Experienced Accident Attorneys Based in San Mateo
One of the most serious injuries that you can sustain is a spinal cord injury (SCI). Your spinal column consists of nerve tissue and runs from the base of your skull down the back to your pelvis. Protective membranes and vertebrae surround this column, but trauma to the back can get through the protective layers and damage the spinal cord itself.
Spinal nerves transmit information and signals from your brain to various parts of the body. When the spinal tissue suffers damage, it can disrupt or completely cut off these signals. This can disrupt the functioning of any body parts below the spinal damage, including causing permanent paralysis in some people.
Spinal injuries and paralysis can be overwhelmingly costly in many ways. It can disrupt your entire life and lead to physical, mental, and financial struggles. If someone else caused your injury, that party should also be responsible for covering all of your injury-related losses. You should speak with a San Mateo spinal cord injury attorney from the law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos for a case evaluation today.
Spinal cord injuries not only cause significant physical and emotional pain, but they also usually result in substantial costs. If you or someone you love sustained a spinal cord injury due to an accident caused by someone else’s careless behavior, it is wise to speak with an attorney regarding the actions that you can take to protect your interests.
The San Mateo spinal cord injury lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP have more than 75 years of combined experience helping injured parties fight to recover damages for their harm, and we will aggressively pursue any compensation that you may be owed. Our San Mateo spinal cord injury lawyers represent people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Table of Contents
- Experienced Accident Attorneys Based in San Mateo
- Causes and Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
- Serious Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
- The Value of Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim
- San Mateo Spinal Cord Injury FAQs
- Learn More from a San Mateo Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
Causes and Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur in any type of accident that can cause trauma to the spine or spinal column.
Some of the more common accidents that can cause SCIs include:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Pool and spa accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Accidents involving defective consumer products
Generally, spinal cord injuries are caused by a sudden impact. Typically, the force of the impact will cause damage to a ligament, disc, or vertebrae, which subsequently causes damage to the spinal cord.
For example, car accidents frequently cause spinal cord injuries due to the force of one car hitting another. Falls and assaults often cause spinal cord injuries as well.
The severity of a spinal cord injury largely depends on where the injury occurred, and whether the injury is complete or incomplete. A complete injury results in a complete loss of feeling and the ability to control movement below the point of injury. Conversely, a person with an incomplete injury retains some degree of sensory and motor function below the point of injury.
Furthermore, in addition to sensory and motor dysfunction, a spinal cord injury can result in diminished functions in every part of the body. The spinal cord injury attorneys at our San Mateo firm have seen that spinal cord injuries can result in bladder or bowel incontinence, difficulties related to circulation and respiration, nerve pain, and muscle atrophy. People who sustain spinal cord injuries frequently develop mental health issues as well.
Serious Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal injuries fall into the category of catastrophic injuries because of the profound effect they can have on your life. Incomplete spinal injuries do not totally sever the spinal cord, though they can cause enough damage to result in partial or temporary paralysis.
Complete spinal cord injuries cut off all signals from the brain to the body below the injury, so a victim will have total paralysis. Such paralysis might affect you from the waist down, your trunk, or even all four limbs and your torso.
Spinal injury victims can:
- Require an extended hospital stay, including time in the ICU or a rehabilitation unit
- Require surgery or other invasive procedures
- Need wheelchairs and other assistive equipment
- Lose bladder, bowel, respiratory, and sexual functioning
- Need adaptations to their homes
- Require home health care assistance
- Sometimes never return to their previous jobs or work at all
Losing your ability to walk, move, work, and even care for yourself can be devastating. Many paralyzed spinal injury victims experience serious mental health struggles due to the new limitations on their lives. Victims might have to rely on disability benefits, which can be much less than they might earn otherwise.
Overall, SCIs are severe and costly injuries that are difficult to come back from. At the very least, you deserve to have the liable party for your accident cover all of your various past and future losses.
The Value of Your Spinal Cord Injury Claim
Because spinal injuries lead to such devastating losses, the resulting injury claims tend to be high-stakes. Determining how much you deserve is a highly complex process that involves the assessment and calculation of many future and intangible losses.
