Long Beach Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

Have you or someone you love sustained a spinal cord injury in the area of Long Beach? If it happened due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Madison Law Group for your free consultation.

The spinal cord is the essential pathway that carries signals from the brain to the rest of the body. While the spine directs conscious movements like raising and lowering the arms and legs, it also transmits brain impulses that control unconscious functions like breathing and digesting. Unlike other parts of the body, the spinal cord cannot repair itself after being damaged, and a serious spinal cord injury can cause partial or total paralysis.

When someone suffers a spinal injury due to someone else’s actions, they should seek capable legal counsel to help them get the compensation they need to move forward and prevent financial stress. Finding a reputable Long Beach spinal cord injury attorney is an essential component to your recovery journey, since having a spinal cord injury means you will need to undergo expensive ongoing medical treatment and may no longer be able to earn income. Severe spinal cord injuries almost always result in some degree of permanent impairment, and Californians must take care to avoid bearing the cost of another person’s errors or negligence.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are some of the most catastrophic injuries there are. Recovery is not always possible, but when it is, it will likely be a very long road. If you live in California and have suffered a serious spinal cord injury, you are not alone. Every year, 200,000 Americans suffer spinal cord injuries, and statistics show that the majority of these injuries are the result of car accidents.

Around 17,000 new spinal cord injuries are reported in the United States each year, and 291,000 people are already living with these injuries nationwide, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC).

The spinal cord extends from the base of the brain to just above the waist before traveling down the center of the back. The spinal column, which consists of 33 ring-shaped bones called vertebrae, guards the spinal cord. A quick, traumatic impact to the spinal column can break or dislocate the vertebrae, injuring spinal cord nerves, and unfortunately, these nerves are unable to repair themselves.

When you suffer a spinal cord injury, you may stay in the hospital for quite some time to undergo treatment. Unfortunately, it does not end there. Spinal injury victims often go right from the hospital into long-term rehabilitation.

These costs can add up quickly, and you may find yourself overwhelmed and wondering what you should do to recover. That is why you need to discuss your case with a knowledgeable spinal cord injury attorney in Long Beach if you or a loved one has suffered a similar catastrophic injury.

Two Primary Categories of Spinal Cord Injuries

The specific location of the injury on your spinal cord and its severity will determine your range of mobility after suffering a spinal cord injury.

The two primary categories of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Complete :If you are unable to move and have lost all sensation in your limbs below the spinal cord, it is known as a complete spinal cord injury.
  • Incomplete: If you can make slight movements or have limited feeling in your limbs below the spinal cord injury, it is known as an incomplete spinal cord injury.

Ultimately, there are varying levels of spinal cord injuries, and you should see a doctor as soon as you can in order to pursue full compensation.

Spinal Cord Injury Classification

The two primary classifications of spinal cord injuries are:

  • Tetraplegia: This is also commonly referred to as quadriplegia. This condition involves the loss of function and sensation below the neck, including the arms and legs, and is typically brought on by a spinal cord injury near the neck.
  • Paraplegia: This is caused when the spinal cord is damaged below the neck and will cause the loss of use and sensation in the lower extremities of the body, including the legs. There are more difficulties that may arise in addition to loss of movement and sensation. Some patients may require a ventilator if they are unable to breathe on their own, and they may even be unable to regulate blood pressure and body temperature without medical assistance.

How a Spinal Cord Injury Impacts a Person’s Life

A catastrophic injury to the spine can leave you searching for solutions on your own with very little support. Even if the accident had nothing to do with your job, depending on the extent of your injuries, you might not be able to go back to work for the foreseeable future. However, this does not mean that you cannot obtain compensation for lost wages.

In addition to being unable to work, it might become impossible for you to support your family or simply be there for your kids as you once could. Even just playing with your children around the house and going to their sporting events, school plays, and doctor’s appointments may prove to be difficult.

Even worse, if you suffer a spinal cord injury, you could need to use a wheelchair just to get around. If this is the case, you will need to renovate your home to make it accessible to people with permanent disabilities. This includes renovating the entrances, bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen, and any other room you use throughout your day-to-day life. This is obviously an expensive endeavor, so seeking representation by a quadriplegia injury attorney in Long Beach while you navigate the aftermath of your accident is strongly recommended.

Common Causes of Long Beach Spinal Cord Injuries

There are several types of accidents that can result in spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries are often caused by damage to the vertebrae, ligaments, or discs of the spinal column – or even damage directly to the spinal cord itself. Some of the most common causes include the following:

Car Accidents

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, auto accidents cause 38.6% of spinal cord injuries.


Spinal cord injuries are frequently caused by slip and fall accidents, as well as falls from ladders, stairs, and structures. These types of accidents often happen in the workplace.

