L.A. Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney
Did You Suffer A Disc Bulge, Disc Burst Fracture Or Another Injury In An Accident?
All injuries to the nervous system are very delicate. But the physical and emotional harm from spine injuries devastates families. Los Angeles County injury lawyer Michael Ehline covers the vital information you should know about spine injuries and your rights as a consumer.
- Spinal Cord Defined:
The spinal cord forms a cord of nerve tissue. Most of all, this body part extends from the brain lengthwise along the back down the vertebral canal. And it gives off the pairs of spinal nerves.
Neural circuits carry impulses to and from the brain. It serves as a center for initiating and coordinating spontaneous acts.
The spinal cord also supports cells.
- The brain and spine compose the central nervous system ("CNS").
- The spine mainly transmits neural signals from the brain.
- It lets the body perform day to day tasks.
- These include walking, breathing, and talking.
If damaged, it can fail as a conduit for motor, sensory, and reflex information. If transmissions fail, permanent disabilities present themselves.
Paraplegia and quadriplegia remain at the high end. Whiplash presents itself at the low end. In the mid-range, people may suffer foot drop or partial limb use. Others suffer issues with incontinence. Most parents and families find themselves broke under the weight of the expenses after a bad back injury.
Table of Contents:
- Spinal Cord Injury Case Results
- Spine Injury Diagnosis
- Spine Injury Types
- Spine Injury Treatments
- Definition of Spinal Cord
- Types of Injuries
- Common Complaints
- Masking Effect of Adrenaline
- Problems with X-Rays
- Take an Ambulance to the Hospital
- Learn from a lawyer
What is Your Spine's Anatomy?
The spinal column attaches to the neck. It connects the brain to all nerves, from the lower part of the back to the tailbone.
The spine primarily groups out into three distinct parts:
- Lumbar – These vertebrae support allow movement and hold up the body. In human anatomy, these are the larger parts of the spinal column. They compose five vertebrae amid the rib cage and pelvis. Unlike the cervical spine, they lack foramen transversarium in the transverse process. Also, your lumbar lacks body side facets. In chart notes, physicians label these parts L1 at the top section and L5 as the last.
- Thoracic – The thoracic spine vertebral column centers in the mid to lower back.
- Cervical – Travels from the brain stem area into nerve branches of your limbs and organs, and it sends and receives electrical signals to your body. But when nerves get pressed down and compressed, a person may become paralyzed and lose sensation.
Categories for spine trauma include:
- Falling off of ledges and ladders.
Your children suffer spine injuries from jumping into shallow swimming pools or hot tubs. Defective products like car seatbacks, or seat belts can fail and snap your spine.
National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics:
- Twelve thousand spinal cord cases get reported yearly.
- At least 270,000 people have a permanent back injury.
- 39.2% of spine injuries are due to auto collisions.
- Treating a 25-year-old person with a severe lifelong injury can average over $4.5 million (Source).
Also, rehab runs costly for a family with no employed wage earner. Plus, a spinal care specialist isn't cheap. As noted, auto accidents are the primary reason for back injuries. Most of all, this remains true in this country and Europe today. (Also shown by recent statistics.) Other major causes of spinal cord injuries come from work-related accidents.
Categories include sports, falling off of ledges, ladders, and gunshots. Children suffer spine injuries jumping into shallow swimming pools or hot tubs. Defective products like car seatbacks, or seat belts can fail. And that single snap a spine.
- Doe v. Doe $8,700,000
- Stein v. City of Los Angeles $1,000,000
- Hemsley v. Davis $750,000
- Pineda v. Anderson, et al. $365,000
Doctors call a spinal cord injury an "SCI." Any damage to the spine that changes its function is an SCI.
Important: Getting diagnosed right away remains vital to your health.
Changes include loss of sensation, muscle function, or autonomic function. Loss of control of limbs and organs could happen at the spine lesion. Injuries can occur at any level of the spine and at any time.
Symptoms can range from:
- Muscle atrophy.
- Pressure sores and infections.
And even if you think it’s just a case of whiplash or Facet Joint Syndrome, treat it with urgency.
What Are the Basics Of Spine Injuries?
