Austin Spinal Cord Lawyers

Car accidents are responsible for 38.3% of all spinal cord injuries (SCIs), causing devastating and life-changing repercussions for victims. There is no cure for this severe type of personal injury, which can result in a lifetime of chronic pain or paralysis and financial strain. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal injury in a car accident, or other cause of injury, due to someone else’s negligence then you might have the right to compensation for the suffering you’ve endured. Contact our accomplished Austin spinal cord attorneys at the Bonilla Law Firm PLLC today.

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Why Choose Our Firm?

  • We form long-term relationships with our clients and colleagues by being trustworthy, transparent, and fair.
  • We have over 30 years of litigation experience, allowing us to supply clients with prompt, efficient and effective legal representation.
  • We promise you the highest level of dedication and commitment to your personal injury case and your legal rights.
  • We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning we never charge a fee unless we recover money on your behalf.

Common Spinal Cord Injuries

There are two types of spinal cord injuries and the section impacted will determine the severity:

Complete Spinal Cord Injury

Permanent damage to the spinal cord area that was affected, often resulting in paraplegia or tetraplegia:

  • Paraplegia: Thoracic or Lumbar Vertebrae Injury

Upper extremity function is typically normal, impairment occurs below the waist and where it begins depends on how low the injury on the spine is. Walking short distances may still be possible with the use of braces or a walker.

  • High Tetraplegia: C1-C4 Vertebrae Injury

This level of spinal injury causes total body paralysis, impairing the ability to move and feel from the neck down. Assistance may be needed for breathing and incontinence may occur. This damage can cause dependence on others for basic life needs.

  • Low Tetraplegia: C5-C8 Vertebrae Injury

Can result in limited mobility of the shoulder, elbow, and hand. May cause inability to walk and the need for assistance with self-care. Breathing is typically unaffected.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury

An incomplete spinal cord injury involves partial damage to the cord. The loss of mobility and feeling depends on the severity and location of the spinal injury. Bleeding, swelling, inflammation, and fluid accumulation in and around the spine can occur, causing damage for days or weeks after a car accident. With incomplete spinal cord injuries, sometimes victims are able to regain some functioning back as late as 18 months after the incident. Disc injuries are the most common after an accident.

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Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

  • Car accidents remain the leading cause of spinal injuries, accounting for 38.3% of all cases since 2010.
  • In approximately 25% of all spinal injury cases, alcohol use is a factor.
  • The first year of expenses after a high tetraplegia SCI averages $1.079 million. Each year after averages more than $187,443.
  • Lengths of hospital stays in acute medical care units have decreased to an average of 11 days, down from 24 days in the 1970s.
  • Rehabilitation lengths of stay have decreased to around 34 days from the previous 98 days in the 1970s.
  • The number of people in the U.S. living with a spinal cord injury is estimated to be 288,000.

What Kinds of Damages Can Be Recovered for a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal injuries can be absolutely devastating in both the short and long term. Individuals that have been impacted from spinal injuries can have long roads to recovery. This road can involve high medical costs and compounded to a loss of consortium and quality of life. In some cases, these injuries have long lasting impacts that lead to a shift in virtually every area of one’s previous life. From standing up and getting down, to entering and exiting a vehicle, a spinal cord injury can lead to a shift in what is “normal”. Individuals that have fallen victim to spinal injuries can receive compensation including:

  • Loss of immediate earnings and wages.
  • Loss of future earnings and wages resulting from debilitating injuries suffered.
  • Long term care of rehabilitation and medical costs.
  • Pain and suffering of mental and physical anguish resulting from the injury.
  • Medical equipment and home modifications for required equipment that is adaptive.

Dependent on the unique facts of each case, the damages for these types of injuries can vary greatly from one case to the next. There are several factors that need to be carefully considered in these types of injury cases.  Per Texas law, punitive damages may be recouped from the injured party to help offsets costs associated with the injury and future costs. Since each case is different, it is best to discuss you or a loved one’s case with the Austin spinal cord injury lawyers of Bonilla Law Firm.

