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Washington Spinal Injury Lawyers


Handling Spinal Cord Injury Cases

It only takes one moment for a life to change forever. A swerving car, a broken ladder, or the nick of a surgeon's knife - in the blink of an eye, serious damage can be done to the human spinal cord. Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating. Recovery is a lengthy process, and in some cases, the injury cannot be resolved. Permanent paralysis, including paraplegia and quadriplegia or tetraplegic, can be lifelong physical impairments from a spinal injury.

While spinal cord injuries do not always result in paralysis, even minor damages can be extremely painful and require a great deal of recovery. Chronic pain from neck and back injuries can cause changes in lifestyle, loss of sleep, and may require surgery and physical therapy. On top of facing the physical challenges of a spinal cord injury, victims often face financial hardship and emotional strain. If you or a loved one were the victim of a spinal cord injury, don't tackle the legal challenges alone. Call Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at (888) 228-3860 for a free legal consultation.

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Doctor examining spine x-ray

How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?

A spinal cord injury occurs when the body is struck by an external force, creating weakness and sometimes complete immobility in the normal motor functions of the body. The degree of impairment will depend on where the spine is injured, and how severe the injury is.

Car Accidents

Car accidents account for 40% of all new spinal cord injuries in this country. While the effects of a spinal cord injury are debilitating, they are not always readily apparent. The damage inflicted on the body is immediate, as bone fragments, disc protrusions, or ligaments bruise or tear into spinal cord tissue; but symptoms of a spinal cord injury, such as weakness, loss of sensation, pain, or trouble breathing, may not be felt until much later.

The time between the impact or injury and the time medical treatment is administered has been shown to determine the degree of impairment, if any, a person will suffer. That is why, whenever you are involved in a car accident, it is imperative that you get medical treatment immediately, if only to rule out a spinal cord injury.

Bicycle Accidents

Thanks to its economic, environmental, and health benefits, bicycling has become an ideal form of transportation and recreation for many in Washington. Whether you are riding down E. Madison Street in Seattle or riding through Mt. Rainier National Park, bicycling can provide many benefits, but it also presents great risks. As a bicyclist, you are at the mercy of other drivers, and just one distracted driver can cause a serious injury accident. While riding a bike, you do not have the protection afforded by a motor vehicle, leaving you exposed to far greater injury. Wearing a helmet can help prevent traumatic brain injuries, but there is no protective gear you can wear on a bicycle to protect your spine.

Motorcycle Collisions

Motorcyclists are just as exposed as bicyclists, yet they typically travel much faster. Even if riders are careful and defensive drivers, they are still vulnerable to unsafe behaviors by motorists. They are especially at risk, since little separates them from the road. Being thrown from a motorcycle can lead to a spinal cord injury when a rider strikes the ground at high speed. In fact, over one in ten motorcyclists involved in a crash suffer a spinal cord injury.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Falls are the second leading cause of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Though not always fatal, slip-and-falls can lead to serious trauma to the head and neck, including spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a fall on slippery sidewalks, broken staircases, faulty equipment, and more. After the initial injury to the spinal cord area, there will be bleeding, swelling, and fluid buildup, which can cause even greater injury in the days and weeks that follow. That’s why it’s important to get medical attention right away after suffering a slip-and-fall.

If the owner of the property failed to provide a safe environment for visitors, legal action can be taken. It is the responsibility of homeowners and business owners to keep their property free of any hazards that could put visitors at risk. The most serious injuries are those upon the spinal cord or brain. If the property owners knew about the dangers, or should have known, this is typically considered an act of negligence.

Medical Malpractice

We place an enormous amount of trust in our healthcare providers. Every time we visit the family doctor or go to a hospital or clinic, we expect that doctors and nurses will provide, minimally, the accepted standard of care. Certain procedures are inherently risky and require extreme precision. This is especially true for the delicate spinal cord area. Surgical errors can do lasting nerve damage leading to paralysis and other serious medical issues.

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section of the spineTreatment for any type of spinal cord injury will take time - and money. Get legal help by calling a Seattle car accident spinal injury attorney at (888) 228-3860.

The Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, disks or the nerve bundle. Some of the side effects of a spinal cord injury include:

  • loss of mobility;
  • feeling;
  • bladder control;
  • sexual dysfunction;
  • pain due to nerve damage; and
  • difficulty breathing.

Whether the injury is complete (loss of feeling, sensations, pain, and respiratory issue) or incomplete (some motor functioning still possible), long-term treatment is essential to slow down continued damage, and increased pain or incapacity.

If you suspect a spinal cord injury, you should seek medical treatment immediately. Your doctor will perform tests to determine the nature of your injury, and resolve it if possible. Unfortunately, the consequences may be impossible to resolve. Treatment consists of preventing further injury to the spine, medication to manage any pain, and physical therapy to allow the victim to live as active a life as possible. You may be able to overcome your injuries and recover from them to some degree, but doing so usually requires a great deal of time and expensive medical treatment.

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What to Do After a Spinal Injury in Washington

After some spine injuries, medical care will be necessary for your entire life. Managing your care is your utmost priority. In order to do that though, you will need financial resources. In the state of Washington, the statute of limitations for personal injuries allows you to file a claim or pursue a lawsuit for only two years after the accident that caused the injury.

Once you have consulted a qualified specialist, the next step is to engage the services of an experienced attorney. Many people don't know that they may have the ability to recover compensation for their injuries. Every case is different, but if your injury was the result of another person's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, the cost of rehab and other care, lost wages, lost earning potential, pain and suffering, loss of quality of life, and emotional anguish associated with the injury.

At Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., we can help you through every step of the process. We have over 40 years of experience working with clients like you throughout the state of Washington, and we are dedicated to helping you to pursue justice and full compensation. To discuss your case with a Seattle personal injury lawyer, call us at (888) 228-3860 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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