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Phoenix Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Spinal cord Injury X Ray

Whether it was the result of medical malpractice, a tractor-trailer accident, or a slip and fall, a spinal cord injury in Phoenix changes the life of the victim as well as the lives of family and friends. At Knapp & Roberts, we work hard at getting to know our clients and the impact an injury has had on their life. Call a Phoenix spinal cord injury lawyer immediately to understand your options.

By getting to know you, a spinal cord injury lawyer can explain to a jury how the injury has changed your life. Here are some things the attorneys at Knapp & Roberts will

  • What was the precipitating event that caused your paraplegia or quadriplegia? We will investigate the cause and determine the liable parties. Were you in a Phoenix car accident? Did you fall from a high level at a construction site ? Did a medical professional make a mistake in surgery?
  • What will it take to get your life back on a positive course? Do you need physical or occupational therapy? What financial resources will you need for medical care, attendant care, and special equipment?

Because our law firm focuses on serious, catastrophic injuries, we have a network of experts who work with us to assure we have the information we need about your current and future needs.

Our experienced Phoenix personal injury lawyers will get to know you and the story of your injury well. We will tell the jury how your life has changed since your injury — and what you need to ensure your future.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord can sustain an injury from traumatic and nontraumatic events. A traumatic event is one that stems from external forces, such as a blow or hit to the spine. A nontraumatic force is something that occurs internally, such as a disease or an infection. Any damage to the spinal cord or its surrounding nerves could cause a serious and permanent personal injury. Determining what caused your spinal cord could help you identify the at-fault person or entity.

  • Motor vehicle accidents. The forces the human body faces in a car accident could fracture or sever the spine. Seat belt malfunctions can cause spinal cord injuries, as can failure to wear a seat belt.
  • Sports accidents. A violent impact during a contact sport such as football could fracture a player’s neck or back. Diving injuries can also cause severe spinal cord injuries if the water is not deep enough for a safe landing.
  • Acts of violence. Gunshot or knife wounds could pierce the spinal cord and permanently destroy the nerves. The criminal could owe civil liability to the victims in these types of cases, or else a property owner could be responsible for negligent security.
  • A bad fall could fracture the spinal cord and cause paralysis. Falls from scaffolds, ladders, roofs, escalators or down stairs could all be serious enough to permanently damage the spine. It is often a property owner’s duty to prevent fall accidents.
  • Medical malpractice. During a delicate surgery, a negligent surgeon could sever a nerve or cause other internal damage that leads to a spinal cord injury. The hospital could also be guilty of improper sanitation, causing serious infections.
  • Spinal cord diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and degenerative disc disease could injure the spine. Other conditions that may cause SCIs include tumors, cancer, infections, meningitis, autoimmune diseases and inflammatory diseases.

Human negligence often causes spinal cord injuries in Phoenix. A drunk driver, incompetent surgeon, negligent property owner or malicious criminal could lead to someone else’s permanent paralysis. If you believe someone else caused your SCI, you may be eligible for financial compensation from the at-fault party. A spinal cord injury claim could let you fight for fair financial recovery from one or more defendants. A lawyer from Knapp & Roberts can help you identify the cause of your SCI.

Levels of Spinal Cord Injury

The spinal cord is one of the most complex body parts. It houses thousands of nerve fibers that transmit signals from the brain to the muscles. The complexity of the spinal cord means it can suffer many different types and levels of injury. The degree of injury will determine the amount of disability, if any, as well as the patient’s prognosis for recovery.

