Spine Injury Lawyer Columbia
The Columbia spine injury lawyers at Discepolo LLP have handled the cases of many clients suffering from spinal injuries during the last decade. Our team understands how much a life can change in a single instant.
Aspects of Cases of Spine Injury
The legal idea of negligence is at the core of any spinal injury case. If a court deems someone negligent and that negligence resulted in another’s harm, the negligent party may be responsible for the injured person’s damages. The person bringing the case (the plaintiff) must prove the person he or she is suing (the defendant) is at fault for the injury. The defendant tries to prove the injury was not his or her fault.
The courts consider negligence to be either “contributory” or “comparative.” Contributory negligence means something the victim did contributed to his or her injury. Comparative negligence places the blame for the injury on both the plaintiff and defendant. Defendants can also raise the “assumption of risk” defense when plaintiffs suffer spinal cord injuries doing something they know to be dangerous (skiing, bungee jumping, cliff diving, etc.).
Certain safety products such as airbags or seat belts can lead to spinal injuries if they are defective. In these cases, the companies that manufacture, sell, or design the defective product may be responsible for the victim’s damages.
What a Spine Injury Means
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve fibers that is responsible for carrying nerve impulses (how the brain and body communicate) throughout the body. The spinal column, more commonly known as the backbone or spine, protects the spinal cord. When a spinal cord injury occurs, it can mean a partial or complete paralysis or loss of sensation for the victim.
Because the spinal cord communicates all information between the body and brain, damage to it can have severe and varied repercussions, depending upon the specific injury. Symptoms of spinal cord damage can include:
- Paraplegia (paralysis of part or all of the legs, lower trunk, and organs in the pelvic area)
- Quadriplegia, which is also known as tetraplegia (paralysis of part or all of all four limbs plus the entire trunk and pelvic area)
- Difficulty performing normal bodily processes (breathing, regulating temperature, etc.)
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- Changes in sexual function
- Severe pain or stinging sensations
- Loss of sensation in areas of the body
The medical community classifies the severity of spinal cord damage as complete or incomplete. When victims still have most of their motor and sensory function below the site of the damage, physicians call it incomplete. When victims lose all or nearly all sensory and motor function below the injury site, they have complete damage to the spine.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
External physical trauma, such as a blow to the spine, causes most spinal cord damage. The most common cause of spinal cord injuries, by a wide margin, is car or motorcycle accidents. Falls cause the most injuries after that, followed by acts of violence and recreational sports accidents.
Some diseases, such as cancer, severe arthritis, infections, osteoporosis, and inflammation of the spinal cord can also cause permanent damage to the spine. Injuries from these causes do not normally result in a legal case. Damage to the spinal cord can also occur during certain medical procedures. The damage may have been unavoidable with certain types of surgery, but other times the damage is the result of an error. In the case of an error, the patient may make a case for medical malpractice.
For those suffering from spinal cord damage, recovery is a long and costly road. Contact the team at Discepolo, LLP for advice after a spinal cord injury.