A doctor holding up a model of a spinal cord and pointing with a pen to demonstrate the location of a patient's injury.

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can be life-altering events. The spinal cord acts as a vital information highway, carrying messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Damage to this pathway can cause a devastating loss of function, including paralysis, numbness, and impaired balance. The severity of an SCI depends on the location and extent of the damage, but even minor injuries can have a profound impact on a person’s mobility and independence.

The financial burden of a spinal cord injury can also be immense. Medical bills for hospitalization, rehabilitation, and ongoing care can quickly mount.

People with SCIs may need to modify their homes and vehicles to accommodate their disabilities, adding to the financial strain. Employment opportunities may also be limited, leading to a loss of income and a decreased sense of purpose.

Beyond the financial hardship, SCIs can take a significant emotional toll. The grieving process for a lost ability and the challenges of adapting to a new normal can lead to depression, anxiety, and social isolation.

Despite the immense challenges, there is hope. A New Mexico spinal cord injury lawyer from Olson Personal Injury Lawyers can help you navigate the complex legal system and fight for the compensation you deserve.

This compensation can help alleviate the financial burden and provide the resources needed for proper medical care and rehabilitation. At Olson Personal Injury Lawyers, our team can also ensure your rights are protected and that you receive the support you need to move forward with your life.

While legal action cannot undo the injury, it can make a significant difference in your ability to manage the financial and emotional strains of a spinal cord injury. Contact us today at (505) 391-4149.

Why Work With a New Mexico Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

There are several compelling reasons to consider working with a New Mexico spinal cord injury attorney after sustaining such a life-altering injury:

  • Understanding New Mexico Law: Spinal cord injury cases are complex, and each state has its own laws regarding personal injury claims. A New Mexico personal injury attorney will have a deep understanding of the specific laws and regulations that apply to your case, maximizing your chances of a successful outcome.
  • Experience with New Mexico Medical Providers and Costs: New Mexico has its own medical landscape, with varying treatment costs and rehabilitation facilities. A local attorney will be familiar with these nuances and can navigate the healthcare system effectively on your behalf. This can be crucial for securing the necessary treatment and maximizing compensation for medical expenses.
  • Building Strong Cases Against New Mexico-Based Defendants: If your injury resulted from negligence in New Mexico, such as a car accident or medical malpractice, a local attorney will likely have experience going up against the specific insurance companies or parties involved. They’ll understand their tactics and be prepared to build a strong case against them.
  • Navigating the Legal System with Confidence: The legal system can be daunting, especially during a challenging time. A New Mexico attorney can handle the complexities of the legal process, allowing you to focus on your recovery. They will guide you through every step, from filing the initial claim to negotiating a settlement or going to trial, if necessary.
  • Maximizing Compensation: Spinal cord injuries often result in lifelong medical needs and lost earning potential. A skilled attorney will fight to ensure you receive fair compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This compensation can make a significant difference in your long-term financial security and well-being.

By working with a New Mexico spinal cord injury attorney, you gain a valuable advocate who understands the legal landscape, medical costs, and challenges specific to your state. They can be a powerful asset in securing the compensation you deserve to move forward with your life.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a variety of factors, which can be broadly categorized into traumatic and non-traumatic causes.

Traumatic causes are the most common and are responsible for about 80% of all spinal cord injuries. These causes include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: Car crashes are the most common culprit, responsible for roughly half of all new spinal cord injuries annually. The force of a collision can cause fractures in the vertebrae, compressing or damaging the spinal cord.
  • Falls: Falls are the second leading cause, especially among older adults. Falls from heights or slips on wet surfaces can cause significant impact, injuring the spinal cord. Bone weakness from osteoporosis can also increase fall risks and the severity of spinal cord injuries in elderly populations.
  • Acts of Violence: Violence, such as gunshot wounds or stab wounds to the back, can directly damage the spinal cord or the vertebrae surrounding it. These injuries often cause severe spinal cord damage due to the penetrating nature of the trauma.
  • Sports Injuries: High-impact sports like football, rugby, and hockey carry a risk of spinal cord injuries. Collisions with other players or falls onto hard surfaces can cause fractures or dislocations in the spine, damaging the spinal cord. Diving accidents are another concern, as hitting the head or neck on the bottom can cause serious spinal cord trauma.

