What Are Spinal Cord Injuries?
When it comes to dealing with the aftermath of a car crash, victims and families are often daunted by the process. Whether they’re coping with long-term physical injuries and financial difficulties or even job loss, victims are forced to pick up the pieces following an injurious car wreck. But negotiating with insurance companies and seeking legal recourse is essential.
Despite the fact that injuries can still occur in minor car collisions in Arizona, victims may be discouraged from seeking an accident settlement. But it’s important to know how to negotiate in the aftermath of a crash and be aware of average accident settlements. Furthermore, it’s important to know how spinal cord injuries can occur in even the most minor wrecks.
If you’ve sustained spinal cord injuries in a car accident in Arizona, contact the car accident lawyers at ELG. Our team of auto accident lawyers in Arizona is here to help you safeguard your legal rights and help you explore your settlement options after a wreck.
Where Do Spinal Injuries Occur?
The seven vertebrae in the neck make up the cervical spine. Beneath that, connecting the base of the neck to the abdomen is the long thoracic spine. The thoracic spine contains 12 vertebrae. Below the thoracic spine is the lumbar spine. Vertebrae L1 to L5 make up the lumbar spine. After the lumbar spine come the five vertebrae of the sacral spine.
Like the rest of the spinal cord, the lumbar spine contains important nerves, muscles, and tissues in charge of communications between the brain and the body. The nerves in the lumbar spine are responsible for transmitting messages to the legs. If the lumbar spine sustains a serious injury, it could permanently interrupt the signals coming from the brain. The signals will not reach the legs, resulting in a type of paralysis called paraplegia.
The Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Paraplegia is the loss of function and sensation in the lower body. A victim may suffer paraplegia in just the legs or the legs, hips, and some of the torso, such as the sexual organs, bladder, and bowels. A complete lumbar spinal cord injury can cause complete paralysis. If the patient suffers an incomplete injury, he or she may retain some feeling or motor function in the affected area. The severity of the spinal cord injury will determine the extent of the disability.
Not all lumbar spinal cord injuries will result in paraplegia. Less serious injuries to the lower spine could cause limited movement or feeling in the affected area, or numbness or tingling in the legs. A patient may only suffer chronic lower back pain after a minor injury to the lumbar spine. In serious cases, however, the bottom of the spine can suffer irreparable damage.
The level of paraplegia will vary according to which vertebra in the lumbar spine suffered the injury. Injuries to the lowest lumbar vertebra (L5) may only impact the ability to flex one’s toes, while injuries to L4 can restrict the bending of the foot. Meanwhile, injuries to L3 can prevent the knee from straightening, and injuries to the L2 or L1 vertebrae can limit hip movement and affect everything lower than the hip.
Negotiating a Settlement After a Spinal Cord Injury
Claim data shows that the average accident settlement falls between $14,000 and $28,000, or right around $21,000. The average value of more serious car accidents is around $31,000. Generally, the more serious the injuries and damages involved, the higher the claim value will be.
For example, a car accident that results in a spinal cord injury and permanent paralysis could be worth hundreds of thousands. This is due to the lifetime costs related to the victim’s injury.
In rare cases, plaintiffs could receive millions of dollars in damages depending on the circumstances. Typically, personal injury trials result in higher compensation than insurance settlements.
Oftentimes, the claim process takes months. You want to take the first compensation offer made by the insurance company, but avoid accepting this initial offer. An adjuster may try to convince you that the expense to file after an injury claim is too great. In other words, adjusters will make a lower offer to settle your case. It’s important to remember that you should consult your attorney to review terms and never accept a lower offer.
Personal Injury Lawyer in Phoenix
No matter the accident, the best way to maximize your is to consult your attorney after an accident. Your lawyer will help you organize the facts of your case and act as a liaison during negotiations. Contact our Arizona injury lawyers at ELG today at (623) 877-3600 for a free consultation. If you’ve sustained physical and emotional trauma in an accident, it’s important to speak to your lawyer. Our compassionate, skilled attorneys have years of experience in fighting for victims and their families to secure their fair compensation.