Las Vegas Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

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The National Library of Medicine reports that somewhere between 250,000 and 500,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries every year worldwide, with about 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year in the United States and approximately 282,000 people living with a spinal cord injury.

The Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, named after the actor who became quadriplegic because of a horse riding accident, reports that people with high tetraplegia (C1-C4) pay an average of $1,163,425 in the first year of their recovery and $202,032 each subsequent year. People with low tetraplegia (C5-C8) pay $840,676 in the first year of their recovery and $123,938 each subsequent year. People with paraplegia pay $567,011 in the first year of their recovery and $75,112 each subsequent year, and people with loss of motor function at any level pay $379,698 in the first year of their recovery and $46,119 each subsequent year.

There is little doubt that a spinal cord injury can have a dramatic and costly impact on the life of any person who suffers one of these injuries, and many people can be entitled to financial compensation to help pay for the variety of costs victims are facing in these cases.

It is critical for any person dealing with a spinal cord injury to quickly contact an experienced Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyer so they can get the help they need to hold a negligent party accountable. Cloward Trial Lawyers can assist spinal cord injury victims and protect their rights.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the National Library of Medicine, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries were defined as follows:

  • Motor vehicle collisions — 38 percent
  • Falls — 30 percent
  • Violence — 13 percent
  • Sports injuries — 9 percent
  • Medical and surgical etiologies — 5 percent

Other less common causes may include industrial accidents, diseases and conditions damaging the spinal cord, gunshot wounds, and alcohol-related incidents.

Another National Library of Medicine study found that the most common causes of spinal cord injuries were:

  • Automobile crashes — 31.5 percent
  • Falls — 25.3 percent
  • Gunshot wounds — 10.4 percent
  • Motorcycle crashes — 6.8 percent
  • Diving incidents — 4.7 percent
  • Medical or surgical complications — 4.3 percent
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Types of Spinal Cord Injuries

A spinal cord injury is usually classified as being either complete or incomplete. An incomplete spinal cord injury involves a spinal cord still being able to transmit some messages to or from the brain and people retaining some sensory function and possibly having some control of muscle activity below the injury site, but a complete injury involves no nerve communication below the injury site and sensory and motor function below the site being lost.

The National Library of Medicine states that classic patterns of spinal cord injury include:

  • Complete Transection of a Spinal Cord — Injuries involving a complete bilateral loss of motor function, pain sensation, temperature sensation, proprioception, vibratory sensation, and tactile sensation below the level of an injury. Lumbosacral injuries involve paralysis and loss of sensation in the lower extremities as well as loss of bowel control, loss of bladder control, and sexual dysfunction. Thoracic injuries have the same deficits as lumbosacral injuries but can also result in loss of function of the muscles of the torso, leading to difficulty maintaining posture. Cervical injuries have the same deficits as thoracic injuries but also result in loss of function of the upper extremities leading to tetraplegia. Injuries above C5 can cause respiratory compromise because of loss of innervation of the diaphragm.
  • Central Cord Syndrome — The most common incomplete spinal cord injury, this is caused by hyperextension of the neck leading to compression of the cervical spinal cord, causing damage primarily to the center of the cord. The injury leads to weakness affecting the upper extremities more than the lower extremities, and the pattern occurs as the corticospinal tracts are arranged with axons supplying the upper extremities located closer to the center of the spinal cord, while those supplying the lower extremities are closer to the periphery. There can be an associated loss of pain and temperature sensation below the level of injury.
  • Anterior Cord Syndrome — Often due to compromised blood flow from the anterior spinal artery, a bilateral injury to the spinothalamic tracts leads to bilateral loss of pain and temperature sensation below the level of injury. Bilateral injury to corticospinal tracts leads to weakness or paralysis below the level of injury. As dorsal columns are unaffected, tactile sensation, proprioception, and vibratory sensation remain intact.
  • Posterior Cord Syndrome — An injury rarely related to trauma as it more often is due to infectious, toxic, or metabolic causes. Damage to dorsal columns will cause loss of tactile sensation, proprioception, and vibratory sensation. As spinothalamic and corticospinal tracts are unaffected, there is the preservation of pain sensation, temperature sensation, and motor function.
  • Brown-Séquard Syndrome — An injury resulting from right or left-sided hemisection of the spinal cord. Transection of the corticospinal and dorsal column nerve tracts leads to ipsilateral loss of motor function, tactile sensation, proprioception, and vibratory sensation below the level of injury. Transection of the spinothalamic tract leads to contralateral loss of pain and temperature sensation below the level of injury.
  • Conus medullaris Syndrome — Caused by an injury to the terminal aspect of the spinal cord, just proximal to the cauda equina. Characteristically presents with loss of sacral nerve root functions. Loss of Achilles tendon reflexes, bowel and bladder dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction may be observable.
  • Neurogenic Shock — Resulting from high cervical injuries affecting the cervical ganglia, which leads to a loss of sympathetic tone. Loss of sympathetic tone results in a state of shock characterized by hypotension and bradycardia.

Possible Damages in a Spinal Cord Injury Case

Spinal cord injuries often have the potential to lead to financial compensation, known as damages. Compensatory damages in these cases are often divided into economic damages and noneconomic damages.

