Attorney Doug Goyen has 23 years of experience as a Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer, representing people who have suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of negligence, such as in car accidents. We have been collecting compensation on behalf of our clients for the past 23 years. Call (972) 599 4100 for a free consultation with a Dallas personal injury lawyer. We can get started on your case right away.
HOW A DALLAS SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER CAN HELP
The Law Office of Doug Goyen’s Dallas auto accident lawyer represents people who have been injured in car accidents and assists them in a variety of ways. Some of the most common ways our Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer can assist our clients who have been injured in car accidents are as follows:
Collecting funds from the insurance company to pay for our client’s medical bills. So they can pay for things like the ambulance, emergency room, ER doctors, radiologists, medication, and follow-up treatment for injuries caused by the accident. Collecting compensation for our clients’ lost income when they are unable to work due to injuries sustained in an accident. Obtaining compensation for our client’s pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, and any other injury caused by the accident.
Damages caused by spinal cord injuries commonly include:
Past and future medical bills: The amount of medical bills required to treat your injury in the past and in the future.
Earning capacity lost in the past and in the future: The amount of money you could have earned if you had not been injured.
Past and future lost income: The amount of money you have lost and will lose as a result of the injury.
Loss of services: If a husband or wife is unable to perform their normal household duties as a result of the injury, they are entitled to compensation.
Past and future mental anguish: How your physical injury has caused significant mental anguish, to the point where it is more than disappointment, resentment, embarrassment, or anger, and how it will continue to do so in the future.
Compensation is allowed for past and future pain and suffering: In terms of settling a claim, determining the value of pain and suffering is done by imagining what a jury – who does not know anyone involved – will think the value is.
Loss of a body member or mental function: If you lost an arm, leg, hearing, or mental function or capacity as a result of the accident or injury, this injury may need to be claimed separately from physical impairment or disfigurement in order to recover damages for the harm caused.
Loss of consortium: If the injury is severe enough that you no longer enjoy the companionship of your family members, you are entitled to compensation for the harm done to your family relationships.
Physical impairment in the past and future: How you have been physically impaired in the past as a result of your injury, and how you will be physically impaired in the future. Texas’ version of “loss of enjoyment of life” is physical impairment.
Disfigurement in the past and in the future: How the injury physically disfigured you in the past and how it will disfigure you in the future.
OVERVIEW OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Trauma to the cells in the spinal cord or severing nerve tracts cause spinal cord injuries. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are cord contusion/bruising and compression or pressure on the cord. Another type of injury caused by gunshots is nerve severing or tearing.
Paralysis and numbness are common outcomes of spinal cord injuries. It can cause reflex issues, breathing issues, and bowel and bladder control issues. Side effects include muscle spasms, sensitivity, pain, and sexual issues. Secondary medical issues include bed sores, bladder infections, and lung infections.
CAUSES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Accidents involving motor vehicles are the leading cause of death in people under the age of 65. Falls are the leading cause of death among people over the age of 65. Other causes include workplace injuries, diving injuries, electric shocks, bullet and/or stab wounds, excessive body twisting, and sports injuries. A Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer should investigate back injuries caused by the negligence of others to determine what harms were caused by the negligent party and what that person, entity, or insurance company owes for that injury.
The following are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries:
- Accidents in motor vehicles Accidents involving automobiles or motorcycles are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for nearly half of all new spinal cord injuries each year.
- Falls. A fall is the most common cause of a spinal cord injury after the age of 65. Falls account for approximately 31% of all spinal cord injuries.
- Injuries from sports and recreation. Athletic activities, such as impact sports and diving in shallow water, account for approximately 10% of all spinal cord injuries.
HOW A SPINAL CORD INJURY CAUSES SYMPTOMS
Damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or disks of the spinal column, or to the spinal cord itself, can result in spinal cord injuries.
A traumatic spinal cord injury can occur as a result of a sudden, jarring blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more of your vertebrae. It could also be caused by a gunshot or knife wound that enters and cuts your spinal cord.
