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West Tampa, FL, Spinal Cord Injuries
Suffering a spinal cord injury changes your life. Spinal cord wounds can make even the most minute activity extraordinarily painful. You may be unable to walk or exercise, and a spinal cord injury could compromise your ability to work. Actions you once took for granted, like going to dinner with friends or shopping, might be impossible.
If your spinal cord injury was the result of an accident, you might be eligible to seek financial compensation through a legal claim. Typically, spinal cord accidents are unexpected and result from car accidents, slips and falls, and sports injuries. Other causes include gunshot wounds or surgeries that go wrong.
Whatever the reason for your suffering, attorneys who handle West Tampa, FL, spinal cord injuries can help. At Morgan & Morgan, we’ve helped thousands of individuals receive compensation to help them cope with the financial and emotional fallout from severe injuries.
Use our contact form today to schedule a free case evaluation.
Morgan & Morgan
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
The spinal cord is arguably one of the most critical parts of the body outside of the brain. The spinal cord consists of bones, muscles, and nerves, all of which give us the ability to move at ease. Spinal cord injuries can be simple or complex. A simple injury may involve a fracture to the vertebrae or the backbone itself.
If the broken bone damages the spinal cord, nerves become damaged. Nerve damage can disrupt various bodily functions, including breathing, muscle movement, and intestinal function. At this point, the injury is considered to be a spinal cord injury, and physicians must treat it as such.
Injuries to the spinal cord may be complete or incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries are the most dangerous. They result in total paralysis that may impact both arms or legs, or only the legs.
Individuals with complete spinal cord injuries may never recover their ability to walk or move. A complete spinal cord injury victim may also suffer from reduced brain functioning.
West Tampa, FL, spinal cord injuries categorized as incomplete result in a loss of function in part of the body. For instance, the injured person may be unable to move their right arm or have difficulty walking on their left leg. Usually, there’s minimal brain damage, if any.
What Are the Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury?
If you’ve experienced a spinal cord injury, you’ll immediately realize something is wrong. Oftentimes, spinal cord injuries result in severe pain and difficulty with movement. If you believe you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury or are witness to another person who may have suffered one, look for the following symptoms:
- Weakness or stiffness in any limb, including the neck, legs, or arms
- Loss of bladder control
- Challenges with balance
- Nerve damage symptoms, like a burning sensation or inability to feel cold
- Breathing complications or excess coughing
- Limbs that take unnatural positions
- Severe muscle spasms
Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe wounds, and immediate medical treatment is crucial. Call 911 and let the operator know a spinal cord injury may have occurred. In extreme situations, specialized ambulatory services may be necessary.
What Should I Do If I Suspect West Tampa, FL, Spinal Cord Injuries?
No matter how the accident happened, seeking immediate medical care is essential. Spinal cord injuries should not be left alone in the hopes that a person will simply recover with time. Spinal cord injury victims often require surgery to regain some of their normal functions.
Your first step is to call 911 and request medical treatment for a potential spinal cord injury. The operator will likely ask you questions about the accident and the symptoms the victim is exhibiting.
Under no circumstances should you attempt to move the injured person. If you have suffered a potential spinal cord injury, someone else should make the call for medical assistance unless there’s no one nearby.
Moving someone who experienced a spinal cord injury can result in further damage. For example, victims may suffer paralysis or extreme pain from impacted nerves. Instead, keep an injured person still and place a pillow or blankets around their neck and head to prevent them from moving.
You can use first aid on superficial injuries like cuts on the arms or legs. However, avoid touching the victim’s neck or head.
Are West Tampa, FL, Spinal Cord Injuries Preventable?
It’s not always possible to prevent a spinal cord injury. Usually, spinal cord injuries result from unexpected circumstances, such as a significant blow during football practice or a fall from a ladder.
However, engaging in basic safety protocols can limit the possibility of a spinal cord injury.
When driving, make sure that you and your passengers wear seat belts. Avoid any unsafe practices while operating a vehicle, such as drinking alcohol before driving or becoming distracted by your phone.
If you must use a ladder, ensure that it’s sturdy and balanced. Sometimes, having someone else hold the ladder can reduce the risk of a fall.
