Request A Free Consultation
Arizona panorama with cacti

Phoenix Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Injuries to the spinal cord are among the most severe that a person can suffer. Serious injury can impact the ability to move, the use of extremities, sensation and feeling, and even the function of certain organs and body processes. As with many serious injuries, many spinal cord injuries are the direct result of the carelessness of others.

If you or a loved one suffered a serious spine injury, the Phoenix spinal cord injury lawyers at Hastings & Hastings can help. Our law firm offers a free, confidential consultation where we will listen to your story and let you know how we can help. Depending upon your circumstances, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. Our Phoenix injury attorneys handle all spinal cord injury cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we never charge a fee unless we win.

Phoenix Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Phoenix

The job of the spinal cord is to send messages to and from the brain, so when it is damaged, it can affect many bodily functions for an extended period of time. Because of this, injuries to the spinal cord can be devastating. The most common causes of injury include:

  • Vehicle accidents, including truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accidents
  • Serious fall, such as falling at work from a ladder, from a railing, or even a slip and fall accident
  • Physical Assault
  • Injury caused by sports or recreational activities

How Much is a Phoenix Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth?

After a spinal cord injury, victims may be eligible to recover compensation for their losses in the form of damages. These losses can include pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost wages, and reduced earning capacity. However, the value of each spinal cord injury case is different. There are several factors that affect what your spinal cord injury case may be worth. It’s best to consult with an experienced Phoenix spinal cord injury attorney like those at Hastings & Hastings to understand the facts surrounding your case. However, some of the factors include:

  • The extent of the injury
  • The extent of the medical expenses
  • The amount of insurance coverage available
  • The victim’s age
  • The victim’s health
  • The victim’s life expectancy
  • The victim’s income before they became injured
  • The evidence the victim can present against the defendant

It’s very important to have an experienced spinal cord injury attorney on your side who can help you gather and present evidence so that you can get the compensation that you need and deserve.

Levels of Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can range from minor bruising to life-changing paralysis. The level of damage depends on the location of the injury along the spine. The following are the four levels of spinal cord injuries:

Cervical Spinal Cord Injury (C1-8) 

Cervical spinal cord injuries refer to damage occurring at the top of the spine, specifically between the first and eighth cervical vertebrae (C1-8). Injuries at this level can be catastrophic, with the potential to cause quadriplegia – the loss of function in all four limbs – and even be fatal in severe cases. Since the cervical region controls vital functions, such as breathing and heart rate, individuals with these injuries often require extensive medical intervention and support.

Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury (T1-12) 

Injuries occurring in the thoracic region of the spine, between the first and twelfth vertebrae (T1-12), can lead to paraplegia (loss of function in the lower body), hemiplegia (paralysis affecting one side of the body), or triplegia (paralysis affecting three limbs). Thoracic injuries affect the nerves that control the chest and abdominal muscles, meaning that patients may experience limited trunk control and breathing difficulties.

Lumbar Spinal Cord Injury (L1-5) 

Located in the lower part of the back, lumbar spinal cord injuries involve the first through the fifth vertebrae (L1-5) and typically impact bladder and bowel control. The extent of paralysis and mobility challenges resulting from lumbar injuries may vary based on the severity of the injury. In some cases, patients may regain the ability to walk using assistive devices.

Sacral Spinal Cord Injury (S1-5) 

Sacral spinal cord injuries occur in the lowest region of the spine, affecting the vertebrae between the first and fifth sacral segments (S1-5). These injuries may cause partial loss of functioning in the lower body, but many patients retain the ability to walk with or without assistance. Sexual function and bladder/bowel control may also be affected.

The Impact of the Injury Location

The higher the injury occurs along the spinal cord, the more severe the consequences are likely to be. Damage to the cervical region has the potential to be life-threatening, while sacral injuries often allow for greater mobility and independence. That being said, it’s essential to remember that each spinal cord injury is unique, and outcomes can vary widely between individuals.

Factors Affecting Prognosis

Recovery from a spinal cord injury is contingent on the severity of the damage, as well as the individual’s overall strength and resilience. Factors such as age, overall health, and access to effective rehabilitation and support from family and medical professionals amplify the potential for recovery.

Spinal Cord Injuries and How They Can Impact You

Spinal cord injuries can blindside you. It can impact the rest of your life. Between learning to live the rest of your life with your spinal cord injury, on-going medical bills, and possibly living on disability while needing medical equipment to help you get through daily life, it’s important to have an experienced Phoenix spinal cord injury lawyer on your side.

The levels of spinal cord injuries are based on where your spinal cord is injured:

  • Cervical spinal cord injuries which can cause quadriplegia.
  • Thoracic spinal cord injuries which can result in paraplegia, hemiplegia, or triplegia.
  • Lumbar spinal cord injuries which can cause paraplegia or little to no bladder or bowel control.
  • Sacral spinal cord injuries which can cause a partial loss of function for the lower body, including bowel and bladder control.