One set of estimations indicates that the cost of living with a spinal injury is as follows:
- For a 25-year-old with incomplete motor function = $1,578,274
- For a 50-year-old with incomplete motor function = $1,113,990
- For a 25-year-old with paraplegia = $2,310,104
- For a 50-year-old with paraplegia = $1,516,052
- For a 25-year-old with low tetraplegia = $3,451,781
- For a 50-year-old with low tetraplegia = $2,123,154
- For a 25-year-old with high tetraplegia = $4,724,181
- For a 50-year-old with high tetraplegia = $2,596,329
The factors that go into these calculations involve your age when the injury occurred, your job, the extent of your injury, necessary medical care, the level of your pain, and suffering-related losses. You want an experienced attorney handling these calculations, so you do not miss out on any compensation.
Who is Liable for Your Spinal Injury and Losses?
Under California law, people who suffer injuries by the negligence of others are typically entitled to compensation from the party who caused their accident.
Parties that may have caused your injuries include:
- Other motorists
- Product manufacturers
- Medical professionals
- Property owners
If your spinal cord injury resulted from the negligence of a person performing their job duties, you will likely be able to recover compensation from their employer under a legal doctrine known as respondeat superior.
For example, if your accident happened because of a truck driver, you would likely file a claim against the trucking company responsible for the operation of the vehicle. Similarly, if your accident occurred due to a store employee who failed to take reasonable steps to mitigate a falling hazard, your claim would likely be against their employer rather than the individual employee.
For respondeat superior to apply, an employee must have acted within the scope of their employment duties. So, for example, if a delivery driver causes an accident while delivering goods to a customer, their employer would likely be liable. On the other hand, if the accident occurred while the driver was heading home or grabbing lunch, the employee would bear liability.
An attorney familiar with a personal injury law can review your case and determine who may bear liability for your injuries.
Elements of a Lawsuit Seeking Damages for Spinal Cord Injuries
The majority of spinal cord injuries are caused by accidents. As a result, in most lawsuits seeking damages for spinal cord injuries, the plaintiff will assert a negligence claim against the defendant. In California, to prove negligence, a plaintiff must establish that the defendant owed a legal duty to exercise due care, that the defendant breached the duty, and that the breach proximately caused the plaintiff’s harm.
In other words, the plaintiff must show both that he or she would not have suffered an injury if the defendant had acted with reasonable care and that the breach was a substantial factor in bringing about the plaintiff’s harm.
A plaintiff who successfully proves a defendant’s liability with the assistance of our San Mateo spinal cord injury attorneys may be awarded damages. Damages usually consist of compensation for the economic harm caused by the accident, such as the cost of any past medical treatment, as well as the cost of the treatment that the plaintiff will need in the future.
Economic harm may also include lost earnings if the plaintiff cannot work or earns a reduced income due to his or her injuries, and it may include out-of-pocket expenses. Damages often include compensation for the intangible harm caused by an injury as well, such as emotional trauma, suffering, and pain.
San Mateo Spinal Cord Injury FAQs
Situated on the San Francisco Peninsula, San Mateo is home to more than 100,000 people. Though most of those people live their daily lives without significant hassle, some experience life-changing injuries, including spinal cord injuries. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal injury, you may need financial compensation from the liable parties.
How Can Someone Suffer a Spinal Cord Injury in San Mateo?
San Mateo offers much to its residents and visitors – from hiking trails to water-specific activities, renowned dining options, and more.
However, some of San Mateo’s most attractive features can become hazardous.
That is, you can suffer a spinal cord injury because of:
- An accident in one of San Mateo’s parks or trails: Whether it is Coyote Point or one of the many other parks and trails around San Mateo, the natural scenery in the city beckons joggers, hikers, bikers, and others seeking physical activities in the outdoors. This activity can, in some cases, be the cause of spinal cord injuries.
- A car, SUV, truck, or motorcycle accident: Due to the high demand for real estate on the San Francisco Peninsula, those in San Mateo face an intense concentration of motor vehicles. The risk of being in a motor vehicle accident and possibly suffering spinal cord injuries may rise because of this concentration.
