Spinal injuries are among the most complicated and life-threatening injuries that one can suffer. Unfortunately, such injuries are more common than you might realize.
In fact, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that there are approximately 17,810 new spinal cord injury cases each year.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to a failed surgical procedure or if your spinal cord injury was exacerbated because of medical malpractice, you may have a legal claim for relief. A medical malpractice claim may provide you with an avenue to receive necessary compensation to cover your medical bills and other expenses arising out of your spine injury.
If the negligence of a medical provider contributed to or worsened your spinal cord injury, we want to help. Contact Poulos & Coates, LLP’s spinal cord injury lawyers in Las Cruces, NM, to discuss your case.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
The Mayo Clinic defines a spinal cord injury as damage to any part of the spinal cord itself or nerves at the end of the spinal canal, called the “cauda equina”.
Spinal cord injuries can affect every part of your body. Spinal cord injuries can result in permanent changes in strength, sensation, and bodily functions below the level of where the cord has been injured. In some cases, such injuries can even result in complete paralysis.
Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal injuries can have a broad range of symptoms. Some of the most common include:
- Loss of movement,
- Loss of sensation,
- Exaggerated reflexes,
- Loss of bowel or bladder control,
- Severe tingling or burning sensations,
- Extreme back or lower neck pain,
- Difficulty with balance or walking,
- Numbness of extremities,
- Difficulty breathing,
- Changes in sexual function, and
- Alltered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch.
If you notice any of these symptoms in the aftermath of a medical procedure, you should seek immediate medical attention.
Leading Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many causes of spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common causes include:
- Motor vehicle crashes,
- Acts of violence,
- Gunshot wounds,
- Sports and recreation activities, and
- Medical and surgical procedures.
The severity of the spinal cord injury will vary from case to case. Nevertheless, spinal cord injuries, regardless of severity, remain one of the most devastating injuries one can sustain, both in terms of function and financial consequences.
What Is Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional’s actions fall below the appropriate “standard of care” that was owed to the patient, resulting in harm to the patient. The standard of care for medical professionals is set according to established standards in the medical field.
In New Mexico, you must prove four elements to establish medical malpractice: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
First, you must prove that the medical provider owed a duty to the patient to act with the same level of ordinary care and skill that a reasonably prudent professional would have exercised under similar circumstances.
You can generally satisfy this element by showing that the patient was under the care of the provider or previously received medical services from the provider.
Next, you must show that the medical provider breached their duty to the patient. This breach can be an act or omission by the medical professional whereby they failed to act with the same level of ordinary care and skill that a reasonably prudent professional would have exercised under similar circumstances.
Causation and Damages
Finally, you have to prove that the patient suffered harm, or damages, as a result of the medical provider’s breach. These damages can be physical, mental, financial, and more.
While damages are generally easy to prove, the causation element can be much more difficult. Essentially, you must be able to show some causal link between the medical professional’s breach and the types of damages that you suffered.
To establish that a medical professional breached his or her duty, a patient must have a medical expert testify that the care provided by the medical professional in your case fell below the standard of care. Further, the medical expert must determine that the harm caused to the patient was a result of the medical professional’s breach of the standard of care.
If you can prove these elements, you may be entitled to compensation from the medical provider for the damages you suffered. Thus, having a spinal injury attorney in your corner to help establish these elements is crucial.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Spinal Cord Medical Malpractice Case?
Since 2015, approximately 4.2% of all spinal cord injuries have been the result of medical or surgical procedures. When a spinal injury occurs, this can take an emotional and financial toll on the victim and their family. Fortunately, a successful claim may entitle you to monetary damages to help you recover.
Examples of damages you may receive in a New Mexico medical malpractice case include compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses,
- Lost income,
- Loss in earning capacity,
- Loss of household services,
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of enjoyment of life, and
- Loss of consortium.
Of course, no amount of money can turn back time and prevent your spinal cord injury from occurring. But the above types of recoveries can provide you with valuable compensation to help you recover in the aftermath of your injury.
How Can Poulos & Coates, LLP’s Spine Injury Attorneys in Las Cruces Help Me?
Spinal cord medical malpractice cases are complex.
Not only are such cases complicated legal matters to navigate, but they also require medical expertise to bring a successful claim.
Are you looking for a team of spinal cord injury lawyers in New Mexico to take on your case? If so, seek out Poulos & Coates, LLP.
Our firm focuses exclusively on medical malpractice claims, so we have extensive knowledge of these claims. We also have a medical doctor and nurse on staff to help evaluate the cases of our clients. We have helped our clients recover more than $300 million in well-deserved compensation over the years, and we will fight to do the same for you. Contact us today for a free consultation and see how a spinal injury attorney can help your case.