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California Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic injuries that can leave a victim and his or her family members devastated - emotionally and financially. A spinal cord injury occurs when the cells inside a person's spinal cord are damaged, disrupting the relay of signals from the brain to the rest of the body. The consequences of spinal cord trauma could range from chronic or debilitating pain to paralysis. Victims who have been injured as the result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing can seek compensation for their significant losses. It is important that spinal cord injury victims and their families understand their legal rights and options in such cases.

Catastrophic Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic because they have long-term or permanent consequences. With regard to injury claims, a catastrophic injury claim will likely be worth significantly more than other types of injury claims. This is because a catastrophic injury will affect the victim's quality of life as well as his or her ability to make a livelihood and provide for his or her family. In such cases, support needs to be available to cover not only the immediate medical bills, but also lost future income, the cost of medical treatment and physical therapy that will be needed years after the accident.

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

There are a number of different types of spinal cord injuries. A "complete spinal cord injury" is one that results in the loss of sensation and motor ability. Whenever there is significant bruising, loss of blood or an increased amount of pressure on the spinal cord, a total loss of movement and sensation below the site of the injury can occur. An "incomplete spinal cord injury" will affect the victim's ability to feel and move but some sensation below the site of the trauma will remain.

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it may result in:

  • Paralysis: This refers to loss of muscle function that is often accompanied by sensory loss.
  • Quadriplegia: Also known as tetraplegia, this is when trauma to the spinal cord in the neck results in partial or total loss of function in all four limbs.
  • Paraplegia: This is when a spinal cord injury results in impairment of motor or sensory function of the lower half of a person's body.
  • Anterior cord syndrome: A loss of sensation and movement can occur when the motor and sensory pathways in the anterior areas of the spinal cord are damaged.
  • Central cord syndrome: When the center of the cervical area of the spinal cord is damaged, the signals sent from the brain to the body to control bodily movement can be affected.
  • Spinal contusions: This is when the spinal cord is bruised but not severed. The amount of inflammation and bleeding will affect the severity of the symptoms.

Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

According to the Nation Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), 12,000 people suffer nonfatal spinal cord injuries each year in the United States. That means approximately 40 out of 1 million people in the United States will suffer a spinal cord injury this year. There are between 238,000 and 332,000 persons living in the United States with a spinal cord injury at any given moment.

Young adults suffer approximately half of all spinal cord injuries and over 80 percent of all spinal cord victims are men. The NSCISC reports that 36.5 percent of spinal cord injuries suffered since 2010 resulted from car accidents followed by fall-related incidents and acts of violence.

Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average annual medical cost of a spinal cord injury is between $15,000 and $30,000. The estimated lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury is at least $500,000 and could add up to more than $3 million. The NSCISC estimates that damage to the CI-C4 vertebrae can cost over $1 million in the first year and more then $100,000 each subsequent year.

Damages Sought

Individuals who are responsible for causing a spinal cord injury can be held accountable for their wrongdoing or negligence. Spinal cord injury victims can seek compensation for damages including but not limited to:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future income
  • Physical, occupational and other types of rehabilitation
  • Medical equipment
  • Medication
  • Loss of life's enjoyment
  • Permanent injuries
  • Disabilities
  • Pain and suffering

spinal cord injuryThe experienced catastrophic injury lawyers at Bisnar | Chase have represented individuals who have suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of car accidents, workplace accidents and defective automobiles. We are sensitive to our clients' needs.

We understand that you have immediate expenses and work diligently to help you get the support and guidance you need during these challenging times.

If you have suffered debilitating spinal injuries or if your family member is living with a spinal cord injury caused by someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, please contact us at 1-800-561-4887.

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Types of Head Injuries

  • Concussions: This is when an individual suffers a blow to the head and experiences an instant loss of awareness or alertness. Some victims of concussions may lose consciousness for seconds, minutes or even hours. Recent studies show that those who suffer more than one concussion, especially as a result of sports injuries, may face long-term consequences such as victims of more severe traumatic brain injuries.
  • Skull fractures: A skull fracture is a break or crack in the skull bone. Individuals may suffer a linear skull fracture (a break that does not result in bone movement), depressed skull fracture (part of the skull is sunken in from the trauma), a diastatic skull fracture (breaks along the suture lines in the skull) or basilar skull fracture (break in the bone from the base of the skull).
  • Intracranial hematoma: This is when the victim suffers a blood clot in or around the brain. Depending on the type of hematoma injury, the victim may experience minor to life-threatening symptoms.
  • Diffuse axonal injury: This is when the brain is injured due to a shaking movement. Diffuse axonal injuries can occur as the result of a car crash, a fall-related accident or due to other causes such as shaken baby syndrome.
  • If you or a loved one have suffered from any of the above injuries as a result of someone else’s negligence, know your rights and contact an attorney today.


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Disclaimer: The legal information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice, nor the formation of an attorney-client relationship. Any results set forth here were dependent on the facts of that case and the results will differ from case to case. Bisnar Chase serves all of California. In addition, we represent clients in various other states through our affiliations with local law firms. Through the local firm we will be admitted to practice law in their state, pro hac vice.

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