The Ehline Law Firm faces questions from brain injury survivors often. Many were victims of severe car accidents and slips and falls. Many have back injury claims. Us tort attorneys have to know medicine and the law. So here we answer victim's questions from our perspective as spine injury lawyers.
Spinal cord injuries remain critical ailments with ongoing health implications. Most of all, they change a person’s lifestyle overnight. Many functions depend on the spinal cord. When a back injury occurs, you are at risk for short-term and long-term complications.
The victim and their family will find it necessary to learn how to manage spine injuries. And this stays part of the ongoing recovery process. It also helps victims understand the art of living with a permanent ailment.
Below are some common complications with spine injuries:
- Spasms: Spasticity describes increased spasms. It consists of uncontrolled reflexes of limb movement. Spine injury victims often suffer this issue. This suffering happens due to nerves in the spinal cord getting triggered or damaged. So now the brain and nerves no longer communicate the same way. The spine injury victim no longer controls bodily movements. Medical treatments exist to help reduce spasticity. Although, in some cases, the spasms might be beneficial. Spasms help improve muscle tone in the affected area. That will allow the patient to have some stability of the limb. The goal of improving mobility remains possible with these extra stimuli.
- Urinary: Urinary tract infection or kidney infection and bowel problems can also happen. In that case, the nerves controlling these functions become damaged. Spinal cord impact or twisting remains a primary culprit. In some cases, the brain and body are no longer able to coordinate. So now the bladder and bowel fail to eliminate waste in a controlled manner. In some situations, medications or catheters may be used to treat the problem. In other cases drinking plenty of water and having more fiber in the diet helps with the patient's condition.
- Weight Gain or Loss: Weight gain or loss may occur after a spinal cord injury. Damage can affect a person’s ability to exercise and diet. But healthy eating habits and exercise may remain possible. This improvement happens with help from nutrition experts and physical therapists.
Other physical and mental ailments:
- Depression: This sadness remains a common occurrence in patients who suffered a spinal cord injury. While people recover, some experience some depression. Other symptoms may also be present like anxiety, grief, and stress. So the patient needs to have the support of family. Having friends and care providers could make a huge difference. Victims need to overcome the depressive state of an unfortunate injury. Sometimes great benefits come from hiring therapists. They may help the patient through this challenging period.
- Sexual Dysfunction: People who have suffered a spinal cord injury often suffer from sexual dysfunction and fertility issues. A plethora of items can still arise, however. Also, this problem affects men more than women. Doctors may prescribe medication and other treatments to increase fertility. However, spinal cord injuries rarely affect fertility in women. But pregnancy remains viewed as high risk after mishaps like car accidents. But treatment should only be considered with the assistance of a qualified healthcare expert.
- Bed Sores: Also, spinal cord injury patients may face bed sores. These happen since patients may be sitting or lying in the same position for extended amounts of time. These get caused by pressure on the skin by the bones that restrict blood flow. This pressure creates a deterioration of the tissue. The result will be a pressure sore. Hence, they get referred to as bed sores. They only affect people unable to be mobile most or all of the time. To maintain healthy skin, patients should frequently get moved around. Other tips include keeping the person clean. And they need to be eating a balanced diet. The patient or the caregiver should inspect the skin often for any red areas. Cuts or sores remain particular culprits. If bones protrude, they rub more. These locations include the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. So any marks, cuts, or sores should be treated right away. You must ensure they remain disaffected.
Spinal injuries can also cause:
- Neurogenic Pain: This pain originates in the nervous tissue. Further, this causes sensations of burning and stinging. It remains a common occurrence. In some cases, the limbs no longer have feeling or movement. There can also be a pain in other parts of the body. In this way, the body compensates for the numb limbs. Arms used strenuously for wheelchair movement can become numb, for example. Several forms of treatment get used for this symptom.
- The battery of therapy includes oral medications. It can also include IM and Sub-Q injections.
- It may include transfusions and stem cell therapy.
- Furthermore, it could also involve using spinal or brain electrical stimulation.
- Homeopathic medicine like acupuncture acupressure may help as an adjunct.
- If all else fails, surgery remains available.
