Being diagnosed with a spinal cord injury may change your life forever. In the blink of an eye, you could be faced with a permanent disability and a lifetime of medical expenses. At Koch & Brim, LLP, we are passionate about helping people who have suffered injuries to the spine due to the carelessness, negligence or recklessness of others. We will handle your case with attention to detail and the utmost respect. Find out how we can help you during a free case consultation in Las Vegas.
Why Choose Us?
- We intentionally keep our caseload small so that we can focus our undivided attention on each client. One of our attorneys – not a paralegal or staff member – will meet with you.
- We are known as the small law firm with big results. Our personal injury attorneys have collected millions of dollars on behalf of our clients in successful settlements and jury verdicts.
- Our spinal cord injury lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won’t pay us a dime unless we secure financial compensation for your claim.
How Can a Las Vegas Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Help?
Despite the often irreversible damage caused by a spinal cord injury, the insurance company that receives your claim will try to downplay the injury and undervalue your losses. Insurance companies operate as for-profit businesses, where their bottom lines are their top priority. The best way to combat insurance company tactics and fight for the financial compensation that you need is by hiring a personal injury attorney.
A Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyer will work for you and no one else. You can trust your Las Vegas spinal cord injury attorney to aggressively protect your rights and advocate for your best interests. Your lawyer will have years of experience navigating the civil justice system to benefit your claim, as well as connections to experts and the courts. Your lawyer can investigate your accident, search for evidence of negligence or fault, and build the strongest possible personal injury claim on your behalf – all while you rest and focus on moving forward.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury refers to any type of damage or harm that involves one or more parts of the spine, including the vertebrae, nerves or discs. The spine is responsible for relaying messages between the brain and the body. For this reason, damage to the spinal cord can potentially result in permanent disability, such as the loss of feeling and function below the point of injury on the spine (paralysis). Diagnosing a spinal cord injury involves multiple mechanics:
- Incomplete vs. complete spinal cord injuries: a spinal cord injury can be classified by two types. A complete spine injury means there is no nerve communication below the point of injury, resulting in a total loss of sensory and motor function, while an incomplete injury means the patient may retain some function and feeling.
- Injuries based on the region of the spine: in addition, spinal cord injuries are classified according to the region of the spine affected. There are five spinal regions. From the top of the back to the bottom, they are the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, sacrum and coccyx. In general, injuries to the top of the spine are the most severe, as the victim may be paralyzed from the neck down.
- Primary and secondary damage: in a traumatic accident, the spine could sustain primary and secondary damage. Primary damage is immediate and caused directly by the impact or incident. Secondary damage is caused by the body’s response to the spine injury, such as inflammation or swelling. This can cause additional damage by pressing on the vertebrae and nerves.
- Specific types of spinal cord injuries: finally, the patient will be given a specific spinal cord injury diagnosis. Common examples include a vertebrae fracture, compression fracture, dislocation, disc herniation or rupture, quadriplegia, paraplegia, or spinal concussion. The type of injury can determine the victim’s prognosis for recovery, as well as available treatment options.
How significantly a spinal cord injury may impact a victim will depend on the specific case. This is also true of the potential symptoms the patient could experience. While every case is unique, common symptoms include numbness, muscle spasms, a loss in sensation anywhere in the body, tingling, pain or pressure in the neck or back, loss of mobility, trouble balancing, weakness, a loss of bowel and bladder control, difficulty breathing, and sexual dysfunction.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury can describe any damage or harm done to the spine, including the vertebrae, discs, soft tissues and surrounding nerves. The spine is a critical part of the body that is responsible for relaying messages from the brain. For this reason, any degree of damage to the spine or its components can be catastrophic for a victim.
The spinal cord can sustain injury in many different accidents, including:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Slip and falls
- Premises liability accidents
- School injuries
- Workplace accidents
- Construction accidents
- Acts of violence
Most spine injuries are preventable. They occur when one or more parties are negligent, meaning they fail to meet the required duty or standard of care. A car crash, for example, may be caused by a distracted, intoxicated or reckless driver. If someone else is responsible for causing or contributing to your spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
How Are Spinal Cord Injuries Treated?
In the immediate aftermath of a spinal cord injury, trained medical professionals will stabilize the patient’s spine to help prevent further damage. A physician will check for signs of damage by measuring movement and sensation at or below the level of injury, as well as assessing the patient’s breathing, responsiveness and any muscle weakness. Then, imaging scans such as MRI or CT scans will be used to better identify and assess the injury. Once the patient is properly diagnosed, a treatment plan could include:
- Realigning the spinal cord using a brace or mechanical force as soon as possible to prevent additional harm. If you suffer a spine injury, do your best to restrict your movements – especially of the head, neck and spine – until paramedics arrive to place you in a brace.
- Using surgery to remove any broken bone fragments or objects that have penetrated the spinal column. Depending on the case, spinal decompression or other types of neurosurgeries may also be appropriate.
- Addressing complications caused by the spinal cord injury, such as inserting breathing tubes for respiratory problems due to a cervical spine injury, or monitoring blood pressure due to changes in circulation.
