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New Orleans Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

A Spinal Cord Injury Attorney New Orleans, LA Can Trust

Approximately 17,730 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating injuries that a person can suffer. It can change your life forever in a split second.

If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, you probably have many questions about what you do next. The medical side of it is difficult enough, but it can be even more confusing and frustrating if somebody else is responsible for your injuries. 

The Mahone Firm is here to help answer the questions that you may have about your spinal cord injury case. An experienced Louisiana personal injury lawyer should be your first call to figure out your options and help plan for your future after such an injury. 

To help you through the process, here are answers to several questions that people may have about spinal cord injuries. 

What is the Spinal Cord? 

The spine consists of three levels: (1) cervical, (2) thoracic, and (3) lumbar. The bones of the spine protect the spinal cord, which runs through them. The spinal cord is essentially the pathway from the brain to the rest of your body. There are nerves enclosed within the spinal cord that transmit messages from the brain to the rest of your body. For example, if you wiggle your toes, it is because your brain has sent the message through your spinal cord to your toes to move. This is called the motor function of the spinal cord. 

Similarly, the spinal cord is the means of transmitting to your brain that you have touched something hot or something cold. This is the sensory function of the spinal cord. 

Lastly, the spinal cord regulates bodily functions that you go through every day. Something as simple as going to the bathroom results from messages sent from the brain through the spinal cord. These are the autonomic functions of the spinal cord. 

What Are The Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?

There are two types of spinal cord injuries: (1) complete spinal cord injuries and (2) incomplete spinal cord injuries. 

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

These are without a doubt the most severe spinal cord injuries that can occur. A complete spinal cord injury causes the total loss of all movement and sensation at and below the level of the injury. 

Two different types of complete spinal cord injuries are tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia) and paraplegia. Tetraplegia affects all of your body, including your legs, arms, hands, pelvic area, and core of your body. Paraplegia, on the other hand, affects all or part of the core, legs, and pelvic area. 

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

Unlike complete spinal cord injuries, in the case of an incomplete spinal cord injury, the spinal cord can still transmit some signals from the brain. In addition to the continued ability to transmit messages, some movement and function are still possible for portions of the spinal cord below where the injury occurred. 

What Laws Protect Spinal Cord Injury Victims? 

Generally speaking, Louisiana’s tort laws protect victims of spinal cord injuries and allow for them to recover damages for their injuries. In Louisiana, if somebody is negligent and causes you injuries (including spinal cord injuries), you will be able to bring a claim against that person. Of course, you will still have to be able to prove that the other person or company was negligent to be able to recover under Louisiana tort law.

Several other laws offer protections to Louisiana spinal cord injury victims. Some of these different laws are the Louisiana Products Liability Act (which allows the victims of dangerous products to bring claims against the manufacturers of those products), the Louisiana Workers Compensation Act (which allows for injured workers to bring claims to recover medical expenses and lost wages), the Jones Act (which allows injured seaman to bring claims against their negligent employers for injuries, including spinal cord injuries), and the Longshore and Harbor Workers Compensation Act (which is the offshore workers’ version of workers’ compensation). 

What Damages Can Be Awarded for Spinal Cord Injuries?

Much like other personal injury cases, the following damages are available for spinal cord injuries: 

Lost Wages 

Spinal cord injuries can leave victims bedridden, unable to move around without assistance, or at a minimum, suffering from limitations. In extreme cases, these injuries can render a victim unable to do any job. For most spinal cord injuries, the victim will suffer some level of limitation. This is especially true for laborers and workers in medium to heavy-duty occupations. 

These limitations are critical to what the victim can do and, more importantly, what they are no longer able to do. Insurance companies tend to suggest that workers will not be overly limited after an accident. It often requires expert testimony, along with a thorough understanding of the scope of the injuries, to explain exactly how this will limit a worker’s ability to earn a living and to put an accurate value on exactly how much he or she will lose in wages as a result of the injury. 

Past and Future Medical/Care Expenses

Spinal cord injury victims typically require several surgeries to address their injuries. There is also the possibility that additional surgeries will be required years down the road. In addition to surgical procedures, spinal cord injuries can lead to the need for in-home nursing care, care in specialized facilities, and specialized equipment to provide the victim with an adequate quality of life. 

