L.A. Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney
Spine Injury Lawyer
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 extending from the brain lengthwise along the back down the vertebral canal, giving off spinal nerve pairs. Neural circuits carry impulses to and from the brain, making it the service 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, helping your body perform day to day tasks, including walking, breathing, and talking
If your spine receives damage, it may fail as your conduit for sending and receiving motor, sensory, and reflex information, causing you to suffer permanent disabilities. Paraplegia and quadriplegia remain at the high end of back injuries, whereas whiplash remains at low soft tissue injuries. Mid-range conditions suffered by spinal cord injury victims will include foot drop or partial limb use. Some spine injury victims will suffer through incontinence and other losses of bodily functions. Many average parents and families find themselves financially broken under the weight of medical bills and other expenses caused by a bad back injury.
[Page updated: 01-13-2021]
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 by 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 helps clients suffering back injuries caused by severe car accidents, slips, falls, and motorcycle wrecks. Spinal cord injury ailments force many clients to change their lifestyles overnight, causing ongoing, lifelong health implications. 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 must learn spine injury management, helping them understand the art of surviving through their back injury recovery process.
Below are some common complications with spine injuries:
- Spasms: Spasticity describes increased spasms, consisting of uncontrolled reflexes of limb movement. Spine injury victims often suffer this condition from triggered spinal cord nerves becoming damaged interfering with normal brain and nerve signal communications, causing a spine injury victim loss of bodily movement and control. Medical treatments exist to help reduce spasticity, but sometimes spasms remain beneficial, helping affected areas improve muscle tone, allowing the patient limb stability. Improving your mobility will be achieved by deploying these extra stimuli in your treatment regimen.
- Urinary: Urinary tract infection, kidney infection, and bowel problems will arise when nerves controlling these functions become damaged by a severe impact or twisting motion, sometimes denying your brain and body coordinating capabilities. Your bladder and bowel may fail to eliminate waste in a controlled manner, requiring some patients to use treatments including medications, catheters, or other prescription treatments. Drinking plenty of water, including consuming more dietary fiber will help.
- Weight Gain or Loss: A patient's weight gain or loss will often result from a spinal cord injury, hindering a person’s exercise and food consumption capability. But healthy eating habits and exercise may remain possible with help from nutrition experts and physical therapists.
Other physical and mental ailments:
- Depression: Sadness will 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 high risk after mishaps like car accidents, requiring pregnant patients to treat under qualified healthcare experts.
- Bed Sores: Also, spinal cord injury patients may face bedsores from sitting or lying positioned similarly for extended amounts of time. These horrific sores caused by skin pressure on your bones restrict blood flow, causing tissue deterioration leading to a pressure sore. Hence, their name, "bed sores." Bedsores typically affect immobile, obese, or bedridden folks. To maintain your healthy skin, you should frequently move your positions around, stay clean, and eat a balanced diet. The patient or the caregiver should regularly conduct skin inspections for red areas, cuts, sores, or protruding bones, creating friction sores from rubbing. These risker skin locations include your shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles. So any marks, cuts, or sores must receive medical treatment right away.
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 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, physicians decrease the condition's symptoms by changing the position of the patient.
- Pneumonia: Pneumonia and asthma remain complications affecting many spinal cord injury patients caused by muscles associated with breathing weakening, making some patients reliant upon breathing assistance. Your diaphragm's nerve signals can become damaged over time. A doctor could prescribe their patient a flu shot or another medication regulating breathing-related issues, assisting the patient's breathing.
Effects Of Spine Injuries On Your Life?
As you can see, many ways exist for a spinal cord injury to affect human life. Your body's nerves lead down your brain through your spine and back. When you suffer a severe spine injury, sometimes, you may require lifetime medical care. Only a well trained, expert spinal cord lawyer specialist will know whether you should settle or negotiate your negligence claim to full value? You must not go without legal help during this tenuous period, so you must retain counsel because you may have to sue everything responsible for your injuries.
Spine injuries fall into two parts.
- Complete injury characterized by your total loss of sensation and muscle functions
- Incomplete injury, meaning your nerve signals still partially but not completely travel through wounded spinal cord locations.
Your spine's damage location will determine symptom severity and treatment.