- Attending ongoing physical therapy and rehabilitation, including physical, occupational and recreational therapy, to help the patient regain lost movement and/or boost independence and quality of life.
- Prescribing pain medications, as necessary, for chronic pain that can be caused by spinal cord injury or nerve damage. Neurogenic pain, for example, is an intense burning or stinging feeling that can be triggered by a spine injury.
- Adapting to a permanent disability. Most spinal cord injury treatments are about making the patient as comfortable as possible rather than resolving the damage, as a cure does not exist. This can include improving the patient’s independence with disability accommodations such as a wheelchair, braces or a live-in aide.
- Signing up for psychological counseling. Depression is a common effect of a serious spine injury. A patient may receive counseling or therapy as part of a treatment plan to better cope with the emotional distress, mental anguish and psychological harm caused by the injury or disability.
There is currently no known cure for a spinal cord injury. If a patient suffers paralysis in any part of the body, it may be irreversible. However, each patient and case is unique. Some patients have recovered some or even all of their function and feeling after suffering a severe spinal cord injury with rehabilitation, therapies, surgery and other treatments. The treatments available and the patient’s prognosis must be discussed with a doctor, as it depends on the case.
What to Do After a Spinal Cord Injury
What a spinal cord injury victim does immediately after sustaining the injury can impact his or her prognosis. Twisting the back or moving the wrong way soon after suffering a mild spine injury could exacerbate the damage and result in a more severe injury. If you believe you have a spinal cord injury, take these steps to protect yourself:
- Get to a safe location and assess yourself. The emergency signs of a spinal cord injury include extreme pain or pressure in the back or neck, weakness or paralysis in any part of the body, numbness or tingling, impaired breathing, trouble walking, and loss of bowel and bladder control.
- Tell someone about the accident. After a car accident or assault, call the police to file a report. If you get injured at work, tell your supervisor. Do not admit fault for the accident to anyone. Ask for a copy of the accident or police report.
- Go to a hospital immediately. You should see a doctor after any type of accident, even if you don’t immediately feel injured. However, it is especially important to get a checkup if you notice any emergency signs of a spine injury. Keep copies of your medical records and bills.
Once you have received medical care and understand the extent of your spinal cord injury, begin the claims process by contacting an attorney. A spinal cord injury lawyer in Las Vegas can review your case and help you file an insurance claim. Do not reach a settlement agreement or sign anything until you’ve spoken to a personal injury lawyer.
Financial Compensation for Spine Injuries in Las Vegas
Filing a Las Vegas personal injury lawsuit for a spine injury could help you and your family move forward from a traumatic accident with greater financial peace of mind. While no amount of money can reverse a serious spinal cord injury, fair compensation could give you the money you need to pay for necessary care – now and far into the future. One or more parties may be found financially responsible for your accident and related damages, including:
- Past and future medical bills
- Ongoing treatments and therapies
- Prescription medications
- Medical and mobility-assistive devices
- Home or vehicle modifications
- Losses of income
- Lost future capacity to earn
- Property damage
- Disability expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium
- Punitive damages
Spinal cord injuries can be extremely expensive, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical care and assistive devices alone. Spinal cord injury treatments can last for years or even for the rest of a patient’s life. It is important to recover fair financial damages for these losses, including estimated future medical and disability costs, which may be estimated by an accountant. Work with an attorney to fight for maximum financial compensation during your injury claim.
When to Speak With a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
You should contact an attorney in Las Vegas as soon as possible after being diagnosed with a spinal cord injury to discuss your potential legal options. A strict deadline of just two years applies to these cases under Nevada law. You should act sooner than this, however, to avoid losing important evidence against the defendant(s). If you wait to bring a claim, witness statements may lose credibility or other evidence may be lost forever.
Consult with a lawyer without delay to preserve your legal rights. A lawyer can strengthen your spinal cord injury claim early on by conducting a comprehensive investigation, preserving and collecting evidence of negligence, identifying all liable parties, completing and submitting injury claim paperwork on your behalf, hiring qualified medical experts, speaking to eyewitnesses, and taking other steps to build a case. Meanwhile, you will have the mental peace to focus on healing and moving forward.
Statute of Limitations in Las Vegas, Nevada
You have a deadline on your ability to file a personal injury claim for a spinal cord injury in Nevada. With some exceptions, you have two years from the date of the injury to bring your claim, according to the statute of limitations. If you were injured due to medical malpractice, you have three years from the date of the negligent act that caused the injury or one year from the date you discovered your injury to file. Act quickly to avoid missing your deadline and being barred from seeking a financial recovery.
Contact an Attorney Today | Call (702) 410-6034
The law firm of Koch & Brim, LLP has everything you need during this difficult time: answers to your legal questions, advice you can trust, and a way forward for you and your family. We can represent you during a spinal cord injury claim in Las Vegas to negotiate for the case results that you deserve. Speak to a knowledgeable and experienced attorney today during a free case consultation. Call (702) 410-6034 or contact us online.