Phoenix & Mesa Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
Although we are all injured from time to time — suffering cuts, bruises, sprains, and even fractures — most of us are fortunate enough to avoid catastrophic spinal cord injuries. If you have the great misfortune to endure damage to your spinal cord as the result of an accident or assault that was, at least partially, the fault of another person, you require excellent legal assistance as well as first-rate medical care. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in Arizona, you would be wise to consult with the skilled attorneys at Blischak Law, an excellent personal injury law firm situated in Phoenix. We work on a contingency basis so you will not be charged a fee until we win your case.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury is one in which the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal are damaged. Although many people think that a spinal cord injury always causes paralysis, this is not the case. In spite of the fact that a spinal cord injury is always serious, it is possible for an individual to recover from such an injury over a period of time. In a small number of cases, patients who have suffered spinal cord injuries are able, with treatment, possibly surgery, and physical therapy, to regain their productive lives and regain their independence. In most cases, however, the damage is life-altering and often irreparable.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States is vehicular accidents. Car accidents, truck accidents, and motorcycle accidents account for almost half of new spinal cord injuries each year. Other common causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Falls, which account for 15 percent of spinal cord injuries, and are most frequent among those over the age of 65
- Violent attacks involving gunshots and knife wounds (about 12 percent)
- Active contact sports (like football and hockey) and diving into shallow water
- Industrial accidents
Even though certain degenerative diseases, such as cancer, osteoporosis, and arthritis, may exacerbate a spinal cord injury, and a quarter of individuals involved are inebriated at the time of the accident, a great number of such events are the result of negligence, recklessness, or even malice.
Liability of Others for Your Spinal Cord Injury
In many instances another person or entity may be held legally responsible for your spinal cord injury and its resulting costs. Apart from directly assaulting you, another person may be at fault in a vehicular accident (car, truck, motorcycle) or be responsible for a slip, trip and fall, or other type of premises liability accident. The attorneys at Blischak Law have 40 years of experience in this field and the know-how to build a strong case against those who have caused you harm. You should contact us as promptly as possible so that we can investigate the accident while evidence is still fresh and witnesses’ memories are still clear. We have the well-honed negotiation and litigation skills to build a powerful case and the perseverance to follow your case through to a successful conclusion.
Damages You Are Entitled to Obtain if We Win Your Case
The costs associated with a spinal cord injury can be enormous. If another is responsible for an injury that will majorly, and often permanently, affect your quality of life, you are entitled to be compensated for:
- Medical bills
- Surgical, pharmaceutical and rehabilitative costs
- Loss of income, present and future
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
- Long-term disability or disfigurement
- Necessary long-term healthcare
- Loss of consortium (loss of ability to be as intimate as previously with loved ones)
Because we have dealt with such issues successfully on so many occasions, we are able to realistically calculate your expenses, present and future — both those resulting from your lack of earnings and inability to perform household services, and those resulting from the exorbitant costs of your healthcare, projected into the future.
The damages listed above are known as compensatory damages. If those responsible were malicious, or negligent in the extreme, you may also be entitled to punitive damages, monies intended to punish those responsible for your suffering and to prevent similar behavior on the part of other potential offenders. Punitive damages may be awarded to you, for example, if you were criminally assaulted (whether or not the defendant is convicted of the crime) or if the owner of the property on which you were injured allowed an obviously dangerous condition to exist on his or her premises without warning or repair.
Comparative Negligence Law in Arizona
Many states recognize comparative negligence, meaning that both parties may be considered liable for the same accident. According to Arizona state law, if you are the injured party, you are allowed to recover a percentage of damages as long as the other person bears at least 1 percent of the fault. If, for example, you are found to be 50 percent at fault for the accident in which you were injured, if you are awarded $1 million in damages, you will receive $500,000.
Red Flags that a Patient Has Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury
As in all cases of personal injury, it is best to err on the side of caution. While it helps to bear in mind that numbness or inability to move a part of your body may be temporary, it is extremely important that, if you suspect a spinal cord injury, you not be moved until medical help arrives. If, after an accident or assault, you experience any of the following, you may have suffered a spinal cord injury:
- Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back
- Difficulty with balance and walking
- Impaired breathing
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
- Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
- Weakness, lack of coordination, or paralysis in any part of your body
Since serious spinal injuries aren’t always immediately obvious, it’s crucial to protect the yourself from further damage. The time between injury and treatment can be critical in determining the extent and severity of complications and the possible extent of expected recovery.
Risk factors for Spinal Cord Injuries
While spinal cord injuries can happen randomly, you are at increased risk of such an injury if you are a male between the ages of 16 and 30, or a person over the age of 65. In addition to the risk factors of impairment by age, drugs and/or alcohol abuse, or having a bone or joint disorder, engaging in high-risk behavior, whether during driving or while doing sports or recreational activities, increases your chance of suffering a spinal cord injury.
Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Because the spinal cord is at the core of the length of the human body, damage to it can affect almost every type of bodily function, including:
- Bladder control
- Bowel control
- Skin sensation: perception of heat, cold, pressure (creating susceptibility to bed sores)
- Circulatory control: including blood pressure and the possibility of developing blood clots
- Respiration: because the abdominal and chest muscles (diaphragm) are affected
- Muscle tone: either uncontrolled tightening (spasticity) or limp muscles (flaccidity)
- Sexual function: decreased lubrication, sensation and fertility in women; problems with erections and ejaculations in men
The type and extent of injuries resulting from damage to the spinal cord depend on which part of the spinal was damaged and how severe the injury was.
Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries
Lack of mobility, difficulty with respiration, muscle atrophy and sexual dysfunction can lead to pain, obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, pneumonia or other lung problems, and clinical depression. These potential future complications make it even more essential for you to engage the services of a highly skilled personal injury attorney if you have suffered a spinal cord injury.
When Catastrophe Strikes, Blischak Law Can Help
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in Arizona, the compassionate, capable, personal injury attorneys at Blischak Law are ready to help you get on with your life — physically, emotionally, and financially. We are well aware that you are at your most vulnerable and we will fight vigorously to protect your rights and obtain the full compensation you and your family deserve. You can reach us by phone or by filling out a contact form on our website.