Additional damage typically occurs over a period of days or weeks as a result of bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and fluid accumulation in and around your spinal cord.
Nerve fiber damage
Whether the cause is traumatic or nontraumatic, the damage affects the nerve fibers that pass through the injured area, which may impair part or all of your corresponding muscles and nerves below the injury site.
A back injury to your chest/thoracic or lower back/lumbar region can have an impact on your torso, legs, bowel and bladder control, and sexual function.
A neck injury/cervical injury affects the same areas as well as your arm movements and, possibly, your ability to breathe.
SYMPTOMS OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
The ability to control your limbs after a spinal cord injury is determined by two factors – 1) the location of the injury along your spinal cord and 2) the severity of the spinal cord injury.
The neurological level of your injury is the lowest normal part of your spinal cord. The severity of the injury is often referred to as “the completeness,” and it can be classified as one of two ways:
Complete. If you lose all feeling and ability to control movement below the level of your spinal cord injury, your injury is said to be complete.
Incomplete. Incomplete injuries occur when you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area. Incomplete injury comes in varying degrees.
In addition, paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury may be referred to as:
Quadriplegia. This means that your spinal cord injury has affected your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.
Paraplegia. This paralysis affects the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs completely or partially.
Any type of spinal cord injury can cause one or more of the following signs and symptoms:
- Loss of mobility or ability to move
- Sensation loss
- Inability to control one’s bowels or bladder
- Excessive reflex activity or spasms
- Sexual function, sexual sensitivity
- Damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord causes pain or a stinging sensation.
- Breathing difficulties, coughing, or removing secretions from your lungs
Signs and symptoms of an emergency following an accident may include:
- Back pain that is unbearable, or pressure in your neck, head, or back
- In any part of your body, you may experience weakness, incoordination, or paralysis.
- Hand, finger, foot, or toe numbness, tingling, or loss of sensation
- Inability to control one’s bladder or bowels
- Balance and walking difficulties
- Breathing difficulties following an injury
- An unusually twisted or positioned neck or back
COMPLICATIONS OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Changes in the way your body functions may be overwhelming at first. The following areas are frequently affected:
Pain. Overuse of specific muscle groups can cause pain, such as muscle or joint pain, in some people. Nerve pain can occur after a spinal cord injury, especially if the injury is incomplete.
Depression. Coping with all of the changes that a spinal cord injury brings, as well as living with pain, can lead to depression in some people.
The respiratory system. If your abdominal and chest muscles are injured, it may be more difficult to breathe and cough. The diaphragm, as well as the muscles in your chest wall and abdomen, are examples of these.
The type of breathing problems you have will be determined by your neurological level of injury. If you have a cervical or thoracic spinal cord injury, you are more likely to develop pneumonia or other lung problems. Medications and therapy can aid in the prevention and treatment of these issues.
Tone of muscle. Some people with spinal cord injuries have one of two types of muscle tone issues: uncontrolled muscle tightening or motion or soft and limp muscles lacking muscle tone.
Fitness and well-being. Weight loss and muscle atrophy are common in the immediate aftermath of a spinal cord injury. Because of limited mobility, you may adopt a more sedentary lifestyle, increasing your risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.
Sexual well-being. A spinal cord injury can have an impact on sexuality, fertility, and sexual function. Changes in erection and ejaculation may be noticed by men, while changes in lubrication may be noticed by women.
Control of the bladder. Urine from your kidneys will continue to be stored in your bladder. However, if your spinal cord has been injured, your brain may not be able to control your bladder as well.
Changes in bladder control increase your chances of getting a urinary tract infection. Changes in the environment may also result in kidney infections and kidney or bladder stones.
Control of the bowel. Although your stomach and intestines continue to function normally, control of your bowel movements is frequently affected.
Skin sensitivity. You may have lost some or all of your skin sensations below the neurological level of your injury. As a result, when your skin is injured by factors such as prolonged pressure, heat, or cold, it is unable to send a message to your brain. This can increase your susceptibility to pressure sores.
