury causes a bruise or tear in the spinal cord. The two types of spinal cord injuries are complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries cause permanent and total loss of movement below the point of injury.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries allow patients to retain some function below the point of injury. Recovery is sometimes possible.
Levels of Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord consists of four sections: cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral.
- The cervical spine. This includes the top of the spinal cord in the neck. Cervical spine injuries are the most serious, impacting the entire body below the neck.
- The thoracic spine. Thoracic spinal cord injuries impact the upper chest, abdominal area, and mid-back muscles.
- The lumbar spine. This is the lower back portion of the spine. Lumbar spinal cord injuries affect the hips and legs.
- The sacral spine. The sacrum is the lowest part of the spine. Sacral spinal cord injuries impact the hips, thighs, and pelvic organs.
Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
The effects of spinal cord damage vary based on the location and completeness of the injury.
Paralysis is the loss of motor function. Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, impacts the arms, legs, trunk, and pelvic organs. Paraplegia impacts the legs, trunk, and pelvic region.
Loss of Sensation
Loss of sensation results in the inability to experience heat, cold, or pain. This creates risks of subsequent injuries or illnesses.
Cervical spine injuries impact muscles that control breathing and sometimes create the need for ventilator assistance. Generally speaking, the lower the injury, the less it impacts breathing.
Long-term complications from spinal cord injuries include the following:
- Urinary tract infections
- Pressure injuries (bedsores)
- Circulation problems such as blood pressure issues and blood clots
- Muscle atrophy
Treatment for Acute Spinal Cord Injury
Immediate treatment includes measures to prevent further damage, spinal realignment, and surgical removal of bone fragments and objects pressing the spinal column.
Rehabilitation for Spinal Cord Injuries
Rehabilitation may include the following:
- Breathing assistance
- Learning new ways to manage bladder and bowels
- Skill-building activities
- Physical therapy
Is there hope of a cure?
A neural prosthesis is an artificial body part that replaces nerve function. An electrical device is connected to functioning nerves. The patient uses those nerves to control the prosthesis, which moves the immobile parts of the body.
Thoughts to Movements
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Miller School of Medicine observed promising results with a machine that uses patients’ thoughts to control their limbs.
Stem Cell Research
Stem cell research offers the possibility of regenerating spinal cord nerves, essentially reversing the injury, rather than just adapting to it.
- Stem cell therapy enabled Jake Javier to regain control of his upper body and transform his life.
- Subjects in a Yale study regained mobility thanks to stem cells from their own bodies.
- The Mayo Clinic observed dramatic improvements in motor function from adult stem cell therapy.
Spine-injured animals at Northwestern University regained their ability to walk after a single injection of nanofibers with bioactive signals that communicate with cells to repair the spinal cord.
What are the most common causes of acute spinal cord injury?
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are discussed below.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents, especially involving rollovers and collisions, are the most common cause. Individuals in motorcycle accidents or passenger vehicles hit by commercial trucks are also vulnerable.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Violence, primarily from gunshot or stab wounds, frequently causes spinal cord injuries.
Recreational activities, such as diving, trampoline jumping, and team sports, lead to spinal cord injuries when safety protocols are not observed.
What damages can I recover in my Houston spinal cord injury claim?
Compensation in car accidents usually comes from the other driver’s insurance company. In a commercial truck accident, the trucking company is liable.
Compensation for workplace injuries is limited if your employer carries workers’ compensation. Workers’ compensation shields your employer from liability unless you prove gross negligence. Workers’ compensation covers medical bills, a portion of your wages for as long as you remain disabled, and lifetime benefits for permanent disability. Proof of employer negligence is not required.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can identify gross negligence if it exists as well as additional liable parties, such as premises owners and defective product manufacturers.
If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation, you can file a personal injury lawsuit. You will have to prove negligence. Compensation from a lawsuit can be substantial.
Victims of Violence
The Crime Victims’ Compensation Program offers lost wages and medical cost compensation to crime victims. You can access this through Victim Services at the Houston Police Department by calling (713) 308-0080.
Compensation in Texas
Texas law provides three types of compensation:
- Economic damages – Monetary losses, including lost wages, medical expenses, and assistive devices
- Non-economic damages – Non-monetary losses such as pain and suffering
- Exemplary damages – Punitive damages awarded in cases of malice, fraud, or gross negligence
The only damages Texas law limits are exemplary damages, which are capped at the greater of $200,000 or the total of your non-economic damages plus double your economic damages.
How long do I have to file a personal injury claim for my spinal cord injuries in Houston?
The Texas statute of limitations for spinal cord injury cases is two years. It is imperative that you contact a personal injury attorney as early as possible. This allows your attorney to gather facts while the information is still fresh and gives sufficient time to build your case.
How can a Houston spinal cord injury attorney help me with my lawsuit?
Texas personal injury law is complex. Besides filing requirements and deadlines, you will face powerful insurance companies and legal representatives who are highly paid to minimize your compensation. You will need resources like forensic experts and legal advice. You will need an understanding of medical jargon and knowledge about the true costs of your injuries, both present and future.
The experienced legal team at The Lanier Law Firm has access to all the resources needed to maximize your compensation. We have a proven track record of successfully advocating for our clients against large companies and winning historic verdicts and settlements.
Our dedication comes from the fact that we care about the people in the community where we live and work. We demonstrate this not only by providing aggressive representation to our clients but also by giving back to the community, providing volunteer hours and financial support to several worthy organizations, including:
- SIRE – a therapeutic equestrian center near Spring for children and adults with a wide range of disability
- Barc pet adoption in Houston
- Houston Food Bank
If you or your loved one is a victim of a life-changing spinal cord injury, Lanier Law Firm offers free consultations, and we only collect fees if and when we win you compensation. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
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