Potential Heart Issues:
- Heart Rate: One of the significant concerns with this type of health issue remains the heart rate. Because of this, it can slow down a lot. On the other hand, it might rise to an extreme standard after the injury. Also, this might result in heart problems. So these may require medication. Of particular interest, this would include treatments like low blood pressure intravenous blood infusions.
- Blood Clots: Blood clots are one of the significant concerns with spinal cord damage. And not being able to get around reduces blood flow through the veins. Healthcare providers often prescribe blood clotting medications for patients with these types of spinal cord injuries.
- Automatic Dysreflexia: This condition occurs due to stimulus. These include skin irritations or a blocked catheter. This provocation results in a message that gets triggered below the injury. This signal then gets sent to the brain. The brain cannot receive the news. And this causes a reflex constricting the blood vessels. Then the heart rate slows and raises blood pressure. So this increases the risk of stroke and, in rare cases, seizure. In some cases, this condition can be decreased by changing the position of the patient.
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia and asthma are complications. These can affect some spinal cord patients. Also, the muscles associated with breathing become weakened. In some cases, it may be necessary for the person to have breathing assistance. Also, the nerves to the diaphragm could be damaged. Flu shots could be prescribed in these cases. Medications may also regulate breathing-related issues.
Effects Of Spine Injuries On Your Life?
As you can see, many ways exist for a spinal cord injury to affect human life. The nerves leading to and from the brain run across the spine. These types of damages will require lifetime care if they are dangerous to your health. So you must get your questions answered in detail by a spinal cord lawyer specialist. How do you know whether you should settle a negligence claim? The answer is you cannot be sure without legal help. You must retain counsel. You may have to sue.
Spine injuries fall into two parts.
- Complete injury. It is characterized by a total loss of sensation and muscle function.
- Incomplete injury. This means some nervous signals can travel through the wounded area of the cord.
Location and extent of spine damage determine the symptoms.
A wide range of symptoms is possible:
- Some feel pain.
- Some feel both, or descend into paralysis.
- Others suffer incontinence.
- Pain that feels like burning heat. (A feeling like hot water burning you).
- Radiating pain to one side of the body. (unilateral). Often it runs down the arm on the same aspect of the body.
- Both sides of the body with radiating pain. (bilateral). Will run down the arms on both sides of the body.
- Tingling or numbness in the extremities. (hands and feet).
- Tingling or numbness in the digits. (fingers and toes).
So this means that the patient's prognosis can be a full or partial recovery. Often the worst fear of families comes true, with some auto accidents resulting in temporary or long-term paralysis.
But in bad car wrecks and serious incidents:
- Tetraplegia; or,
- Paraplegia may result.
And so far, these stay permanent. These types of injuries may permanently hinder a person’s movement.
- Maintaining social standing or having a stable social life becomes threatened.
- These hindrances even lead to suicide.
What Is Spinal Cord Therapy?
Loss of spinal cord function can make people very vulnerable to financial ruin and mounting medical bills. You don’t want to be in this fight alone.
- Spinal cord injuries may need long-term physical therapy.
- Also, occupational therapy could be part of the rehab process.
Either type of dullness causes severe changes to a family. For example, the victim could become bedridden and remain out of work. It could also mean no paycheck.
So they may also not be able to enjoy the same lifestyle. And worse, they lose face with their family. Plus, they require significant therapy or changes to accommodate specialized equipment. The liable parties are those that caused the motoring accident. And they should be helping the victim and their family get through this challenging time. But good luck getting money from a wrongdoer unless you have a good Los Angeles car accident lawyer, for example.
How Can Spinal Cord Research Help Your Case?
All of these interfere with daily living activities. But hope exists for the future. New research and treatments include prolotherapy, PRP, and stem cells.
But some off labels use of Human Growth Hormone is underway. Even wearable robotic exoskeletons are under experiment. And lab-engineered materials for tissue support have seen great promise.
These types of injuries could take any form. Simple accidents rarely result in these ailments. It usually takes a sharp bump or strike.
- Compress the nerves of the spine.
Because of this, signals to the nerves could malfunction. So the supple, pliable material in the spinal cord becomes compressed with the right types of forces. It may even degenerate during a jarring incident itself. Doctors call herniated disc injuries ruptured discs.
