Resource for Spinal Cord Injury Accident Victims

diving has been known to cause spinal cord injuries

On this page:

  • New Braunfels Teen Faces Life with Injury
  • Compensation for Spinal Cord Injury
  • Settlements in Spinal Cord Injury Case
  • Infographic: Spinal Cord Injury Facts
  • Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

A Spinal Cord Injury Changes Life for New Braunfels Teen

Last summer you may have heard about New Braunfels teenager, Logan Longoria, who shared his story about being injured in a diving accident on the Comal River. As summer weather tempted Texans to float, swim and dive along the Comal’s windy waterways, Longoria gave a warning to those who could be injured.

In 2014, Longoria jumped into the Comal River shortly after it flooded. He says he dove into the wrong area and hit a rock. Next thing, Longoria woke up in the hospital with a broken neck as a quadriplegic. The teen was told he’d never be able to move, breathe or eat on his own again.
Now the teen is making progress beyond what was expected. Even so, hardships to the family take a toll. Longoria’s parents now act as his main caretakers because nurses and therapy are too expensive.

Now the family is raising awareness about spinal cord injury and the possibilities of recovery. You can watch Logan’s recovery progress on his Community Facebook page here.

Read on for more information about spinal cord injuries.

The Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer’s View

We have seen the devastating effects a spinal cord injury can have on a family. Legal action can help victims of spinal cord injury recover the compensation they need to cover medical expenses, loss of work, and damage to a victim’s quality of life.

Jason McMinn and Justin McMinn are experienced spinal cord injury attorneys. McMinn Law Firm has successfully fought for clients facing life altering spinal cord injuries using a contingency fee system. Some critics argue that the contingency system creates a litigious environment that can cause damage to businesses. Our view is that the system provides opportunity for every spinal cord injury survivor to fight for justice when they are injured due to the gross negligence of another party. We believe businesses and individuals should be held accountable when they have a gross disregard for the safety of our Austin area community. More about damage caps in Texas.

Contact McMinn Law Firm for a free consultation of your spinal cord injury case.

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Compensation for Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can have extreme effects on a person’s wellbeing and quality of life. A year after experiencing a spinal cord injury, the employment rate for affected persons drops from 58.1% to 12.4%. A injury that is as serious as a spinal cord injury affects the well-being of the entire family in most instances.

Damages: How Much is Spinal Cord Injury or Paralysis Case Worth?

A spinal cord injury and paralysis injury can have lifelong effects. A good settlement will reflect damages including life care costs, pain and suffering damages, and loss of earning ability.

The victim of a spinal cord injury may suffer from pain each day. Additionally, depending on the severity of injury the victim will no longer be able to live out the lifestyle they previously enjoyed.

Mental anguish requires experts in order to “prove.” Unlike a fracture, pain and suffering is not visible to a jury. Noneconomic damages of a spinal cord injury are not easily quantifiable. Since there is no easy way to measure noneconomic damages, only an experienced attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve.

In some cases, the victim in a personal injury case may not be able to return to work. A vocational expert or consultant will be able to determine the value of lost earnings. They may provide evidence in a trial setting or for use in negotiations.

Many victims of spinal cord injury are unable to return to work for extended periods of time. A successful personal injury will advocate for past losses in earning capacity as well as future earning capacity.

Whether the injury is paralysis or spinal cord injury the results can be severe. A victim of spinal injury often loses capacity to care for themselves, especially in the first year following the injury. This is a list of some costs that a spinal injury victim would need in order to live with their injury:

  • Emergency hospital visits
  • Pain and suffering
  • Ongoing medical care
  • Home assistance
  • Assistive Devices
  • Motorized wheelchair
  • Disabled persons access ramps, stairlift
  • Wheelchair accessible van

Spinal Injuries and Structured Settlements

People suffering from spinal cord injury typically need ongoing, daily medical care. The burden may fall on a family member who becomes the primary caregiver. Or the family may need to hire a nursing assistant. Specialized care and physical therapy may last a lifetime.
Planning for the future is an important part of a spinal cord injury settlement. Spouses and parents of spinal cord victims often worry about what would happen if something should happen to them. Structured Settlements can help a family plan ahead. Additionally, money paid through structured settlements is not subject to taxes and is not required to be reported to the IRS. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to help you understand your options.

A case value will also help pay for professional services provided by experts during litigation. There may be fees for independent medical experts, damage experts, and court expenses.

Spinal Cord Injury Settlements

Jason Mcminn and Justin McMinn are experienced spinal cord injury attorneys. Below are a few notable cases that they have resolved successfully. You can view the complete Settlements and Verdicts Page here.

$1,950,000 Settlement; Semi-Truck & Bucket Truck Crash

Austin man hit by 18-wheeler truck driving in the wrong lane; the truck crushed his bucket truck, which he was using to repair a traffic light. He suffered from spinal injuries.

Policy Limits Settlement:
After spinal surgery made necessary by a severe vehicle collision, McMinn negotiated negotiated a policy-limits settlement for an Austin woman.

Spinal surgery:
An Austin man sought representation after sustaining severe injuries in a collision that also totaled his car. We negotiated a settlement for him that provided money needed for medical expenses including spinal surgery.

Spinal Damage:
An Austin woman suffering permanent spinal damage from a severe collision received a cash settlement negotiated for her by McMinn personal injury lawyers.

$165,000 Settlement in Car Accident Case:
Represented a Buda family involved in a head-on automobile collision. The husband and wife received spinal injuries from the impact of the collision. Prior to trial, the at-fault driver’s insurance company agreed to settle the case for $165,000 with a client recovery of $82,000.