Gunshot Wounds

Rib injuries are common following gunshot wounds. These injuries come with the risk of damaging nerves in the cervical spine.

Motorcycle Accidents

The sheer lack of protection makes motorcycle riders more susceptible to serious injuries compared to drivers of other types of vehicles. The likelihood of a significant spinal injury is higher with a motorcycle than other vehicles.

Medical Complications Related to Malpractice

Medical errors, such as a surgeon nicking a spinal nerve during spine surgery, can cause significant spinal cord damage. Since 2015, roughly 4.2% of spinal cord injuries have been caused by medical or surgical procedures. This may give rise to a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Spinal Cord Injuries & Workplace Accidents

Your employer’s worker’s compensation insurance will sometimes cover the costs associated with your injuries if they happened at work. However, if a third party or substandard machinery was to blame for your injury, you might be able to hold that individual or manufacturer liable for any resulting damages through a civil suit.

Spinal cord injuries are common in workplace accidents in Long Beach. The spine may sustain damage due to:

  • Improper lifting
  • Repetitive motion injuries
  • Severe falls
  • Being caught in or between pieces of machinery

If you suffer a spinal cord injury at work, you may be able to obtain financial compensation in one of two ways:

Workers Compensation Claim

A workers’ compensation claim should be filed first. You may be able to be compensated for your medical expenses and two-thirds of your total weekly salary without having to demonstrate carelessness or liability.

Personal Injury Lawsuit

However, the second choice, filing a personal injury lawsuit, might also be a good idea if someone else was specifically at fault for your injuries.  You may be able to recover far more than just medical bills and lost wages. With a personal injury lawsuit, you can sometimes make claims for things like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, and more. Speak with a Long Beach spinal cord injury attorney about your choices before accepting a workers’ compensation settlement, because doing so may remove your chance to file a personal injury lawsuit. At our firm, we can help you with both types of claims.

What Areas of the Spine Can Get Injured?

Spinal cord injuries can result in outcomes ranging from partial limb amputation to total loss of control over the body. The degree and location on the spine of the injury will determine the symptoms you experience.

The four levels of the spinal cord include the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral vertebrae. The body systems impacted will depend on where the spinal cord injury occurred. In most spinal cord injury cases, victims can anticipate either paralysis or functional limitations of all systems below the level of the injury.

Cervical Area

Injury to the cervical spine in the neck can cause loss of feeling and movement in the arms, legs, and trunk. These injuries are known to make it harder to breathe, which affects your capacity for speech and communication.

Some tetraplegics require assistive technology to do things such as writing, typing, or using the phone. People with cervical injuries usually need wheelchairs with special controls in order to get around. They are often dependent on others for assistance with the most routine daily tasks. Those who depend on wheelchairs and other assistive devices will likely experience an even more pronounced decrease in their quality of life.

Thoracic Area

Upper thoracic injuries between your ribs can impact the muscles in your chest, mid back, and abdomen, and can potentially impair your ability to breathe. Lower thoracic injuries affect the back and abdomen, which you need for support and balance and even to simply cough.

Paraplegia, often known as loss of motor function and paralysis in the trunk and legs, results from complete damage to the thoracic spinal cord. To restore basic motor abilities and manage pain, paraplegic patients require physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Lumbar and Sacral Areas

A victim of a lumbar spinal cord injury will be affected from the hips down. Depending on the location and degree of their injuries, some individuals may need to utilize specialized braces in order to walk, while others may need a wheelchair in order to get around.

The bladder, intestines, and genitalia stop working as a result of injuries to the sacral area. Lumbar injuries impair one’s capacity to control their bowels and bladder, but individuals may not necessarily need 24/7 assistance from others. Instead, victims with these types of injuries may need home and car assistive technologies in order to live their lives.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injury in Long Beach

Most people instinctively associate paralysis with spinal cord injuries, and it is true that victims of spinal cord injuries frequently have some degree of paralysis. As stated earlier, tetraplegia and quadriplegia are two different types of paralysis, and the degree of spinal cord injury affects whether the paralysis is full or partial.

The most typical warning signs and symptoms of an acute spinal injury are listed below. However, each person may experience these symptoms in different ways:

  • Problems breathing
  • Loss of voluntary movement in the legs, arms, and chests
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of sensation in the legs, arms, or chest
  • Inability to control bladder or bowels
  • Sexual dysfunction

Many spinal cord injuries include symptoms and indicators that are similar to other medical conditions. Anyone who experiences any of the above symptoms or for any reason believes they may have suffered a spinal cord injury must consult a doctor right away so a thorough examination and diagnosis can be completed.