Other names include bulging discs and disc protrusions. The g-forces may cause the discs to shift out of place violently.
- This can result in a condition known as a “slipped” disc or “herniation.”
The higher up the base of the neck, the damage is located, the worse the symptoms. This area can become dull and afflicted with paralysis. This nerve compression can be painful.
- It could cut off pain receptors entirely.
- It may increase the risk of skin burns.
- Some dulled sensory injuries like this can even lead to the need to fuse the bones surgically.
This is known as spinal fusion surgery. What we do is help victims with locating doctors and in diagnosing these ailments. And as seen above, we have won huge money for these types of injuries.
Common back trauma includes the effects of pressure on the spinal nerves. So bulging disc injuries can cause constant back, leg, neck, and shoulder pain.
Right after the accident, a victim’s body produces adrenaline. This can cause a feeling of euphoria that covers up the extent of the injuries. This natural human response makes us able to fight or move to flight but can confuse the situation. After the adrenaline wears off, the victim faces severe pain.
Typically the pain radiates into their backs, feet, legs, hands. It may also lead to other parts of the body. A situation like this makes things worse. So get checked out by a doctor from the start.
X-Rays are only capable of taking a photo of hard tissue. So they can see some issues. For example, they can spot a cervical lordosis. So spotting whiplash, or similar modality is no problem.
But Magnetic Resonance Imaging or CT scans can see damaged tissue. So this makes it superior in detecting spine injuries. Our attorneys make sure you have access to the best imaging systems.
What About Taking an Ambulance to the Hospital?
This is one of the top steps after a severe injury. An ambulance can take you to the hospital for X-rays, Cat scans, MRIs, and other tests. Plus, this assures you are checked out and stabilized. Many crash victims fail to seek treatment or hire an attorney.
Insurance company attorneys take advantage of these victims. They'll say the injuries are faked. They try anything to reduce or eliminate payments!
Is Spinal Cord Injury Compensation is Our Specialty?
Our spinal cord injury lawyers practice law in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County, and all over Southern California.
Ehline is an expert at using abstract legal theories to resolve specific conflicts. And this is how we advance client interests. The role of our lawyers remains to protect victims of severe injuries in all jurisdictions.
- Is the goal Getting You Paid?
The goal is winning clients money damages. Most of all, the Ehline Law Firm has won millions in verdicts and settlements. For example, in the case of Doe versus Doe, we won $8.7 million for a spinal cord injury victim. In that case, the client suffered respiratory problems. That client had spinal fusion surgery after a motorcycle accident.
Our expertise in and out of the courtroom sets us apart. Our trial attorneys, like Gary Dordick, can take the case to court. But we try our best to avoid trials. After all, clients want the maximum money recovery with no judge or jury to get in the way.
Ehline’s personal injury attorneys compile evidence and conduct discovery. Then we read the review and create a synopsis of medical records and reports. The firm also uses the Physician’s Desk Reference constantly.
Our knowledge of law and medicine makes us viable experts. So we have the means to back your claim. Last, we don’t get paid a dime unless you win your case.
What is My Spinal Cord Injury Worth?
If a person suffers a form of paralysis, he or she will require a custom-tailored device.
So you may need:
- Wheelchair Lifts.
- Special urinals.
- Specialized van or bus.
- Could need to modify your home to make it ADA compliant.
What About Money for Your Spine Injury Medical Devices in the Future?
If a developing minor, the victim will outgrow the equipment. And replacements will need to be purchased. Most of all, this can result in runaway expenses and could bankrupt families.
Holding Your Defendant's Feet to the Fire!
Affording these costs if it's another's fault, especially, is a tough pill to swallow. The right counsel can prove who the defendants who caused this accident or injury were. After that, we can hold them accountable.
So now they are on the hook for the money you deserve. Now they have to pay for:
- Your medical bills
- Future treatment
- Lost wages.
They may also need to cover your:
- Loss of your future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- They could even have to pay punitive damages.
Why You're Making a Huge Mistake To Negotiate with an Insurance Company?
Insurance companies try to trick jury pools into thinking newer cars can prevent serious injuries. These companies hope to prevent a victim from receiving full compensation. They fail to mention that modern cars cause the force of the impact to transfer to the car occupants since they lack the same crumple zones.
