If you or somebody you love has suffered a spinal cord injury and aren’t at fault, you can file a lawsuit to help cover medical care and other expenses. Read on to learn about spinal cord injuries, including Minnesota’s two-year statute of limitations on compensation and how it could affect you.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries occur when an accident or trauma damages the nerves within the spinal column. People with spinal cord injuries can experience intense pain, such as sciatica, that moves up and down the spine. Others lose their ability to walk or move their arms and legs.
The spine sends messages from the brain to every part of the body. A bad injury can have devastating, lifelong consequences for motor control. But the spinal cord doesn’t just affect how a person moves; it also helps major organs do their job, including regulating breathing and body temperature. Because of this, many accident victims can suffer a range of permanently serious health problems. Severe injuries will require special care for life, often with years of rehabilitation.
Common Spinal Cord Injury Causes
A spinal cord injury usually results from trauma to the spine, the most common causes being:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Research shows that car accidents are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries among people in the US and are the chief cause for people ages 45 and younger. An accident often results from a driver’s negligent or reckless behavior:
- Distracted driving injures over 1,000 people every day in the US.
- Speeding can lead to more high-impact accidents that result in injuries of greater severity.
- Impaired driving, which in one year alone led to injuries for over 2,300 people in Minnesota.
For people 61 or older, the leading cause of spinal injuries from falls involves same-level tripping, slipping, or stumbling. Younger people are more vulnerable to spinal injuries after a fall from a building, usually in connection to their job.
An accident involving a fall may have been preventable. Different types of negligence can lead to falls, including:
- Inadequate safety protocols and training at a workplace, such as a construction site, or a failure to follow existing protocols.
- Poor lighting in stairwells or other areas.
- Broken or missing stairs, damaged pavement, and similar hazards.
- Wet floor without adequate signage.
- Defective equipment, such as faulty ladders.
- Deteriorated or unsafely constructed playground equipment.
- Improper care from medical providers, leading to falls from hospital beds, during patient transfers, and similar accidents.
- Icy walkways that haven’t been cleared promptly.
Sports and Recreation
Activities such as diving, football, hockey, skiing, cheerleading, wrestling, and gymnastics put people at risk for spinal injuries. An injury may have been caused or exacerbated by others’ negligent actions. For instance, a coach or another responsible party may have been slow to summon medical help, leading to worse injury outcomes.
Some spine injuries result from beatings, stabbings, or gunshot wounds, intentional or unintentional. Unintentional gunshot wounds occur when a firearm accidentally goes off and hits someone.
Neglect may have affected your spinal injury even if no one intended to hurt you. For example, a gun owner may not have handled a firearm with the proper precautions or kept it stored safely.
Spinal Cord Injury Complications
Spinal cord injury complications can cause a plethora of issues that an attorney can help you get compensation for, including:
- Back pain
- Burst fractures
- Back spasms
- Compression fracture
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated discs
- Facet joint injuries
- Soft tissue injuries
- Intense, chronic pain
- Problems with movement and sensation
- Disrupted functioning of various organs, including the bowels and bladder
- Diminished sexual functioning
- Poor mental health
These injuries can cause you to feel severely incapacitated. You might not recover your full range of motion or alleviate the pain caused by nerve damage. Because of this, costly medical expenses, prescriptions, and even bills for surgeries and home care can cause financial hardship. These costs can also be stressful and emotionally draining. Getting used to a different life after an accident can cause a lot of suffering for both yourself and your family.
Do I Need a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
A lawsuit is often the best course of action. A dedicated spinal cord injury attorney will assess the situation, helping you fight for your deserved compensation.
Do you need help holding somebody responsible for a life-altering injury? Contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your case.
Minnesota Laws Regarding Spinal Cord Injuries
Minnesota law has a clear two-year statute of limitations, regardless of the severity of injuries, but the clock starts ticking once you’re treated for your injury. So, as soon as you are capable, find a competent spinal cord injury lawyer. And begin documenting all expenses related to the injury, including time off from work and any therapy you need. A lawyer can help recover many of these expenses in court.
What is Shared Fault?
Sometimes, the law may find that you are partially at fault for your injury, called “shared fault.”
If you’re involved in an auto accident where you failed to signal and a drunk driver strikes you, the judge may decide that your negligence also caused part of the injury. This decision will limit how much payout you can get from the person who struck your vehicle.
With so many defenses to personal injury cases, you need a competent lawyer to prove your faultlessness, fight for your rights, and help relieve the financial burdens caused by your injuries. The Swor & Gatto team will work hard to ensure that the person or entity responsible for your spinal cord injury is held accountable.
Receive Legal Assistance From a Reputable St. Paul Attorney
Spinal injuries can have a devastating impact on your health. Luckily, your spinal cord injury attorney will help pursue every avenue of compensation to help cover medical bills, loss of income, wheelchairs and other assistive device costs, and other life-changing expenses.
Don’t hesitate to contact Swor & Gatto for experienced, highly skilled, and dedicated legal assistance. You can count on us to devote ourselves entirely to your case, getting you the justice you deserve.