Approximately 291,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury today, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). The majority of these injuries are caused by accidents and result in complications that can last a lifetime.
When a person suffers a spinal cord injury due to another’s recklessness in Hawaii, it’s possible to seek compensation for the medical expenses and long-term losses resulting from the accident. But even when these injuries are caused by negligence, many deserving victims struggle to recover the full amount of money they deserve. If you’ve been hurt, a spinal cord injury lawyer in Honolulu can be a valuable ally in your fight for full compensation.
Turn to Recovery Law Center today. Attorney Glenn Honda has been representing injured people throughout Oahu for over 25 years. Our legal team understands how debilitating spinal cord injuries can be, and we’re here to do everything possible to ease your burdens during this difficult time.
We know it’s important to achieve the quickest possible resolution to your case, so let’s get started now. Call or contact a spinal cord injury attorney at Recovery Law Center today.
What Types of Accidents Can Cause a Spinal Cord Injury?
Any number of accidents can result in a spinal cord injury. The most common include:
- Car accidents: Crashes account for 39 percent of all spinal cord injuries, according to the NSCISC. The force of a car crash can place a tremendous impact on the body, which the spinal cord may not be strong enough to withstand.
- Moped accidents: Mopeds are very popular in Honolulu. Unfortunately, such lightweight vehicles offer little protection in a collision. This puts the entire body, especially the spinal cord, at tremendous risk of injury.
- Motorcycle accidents: Hawaii is a perfect place to get around on by bike all year long. When drivers do not give bikers the appropriate amount of room on the road or do not see a motorcycle, the motorcyclist almost always suffers the worst injuries.
- Bicycle accidents: Bicycling is another popular way to enjoy Honolulu, but cyclists are less visible and more vulnerable on city and county roads. Both drivers and bicyclists have a duty to obey traffic laws to keep others safe.
- Pedestrian accidents: Unlike motorists, motorcyclists, and even bicyclists, pedestrians have no protection when they are out on the roads. When they are hit by a vehicle, they typically sustain very serious injuries, including those to the spinal cord.
- Premises liability accidents: Falls are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the nation. When a person suffers a slip and fall accident due to a hazard on another person’s property, Hawaii law allows them to seek compensation for their losses.
- Product liability accidents: Defective brake lines, faulty power tools, and malfunctioning recreational equipment can cause accidents that crush or sever the spinal cord, leaving victims with lasting injuries.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
The two main types of spinal cord injuries include complete and incomplete injuries.
A complete injury causes an entire loss of function, or paralysis, below the level of injury. A complete spinal cord injury may result in quadriplegia, which affects both sides of the body, or paraplegia, which affects the lower half of the body.
The type of complete injury sustained will depend on the area of the spinal cord that was injured. Injuries that are higher on the spinal cord are worse than those that affect the lower spine.
An incomplete spinal cord injury allows some function on one or both sides of the body. A person can still function in some form because certain pathways in the body still allow for communication between the body and the brain.
Spinal Cord Injury Complications
Sadly, spinal cord injuries are not always an isolated medical event. Many people with a spinal cord injury suffer a number of complications that impede healing and cause additional suffering.
Examples of spinal cord injury complications include:
- Autonomic dysreflexia: People whose spinal cord injury is high on the spinal column are at greater risk for suffering from autonomic dysreflexia, which occurs when an injury occurs to the body but the patient cannot feel it because of the trauma to the spinal cord. Conditions such as bladder infections, pressure sores, and even tight clothing can result in autonomic dysreflexia.
- Spasticity: This complication occurs when the brain cannot send signals to the muscles to stop contracting. Muscle tone involuntarily increases and becomes very stiff, making it even more difficult for the accident victim to move the affected area.
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): DVT occurs when the blood cannot flow properly in a certain part of the body. The blood then clots in the veins and the clot may travel to the lungs. This very serious condition, called a pulmonary embolism, can be fatal.
- Heterotopic ossification: When small pieces of bone appear in non-bony parts of the body, such as the joints, heterotopic ossification can occur. No one knows why this complication occurs in spinal cord injury patients.
- Pressure sores: Also known as bed sores, these injuries occur when a person sits or lies down for too long, placing immense pressure on certain parts of the body. Due to the fact that spinal cord injury patients often cannot move independently, they are at risk for developing pressure sores and infections in the affected area.
- Syringomyelia: This condition occurs when a fluid-filled cavity forms near the spinal cord, which places pressure on surrounding areas. Approximately five percent of people that suffer a spinal cord injury will experience syringomyelia.
Depending on the type of injury and the age in which a person is injured, the healthcare expenses of living with a spinal cord injury can cost anywhere from $2 million to $5 million, according to the NSCISC. Those estimates don’t account for other losses, such as wages and fringe benefits.
Because the stakes are so high after a spinal cord injury, it’s critical to talk with an experienced lawyer before seeking compensation on your own.
Should I Settle with the Insurance Company After a Spine Injury?
After an accident, the insurance company for the negligent party will likely contact you right away. They may even visit you in the hospital. They could offer you a settlement immediately, before you even know whether the damage from the spinal cord injury will be temporary or permanent.
Don’t accept a settlement or sign any paperwork. Insurance companies will work to retain as much of their profits as possible. There’s no way that their first settlement offer will be a fair one, because these offers come well before a doctor can offer a reasonable prognosis for your recovery. Once you settle, you cannot go back and ask for more money if your losses are greater than you thought. Talk to a spinal cord injury lawyer before you commit to anything.
Why Should I Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
No one should file a spinal cord injury claim without first speaking to an attorney. A qualified lawyer can:
- Accurately value your claim: An attorney will evaluate the facts of your case, identify all of the losses you have sustained, and place an accurate value on those damages so that you are fairly compensated.
- Understand the legal process: There are many procedural rules you must follow when filing a spinal cord injury claim. One mistake could be enough to forfeit your claim to damages. A lawyer can avoid errors so that your claim is always protected.
- Negotiate with the insurance company: Insurers can make negotiating a fair deal stressful and complicated. A good lawyer can anticipate unfair tactics ahead of time and pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
- Take your case to trial, if necessary: Spinal cord injury cases are expensive claims, which means that insurance companies are going to fight hard to reduce their payments to you. When they refuse to act fairly, a skilled trial lawyer may recommend taking your case to court and letting a judge or jury determine the fair amount of damages you deserve.
At Recovery Law Center, we work on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay any upfront costs for us to work on your case, and we only collect a fee if we obtain a successful result for you.
Spinal Cord Injury Settlement
Many different types of damages are available in a Hawaii spinal cord injury settlement. These may include:
- Medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Loss of earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent disability and disfigurement
- Emotional distress
An experienced lawyer will place an appropriate value on your claim and fight hard for you to recover the full and fair amount you are owed.
An Experienced Honolulu Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help You Today
Life after a spinal cord injury can be beyond difficult. At Recovery Law Center, we understand the tremendous losses that accompany these life-changing injuries. We can help you pursue the compensation you need for ongoing medical treatment, financial security, and the best possible quality of life.
There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free consultation. Call or contact us now.