  • Cervical spinal cord injury. The very top of the spinal cord, sections C1 to C8, is the cervical spine. An injury to this part of the spine can be fatal. It could cause severe, permanent paralysis from the neck down (quadriplegia). A patient may or may not be able to breathe on his or her own with a cervical spine injury.
  • Thoracic spinal cord injury. The 12 vertebrae from T1 to T12 make up the thoracic spine, situated in the middle of the back. Injuries to this part of the spine can cause paraplegia, hemiplegia or triplegia: paralysis in the lower half of the body, one arm and one leg, or both legs and one arm.
  • Lumbar spinal cord injury. The lumbar spine is the lower portion of the spinal cord, consisting of vertebrae L1 to L5. Damage to the nerves in the lumbar spine often cause paraplegia, as well as little to no control over the bladder and bowels. The degree of paralysis will depend on the injury.
  • Sacral spinal cord injury. The lowest part of the spine, vertebrae S1 to S5, is the sacral spine. An injury someplace along the sacral spine could cause a partial loss of function in the lower body. It may affect bowel or bladder control. The patient will most likely still be able to walk.

The higher up the injury occurs on the spinal cord, the worse its effects on the patient will most likely be. Cervical spinal cord injuries are the most seriously debilitating, while sacral spine injuries may not cause any permanent paralysis at all. The strength of the patient and the severity of the injury can determine the patient’s prognosis. The outcome for recovery can vary greatly from patient to patient.

Lifetime Costs of Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries often cause permanent damage. People living with SCIs will have to pay for lifelong doctor visits, specialists, treatments, medications, assistive devices and therapies. They will also have to deal with the costs of a disability, including home and vehicle modifications. The average lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury can reach almost $5 million in medical care and living expenses, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. This amount will depend on the age of the patient and type of injury.

  • High tetraplegia. 25 years old: $4.7 million. 50 years old: $2.6 million.
  • Low tetraplegia. 25 years old: $3.5 million. 50 years old: $2.1 million.
  • 25 years old: $2.3 million. 50 years old: $1.5 million.
  • Any level of motor dysfunction. 25 years old: $1.6 million. 50 years old: $1.1 million.

Even at the lowest level of disability, the costs of a spinal cord injury could reach $1 million over a patient’s lifetime. This amount may not include lost wages and lost earning capacity due to a permanent disability, which can also total $1 million or more. They may also not include the value of intangible losses, such as emotional pain, physical suffering and lost quality of life. A jury could award a significant amount in noneconomic damages for a permanently disabling spine injury.

Spinal cord injuries are expensive. It is critical to hire a Phoenix personal injury lawyer to help you get a fair and full settlement for your lifelong injury. Otherwise, you may not have the financial means to pay for the care you require. An attorney will be able to accurately evaluate your injury claim and calculate its fair value. Then, your lawyer can engage in settlement negotiations with an insurance company on your behalf. Hiring an attorney can prevent an insurance company from taking advantage of you. Finally, a lawyer could take the defendant to trial if necessary for a full recovery.

Factors That Affect the Value of an SCI Case

The value of an SCI case can differ significantly depending on the extent of the injury. Someone with permanent paralysis, for example, will most likely be eligible for greater compensation than someone who will fully recover. The type and severity of the injury will change the value of damages such as medical costs and lost wages. Other facts related to the case could also affect its total value.

  • The age and health of the victim
  • The victim’s life expectancy
  • The victim’s average income before the injury
  • Strength of evidence against the defendant
  • The defendant’s actions or misconduct (for punitive damages)
  • The skill of the plaintiff’s attorney

Many different things could impact the value of your spinal cord injury claim. You and your family could be eligible for enough money to guarantee the financial stability of your future. The only way to get a fair and honest evaluation of your case is by consulting with an attorney. Trusting a lawyer to represent you during insurance settlement negotiations or an injury trial could help you maximize your award amount. The attorneys at Knapp & Roberts have extensive experience handling complex spinal cord injury claims.

Contact Our Attorneys Today

Free initial consultation. If you have a legal matter you wish to discuss with a Phoenix personal injury attorney at Knapp & Roberts at no charge, please contact us by telephone or e-mail, or complete the Do I Have a Case form and one of our attorneys will contact you.

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The personal injury attorneys in Phoenix, Arizona at Knapp & Roberts have the compassion and trial lawyer skills to tell your story to a jury. We will get to know you and your family so that we can help the jury understand what has happened to you and your family and how it has changed your lives. Obtain the compensation necessary for the injuries and losses you have suffered.