How Can a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Help?

Sustaining an SCI in a car accident is a traumatic and serious event, forcing major adjustments upon your lifestyle and possibly affecting your career, finances, and personal life. With so many changes along with the pain you’re enduring, the last thing you need to worry about are complex legal matters. An experienced Austin spinal injury attorney will have the ability to alleviate you from that burden, by advocating for you during the process of filing your claim. They have the resources available to investigate the accident, hire experts, and build your case in order to fight to compensate you for:

  • Medical Costs
  • Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
  • Physical Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress
  • Loss of Enjoyment of life
  • Loss of Consortium and Companionship

What are Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?

When we look at the common causes of spinal cord injuries in and around the Austin area, we want to turn to the latest figures available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). Data from the NSCISC shows us that the following are the main causes of spinal cord injuries (percentages are from injuries that have occurred since 2015):

  • Vehicle accidents (39.3%)
  • Falls (31.8%)
  • Violence (13.5%)
  • Sports and recreation incidents (8.0%)
  • Medical or surgical mistakes (4.3%)
  • Other (3.1%)

Vehicle accidents that involve heavier vehicles, such as commercial trucks, are much more likely to result in spinal cord injuries, as are accidents that occur at high speeds. Concerning falls, spinal cord injuries tend to happen when a fall occurs from one floor to another. When looking at incidents of violence, spinal cord injuries are typically caused by gunshot wounds.

What are Non-Economic Damages & How Are They Calculated?

When looking to determine the costs of a spinal cord injury, we must look at both economic and non-economic damages. Non-economic damages or those that are awarded for the purpose of compensating an injury victim for their physical pain and suffering as well as mental and emotional pain and anguish, disfigurement, physical impairment, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of consortium with a spouse, and more.

These damages are typically more difficult to calculate than economic damages because they do not come with specific receipts or bills for their costs. However, that does not make them any less serious for a spinal cord injury victim.

When working to determine how much non-economic damages to seek for a spinal cord injury case, an attorney will typically start by calculating all economic damages the victim incurs. They will then take this number and multiply the amount by a set number (typically 1.5 to 4) to arrive at the amount of non-economic compensation they will ask for.

For example, if a spinal cord injury victim’s total economic damages add up to $500,000, an attorney may use a multiplier of three to arrive at $1.5 million in non-economic compensation. In total, the attorney will ask for $2 million and total compensation for their victim when combining economic and non-economic compensation amounts.

What is the Time limit to File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?

Each state is responsible for setting a time limit for how long victims have to file lawsuits against alleged negligent parties to recover compensation. The Texas personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date the injury occurs. This means that spinal cord injury victims in Austin have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party in their case. Failing to file a lawsuit within this timeframe will result in the victim being unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to.

Because of the complexity of a spinal cord injury case, and the likely high amount of compensation a victim will need as a result of their claim, you need to get started on your case as soon as possible. A skilled Austin spinal cord injury lawyer will be able to handle every aspect of your case and will ensure that you meet every deadline in place concerning insurance carriers and statutory limitations.

How Can Bonilla Law Firm Help Your Case?

Our knowledgeable Austin spinal cord injury lawyers at the Bonilla Law Firm PLLC understand the devastation an SCI can cause and we will work tirelessly to ensure you or your loved one receives the compensation you deserve. If you, a loved one or a family member have been injured as a result of a spinal or back injury, then our injury attorneys at our law firm are here to help. Our Austin personal injury attorneys understand how severe these injuries can be on the livelihood of not only the victim of the injury but also the immediate family. Our law firm offers free initial consultations and we’re here to help you and your family during these very difficult times. To contact one of our highly experienced attorneys for a free consultation, call us at (512) 441-1111 or contact us through our online contact form. Our law offices have thirty plus years of combined personal injury legal experience and are here to help victims of spinal cord injuries recoup losses and damages to help the road to recovery.