If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of another’s negligence, our spinal cord injury lawyers in San Diego can help you pursue damages. To learn more, please schedule your free case review today.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury is any damage done to the spinal cord and the nerves at the end of the cord. Most spinal cord injuries do not completely sever the spinal cord.

The damage to the cord occurs at the moment of trauma. In most instances of spinal cord injury, the vertebrae or rings of bones surrounding and protecting the spinal cord are impacted and bone fragments that are shed from the vertebrae bruise and tear into the spinal cord.

The spinal cord runs from the brain to just above the waist. The higher up on the body that the injury occurs, the more damage the patient suffers. Usually, every function below the site of the damage is affected. These functions are:

  • Sensation, which moves along nerve tracts going from the site of the sensation inward to the brain
  • Movement, which moves along nerve tracts going outward from the brain; nerves activate muscles that control movement

The cord does not need to be completely severed to result in dysfunction. In a complete injury to the spinal cord, the person is paralyzed below the level of injury. In an incomplete injury to the spinal cord, patients may have some function below the level of the injury.

Injury to the spinal cord is a medical emergency. The sooner the patient is stabilized and treated, the less damage is likely to be done. It is safest to assume the patient who has suffered a head, neck or back trauma has suffered a spinal cord injury until it is established otherwise.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Among the common causes of spinal cord injury are:

  • Automobile and motorcycle accidents, which account for about 40 percent of spinal cord injury every year.
  • Falls among people 65 years old and older cause over one-quarter of spinal cord injuries.
  • Acts of violence, especially gunshot and knife wounds, account for nearly 15 percent of spinal cord injuries.
  • Sports and recreation activities, including impact sports, account for approximately 8 percent of spinal cord injuries
  • Alcohol is involved in about one quarter of all spinal cord injuries
  • Disease such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and inflammation that produce damage near the spinal cord are another cause of spinal cord injuries

Spinal Cord Injuries and Negligence

Many causes of spinal cord injury may be attributed to negligence. Examples of injuries caused by negligence include:

  • Motorcycle and automobile accidents in which the driver is negligent or has consumed alcohol
  • Car accidents caused by defective auto parts such as faulty brakes
  • Falls can be caused by the negligence of property owners who don’t clear the sidewalks of snow and ice or repair uneven sidewalks
  • Store owners who allow spills to occur without quickly mopping them up
  • Gun owners who don’t lock up their guns
  • Surgeons who make mistakes during operations
  • Doctors who make mistakes during the delivery of a baby

Treatment for Spinal Cord Injuries

Treatments for spinal cord injuries focus on preventing complications caused by the injury, such as blood clots. Depending upon the nature and extent of the injury, other forms of treatment include rehabilitation by physical therapists, occupational therapists and rehabilitation nurses.

Psychologists help patients handle the emotional and behavioral consequences of spinal cord injuries as well as treat cognitive dysfunction caused by the injury. Speech and language therapists may also be involved. Social workers help with payment for treatment and integrating the patient back into the community.

Contact a Spinal Injury Attorney in San Diego

If you or someone you love had a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out if you qualify to file a claim, contact a spinal cord injury attorney in San Diego today.