Articles Posted in Spinal Cord Injuries

trial-resized-600-300x201In life, certain people may not see eye to eye, and unfortunately, this holds true in attorney-client relationships as well. An attorney can be a vital asset during a personal injury claim, however, it is important to understand that an attorney-client relationship can be very complex. It is imperative that a person has complete trust in their attorney and feels as if their needs are being met, in the event that this is not the case it is possible to switch attorneys. Although not always the easiest thing to do you can “fire” your personal injury attorney once a lawsuit has been initiated. However, if you feel it is necessary, you should not be afraid to switch attorneys to the attorney you feel is best for you.  

 Consulting with a New Attorney

 It is important to remember that you have a contract with your current attorney, however, a judge will allow you switch attorneys should you feel the need. When you contact a new attorney it is important to let them know you are currently being represented by someone else. Once you have hired a new attorney it is important that you promptly notify your previous counsel of their dismissal.

Xray-doc-300x200Spinal cord injuries are often thought of as the worst possible injury a person can sustain. The repercussions of an injury to the spinal cord can be catastrophic and can cause paralysis or death. It is common for people to typically associate spinal cord injuries with severe accidents and acts of violence, and while these may be common causes of spinal cord injuries, a study by researchers at Johns Hopkins University has revealed that slips and falls are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. The studied revealed that slips and falls account for nearly 42 percent of spinal cord injuries across the country.

 The researchers revealed that spinal cord injuries are actually on the rise across the United States. While this may shocking news considering the seemingly perpetual betterment of technology and safety procedures our country enjoys, the researchers attributed this trend to the fact that a large portion of new injuries involved the elderly. Thus, they believe the rise in injuries has been due to the aging of the baby-boomer population.

The Result of a Spinal Cord Injury

surgery-resized-600When an incident occurs in the state of Georgia where someone sustains an injury there are two common potential alternatives. In a situation where the injury was the result of an intentional act or violence, the defendant will face criminal prosecution in the form of battery or assault charges. Alternatively, if the injury was caused by an accident, depending on the situation, an individual can face criminal charges, a personal injury lawsuit, or both. Regardless of what side you find yourself on following an accident, it is always critical to seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney. Your attorney’s guidance can be invaluable as the legal proceedings unfold.

 Common Occurrences

 One of the most common examples of a scenario where an individual can face both criminal charges and a personal injury lawsuit is when a drunk driving car accident occurs. This is due to the fact that the individual will likely be subject to criminal drunk driving charges and, if the accident resulted in an injury, the at-fault party will likely be held liable to pay damages for pain, suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.

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The importance of large tractor trailer trucks to the economy is no surprise.  Tractor trailer trucks are indeed, vital to commerce.  However, with the size, weight and distance traveled by these trucks, there is a significant risk of serious injury or death when an accident occurs.

In fact, there was a 20% increase in the number of accidents over the past 20 years.  As reported by the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 4,897 deaths occurred in crashes involving large trucks.  There were approximately another 130,000 people who were injured.

But, unlike your typical passenger vehicle accident, investigating and resolving injuries and deaths resulting from tractor trailer collisions is a totally separate matter.  For information on passenger vehicle accidents not involving a tractor trailer, see my articles on Auto Accident Whiplash Injuries, Spinal Cord Injury Accidents And Resources, and Compensable Damages In Injury Cases.

ambulance6-resized-600On a daily basis, people are injured, sometimes due to their own fault or often due to the negligence of another.  But, just because one believes that the other party is at fault, the burden remains on the Plaintiff to establish certain elements in order to prevail in a personal injury action.

These elements include: duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.  These same elements are applied to the auto accident/trucking accident case, slip and fall, nursing home negligence, medical malpractice, wrongful death, products liability, defective drugs, etc.

First, the Plaintiff must establish by law that the Defendant had a “duty” to crash5prevent the harm suffered by the Plaintiff.  If, for example, the injury is related to an auto accident, the “Rules of the Road” may establish that duty, for example, failure to yield while turning left, following too closely, etc.

Xray docSpinal Cord Injury (SCI) happens when the spinal cord is damaged due to a disease of the vertebral column or a traumatic injury to the spinal cord. Most spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord becomes bruised or swollen from the backbone pinching the spinal cord. More serious injuries may actually tear the spinal cord. When injury happens to the spinal cord, the nerves below the injury are unable to send messages between the brain and parts of the body as they did before the injury took place; nerves above the injury, on the other hand, continue working normally.

1. The location of a spinal cord injury is described by medical professionals by referring to the level of the vertebrae supporting the spinal cord. The top of the spinal cord consists of the cervical nerves, which are protected by the C1 through C8 and the T1 vertebrae. Next are the thoracic nerves, which are protected by the T2 through the T12, the lumbar nerves (L1 though L5), and the sacral nerves (S1 through S5).

Because a spinal cord injury affects the nerves below it, injuries higher on the spinal cord affect more bodily functions than lower injuries. An injury located between the C1 and the T1 vertebrae usually causes Tetraplegia (formerly known as quadriplegia) where the damaged cervical nerves affect the head, neck, diaphragm, deltoids, biceps, upper chest, arms and hands. Damage located between T2 and S5 generally causes paraplegia. A paraplegic can have a loss of feeling or not be able to move the chest, stomach, hips, legs and feet. Continue reading →

personal  injuryWhen it comes to injury cases, people often ask, “How much is my case worth?”.    To answer this question, it must be understood that each case stands on its own merits.   There is no quick answer to this question.

In automobile accidents, years ago, the settlement amount could expect to be approximately three times the amount of medical expenses.   For example, if the total chiropractic and/or medical bills were $4,000.00, the injured party could expect to receive a settlement in the amount of $12,000.00.   But this is no longer the case.

Years  ago,  the largest insurance companies gambled on the likelihood of lawsuits being filed by many of the largest legal advertisers who worked on sheer volume.  The insurance companies discovered that large legal advertisers working on sheer volume were not likely to file suit if offered small settlement  amounts.  Thus, the largest insurance companies began offering settlements as low as an amount equal to the medical bills or at times,  two-times the medical bills.  And  they found that,  in fact,  many  of  the larger  advertisers  would encourage their clients to accept  the offer.

To justify their low offers, insurance adjusters made arguments of “little vehicle damage”, or “all treatment was chiropractic only” or the injured party only treated for 30 or 60 days, etc.

Thus, to combat these low settlement offers, the firm representing the injured party must be willing and able to litigate the case on behalf of their injured client.  First and foremost, the case must be well documented.    If there is significant vehicle damage, there should be photographs to show the property damage.   Jurors will appreciate knowing that this was not just some very minor  vehicle collision.   Second, if there are visible injuries, photographs should show any visible injuries, scars, etc. Continue reading →