Motor vehicle collisions, falls, and other accidents can cause significant physical harm, including severe and paralyzing spinal cord damage. If you or a loved one were in an accident in the Dallas area that resulted in a spinal injury, an attorney with Domingo Garcia can help you hold the responsible party liable for your losses.
Our Dallas spinal cord injury lawyers can pursue compensation for your current and ongoing medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. Your settlement or verdict can ensure you have the resources to treat your injury, provide for your loved ones, and adjust to your new way of life.
Our Attorneys Assist With a Variety of Spinal Cord Injury Accidents
According to the Cleveland Clinic, spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur most often due to a sudden and traumatic blow that damages the bones in your spine (vertebrae) or spinal column. Some of the most common causes of spinal injury include:
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reports that nearly 40 percent of spinal cord injuries result from motor vehicle collisions. In Texas, the Department of Transportation (TxDOT) received reports of more than 35,000 vehicle accidents and nearly 1,300 serious crash injuries in Dallas in 2021.
If you sustained an SCI in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, our team of personal injury attorneys can help you seek compensation from the liable driver. We can prove that the at-fault driver caused your crash due to negligence or violation of Texas’s rules of the road, outlined in Texas Transportation Code Chapter 545. Examples include:
- Speeding (or driving too fast for current conditions)
- Driving while intoxicated
- Improper turns
- Illegal passing/failure to maintain lane position
- Reckless or aggressive driving (road rage)
- Distracted driving (including texting and driving)
- Driving while fatigued
- Failing to obey traffic signals or road signs
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to exercise caution around pedestrians and bicyclists
According to the Texas Office of Public Insurance Counsel, Texas motorists must have automobile liability insurance to pay for injuries and property damages they cause. We can help you with a claim against the responsible driver’s policy. If you carry optional personal injury protection (PIP), medical payments (med pay), or uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist protection, we can work with your insurer to cover your medical bills until we resolve your case.
Our Dallas attorneys are here to advise you of your best options. If an insurance settlement does not provide the recovery you need, or the insurance company acts in bad faith, we can help you proceed with a personal injury lawsuit.
Additionally, we can take action if a vehicle or roadway problem contributed to your SCI accident. For example, we can file a claim against the government or private entity that owns the road or pursue a product liability case against a vehicle or auto parts manufacturer.
Slip and Falls
A study in The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine found that falls on the same level due to slipping, tripping, or stumbling are the most frequent cause of fall-related SCIs, accounting for around 20 percent of all fall-induced spinal cord injuries.
If your slip and fall resulted from negligent property conditions, you may have an SCI case based on premises liability. We may be able to help you hold a residential or commercial property owner responsible for injuries caused by:
- Ripped or torn carpeting
- Broken or cracked tile or floorboards
- Broken sidewalks
- Obstructed walkways
- Lack of hand railings/stair railings
- Lack of lighting
- Failure to warn those on the property of known hazards/dangers
Falls from Height
According to The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, after slip and falls, the following three leading causes of fall-related SCIs involve falls from another level. Falls from a building account for 16 percent of injuries, falls from stairs/steps amount to another 16 percent, and 9 percent involve falls from ladders.
The publication states that falls from buildings are most common among individuals aged 16 to 45 and usually stem from a work accident. In fact, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), falls, slips, and trips (including falls on the same level, falls from heights, and falls into/against an object) are the third leading cause of all workplace accidents.
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), falls from heights are a primary cause of serious work-related injuries and fatalities and the number-one cause of construction accident deaths. To protect workers from falls, OSHA has safety standards that include providing guardrails, toe-boards, and other fall-protection equipment. In addition to safety equipment issues, other causes of work-related falls include:
- Lack of fall safety training
- Uncovered holes or openings
- Unsafe, faulty, or improperly constructed scaffolding
- Unsafe/unsecured ladders
- Slippery, obstructed, or unstable walking and working surfaces
Under Texas Labor Code § 411.103, your employer has a legal duty to provide you with a safe work environment, including an obligation to provide and maintain workplace safeguards. If you sustained an SCI on a construction site or while on the job, our lawyers may be able to assist with a claim against:
- A nonsubscriber employer
- An equipment manufacturer/supplier
- An entity in charge of maintaining equipment/safety gear
- A general contractor
- A roofer, electrician, or another subcontractor
- A business or property manager
- A designer or architect
- Another liable third party
Sports and Recreation Accidents
The NSCISC ranks sports injuries as the fourth most common cause of SCIs, accounting for around 8 percent of all spinal cord injuries. According to the journal Neurologic Clinics, sports with the highest risk for catastrophic SCI include football, diving, skiing, snowboarding, ice hockey, wrestling, and cheerleading.
Athletes often rely on safety equipment, such as helmets and pads, to protect them from sports-related injuries. We may be able to assist you with a sports-related product liability lawsuit or take action against another liable party.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms and Treatment
According to the Mayo Clinic, damage to the spinal cord usually causes permanent changes in sensation, strength, and bodily functions below the injury site. Unfortunately, there is no way to repair spinal cord damage, although some individuals with more moderate injuries may be able to regain some function over time.
