Spinal cord injuries often lead to permanent disabilities and life-changing circumstances. Traumatic injuries to the neck or back may damage the spinal cord, the nerves below the spinal cord, or nerves that lead from the spinal cord to other parts of the body. Some spinal cord injuries are permanent when they happen; others can become permanent if not promptly treated. Such injuries can affect both the ability to feel (sensory functions) and the ability to control one’s muscles (motor functions). In the most severe cases, the survivor may be left with either full or partial quadriplegia or paraplegia.
Properly representing a person who has survived a spinal cord injury requires special expertise. Such cases commonly involve experts in neurosurgery, rehabilitation medicine, life care planning, vocational counseling, economics, and other fields.
If you think you have a spinal cord injury case, contact us right away.
Defective Child Car Restraint Seat: Quadriplegia
Don Corson represented a three-year old Central Oregon girl who was restrained in a booster-style child car seat in the back seat of her family’s car. An oncoming car lost control on the volcanic grit left by the highway maintenance trucks, crossed the center line, and struck the family’s car nearly head-on. The child suffered a terrible injury to the spinal cord near the top of her neck, causing her to be permanently paralyzed below the head.
The booster style car seat lacked straps or other means of restraining a child’s upper body, allowing the head to be thrown forward forcefully during a collision, while the lower body is restrained. This combination can tend to pull or snap the spinal cord just below the base of the head. The adverse driver settled for her liability insurance policy limits. The case against the child car seat manufacturer resolved under a confidential arrangement.
A Post-Discharge Injury Changed Everything
Jacob served our country overseas in the Middle East, suffering from debilitating combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was honorably discharged and sent home, where he began looking for ways to cope. Eventually, he found that CrossFit and weight-training exercises helped alleviate some of his stress and anxiety.
During one weight-training session, Jacob heard a loud pop in his back, which was followed by a wave of extreme pain. He immediately went to the emergency department at the closest VA Medical Center, but the emergency physician did not order any imaging, diagnosed it as a muscle strain, and sent him home. Jacob followed the doctor’s orders.
MRI Showed Significant Damage to Spinal Cord
The Veteran’s symptoms worsened, and he experienced new symptoms, including numbness in part of his lower body. Those symptoms are characteristic of Cauda Equina Syndrome, a condition caused by damage to nerves at the base of the spinal cord. Jacob called the VA, but when he could not reach a medical provider, returned to the VA emergency department. The same emergency room physician saw Jacob again and sent him home a second time, again without ordering imaging, and without even creating a medical record of his second visit.
Jacob made numerous phone calls to the VA healthcare system. He reported his symptoms, including his increasing neurological deficits and “saddle numbness,” to the nurses who answered the calls. Eventually, the VA called him and scheduled an appointment for him with his primary care physician for the following day.
At that appointment, an MRI was finally ordered, which revealed significant spinal nerve compression that had required emergency spine surgery within the first 24 hours. Jacob’s surgery was delayed yet another day before he was finally treated. This type of injury can be fully healed, if treated quickly. But as a result of the negligent delay in medical care, Jacob suffered permanent incomplete paraplegia with bowel, bladder, and related organ dysfunction.
Protect Our Veterans
We sought (and won) financial compensation to cover Jacob’s future medical care needs and for the lifetime of pain and disability he will experience as a result of the negligent medical care.
The Marine Corps vows in its motto, “Semper Fidelis” which means, “Always Loyal.” Veterans deserve to be returned the commitment and loyalty they give to their country, and we are honored to assist them.
*Name changed to maintain client privacy.
Janos Tivadar: Spinal Cord Paraplegia Injury Case Goes Beyond the Courtroom to Help Others
Janos Tivadar became paralyzed from the chest down as the result of hospital negligence following an automobile accident. Part of the settlement he received went to Project Walk, a nonprofit organization committed to helping people with spinal cord injuries. READ MORE