At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have represented clients and secured verdicts and settlements in a wide range of spinal injuries including crushed vertebrae, herniated discs, vertebral fractures, nerve compression, and many other types of spinal injuries.
Your spine primarily includes the cervical area (your neck), lumbar area (your lower back) and your thoracic area (between your neck and low back). There is also the coccyx which is your tail bone area. Most spinal injuries occur in the cervical area or lumbar area.
Many of the spinal injuries that we typically see involve trauma to the cervical spine area (neck region) which consists of seven bones (C1-C7 vertebrae) and the lumbar spine area (low back region) which consist of five bones (L1-L5 vertebrae) which are separated by intervertebral discs. The vertebrae are bones and do not flex. A disc is like a tire on its side, it is rubbery and provides for the motion in the spine. The disc is filled with a jelly type material and what we see in these types of spinal injury cases is the “tire” gets blown out, that is the “jelly” gets squished out of the tire. The material in the disc which provides cushioning between the vertebrae bones leaks out due to the injury and trauma, and allows the vertebrae bones to collapse down, resulting in pinching the nerves that flow out from your spinal cord.
Unfortunately, a damaged disc does not repair itself. These types of spinal injuries can result in pain and/or numbness radiating out into your legs, or arms. These types of spinal injuries affect motor function and feeling in your extremities, and can result in loss of function, loss of sensation and chronic pain making everyday life a significant challenge.
There are numerous noninvasive medical treatments that are deployed for spinal injuries. Often you have to figure out by trying them, what works and what does not. If surgery for a herniated disc becomes necessary, the surgery involves inserting bone material between the vertebrae at the affected area where the disc is damaged to provide the spacing between the bones that the disc previously provided, relieving the compression on the nerves. The sooner you can seek medical treatment in these types of spinal injuries the better, as the longer the nerves are compressed and agitated the more likely you will have long term issues and the likelihood of you achieving a really good recovery becomes less.
Challenges in Spinal Injury Cases
In spinal injury cases there are many challenges. You can’t see a herniated disc in an x-ray or CAT scan. You may see disc space narrowing in an x-ray or CAT scan but ultimately you will need an MRI to show the injury to the disc. Unlike a tire blowing out on the highway, injured discs tend to leak out over time after the initial injury. One of the biggest challenges in these types of spinal injury cases is determining if the injury to the disc is the result of the accident, or is it the result of age, wear and tear on the body. Most of the spinal injury cases that we have represented involve older people who already have some type of disc degeneration due to age.
We have also had cases that involve crushed vertebrae where the bone is broken, and the vertebrae get crushed together. While the bone will heal it doesn’t heal in its pre-existing condition it heals in its deformed state. These types of crushed vertebrae injuries can be seen with an x-ray if examined soon enough after the injury. After the bone has healed, it is difficult to determine when the injury occurred and if it was the result of the accident in question. It is important to get an attorney involved as early as possible in spinal injury cases to advise you the best course of action.
The discussions we have with neurosurgeons, orthopedic surgeons, or spine specialists revolve around is the injury the result of the accident or not. In our experience, it depends on the doctor. Some doctors are advocates for their patients and understand the patient has never had a back problem before so the herniated disc or vertebrae injury must be the result of the accident, while other doctors are not so sympathetic and consider the injury a result of age. Knowing the proclivity of the treating physicians is important so that we can communicate with them using terms that the physician is comfortable using.
At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have excellent relationships with spinal specialists who we can work with to make a determination in a spinal injury case.
Additionally in spinal injury cases we face the same challenges as in other personal injury cases in that if the person who caused your injury has no insurance or only has the legal minimum (which is usually $25,000) it can be difficult to secure enough compensation in the case. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi we have a great deal of experience in analyzing insurance policies and finding coverages where other personal injury attorneys or law firms don’t take the time to investigate fully what is available in the insurance coverage.
Why Consider Willis, Willis & Rizzi to Handle Your Spinal Injury Case?
At our personal injury law firm, we have handled many spinal injury cases, have taken many of them to trial and have had very good success in securing favorable results for our clients. We understand how to represent spinal injury cases and have the tools available to get a jury to understand just how spinal injuries can be so life altering to our clients. Additionally, we have valuable relationships with spinal specialists and doctors to help make our cases to juries.
While many other personal injury law firms take an assembly line approach to handling client cases and tend to move these cases along in a one size fits all approach they often don’t get a just settlement for their clients because they have to move on to their next case. At Willis, Willis & Rizzi every client and case we take on we devote our full attention and resources to helping that client and securing a just resolution in their case. This is especially important in spinal injury cases due to the many challenges involved in determining if the injury is a result of the accident or degenerative from age. Another important consideration is that Willis, Willis & Rizzi is not only interested in getting a monitory resolution in your case, but we are also genuinely concerned about your recovery and long-term well-being. We don’t just handle the legal side; we help with the medical side of the case to advise you on the best care and treatment for your injuries.
When you are ready to have a conversation regarding a spinal injury case, contact us for a free consultation at 330-535-2000.