Health care professionals classify SCIs based on the severity of the injury and the affected parts of the body:
- Complete injuries result in a total loss of motor function (movement) and sensory function (feeling) below the site of the spinal damage.
- Incomplete SCIs leave those injured with varying degrees of feeling and movement below the injury site.
- Quadrapeligic injuries affect the pelvic organs, arms, legs, hands, feet, and torso.
- Paraplegic injuries affect the pelvic organs, lower torso, legs, and feet, but not the arms, hands, and upper torso.
Emergency SCI treatment may involve surgery, traction, and other methods to stabilize the spine and prevent further injury. However, because spinal cord damage is not reversible, long-term medical interventions usually focus on managing common SCI complications (also called secondary conditions) and helping those injured live the most productive, independent lives possible.
The World Journal of Orthopedics warns that SCI treatment and rehabilitation are “long, expensive and exhausting.” Managing symptoms and learning to cope with a spinal injury often requires a team of interdisciplinary specialists, which may include:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech therapists
Spinal cord injury sufferers are at risk for a range of side effects and secondary health conditions, including:
- Loss of bladder control. SCI injuries can cause the inability to control your bladder. Sufferers may also have a higher risk for urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney and bladder stones, and kidney infections.
- Loss of bowel control. Though your digestive system may work normally, your SCI may alter your ability to control bowel movements. Rehabilitation may help patients learn to regulate bowel and bladder functions.
- Pressure ulcers (bedsores). Bedsores can develop from lying or sitting in the same position (as in a wheelchair) for a prolonged period. According to the American Academy of Neurological Surgeons (AANS), pressure ulcers are one the most common SCI complications, with bedsores observed in around 15 percent of patients during the first year and increasing after that.
- Respiratory and circulatory problems. Difficulty breathing, coughing, and clearing the lungs can lead to respiratory issues, such as pneumonia and lung problems. Circulatory complications include difficulty regulating blood pressure and body temperature, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, blood clots, and swelling of the extremities.
- Loss of sexual function. SCI sufferers may experience sexual health problems, including loss of sensitivity and loss of fertility.
- Pain. According to Pain and Therapy, SCI patients commonly experience pain due to nervous system damage and bone, muscle, and joint trauma or inflammation.
- Mental health problems. A study by the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation found that adults with an SCI have an 80 percent higher chance of developing a mental health problem than individuals who have not suffered a traumatic injury. Common mental health conditions include depression, anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Decrease in overall health and wellness. Paralysis and loss of mobility can lead to a more sedentary lifestyle, putting SCI patients at risk for health complications like diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease. Loss of bone density (osteoporosis) can also be a problem, leading to broken bones (fractures) below the injury site. Finally, SCI can cause muscle control issues, including muscle spasticity (uncontrolled tightening or movement) and muscle flaccidity (soft, limp muscles lacking tone).
Are SCIs and Back Injuries the Same?
Back injuries and spinal cord injuries are not the same. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the spine is actually two separate components, the spinal column and the vertebral column. The vertebral column is made of bones, called vertebrae, that protect the spinal column. The spinal column is a cylindrical band of tissues, cells, and nerves that send signals to the brain and throughout the body.
MedlinePlus states that back injuries can involve vertebrae, muscles, and tissues surrounding the spine. Common injuries include fractures (broken vertebrae), sprains, strains, and herniated discs. These injuries can cause pain and limited mobility but do not usually result in permanent paralysis. Many back injuries can heal with medicine, rest, physical therapy, or surgery.
Not all back injuries damage the spinal cord, though damage from broken vertebrae is a common cause of SCIs. In some instances, an SCI can sever or split the spinal column. As mentioned, unlike back injuries, spinal cord injuries do not heal over time.
You Deserve Help Paying for Your Medical Bills and Other Spinal Cord Injury Damages
The cost of treating an SCI can amount to millions of dollars throughout a patient’s lifetime. Expenses will range depending on the severity of your injury, but the NSCISC estimates that a person injured at age 25 may spend an average of anywhere from $1.7 million to $5 million in lifetime health care and living costs (not including lost wages and productivity).
If your SCI resulted from another party’s reckless, wrongful, or negligent actions, you and your family should not have to shoulder the financial burden alone. Our Dallas spinal cord injury lawyers will work to identify every loss resulting from your injury and fight for fair compensation for you and your loved ones.
Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 41, we can help you pursue compensation for:
Economic damages are your actual, out-of-pocket expenses. Economic damages for an SCI may include:
- Medical bills. Medical compensation includes your current and future SCI-related treatment. Our personal injury lawyers can help you recover the cost of emergency transportation and emergency department care, hospital stays, doctor visits, specialist treatment, surgeries, medical procedures, and mobility aids. We can also secure awards to pay for ongoing medical needs, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, medications, medical devices and equipment, in-home health care, long-term nursing services, and assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).
- Lost income. A severe and catastrophic SCI may prevent you from returning to your previous job or cause you to leave the workforce. According to the NSCISC, only 18 percent of spinal cord injury patients have a job one year post-injury. That number increases to around 32 percent at year 40. We can help you recover the value of your lost wages, benefits, and earnings, including future lost wages and compensation for the loss of your earning capacity.