Non-traumatic causes of spinal cord injuries are less common but can still be serious. These causes include:

  • Diseases: Several diseases can affect the spinal cord, causing inflammation, compression, or deterioration. Tumors, whether benign or malignant, can grow in or around the spine, putting pressure on the spinal cord and disrupting nerve signals. Infections, like meningitis, can inflame the spinal cord and its surrounding tissues. Additionally, some autoimmune diseases, like multiple sclerosis, can damage the myelin sheath that protects nerve fibers in the spinal cord, leading to signal transmission problems.
  • Congenital Conditions: Some individuals are born with spinal cord injuries or birth defects that affect the spinal cord’s development. These conditions can vary in severity, ranging from mild tethered cord syndrome (where the spinal cord is attached to tissue that restricts its movement) to more serious cases of spina bifida (where the vertebrae fail to close completely, exposing the spinal cord).
  • Spinal Stenosis: This condition refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal, the bony passage within the vertebrae that houses the spinal cord. This narrowing can compress the spinal cord and the nerves branching out from it. Spinal stenosis often develops due to age-related wear and tear, such as arthritis or bulging discs. It can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and feet and, in severe cases, compress the spinal cord enough to affect mobility and sensation.

Who Is Liable for My Spinal Cord Injury?

Determining fault for a spinal cord injury hinges on the specific cause of the injury. In a car accident, another driver’s negligence, like drunk driving or reckless speeding, could be to blame. A slip and fall on someone else’s property might be caused by a hazardous condition the owner failed to address.

Even medical professionals can be responsible if a surgery or procedure results in spinal cord damage due to a preventable error. The key lies in establishing that someone else’s actions or inaction directly caused the injury.

Comparative Negligence in Spinal Injury Cases

Recognizing that accidents aren’t always black and white, New Mexico utilizes a legal principle called comparative negligence. This means the court will determine the percentage of fault each party bears in an accident that caused a spinal cord injury.

For instance, if you sustained your injury riding a bike and were struck by a car but weren’t wearing a helmet, the court might assign you a small percentage of fault for not taking that safety precaution. Ultimately, your damage award will be reduced by the percentage of fault you’re found to share.

While this system generally seems fair, allowing for shared blame in an accident, insurance companies can leverage it to downplay the severity of your claim. They might focus on any minor actions you took that could be seen as contributing to the accident, aiming to inflate your percentage of fault.

This tactic ultimately reduces the amount they have to pay. A skilled New Mexico spinal cord injury attorney anticipates these maneuvers and can gather evidence that highlights the other party’s primary fault, countering any attempts to diminish your claim and ensuring you receive fair compensation for your life-altering injury.

The Statute of Limitations for Spinal Cord Injuries

In New Mexico, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, the law grants you a specific window of time to file a claim for compensation. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations, and in New Mexico, for personal injury cases, it’s generally three years.

This means you have three years from the date of your injury, or when you should have reasonably known about the extent of your injury, to initiate legal action. Missing this deadline can significantly impact your ability to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Unfortunately, the path to securing compensation for a spinal cord injury can be riddled with delays. Complex medical treatment schedules, gathering evidence, and negotiating with insurance companies can all eat away at the precious time allotted by the statute of limitations.

Additionally, some injuries, particularly spinal cord injuries, may not fully manifest their severity immediately. This can lead to a situation where the three-year window closes before the full extent of the damage is known.

Further setbacks can arise if your claim is denied by the at-fault party’s insurance company. The denial process can be lengthy and frustrating, consuming valuable time within the statute of limitations, and appealing a denial adds another layer of complexity, potentially pushing your case past the deadline if not handled efficiently.

A qualified New Mexico spinal cord injury attorney from Olson Personal Injury Lawyers can be an invaluable asset throughout this process. We understand the intricacies of the statute of limitations and can ensure your claim is filed promptly.

We can also navigate the complexities of medical records, gather evidence to support your case, and handle interactions with insurance companies. In the event of a denial, your attorney can effectively appeal the decision and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Don’t let the statute of limitations or a challenging claim process prevent you from seeking justice – Turn to Olson Personal Injury Lawyers and let our spinal cord injury attorneys guide you through every step of the way.

Olson Personal Injury Lawyers Is the New Mexico Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm to Call

Spinal cord injuries are devastating events, robbing victims of mobility, independence, and, often, the ability to live a life they once knew. The emotional and physical toll is immense, and the financial burden shouldn’t add to this suffering.

If your spinal cord injury was caused by someone else’s negligence, you deserve fair compensation for the present and future costs associated with your care.

Here at Olson Personal Injury Lawyers, we understand the complexities of spinal cord injury cases. Our team of experienced and compassionate attorneys has a proven track record of securing the maximum compensation our clients deserve.

Lead Attorney Sean Olson heads our firm with the intent of becoming a symbol of hope and recovery for the people of New Mexico. We recover millions of dollars for spinal injury victims each year, giving our clients an avenue toward fair and prompt recovery from their suffering.

We are dedicated to fighting for your rights and ensuring you have the financial resources necessary to access the best medical care and rehabilitation possible. We recognize the long-term impact of these injuries and will work tirelessly to build a strong case that reflects the full scope of your damages.

Don’t face this challenge alone. Call Olson Personal Injury Lawyers today at (505) 391-4149 for a free consultation.

We’ll answer your questions, explain your legal options, and guide you through every step of the process. Let us fight for the compensation you deserve so you can focus on healing and rebuilding your life.