Steps to Take After a Possible Spinal Cord Injury

Doctors must use imaging tests like an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray to diagnose a spinal cord injury. With the help of these tests, the doctor will be able to identify any spinal cord anomalies and determine the location and severity of the injury. In certain cases, a serious accident victim may exhibit symptoms that point to a spinal cord injury before a doctor can perform any of these tests.

For example, a construction worker’s safety equipment malfunctions and causes him to fall from a scaffolding and land on his back. If he experiences numbness or loss of feeling in his feet, it is likely he suffered a spinal cord injury. However, only a doctor can provide a definitive diagnosis.

If you find yourself or someone around you exhibiting symptoms, you should seek emergency medical care immediately.

Avoid Moving the Victim

You should not move a spinal cord injury victim. Instead, immediately call for an ambulance. Moving a spinal cord injury victim could cause their condition to worsen. In fact, it could impact if they will ever be able to walk again. The patient will need to be moved by emergency medical technicians using a board and specialized tools.

Spine Immobilization

It is critical to immobilize the spine following spinal cord injury. When paramedics arrive at an accident scene, this is usually one of the first things they do. Additional movement could potentially exacerbate an incomplete injury and even result in irreversible damage. This may sound simple enough, but it can be challenging to limit movement when there are several injuries present, such as those sustained in a vehicle accident. However, doing so is vital to protect the remaining function of the spinal column.

Intensive Care Unit

After a spinal cord injury has been detected, the next step is always going to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). This will allow medical professionals to monitor the injuries themselves and provide preventative care to other major systems, like the cardiovascular system.


If it is found that there has been additional injury to the spinal cord, such as multiple herniated discs, blood clots, or other lesions, it may be necessary to undergo surgery. Although surgery cannot repair damage to the spine itself, relieving pressure on the spinal cord will lessen the likelihood of further damage, alleviate pain, and treat other potential problems. The surgeon will discuss with the family the best options for everyone, including the pros and cons of those options.


After the injury has been stabilized, and all initial medical treatment has been rendered, it will be time for therapy. This is often long-term and includes mental health therapy along with physical and occupational therapy. Training may also be required to demonstrate safe caregiving techniques to the family. Both the patient and the family may require mental health care due to the dramatic change in lifestyle that often comes with a spinal cord injury.

Post Treatment

Many families dealing with spinal cord injuries will eventually get used to the new way of life. However, there are also secondary effects of immobility that often cause serious problems for people with with spinal cord injuries. The following risks are common during this period:

  • Pneumonia
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pressure ulcers
  • Bowel and bladder problems
  • High cervical injuries

If left untreated, these conditions can be fatal.

How Much Is My Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth?

Without performing a thorough investigation into the incident, it is impossible to estimate the precise value of a spinal cord injury case. Spinal injuries can have major long-term effects on a person, and they deserve to be compensated for as much of this as possible by financial means. No amount of money can restore any mobility you may have lost, but financial compensation can help relieve some of the monetary pressure a spinal cord injury patient may feel as their medical bills grow and they are no longer able to work to earn income.

According to information provided by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the cost of a spinal cord injury victim’s first year of medical care can range from around $360,000 to more than $1.1 million, depending on the severity of the related injuries.

However, the true cost of a spinal cord injury is likely going to be far greater. There are many other expenses that must be taken into consideration, such as:

  • Medical costs and expenses (which can be between $44,000 and $200,000) for the following year
  • The cost of modifying homes or cars to accommodate the patient’s mobility issues
  • Travel expenses to visit spinal cord injury specialists
  • Lost wages if a victim is unable to work due to their disability
  • Lost wages of a family member or other loved one who may have to act as a caregiver
  • Reduced quality of life

What Factors Are Involved in Determining the Value of My Spinal Cord Injury Case?

The compensation that you are due after a spinal cord injury will depend on a number of important factors. These include your age and overall health, your healthcare regimen, and the severity of your injuries. This crucial stage of your personal injury case will significantly benefit from the aid of an accomplished Long Beach personal injury attorney with a track record of obtaining successful settlements.

Severity of Your Injuries

The quality of evidence you provide to back up your injury claims can maximize your compensation and help your claim succeed. You are required to demonstrate the extent of your injury using relevant evidence, such as medical bills and other costs associated with your injury. Your medical bills will show the price of present and upcoming medical care as well as ongoing medical care and rehabilitation. Medical specialists from outside the firm may be utilized if necessary to demonstrate that your injury is as serious and life-altering as you claim.

Age and Wellbeing

Higher awards are more likely to go to those who were younger and healthier at the time of the accident. This is because their life may be altered for many more years than an unhealthy older person’s. The time required to make a recovery will also come into play when determining the full extent of your damages.