The types of injuries to the spinal cord that may result in severe problems include:

  • Crushing injuries
  • Compressed vertebrae
  • Fractured or broken vertebrae
  • Traumatic blow to the spine
  • Damage that causes swelling, inflammation, or fluid build up on the spine

What are the Lifetime Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries are among the most life-altering and devastating accidents that a person can experience. In an instant, a severe spinal cord injury can render an individual paralyzed and dependent on others for the rest of their life. But beyond the physical and emotional pain, there is another aspect that often goes overlooked: the lifetime financial cost of living with a spinal cord injury.

The average lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury can skyrocket to almost $5 million depending on the patient’s age and the specific nature of the injury. Even at the lowest level of disability, an individual with a spinal cord injury may incur costs of up to $1 million over their lifetime.

These expenses include:

  • Ongoing medical care and insurance company fees, such as doctor visits, medication, and rehabilitation therapies
  • Living expenses, which may increase due to the need for full-time assistance and specialized equipment
  • Home and vehicle modifications to accommodate the individual’s physical limitations

Lost Wages and Earnings Capacity

Apart from the direct costs mentioned above, there are also significant indirect costs associated with spinal cord injuries. One of the most profound indirect costs is the loss of wages and earning capacity. People with SCIs often cannot return to their previous jobs and face significant challenges in finding new employment that accommodates their disabilities.

Additionally, the emotional pain and suffering that accompanies a spinal cord injury cannot be quantified in monetary terms but undoubtedly adds to the overall cost of living with the injury.

The Importance of a Phoenix Personal Injury Lawyer in SCI Cases

Given the astronomical lifetime costs of spinal cord injuries, it is critical for individuals with SCIs and their families to seek a fair settlement to cover these expenses. Hiring a knowledgeable Phoenix personal injury lawyer can be instrumental in achieving this goal. An experienced attorney can:

  • Accurately evaluate the true cost of a spinal cord injury to ensure a fair and reasonable settlement.
  • Negotiate with insurance companies on the behalf of the injured party.
  • Take the defendant to trial if necessary to ensure that the injured party gets the compensation they deserve.

Fault and Liability in Arizona Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating, leaving victims with significant physical, emotional, and financial challenges. In many cases, these injuries are the result of accidents caused by the negligence or wrongful conduct of others. The following are examples of how spinal injuries occur and who could be liable:

Car Accidents and Liability

One common cause of spinal cord injuries is car accidents. When such an injury is sustained in a vehicular collision, determining liability becomes a key factor. A car accident attorney in Phoenix can assist in evaluating if the other driver was speeding, driving under the influence, or engaging in other negligent behaviors. If it can be proven that the defendant’s conduct directly contributed to the spinal cord injury, victims could be entitled to compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Workplace Accidents and Workers’ Compensation

Some spinal cord injuries occur in workplace settings, with construction sites and manufacturing plants being particularly hazardous environments. In these cases, workers’ compensation insurance may be provided to cover the cost of medical care, lost income, and vocational rehabilitation. However, if it is discovered that an employer intentionally caused harm, a personal injury lawsuit may be filed instead. 

Defective Products and Personal Injury Lawsuits

Defective products can also result in spinal cord injuries. In such situations, a personal injury lawsuit can be brought against the manufacturer, designer, or retailer of the faulty product. To pursue this type of claim, the plaintiff must show proof of both the defect in the product and the causation of the injury. Successful lawsuits can lead to significant compensation for medical bills, lost income, and other related expenses, as well as punitive damages in rare cases.

Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to the legal principles that hold property owners and occupiers responsible for accidents and injuries on their premises. In the context of spinal cord injuries, this principle comes into play when hazardous conditions such as wet floors, poorly lit hallways, or inadequate railings cause someone to fall, leading to a debilitating injury.

In this type of case, the property owner or the party responsible for maintaining the premises becomes liable if it can be proven that they were negligent in their duty to maintain a safe property. 

Negligent Security

Spinal cord injuries can also result from crimes that take place as a result of negligent security, such as a lack of proper lighting or surveillance cameras, faulty locks, or insufficient security personnel in public spaces, including parking lots, shopping malls, and hotels. These conditions can make it easier for criminals to commit acts of violence or other crimes, resulting in severe injuries to unsuspecting victims.

Similar to premises liability cases, proving that the property owner or manager was negligent in providing adequate security measures is crucial. 

Free Case Review from an Experienced Phoenix Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

Hastings & Hastings is here to help Phoenix spinal cord injury victims and their families get the justice and the financial compensation that they need to live the best life possible. To learn more, schedule your free case evaluation with our licensed attorneys now.