- Personal property damages. If a motor vehicle accident caused your SCI, our lawyers can seek the cost of repairing or replacing your car, truck, or motorcycle. We can also recover compensation for other damaged or destroyed personal items, including tools, safety equipment, cell phones, laptops, jewelry, and watches.
- Household assistance and home modifications. An SCI can prevent you from performing household tasks like lawn care, childcare, cleaning, and cooking. We can pursue a sum to help you pay for household services you can no longer provide. Your injury may also require modifying your home or vehicle to become more accessible. We can seek the cost of adding ramps, railings, stairlifts, widening doors, lowering countertops, and making other medically necessary changes.
Also called pain and suffering damages, noneconomic compensation awards those injured for physical pain, mental and emotional suffering, and quality of life reductions. Our attorneys can seek noneconomic damages for:
- Loss of mobility and paralysis
- Loss of a bodily function
- Mental anguish
- Chronic pain
- Chronic health conditions
- Loss of the ability to achieve career and educational goals
- Loss of the ability to participate in activities and hobbies
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Though awarded rarely, punitive damages are also a form of noneconomic compensation. The purpose of punitive damages, also called exemplary damages, is to punish at-fault parties for wrongful behavior and deter similar actions in the future. Texas allows for punitive damages only in cases involving fraud, malice, or gross negligence.
You can seek economic and noneconomic compensation for the wrongful death of a loved one. According to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Chapter 71, a deceased’s surviving spouse, parents, or children can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages
- Lost inheritance the deceased would have saved had they lived
- Compensation for surviving family members’ mental and emotional pain and suffering
- Compensation for the loss of the deceased’s care, love, guidance, support, and companionship
If no qualifying survivors take action, the deceased’s personal representative (executor) can pursue a case on behalf of the deceased’s estate and its beneficiaries. If your loved one sustained a fatal SCI, you have two years from the date of the accident that caused your loved one’s injury to file a wrongful death lawsuit, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003.
The statute of limitations also allows up to two years to file a personal injury lawsuit. If you do not take action before time runs out, the court will likely bar you from seeking awards. Additionally, an expired statute will negatively affect your chances of a successful insurance settlement.
How Much Compensation Will You Receive for Your SCI?
Every personal injury claim is different, and the value of your SCI case will depend on a variety of factors, including:
- Your age at the time of injury
- Your wages at the time of injury
- Your current medical bills and expected future treatment
- The extent of your pain and suffering
- Whether or not your injury will prevent you from returning to work
Our job is to help you fight for the maximum compensation possible. Our Dallas spinal cord injury lawyers will aggressively represent your best interests during insurance or pretrial negotiations. However, if we cannot secure a satisfactory settlement out of court, we are not afraid to take your case to trial.
We can help build a case proving your right to damages using bills, receipts, and other expense records. We can also hire doctors, economists, and vocational experts who can testify about your injuries and their financial impact. In addition, there are a few simple things you can do that may also benefit your case:
- Follow your doctor’s orders and do not miss medical appointments. Let your doctor know of new or worsening conditions, and do not engage in activities that could cause further physical harm.
- Keep all prescription bottles, wheelchairs, mobility aids, or other medical devices.
- Keep a daily record chronicling your physical pain and mental and emotional state (this can help with proving pain and suffering)
- Do not discuss your injuries with anyone other than our attorneys and your health care providers. Do not agree to provide anyone with a recorded statement without consulting our legal team.
- Do not sign documents or agree to a settlement without talking to our lawyers. Any official forms or offers should go through our office.
- Keep our firm updated if you change your phone number, address, or place of employment so we know how to reach you.
Our Texas Attorneys Have Helped Clients Win Multi-Million Dollar Cases
Domingo Garcia and his team of personal injury lawyers have helped SCI clients achieve significant settlements and verdicts. Our case results include a $5 million settlement for a worker who suffered a paraplegic injury due to dangerous scaffolding and a $3.75 million settlement for a worker who sustained a paraplegic injury due to improper guardrail maintenance and $5,500,000 for a paralyzed worker injured due to an improperly placed hole cover on a construction site..
Our firm aims to get the awards you need and deserve while standing by your side as your ally and voice. Our Dallas spinal cord injury lawyers will:
- File your insurance claims or lawsuits
- Collect evidence to build your case, including medical records, police and accident reports, workplace records, eyewitness testimony, and more
- Manage deadlines, paperwork, and case-related phone calls, emails, and meetings
- Tirelessly work toward the highest possible insurance or pretrial settlement possible
- Represent you at trial if necessary
- Provide you with frequent case updates
- Arrange to get your medical bills paid until we win your case
Reach Out to Domingo Garcia for a Free Consultation
Contact Domingo Garcia to learn more about working with our Dallas spinal cord injury lawyers. A member of our team can get you started with a risk-free, no-cost case evaluation. We can also represent you on contingency, meaning you owe us nothing unless and until we win your case. Let us help you during this most difficult time in your life.