Cause of Your Spinal Cord Injury

The amount you seek at settlement will vary depending on the actions of the at-fault party who caused your accident. Your attorney will demonstrate that the party responsible was careless through the use of security footage, pictures, and witness testimony.

Number of Liable Parties

There may be several parties involved in your accident, and each one will be trying to assign blame to someone else. However, when there are multiple defendants named in your lawsuit, that is potentially more compensation you may be able to gain overall than if you just sue one party.

A Long Beach personal injury lawyer can look into your claim to establish liability, ensure all responsible parties are named in your suit, and defend your right to just compensation.

Proving Liability in a Spinal Cord Injury

In California, there are some essential components to establish negligence in any type of personal injury claim, including those involving traumatic spinal cord injury. Here are the elements that must be proven:

  • Duty of care was owed: It must be shown that the defendant had a duty of care to the plaintiff. An example could be a driver not giving care to other drivers on the road by driving recklessly.
  • Duty of care was breached: You must be able to show that the defendant violated his or her duty of care as in the above example.
  • Causation: The defendant’s negligence played a primary role in contributing to the accident.
  • Damages: You must be able to provide evidence that you sustained damages. This can be done by showing medical bills, reports from experts, pay stubs showing your wages before you were rendered unable to work, and other necessary documentation.

When determining liability, it all comes down to what a reasonable person would have done in the same situation. The defendant is negligent if it can be determined that a reasonable person would have acted differently in order to prevent the accident from happening.

The following can be used to establish negligence in a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Police report
  • Eyewitness testimony
  • Pictures or video
  • Testimony from hired, third-party experts

A spinal cord injury lawyer in Long Beach can help you create the foundation for your case if you were injured by the negligence of another party.

Why Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?

It is crucial that you hire a lawyer with extensive experience in spinal cord injury cases, and a track record of significant results in catastrophic injury cases. If your case does not have excellent legal representation, it can suffer as a result.

You need to make sure that the law firm you hire has the resources necessary to succeed in gaining a successful outcome for your claim. This is because spinal cord injury claims often require significant spending during the course of developing and presenting your case, and you want the law firm you choose to be able to handle that without you having to spend out of pocket. These costs can include things like hiring experts to give depositions or write opinions pertaining to your medical status as well as the expected financial cost of your ongoing care.

When you meet with a Long Beach vehicle accident attorney, the first thing he or she will do is ask you what happened. We will need you to provide whatever evidence you may have that your injuries were caused by the negligence or blatant disregard of another person. In cases involving car accidents, this entails obtaining a copy of the police report that was taken immediately following the crash and speaking to any witnesses that may be able to support your case.

In the event of a car accident, our firm will enlist the help of an accident reconstruction specialist to reconstruct the events of the crash and demonstrate exactly who or what caused it. An experienced personal injury attorney will devote all the time necessary to substantiate your spinal cord injury claim, including ordering and reviewing your medical records or interviewing any witnesses who may have been present at the time of the accident.

If you are contacted by the insurance provider representing the at-fault party, you should not answer any of their questions. Instead, just refer them to your Long Beach spinal cord injury lawyer. Insurance companies do not have your best interests in mind. They operate as a business, and the primary aim of any business is to make money.  The insurer may try to manipulate you into admitting fault for the accident or even dropping your case entirely. Your attorney will not be intimidated by this line of questions and will know exactly what to do.

Contact a Spinal Cord Injuries Lawyer in Long Beach

The long-lasting impact of spinal cord injuries can be catastrophic and go well beyond physical limitations. Depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are just a few examples of the mental anguish and emotional distress that spinal cord injury victims can experience as a result of their condition.

With the aid of an accomplished attorney, you can seek a claim to hold the negligent party accountable when their carelessness or recklessness results in your injuries.

A Long Beach spinal cord accident lawyer from our firm is available to talk to you at no cost to you about your legal options if you or a loved one was hurt in an accident of any kind and sustained a spinal cord injury. If you were not at fault for the accident, you might be eligible to receive a sizable settlement to cover your medical costs, lost wages, earning potential and your pain and suffering.

Serious spinal cord injuries can result in paralysis and even leave you unable to work for the rest of your life. Our objective when we prepare a lawsuit for you is to get you full and fair financial compensation so that you will not have to worry about how to feed your family and make ends meet after your accident. Your sole focus needs to be on your health, not on figuring out complex laws to try to keep your head above water.

Your initial consultation is free and we accept all personal injury claims on a contingency basis. That means you do not have to pay to meet with your attorney, and you will not have to pay for our services until your case is resolved and you get compensation for your injuries. Don’t let the concern of legal fees be the reason you do not seek full and fair compensation for your injuries.

Contact the Madison Law Group today by calling our offices at (213) 652-3596 to discuss your case with a qualified spinal cord injurie attorney in Long Beach.