These medical expenses are vital to the future of a spinal cord injury victim. Quantifying those expenses and presenting them to a judge or jury is incredibly complicated and often requires detailed expert testimony. 

General Damages (ex. Pain and Suffering and Loss of Enjoyment of Life)

In addition to special damages that can be laid out precisely (such as the exact amount of medical expenses or the number of lost wages), general damages cannot be assigned a quantifiable dollar amount. This includes damages like loss of enjoyment of life, pain, and suffering, and mental anguish

For spinal cord injury victims, these damages can be tremendous. The agony of going through rehabilitation following a spinal cord injury to attempt to relearn how to exercise basic bodily functions is immeasurable. Similarly, no price can be put on going through the rest of your life immobilized and unable to do anything that you previously enjoyed in your life. 

Types of Cases Involving Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur from just about every personal injury case. Here are just a few examples of when they may occur: 

Motor Vehicle Accidents:

Stats from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center show car accidents as the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Car and truck accidents, especially those that involve vehicles at higher speeds, can cause brutal trauma, which can, in turn, lead to significant spinal cord injuries. 

Work Accidents: 

Workplace accidents like slips and falls can lead to spinal injuries. In addition, workers may have objects dropped on them or be struck by heavy equipment on job sites, all of which can lead to spinal cord damage.

Industrial Accidents: 

Workers throughout Louisiana are employed in the petrochemical and manufacturing industries. These plants utilize heavy equipment and pressurized substances in their operations, and when things go wrong, industrial accidents can occur. The use of such potentially dangerous equipment and substances can lead to severe consequences such as falls or trauma that cause damage to the spinal cord. 

Offshore Accidents: 

Maritime industry workers face inherent risks that few others do. The chances of offshore accidents and severe and life-threatening injuries, like those involving the spinal cord, significantly increase if offshore employers and other workers fail to take all necessary precautions to protect their employees and co-workers. 

Understanding the Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries Can Be Complex

Spinal cord injuries are among the most complicated personal injuries that somebody can suffer. The spinal cord consists of a complex system of nerve passageways and interconnected functions. When injuries to the spinal cord occur, it can be challenging to explain exactly what is happening and why it is causing specific reactions in your body.

Because of this complexity, it is often difficult to explain what was caused by the accident. Lawyers routinely have to interpret medical evidence to understand their clients’ suffering and how best to present their case. 

Establishing Negligence for Spinal Cord Injuries 

Putting aside the causation aspect of the claims process, proving negligence in spinal cord injury cases can also be challenging. When the defendant knows they are at fault, they’ll admit fault and be willing to negotiate. But that is rarely the case. 

Lawyers are typically faced with the challenging task of proving that a company was negligent and that someone else’s negligence caused a victim’s spinal cord injuries. Because spinal cord injuries usually result from fairly severe accidents, companies will usually defend against them vigorously, requiring lawyers to develop the facts establishing negligence against the responsible companies thoroughly. 

Understanding All Aspects of a New Orleans Spinal Injury Claim

Despite what many people may think, as noted above, your claim value is far more than your medical expenses. Many victims will accept what the insurance company offers because they don’t know how much their case is worth.

Even if you know your damages, you still have to prove them to the other side. This often takes coordination of various experts, such as life care planners, vocational rehabilitation experts, economists, and medical professionals. Setting forth supportable damages is no easy task. 

Every case is different, and there is no magical way to predict the value of a personal injury case. But, a spinal cord injury attorney can present the most compelling case setting forth your damages to maximize your recovery. 

Contact a New Orleans Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today

Catastrophic injuries like spinal injuries can ruin your life. One minute you are completely fine, and the next, you are facing the terrifying prospect of a lifetime of issues because of an accident that wasn’t your fault. 

The Mahone Firm is here to help. Call (504) 564-7342 to discuss your spinal cord injury case with a New Orleans personal injury lawyer. There is no charge for a confidential free consultation with Mike Mahone. Contact Mike today to discuss your case and get the compensation you deserve.

The Mahone Firm is located at 5190 Canal Blvd Suite 102, New Orleans, LA 70124. We’re open 8 Am-6 PM Mon-Fri & Closed Sat-Sun.

For any additional questions, you can give us a call at (504) 564-7342 or find us on Yelp.

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