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No matter the cause of a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury, the impact on the life of the patient and their family can be devastating. Together, the brain and the spinal cord form the body’s central nervous system, arguably making them two of the most important parts of the human body.

Any amount of damage to these critical areas can easily put a strain on one's quality of life, but more often than not, leads to something much worse such as paralysis or even death.

If you or someone you love has a brain or spinal cord injury that was caused by the negligence of another person, it’s natural to feel angry and frustrated and to wonder where to turn. Not only do traumatic injuries to the brain and spine diminish a patient’s physical abilities, but they can cause a tremendous financial strain as well.

Hospital bills, travel, and other related expenses are exorbitantly expensive and they quickly add up. For example, patients with high cervical spine injuries are spending upwards of $1 million during the first year, and around $185,000 annually thereafter, according to the National Spinal Cord Statistical Center (NSCSC).

In many of these cases, the injured person is not at fault. Partnering with a lawyer will allow you to explore your case and identify whether someone else is in fact liable. Read on to learn some of the common circumstances which qualify for the involvement of a lawyer in brain and spinal cord injury cases.

Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries occur from an instance of trauma to the back that damages the spine, and consequently, the tissue enclosed in the spine referred to as the spinal cord. The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting communication between the brain and the rest of the body, so the point of damage indicates the level of the body that will lose that stream of messages.

In other words, the higher up the injury occurs, the more of the body that will lose the ability to function. Injuries that occur at the neck, in the region known as the cervical spine, often result in full tetraplegia or death.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

There were approximately 30,000 cases of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. in 2014 according to the NSCSC, and the most common causes were as follows:

  • Automobile accident (32.9%)
  • Fall (21.9%)
  • Gunshot wound (15.5%)
  • Diving (6.0%)
  • All other recreational sports (6.7%)
  • Motorcycle accident (6%)
  • Hit by a flying object (2.8%)
  • Medical/surgical complication (2.7%)

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries occur when an external force causes malfunctioning in the brain. In these situations, the accident or trauma causes the brain to collide with the skull, and the tissue is damaged from the factors such as the force of the impact, swelling, or lack of oxygen to the brain. Depending on the severity of the injury, the damage could have a long-term impact on the patient’s brain function and may even be fatal.

Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries

As many as 2.5 million people are admitted for emergency care every year for traumatic brain injuries according to the CDC, and the most common causes are as follows:

  • Falls (40.5%)
  • Unintentional blunt force trauma (15.5%)
  • Assaults (10.7%)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (14.3%)

Traumatic Brain or Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits

There are two main situations that provide a legal basis for a lawsuit in a traumatic brain or spinal cord injury case: negligence and faulty products.

Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries from Negligence

The majority of injury lawsuits involve some form of negligence. These types of cases occur when there is some form of accident (such as a car hitting a biker), and it can be proven that the driver of the car is at fault. To prove negligence of another party, there typically has to be evidence of carelessness on their part. This may mean that they were somewhere they weren’t supposed to be, doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing, or in some way responsible for creating dangerous conditions.

Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries from Defective Products

Another possible circumstance that creates a legal basis for a brain or spinal cord injury lawsuit is a faulty product, such as a seat belt, airbag, or brake, that contributed to the automobile accident. In these situations, the plaintiff can go after the manufacturer or the seller of the car (or other dangerous product) for product liability.

When to Get a Lawyer

The precise statutes for liability in brain and spinal cord injury cases vary by state. There are many factors that affect legality which you may not even realize are relevant to your case. It’s important to talk to an experienced brain and spinal cord injury lawyer so that they can walk through the details of your case and uncover the potential for relieving a portion of your financial burden.

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