The spine is made up of 26 bone discs (vertebrae) that protect the spinal cord and allow you to bend and straighten. Trauma to the spinal column can impair the ability of the spinal cord to send and receive messages from the brain to the body.
If you have suffered spine injury through someone else’s negligence, consult with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. At The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC, we are tough advocates for injured people. Our spine injury lawyer in Houston will fight vehemently for your rights and give your case the care and attention it deserves.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Spine Injury?
According to the Shepherd Center, the most common causes of spinal cord injury in 2016 were:
Car Accidents and Spine Injuries
Car accidents are a common cause of spine injuries in Houston. Trauma to the spinal column in a collision can cause fractures that require immediate surgery to prevent further spinal cord damage. Spinal cord injuries causing paralysis are catastrophic injuries sustained in automobile crashes with long-term consequences for the victim.
Sections of the Spine
The spinal column is divided into four sections of vertebrae, any of which could sustain injury causing paralysis:
- Cervical vertebrae – in the neck
- Thoracic vertebrae – in the upper back, attached to the ribcage
- Lumbar vertebrae – in the lower back
- Sacral vertebrae – in the pelvis
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The higher on the spine the SCI is located, the more it affects the functions of the body. Paraplegia, involving paralysis of the legs and lower body, results from spinal cord injuries in the lumbar or thoracic sections. Tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia) results from injury to the cervical spine and affects all four limbs.
Levels of SCI
Spinal cord injury can be complete or incomplete.
- Complete SCI results in total loss of sensory and motor function below the level of the injury.
- With incomplete SCI, there is some function remaining below the level of the injury.
Recovering Compensation for Spine Injuries
A violent automobile collision can cause serious damage to the spine including fractured vertebrae, ruptured discs, and spinal cord injury. If you have suffered serious spine injuries in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Damages you may be entitled to claim include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Other damages
What Can I Expect in a Spine Injury Case?
A spine injury case requires the assistance of a personal injury attorney. Spinal cord injuries can lead to a lifetime of challenges, and the need for long-term medical care, at a high cost. If injured in a vehicle accident, slip and fall, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident, as a pedestrian, or another incident, the personal injury claim or lawsuit must establish that the liable party caused your spinal injury through an act of negligence
In spinal injury cases associated with defective products, such as a faulty airbag or seatbelts, the claim or lawsuit may be filed against a vehicle manufacturer, parts manufacturer, retailer, or other responsible parties. The process for a spinal injury case is similar to that of most other personal injury claims.
It consists of the following steps:
- Meeting with your personal injury attorney: After undergoing medical treatment for your injuries, you will meet with your attorney to discuss your case. Your attorney will gain access to your medical records and other vital information to support your claim.
- Case investigation: Our attorney will need to research your case thoroughly to understand the extent of your injuries and the long-term impact on your life to determine what damages to pursue. Once your case is valued, the first step is usually filing a claim with the liable party’s insurance company.
- Settling your case: Many personal injury cases are settled, without the need to go to trial. Your attorney will negotiate with attorneys from the insurance company representing the other party, who will typically make an offer. Your attorney will then inform you of the settlement amount and whether this amount is appropriate for your case.
- Filing a lawsuit: If a settlement offer is too low and does not reflect the extent of your injuries, your pain and suffering, and the loss of quality of life, a lawsuit can be filed. A judge will then establish a timeline for your case. Once the lawsuit has been filed, the insurance company is often inspired to make a more reasonable settlement offer.
- The verdict: If you win your case, the defendant will owe you damages, as decided by the jury. If the defendant does not file an appeal, this will be the final phase of your spinal injury case.
FAQ Spine Injuries
How long does a spine injury case last?
The length of a spinal injury case can vary widely. The length of time to resolve varies, based upon the extent of the injuries, the investigation into the facts in your case, and the negotiation process. In many cases, the discovery process may take from six months to a year. While there is no set amount of time that a spinal injury claim can take before it is settled, most injury claims are resolved within one to two years.
How much does it cost to hire a spine injury attorney?
Most personal injury attorneys, including Willie Powells, work on a contingency fee basis. Under this agreement, the attorney will only be paid for their services if you receive compensation in the form of a settlement.