Many spinal cord injuries need long-term physical therapy. Occupational therapy remains part of the repair process. All of these interfere with daily living activities. And all of this translates into money damages.
What About The Fight for Stronger Vehicle Bumpers?
They now insist the visible damage won't support the damages claimed.
Ironically, it is the insurance industry who led the fight to make bumpers stronger. They did this to avoid paying property damage claims for bumpers. They fought to eliminate the crumple zone. With this gone, the forces travel into the passengers.
Eliminating The Bumper Crumple Zone Means More Crash Energy Into Your Body?
No longer is there this crumple zone that helps stop or mitigate the impact’s inertia. Insurance companies now persist that most motor vehicles rear-end accidents are too minor (“fender benders”) for payouts or even fraud.
They now insist the visible damage won't support the damages claimed. Insurance companies may accuse the victim of failing to treat their injuries properly. It is a no-win situation for a person to take on alone.
These types of accidents cause thousands of injuries every year. A severe back injury means lost work and lost future income. And it also causes unseen future issues such as loss of mobility and obesity.
More Spinal Cord Resources for You:
- United Spinal Association's Spinal Cord Injury Resource Center: Guidance – Answers – Peer Support – Community – Resources.
- American Spinal Injury Association: This is the premier North American organization in the field of Spinal Cord Injury Care, Education, and Research.
- Spinal Cord Injuries Clinical Research Trials | CenterWatch: This is a listing of Spinal Cord Injuries medical research trials. They actively recruit patient volunteers. Click on the closest city. Find detailed research study info in your area.
- Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, Congressional Directed: Helps with multiple neurotraumatic wounds affecting military service members serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Government Programs | Spinal Cord Injury Resources: Girlshealth.gov was created in 2002 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This site helps you find and access government programs.
- Travis Roy Foundation | Spinal Cord Injury Grants & Research: This links to the Travis Roy Foundation. A website dedicated to enhancing the life of spinal cord injury (SCI) victims. And this site helps families with grants & funding research.
- Disability Research - Right to Know: Funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research.
Approach to the Patient and Diagnostic Evaluation Harman Singh, MD Jim Harrop, MD: https://www.jefferson.edu/content/dam/tju/jmc/files/neurosurgery/SPINETRAUMA.pdf
Prevention of Spinal Disc Injuries - PDR Diagnostics: https://www.pdrclinics.com/prevention-spinal-disc-injuries/
Evaluation and Management of Acute Cervical Spine Trauma - Laura Pimentel, MDa,b,*, Laura Diegelmann, MDa,c: https://www.paems.org/
How Do You Victims Deal With Sadness and Depression?
Sadness and depression fall on families with spine injuries. Some people never adjust. And since treasured loved ones are often victims, you have to choose the best help out there. As seen above, research, grants, and legal help are a click away. Spinal cord injury education is essential.
Why Not Let Us Lobby Your Causes?
Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC, is a thriving national law firm. We lead the way in lobbying for better consumer protections. We have achieved landmark verdicts and settlements.
What Is Another Example Of An Ehline Law Firm Spinal Cord Injury Verdict Or Settlement?
For example, in the case of Doe v. Doe, partner Michael Ehline and staff won an $8.7 million settlement. A motorcyclist we helped was forced to undergo spinal fusion surgery.
He was in an unfortunate automobile accident that threw him from his bike. The victim, in that case, came close to becoming a quadriplegic.
Our partners and staff fight for windfall results. And we thrive in complex cases that many lawyers reject. No matter the medical or legal problem, we can help.
What Else Makes Ehline Law Firm Better?
Lawyers from Ehline Law Firm are proven, pathfinders. Our lawyers are community leaders. And we all participate in educational peer organizations. These include Personal Injury Warriors International, Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, and Circle of Legal Trust.
More About the Ehline Law Firm Spine Lawyer.
Attorney Michael Ehline has taken a national leadership role. He has written treatises on a cruise ship and aviation disasters. Michael regularly speaks before his peers on a wide range of trial strategies. So if you want a proven industry leader, you call (213) 596-9642.