Sporting activities can result in injuries as well. Sometimes, severe injuries may cause damage to the spinal cord. Always wear protective equipment for sports like football and rugby. If you’re a swimmer, make sure that the water is deep enough for diving.
What Is the Treatment for West Tampa, FL, Spinal Cord Injuries?
The treatment for a spinal cord injury depends on the extent of the damage. Immediate surgery is often necessary to repair any broken bones and tissues. After surgery, patients may need a long period of recovery.
Complete spinal cord injuries are usually permanent. The treatment typically involves sustaining a reasonable quality of life. A combination of occupational and physical therapy can improve symptoms but won’t restore the patient to their standard capacity.
Spinal cord injuries carry a risk of further health complications. It’s not unusual for patients to develop cardiac or lung issues and have difficulty controlling intestinal functions. Constant pain is normal and can be challenging for patients to accept. Sometimes, corticosteroid injections can reduce pain and inflammation.
When Should I Seek the Assistance of an Attorney in a Spinal Cord Injury Case?
Any time you experience injuries due to the actions or inactions of another person or entity, it’s wise to seek the assistance of a personal injury attorney.
Since spinal cord injuries affect long-term quality of life, patients often need ongoing medical care. They may be unable to work at their standard capacity. In some cases, they may be unable to work at all.
An attorney can assess your case to determine who was responsible for the injury and the best legal strategy for obtaining compensation for your wounds. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to significant financial remuneration, including medical costs, lost wages, and emotional pain and suffering.
What Type of Damages Can I Recover in a Personal Injury Case?
Three basic types of damages are common in personal injury cases. They include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. Economic damages are easily quantified and include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, future income loss, and household expenses.
Non-economic damages consist of mental pain and anguish, disability, and disfigurement. This type of compensation is more common among people who have sustained severe injuries that they are unlikely to recover from in the short term.
Punitive damages are rare, but sometimes a court will award them when the actions committed by the defendant were particularly deplorable.
How Much Is My Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Worth?
Every case is different. When seeking compensation for a spinal cord injury, your attorney will work to build a case in your favor. They’ll investigate the cause of your accident and confer with your physician to determine how much care you will need now and in the future.
Your lawyer may consult experts to get their insights into your injuries and the facts of your case. In addition, your attorney will investigate any evidence of wrongdoing by the defendant.
Once your lawyer assembles the evidence, they will try to negotiate a settlement with the defendant’s insurance agency. If a reasonable settlement is impossible, your case will go to court.
Your attorney may estimate the damages you can expect to receive once they have the facts and evidence.
Will My Case Go to Court?
Most personal injury cases resolve through the settlement negotiation process. Less than 4% of personal injury cases go to trial. However, that doesn’t mean you must accept a settlement that doesn’t reasonably compensate you for your injuries.
Your personal injury attorney will establish a baseline for your settlement offer. If the defendant is unwilling to meet the baseline, your case will go to trial.
However, most insurance agencies seek to avoid trial since the case’s outcome is unknown, and the cost of a court case can be prohibitive. It’s often in their best interests to resolve a claim through negotiation, not court.
How Long Will It Take to Resolve My Case?
Cases negotiated through the settlement process may take up to six months to resolve. Settled cases don’t go to trial, and your attorney will work with the defendant and their insurance agency to reach an adequate settlement as quickly as possible.
If your case does go to trial, it may take up to a year or longer to complete. Trials are often hindered by delays in the court and requests for evidence and testimony. Your attorney should be able to estimate how long it will take to conclude your claim.
Can I File a Personal Injury Claim at Any Time?
All states have a statute of limitations that caps the time a victim has to pursue a legal claim. In Florida, the statute of limitations varies from two to four years, depending on your claim type.
Typical personal injury claims involving negligence must be filed within four years, while the family members of a victim of wrongful death have up to two years to file a lawsuit.
In the case of medical malpractice, you must file a claim within two years of the incident.
Get Assistance With Your Personal Injury Case From Morgan & Morgan
West Tampa, FL, spinal cord injuries attorneys at Morgan and Morgan can assist you in obtaining financial damages related to your suffering.
As the premier personal injury attorney firm with over 800 lawyers nationwide, we have helped thousands receive compensation in personal injury cases.
We never accept a settlement less than your case warrants, and we’re willing to take your claim to court to collect the damages you deserve. Use our simple contact form today to schedule a free case review.