Economic damages will be the kinds of losses that can be proven and calculated. Common kinds of economic damages include:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Ambulance transportation costs
  • Hospitalization costs
  • Nursing care costs
  • Follow-up medical care costs
  • Property damage
  • Medication costs
  • Lost wages

Noneconomic damages will be non-quantifiable losses without inherent financial value. Some of the more common noneconomic damages include:

  • Loss of bodily functions
  • Mental trauma (depression, anxiety, flashbacks)
  • Emotional distress
  • Permanent disability
  • Physical pain
  • Disfigurement
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reputation and humiliation damages

Punitive damages or exemplary damages may also be possible in some cases, although they are generally fairly rare. NRS § 42.005 limits punitive damages to cases in which a negligent party engaged in oppression, fraud, or malice.

Under NRS § 42.005, punitive damages cannot be more than three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded to a person if the amount of compensatory damages is $100,000 or more, or $300,000 when the amount of compensatory damages awarded to a person is less than $100,000. Keeping in mind how often motor vehicle accidents cause spinal cord injuries, there will be no limit on punitive damages when a driver is convicted of DUI.

Contact Our Las Vegas Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Today

Did you or your loved one recently suffer a spinal cord injury as the result of another party’s negligence in the Las Vegas area? Cloward Trial Lawyers has recovered more than $200 million for clients and has a success rate of 99 percent in cases they handle.

Our firm will represent you on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you do not pay us anything unless we win or settle your case. Call (702) 605-5000 or contact our Las Vegas spinal cord injury attorneys online to take advantage of a free consultation.

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Meet The Attorneys


Benjamin P. Cloward became the youngest lawyer in the history of the State of Nevada to be awarded the prestigious “Trial Lawyer of the Year” by the Nevada Justice Association.

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Benjamin P. Cloward

Founding attorney

Ian Estrada moved to Las Vegas in 2011 to work for a prestigious, local defense firm where he represented national insurance companies in personal injury lawsuits.

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Ian Estrada

Founding attorney

Landon Littlefield spent several years working as a complex commercial litigation attorney before finding his passion in personal injury.

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Landon D. Littlefield

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Riley Clayton has successfully tried numerous personal injury, wrongful death, and insurance bad faith cases to verdict.

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Riley Clayton

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Dillon Coil focuses on serving injured workers, police officers, firefighters, laborers, and their families.

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Dillon Coil

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Answers to your most commonly asked questions

At Cloward Trial Lawyers, we can address all of your legal questions and concerns and advocate for you every step of the way. What follows are the answers to some common questions that arise in the wake of a spinal cord injury.

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When any person suffers a spinal cord injury, they are usually going to have to seek compensation through an insurance company for the negligent party. Insurers always work to minimize their losses, and many will try very hard to find reasons to deny these kinds of claims.

Many insurance companies will try to settle the cases right away by offering people lump-sum settlements, but you must understand that these offers are typically lowball figures that are far less than what people are actually entitled to. Some people will believe they can negotiate their own settlements, but people will have a much better chance of obtaining more compensation by retaining a lawyer.

It is important to work with an experienced Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyer so they can negotiate a settlement on your behalf that actually gives you the money you need and deserve. Most spinal cord injury cases will end in settlements because neither side is going to want to pay the high costs involved in going to trial.

There will be a limited number of cases that do go all the way to trial, and a person will want to ensure they have legal representation should their case make it that far because it will be most beneficial to have an attorney who can present a case to the court. At trial, a victim will have to prove that a negligent party was at fault for causing their spinal cord injury, and they can then seek various economic and noneconomic damages.

When any person suffers a spinal cord injury, people will want to do all of the following:

  • Call 911 — A spinal cord injury is a medical emergency, so make sure that you immediately call for such help. All spinal cord injuries require immediate medical attention.
  • Keep the victim still — People should place heavy towels, rolled sheets, or both on both sides of a person’s neck or hold their head and neck to prevent any movement.
  • Avoid moving the victim’s head or neck — Provide as much first aid as possible without moving a person’s head or neck. If a victim shows no signs of circulation, a person should begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) but should not tilt the head back to open the airway. People should use their fingers to gently grasp the jaw and lift it forward. When a victim has no pulse, begin chest compressions.
  • Do not remove a helmet — When a victim is wearing a helmet, people should keep it on unless the helmet is a football facemask, in which case removal may be necessary to access an airway.
  • Avoid rolling alone — Should a victim need to be rolled over, it is at least a two-person job. With one person at the head and another along the side of an injured victim, the two should work together to keep a person’s head, neck, and back aligned while rolling them onto one side.

Tetraplegia is a form of paralysis affecting both arms and both legs, and quadriplegia is basically another term for tetraplegia because they are the same condition. Paraplegia is a form of paralysis affecting both legs. If only one leg is paralyzed, it is known as monoplegia.

People with a complete injury can regain one to two levels of injury, meaning they often regain control of those levels of muscle movement. People with incomplete injuries will be more likely than those with complete injuries to regain control of more muscle movement, but there is usually no way to know how much or if any functions will return. Regaining muscle movement often means that chances for improvement will be better. The longer a person goes without improvement, the fewer chances there are for improvement.

The statute of limitations (time limit) in most personal injury cases in Nevada is two years, but when a spinal cord injury is the result of medical malpractice, then a person may only have one year to file a claim. The statute of limitations for medical malpractice claims is one year from the date a person discovers or should have discovered an injury, or three years from the date a health care provider inflicted an injury, whichever is sooner.

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