Spie injury symptoms remain wide-ranging, including:
- Pain coupled with paralysis
- Burning heat pain symptoms (A feeling like hot water burning you)
- Radiating pain to one side of your body (unilateral), often running down that side through your arm from your body
- Radiating pain to both sides of your body (bilateral), running down your arms through both sides of your body
- Tingling or numbness sensation in your bodily extremities (hands and feet)
- Tingling or numbness in your digits. (fingers and toes).
A patient's prognosis for full or partial recovery remains guarded, with families' worst fears often becoming true from auto accidents causing temporary or long-term paralysis.
But in bad car wrecks and serious incidents:
- Tetraplegia; or,
- Paraplegia may result.
Mostly, these paralyzing injuries will remain permanent, hindering a person’s movement with no chances of healing.
- Maintaining social standing or having a stable social life becomes threatened.
- These hindrances even lead to suicide.
Spinal Cord Therapy - What Is It?
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 injury rehabilitation may require long-term physical therapy, including occupational therapy.
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, victims face losing their family and may require significant therapy or lifestyle changes accommodating specialized equipment. The parties liable for causing your motoring accident should be helping you and your loved ones get through this challenging time. But good luck getting money from a wrongdoer unless represented by the best Los Angeles car accident lawyer.
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 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 force can result in a condition known as a “slipped” disc or “herniation.”
Herniations located higher up the base of your neck remain associated with worsening pain symptoms, including dulling pain leading to the patient's partial or total paralysis from painful nerve compression.
- Your pain receptors may be entirely cut off
- Your risk of skin burns increases
- Severely dulled sensory nerves may require injured patients undergoing bone fusion surgery.
Spinal fusion surgery remains expensive and never a sure cure considering complications causing death or condition worsening. Our superior Los Angeles spinal cord injuries help severely injured victims locate doctors with expertise in treating and diagnosing these ailments. Our charismatic legal team at Ehline Law Firm has won spine injury victims large insurance settlements arising from accidents caused by negligence, leading to their back injuries.
Common back trauma pain increases from spinal nerve pressure caused by simple things, including extended periods on your back, laying in bed. A bulging disc injury may radiate intense, sharp pain all across your trapezius, upper rhomboids, or scapula, causing you to suffer constant back, leg, neck, shoulder pain, and suffering.
Right after the accident, a victim’s body produces adrenaline. This rush 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. When your adrenaline wears off, you face severe pain radiating into your back, feet, legs, or hands, possibly leading to your other body parts. 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.
What About Taking an Ambulance to the Hospital?
This treatment 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, claiming they faked their injuries, saying anything to reduce or eliminate your insurance payments!
Is Spinal Cord Injury Compensation is Our Specialty?
Our charismatic team of spinal cord lawyers practice law in Los Angeles, San Bernardino County, and Southern California. Ehline is an expert in using abstract legal theories, resolving specific conflicts, advancing client interests. Moreover, our superior spine injury lawyers protect victims suffering severe injuries across all California and even nationwide legal jurisdictions.
- Getting You Paid Big Remains Our Goal
Our primary goal is winning clients money damages, having won clients millions in verdicts and settlements, including Doe versus Doe, where we won a motorcycle crash victim $8.7 million for a spinal cord injury. In that case, our client's motorcycle accident injuries caused him respiratory problems forcing him to undergo expensive, painful spinal fusion surgery and rehabilitation.
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 regularly.
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 legal counsel investigates, locates, and forces all liable defendants, holding them accountable, making them 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, the insurance industry led legislative efforts making bumpers stronger, harder to damage to avoid paying property damage claims for bumpers. Insurers fought to eliminate the crumple zone, forcing travel inertia into passengers' bodies.
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 Spinal Cord Injury Care, Education, and Research.
- Spinal Cord Injuries Clinical Research Trials | CenterWatch: This list of Spinal Cord injury 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 aid 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 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 thrown from his bike in an unfortunate automobile accident, almost suffering quadriplegia.
Our partners and staff fight for windfall results. And we thrive in complicated 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, participating in educational peer organizations, including 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, having written treatises about suing cruise ship companies and helping victims solve liability question presented by aviation disasters. Michael regularly speaks before his peers on wide-ranging trial strategies and tactics. Clients seeking Los Angeles personal injury attorneys leading our profession will call proven industry leaders (213) 596-9642.