Control of the circulation. A spinal cord injury can result in circulatory problems ranging from low blood pressure on rising to swelling of your extremities. These changes in circulation may also increase your chances of developing blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolus. A potentially life-threatening rise in blood pressure is another issue with circulatory control.
THE COSTS OF SERIOUS SPINAL CORD INJURIES
A serious spinal cord injury that results in paralysis comes with costs and burdens that few people consider, and many people cannot afford the necessary care. The costs of readjusting to life after such a serious injury are enormous.
Consider the following costs when dealing with serious spinal cord injuries:
The level of spinal cord injury, as well as the loss of voluntary function of specific muscles, and thus specific movements and maneuvers of the extremities, frequently determine the level of care required, as do the activities of daily living that can or cannot be performed independently, nursing needs, counseling needs, and future employment opportunities.
Serious spinal cord injuries can shorten one’s life. As in any permanent injury case, the injured party’s life expectancy must be determined when calculating damages. Medical experts assist in determining how a spinal cord injury will affect life expectancy in a case involving a spinal cord injury.
There is no simple formula for determining the nature and extent of future spinal cord care and treatment.
Experts advise on future physical therapy, occupational therapy, vocational rehabilitation and counseling, nursing services, 5) future medical monitoring, 6) future medical treatment, 7) future medications, 8) future medical supplies and equipment, 9) evaluation and training at recognized spinal cord centers, and 10) attendant care.
The necessity and cost of each of these items determine how much compensation is required for the injured person’s care.
Attendant care is the most important and also the most expensive type of care. Attendant care is available from 12 to 24 hours a day. It may or may not include an RN and may only offer less skilled nursing care. It could be a time of day when more than one attendant is needed. The level of paralysis and the resulting functions that the injured party is able to perform will determine the type and extent of attendant care required.
Transfers from a bed to a wheelchair or from a wheelchair to a toilet may be impossible for people with severe spinal cord injuries.
A rehabilitation consultant with experience in case management for catastrophically injured people may be needed to help determine what supplies, equipment, and orthoses are needed.
A wheelchair, as well as annual maintenance and special equipment such as shower chairs, sliding boards, wrist-driven flexor hinge hand braces, special mattresses and padding, and so on, are frequently required. Catheters, leg bags, drainage tubes, and other supplies are required for a bowel and bladder program.
Home modifications are required for spinal cord injuries.
If the injured person can drive, the cost of retrofitting a vehicle with the necessary manual controls must be demonstrated. If you are unable to drive, you will need to purchase a van lift device.
The cost of visiting recognized spinal cord centers on an annual or periodic basis for evaluation and training must be considered.
Rehabilitation specialists are frequently called upon to explain the impossibilities and burdens of re-entering the labor market following certain spinal cord injuries.
HIRE AN EXPERIENCED DALLAS SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYER
Spinal cord injuries can be crippling and life-altering. We understand that you want your medical bills paid, your lost wages paid, and your insurance company to cover the full amount of your loss. We will discuss your options with you and assist you in dealing with the insurance company and any other parties involved in the case to ensure that you receive a timely and appropriate outcome. For a free consultation with a Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer, call (972) 599-4100. Discuss the details of your case with our Dallas personal injury lawyer to see what we can do for you.
Doug Goyen’s Law Office has spent decades assisting people who have suffered neck injuries as a result of car accidents. Attorney Goyen, a Dallas injury lawyer, has been a member of the State Bar of Texas since 1997.
Attorney Goyen has handled a wide range of personal injury cases during that time, including car accidents resulting in spinal cord injuries.
FREE CASE REVIEWS
Call (972) 599 4100 if you need a Dallas spinal cord injury lawyer. We provide free telephone consultations. We also offer a complimentary strategy session. The strategy session includes a summary of your case, legal issues involved, and legal issues we identify as critical to maximizing the amount of compensation owed.
THERE IS NO FEE IF WE DO NOT WIN
If we are unable to recover, you owe us nothing. We charge a contingency fee based on a percentage of the amount recovered. Because this is a performance-based contract, the better we perform for you, the better we perform for ourselves. This aligns our interests in the case with those of our client.
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