- A slip and fall accident: While San Mateo is not known for heavy annual rainfall, the San Francisco Peninsula gets more rain than the more arid regions of California. Whether due to rain, spills, or other precipitating factors, slip and fall accidents in San Mateo can cause spinal cord injuries and other catastrophic injuries.
- A pedestrian accident: Much of San Mateo is friendly to walkers, and this is especially true of neighborhoods rich in restaurants, nightlife, and other cultural attractions. When walkers, bicyclists, and motor vehicles coexist, the possibility of a pedestrian accident always looms.
There are many other ways a spinal cord injury can happen in San Mateo. When an attorney accepts your case, they will get to the root of why your spinal cord injury occurred.
What Should a Spinal Cord Injury Victim in San Mateo Do?
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury in San Mateo, your life might turn upside down. First, you must get all of the medical care you need, and many people need emergency trauma care and hospitalization for spinal injuries.
Second, you may hire an attorney to review the circumstances of your case.
You may deserve compensation to help with:
- The cost of medical care for the injury, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more)
- The cost of a wheelchair, retrofitted vehicle, and other medical equipment
- The loss of income and other benefits from any job that you can no longer work
- Treatment for the mental anguish that comes with a spinal cord injury
- Other damages resulting from your spinal cord injury
Loved ones may need to quit their job to care for someone with a spinal cord injury. You may choose to hire a full-time caregiver instead. In either case, you may deserve compensation to cover this cost.
Who Is Liable for Your Spinal Cord Injury in San Mateo?
Liability for a spinal cord injury is unique to each case. Your attorney will determine who is liable for your injury.
Defendants in your lawsuit may include:
- A property owner if dangerous premises conditions caused your injury
- A motorist if a motor vehicle accident caused your injury
- The municipality of San Mateo (or another local government) if your injury occurred on public property
We must have complete information about your case to determine liability.
What Can a Spinal Injury Attorney Do for You?
Our spinal cord injury attorneys can handle every step in your spinal cord injury case. Once you hire your lawyer, they will protect your rights and help you pursue a financial recovery.
Some duties a personal injury lawyer in San Mateo will handle are:
- Investigating the circumstances of your spinal cord injury: Your attorney will investigate why your spinal cord happened. Along the way, they will obtain and preserve any evidence that is of use.
- Documenting your damages: Your attorney will seek documentation of your losses, from medical bills to property repair invoices and other forms of documentation. This can help your attorney prove how much your case is worth.
- Leading settlement negotiations: Settlement negotiations are a crucial stage in a spinal cord injury case. Your lawyer will negotiate with liable parties in San Mateo. They may resolve your claim by negotiating a fair settlement.
- Going to trial, if necessary: Trials are not common in civil cases. With much compensation on the line for a spinal cord injury, though, a trial may be necessary in your case. An attorney should be ready to go to trial in every case they handle.
When you hire an attorney, you protect yourself from added stress. You also get the expertise and financial support that the law firm provides.
What If I Need to Sue the City of San Mateo (or Another Government Agency)?
California provides a very short window for suing government agencies. You may have to report a claim against the government within six months or a year of a spinal cord injury, depending on the circumstances.
There may be exceptions to this statute of limitations, so you should speak with an attorney even if it’s been more than a year since your spinal cord injury.
Learn More from a San Mateo Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
Spinal cord injuries often cause irreparable harm to every aspect of a person’s life, and people responsible for causing spinal cord injuries should be held accountable for the damages that resulted from their negligence. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury, it is prudent to speak with an attorney regarding your possible claims.
The seasoned spinal cord injury lawyers at the San Mateo law firm of Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, LLP take pride in helping injured parties seek recourse for their harm. If you engage our services, we will fight tirelessly to help you seek a just result.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, it’s in your best interest to contact an attorney as soon as you can. In many cases, spinal cord injuries entitle victims to significant compensation, and insurance companies will do everything they can to settle your claim for as little as possible.