Spinal Cord Injury Infographic

Facts about chronic pain in America according to NIH

    1. Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined.
    2. Pain is a leading cause of disability and it is a major contributor to health care costs.
    3. Chronic pain is the most common cause of long-term disability.
    4. A diversity of pain conditions requires a diversity of research and treatment approaches.
    5. Pain may occur alongside a variety of other diseases and conditions: post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression.

Spinal Cord Injuries: Car Crashes Most Common Cause

In Austin, the most common cause of death is motor vehicle crash. However, for those that survive there is a tough road ahead.

There are approximately 17,000 new cases of Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) each year. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury in the United States.

Motor vehicle accidents (including truck accidents, car accidents, and motorcycle accidents) account for 38% of injury to spinal cord.

Most Common Cause of Spinal Cord Injury

  1. Truck, Car, and Motorcycle Accidents | 38%
  2. Trips, Slips and Falls | 30%
  3. Violence | 13%

Among those who experienced spinal cord injury, the average for age at injury has increased from 29 years during the 1970s to 42 years currently. Almost 40% of persons with SCI did not have a high school diploma at the time of injury.

austin-spinal-cord-injury-lawyers

Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord, along with the brain, comprises the human body’s central nervous system or CNS. It is the processing center of the nervous system, and the spinal cord is significant as it is responsible for sending messages from the brain to the rest of the body. It is a long and thin tube of nerve cells that starts from the base of the brain and goes down to the lower back.

The spinal cord is found inside the spinal column, which is made up of stacks of vertebrae. Between these stacks are semi-rigid discs made of cartilages that separate them and prevent the vertebrae from grinding against each other. The spinal column, as well as the nerves of the spinal cord that are located within them, are labelled based on their location.

  • The nerves from the cervical spine branch out to the head down to the diaphragm
  • The nerves from the thoracic spine branch out to the chest and the abdomen
  • The nerves from the lumbar spine branch out to the lower abdomen and to the legs
  • The nerves from the sacral spine branch out to the calves and down to the feet

Any injuries sustained by the spine will have an effect on the body part that the affected spine/s controls. It could cause a complete or incomplete injury. A complete injury is one where there is severe impact when it comes to the functioning and sensation of the affected body part, while an incomplete injury means that there is no significant impact on the patient.

When a person sustains an injury that affects the spinal cord, the effects could range from numbness or the loss of sensation, to extreme pain and loss of voluntary control over the affected body parts. Furthermore, complete injuries have a much lower recovery rate as the damage done may be irreversible.

Injuries sustained by the cervical spine

  • Full or partial quadriplegia, which is characterized by the loss of control and sensation on all four limbs – the arms and the legs.
  • These kinds of injuries are highly dangerous as the cervical spine is located close to the brain.

Injuries sustained by the thoracic spine

  • Paraplegia, which is characterized by the paralysis or loss of sensation from the waist down. This renders an individual unable to walk, or perform any action that involves the lower extremities.

Injuries sustained by the lumbar and sacral spines

  • Decrease in control and sensation of the hips and legs, and bodily functions such as excretion and reproduction.

Many spinal cord injuries come as a result of vehicular accidents, slips and falls, occupational injuries, as well as physical violence. Many times, these are caused by the negligence of others when it comes to their responsibilities, which unfortunately leaves innocent victims paying the price. If negligence can be proven on the part of the liable parties, then a personal injury claim may be raised.

Estimated Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries by Type

Costs of a personal injury These numbers are according to findings from NSCISC (National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center).

Incomplete Tetraplegia: In 45% of injuries some motor and sensory function remains. Spinal injuries vary greatly among individuals and their injuries.
Causes of Injury: The primary cause of injury is vehicular crash. Falls are the secondary cause of injury.
Average Costs of SCI, Motor Functional at Any Level:

  • First Year of Medical Costs: $347,896
  • Each Subsequent Year: $42,256
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at Age 25: $1580,148
  • Estimated Costs with Injury at Age 50: $1,115,312

This does not include costs associated with loss of wages, benefits, and productivity.

Paraplegia: in quadriplegia a person does not have working use of their legs.
Causes of Paraplegia:
Estimated Costs of Paraplegia:

  • First Year of Medical Costs: $519,520
  • Each Subsequent Year: $68,821
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at Age 25: $2,312,846
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at Age 50: $1,517,851

This does not include costs associated with loss of wages, benefits, and productivity.

Low Tetraplegia: is an injury that is also commonly known as quadriplegia. It refers to C4-C8 Tetraplegia.

Causes of Low Tetraglegia: Tetraplegia may be caused by a medical error, violence, or personal harm. However the most common cause of low tetraplegia is motor vehicle accidents.
Estimated Costs of Low Tetraplegia:

  • First Year of Medical Costs: $770,264
  • Each Subsequent Year: $113,557
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at Age 25: $3,455,879
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at 50: $2,125,674

This does not include costs associated with loss of wages, benefits, and productivity.

High Tetraplegia: it is also commonly known as quadriplegia. A person with a high tetraplegia injury has paralysis that results in the total loss of all four limbs and torso. Both sensation and control are lost of arms, legs and torso, in most cases. This is also referred to as C1-C4 Tetraplegia.
Causes of High Tetraplegia: This severely debilitating injury is most often caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Costs of High Tetraplegia

  • First Year of Medical Costs: $1,065,980
  • Each Subsequent Year: $185,111
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at Age 25: $4,729,788
  • Estimated Lifetime Costs with Injury at Age 50: $2,599,411

This does not include costs associated with loss of wages, benefits, and productivity.