If you or a member of your family suffered neck or back injuries ranging from severe whiplash to permanent spinal cord injury, you may face a difficult battle recovering the damages you’ll need to support a long recovery or life with a disability.
For the advice of a personal injury attorney with over 35 years of experience with the proof of complex claims, contact the Law Office of Daniel J. O’Neill in San Luis Obispo for a free initial consultation. Call 1-805-542-0639.
Johns Hopkins Study Finds Spinal Injuries on the Rise in US
Research from a new study found the rate of spinal cord injuries in the United States has increased in recent years. The study (out of a prestigious university) found spinal injuries were most often caused by falls and car accidents.
More on the Study
The study, published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, was conducted by a postdoctoral surgical research fellow with Johns Hopkins University. The findings were also recently highlighted by Medline Plus, a service of both the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.
In the study, researchers reviewed data from more than 43,000 adults who were treated in hospitals for spinal injuries from 2007 to 2009. The study found the rate of spinal injuries for patients over the age of 65 rose from 79 per million to almost 88 per million during this period. If supported, these findings could highlight a new trend. Previous studies with the National Spinal Cord Injuries Center have found young adults age 16 to 30 were more likely to suffer from the injuries than others in the population. It is important to note that the current study out of Johns Hopkins focused on adults that were at least 18 years of age. The two-year difference in the starting age of the victims used for the studies may help explain the discrepancy in findings. Regardless, it is clear that there is an increase in spinal injuries throughout the population with a noticeable jump in the number of accidents reported for the elderly population.
Researchers with the study also examined causes for these injuries. Based on their findings, victims were most likely to receive the injuries either from falls or motor vehicle accidents.
The Financial Impact of a Spinal Injury
Spinal cord injuries can result in more than just physical and emotional trauma; they are financially draining as well. The same study found that emergency-room charges alone for these injuries topped $1.6 billion. This estimated figure does not include the cost of additional treatment and follow-up care.
According to estimates from the National Spinal Cord Injuries Center, lifetime costs of spinal injuries can range from $1 million to $5 million. The final cost depends on a variety of factors including age of the victim at the time of the accident and the severity of the injury.
Helping Victims Seek Compensation
Even in motor vehicle accident or intentional tort cases where there’s no question as to the defendant’s liability, there might be a six- or seven-figure gap between what you’ll need to recover and what the defense is offering to settle your claim.
Veteran personal injury lawyer Daniel O’Neill works with you, your family and a team of experts to make sure that solid evidence supports every detail of your damages claim.
This thorough approach to the presentation of neck, back or spinal cord injury evidence can be equally effective in settlement negotiations or at trial. In fact, the leverage we gain through getting ready for court can often make the decisive difference in achieving a favorable settlement.
Our law firm advises people with the full range of serious neck, back or spinal cord trauma:
- Bulging disks
- Disk herniation
- Facet injuries to one or more vertebrae
- Paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia
Neck Injury Treatment
There are several types of neck injuries, also called injuries to the cervical spine. The two biggest causes of spinal injuries are falls and vehicular incidents. Between 2010 and 2015, 38 percent of spinal cord injuries were due to vehicular accidents.
How Accidents Cause Neck Injuries
If you are in a car or truck accident, your neck injuries might be mild or severe. In most cases, damage affects soft tissue. However, it can also involve muscles, ligaments, tendons, facet joints and your spinal cord.
Sudden impact from a vehicle that strikes yours can cause serious neck sprains. Some neck injuries irritate nerve roots or affect the spinal cord. A herniated disc is one byproduct. The end result is damage to your nervous system that could be difficult to diagnose and that might result in disability or death.
Whiplash often occurs to occupants of a vehicle that has been rear ended. It happens when vehicle impact causes your head to be thrown into hyperextension, then propelled forward quickly. In addition to causing sprains and strains, this sudden movement also damages discs or joints, causing irritation to nerve roots or your spinal cord. Since symptoms might not appear right away, you need to watch out for physical ailments for a few days after an accident. Making sure your head restraint is directly behind your head can help lower the risk of whiplash.
Any type of significant vehicle impact can also cause a neck fracture, a break in one of your cervical bones. Sometimes it causes dislocation, where the bone moves away from its normal location and creates spinal instability. With a severe injury, you might also suffer ruptured ligaments. Injury sometimes occurs when you strike the dashboard or other hard surface inside the vehicle.
An injury to the spinal cord itself can be the result of a dislocation, fracture, or other type of neck injury. The most serious injuries involve damage to the third or a higher cervical vertebra.
Getting Treatment and Pain Relief
While a majority of people in minor accidents recover quickly, others experience symptoms of injuries for years or even for the remainder of one’s life. Getting checked out by a doctor is a necessary action.
Traditionally, if you have a minor or moderate sprain or strain, ice the area, rest, and taking an anti-inflammatory drug may do the trick. This particular approach can be helpful with muscular-type injuries.
However, advancements in medicine in the past thirty years have seen tremendous strides towards pain relief for so-called “soft-tissue” injuries. Treatments like facet block injections, radiofrequency ablation/rhizolysis, platelet rich plasma injections, and A2M injections have the potential to provide significant—and, in some cases, complete—pain relief. Still, some injuries, such as disc herniation and spinal structure fractures, continue to require more invasive spinal neurosurgery. Herniated disc treatment typically includes medication, physical therapy, and/or surgery. If you have a fracture or a dislocation, you are likely to wear a stabilizing collar or undergo surgery.
Treatment options for whiplash can be fairly simple and start with conservative care remedies. Often, a prescription for pain or a muscle relaxant and wearing a collar to keep your neck stable can alleviate pain symptoms. Applying ice or heat and undergoing physical therapy that includes range-of-motion exercises at home are important. Good posture and relaxation techniques can lead to a quicker recovery.
Obtaining Compensation For Paralysis Victims
Facing a diagnosis of paralysis after an accident can be devastating for personal injury victims and their families. Learning to live with quadriplegia, paraplegia or any other form of paralysis is a difficult process. However, although you may have a challenging road ahead — with the help of family, friends, medical specialists and your own determination, you can obtain the necessary skills to live a fulfilling life once again.
The immediate and long-term medical expenses associated with paralysis can be significant. In addition, special equipment will likely be needed to assist you with mobility. You may also be limited in the type of work you can do to earn an income. Our law firm factors in these and numerous other details when assembling your case. We work to ensure your settlement offer includes the necessary compensation to account for all of your financial needs today and in the future.
Free Consultation: Contact Us Today
Whether you obtained your injuries in a car accident, truck collision, motorcycle crash or while undergoing surgery, we can advise you on the value of your claims, what’s likely to happen at various stages of your lawsuit, and the best ways to deal with the practical problems that might arise while your case is working its way through the courts.
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