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Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Spinal cord injuries are among the most permanently debilitating injuries a person can suffer. From numbness to complete paralysis, spinal cord injuries can affect victims for the remainder of their lives. In addition, their families often face severe financial and emotional distress while caring for them.

At The Smith Law Center, we have built a solid reputation for our vigorous pursuit of justice for the victims of catastrophic spinal injuries. We fight to obtain the compensation our clients need to move on the best they can in life.

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to another person’s negligence, call today at (757) 695-9064 for a free consultation or contact us online

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

“Spinal cord injury” refers to damage to the spinal cord, which can have a wide range of impacts. The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves within the spinal column or backbone. These nerves carry various messages and impulses between the brain and the body. As such, damage to them can result in full or partial loss of motor control and sensation in different areas of the body, known as paralysis.

For instance, spinal cord injuries can sometimes leave victims paralyzed in the lower parts of the body. This condition is known as paraplegia. Paralyzation in all four limbs is known as quadriplegia. Paralysis is typically permanent and dramatically life-changing.

The spinal cord is a crucial part of the human body and is responsible for a range of bodily functions, including: 

  • Breathing
  • Regulating body temperature 
  • Bladder control
  • Sexual functioning

As you can imagine, spinal cord injury victims can suffer a broad range of serious health problems and may require another person’s assistance. 

Spinal Cord Injury Risk Factors

Hire a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Family

Spinal cord injuries may happen to any person at any time. However, men are at higher risk of suffering an injury than women are. Four of every five spinal cord injury victims are men; more than half of those were injured in the course of work.

Most spinal injuries occur in early to mid-adulthood; however, elderly persons are also at risk due to frequent falls. Additionally, seniors are more likely to have pre-existing conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis, which increase the risk of a spinal cord injury in the event of a slip or fall.

Certain activities can also place a person at a greater risk for a spinal cord injury. These include:

  • Ultra-hazardous or inherently dangerous activities like skydiving 
  • Contact sports
  • Dangerous working conditions

A spinal cord injury can create many unexpected costs and expenses for the victim and their family. Many of these costs can be ongoing throughout the person’s lifetime. 

Lifetime Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries

The average annual health care and living expenses for a spinal cord injury victim can be monumental.

According to statistics from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, such costs can easily top $1.1 million for the first year and nearly $200,000 per year afterward.

The costs will depend on the severity of the victim’s injuries. For victims with quadriplegia, costs can amount to millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime.

Insurance and government assistance can provide a certain amount of help; however, there is often not enough money to cover all of a victim’s needs with such programs. That’s why it is important to speak with an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer about compensation to cover these costs. At The Smith Law Center, we go above and beyond in preparing for trial to ensure you receive the maximum amount of damages you’re owed.

Common Spinal Cord Injuries Causes

Traumatic injuries or serious impact to the spine typically cause spinal cord injuries. A few of the most common causes are:

  • Car accidents
  • Falls
  • Acts of violence, such as gunshots or assault
  • Recreational sports activities

For instance, direct impact or even sudden jerking motions can seriously compromise the spinal cord in a car accident. Other incidents such as a botched surgery or other forms of medical malpractice can also lead to permanent damage. 

Spinal Cord Injury Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of spinal cord injuries are often immediately detectable following the injury. In other cases, delayed injury symptoms can take days or even months to become apparent. 

Spinal cord injury symptoms can include:

  • Loss of feeling, especially in the extremities
  • Difficulty moving
  • Breathing problems
  • Pain
  • Weakness in muscles
  • Spastic muscles
  • Heart rate problems
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Digestive problems

Besides these physical symptoms, victims may also face emotional and psychological challenges such as depression or PTSD after a traumatic accident. 

Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

Thousands of Americans suffer severe spinal cord injuries every year. The following statistics give an overall picture of spinal cord injuries in the U.S.:

  • About 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury occur every year.
  • There are approximately 259,000 people in the U.S. living with a spinal cord injury.
  • The average age at the time of the spinal cord injury is 40.2 years.

Thus, spinal cord injuries can be more common than most people think. In addition, there are various levels of seriousness of the injury that many people aren’t aware of.

Degrees and Severity of Spinal Cord Injuries

Treatment for a spinal cord injury depends on how severe the damage is. The seriousness of the injury will also dictate what sort of compensation you may be able to obtain by filing a lawsuit. Degrees of spinal cord injury include:

  • Complete: The injured person has lost nearly all sensory feeling and the ability to control their movements.
  • Incomplete: A person in this injury category will still have some sensory or motor function lower than the areas affected by the injury.
  • Tetraplegia or quadriplegia: All limbs and most of the body are affected.
  • Paraplegia: Paralysis affects all or part of the torso, pelvic organs, and legs.

Projections of how a spinal cord injury will affect the person in the long run will depend on the degree and nature of the injury.

Spinal Cord Injury Prognosis

An injury prognosis refers to how it will develop or affect the person in the future. For a spinal cord injury, the prognosis will vary depending on: 

  • The section of the spinal cord that was injured 
  • The severity of the injury
  • Which nerves were damaged

Usually, recovery will occur within the first six months following the injury. After that, any additional recovery is unlikely. A spinal cord injury lawyer can assess a patient’s prognosis and help obtain damages based on the projections.  

Spinal Cord Injury Treatment and Rehabilitation

Spinal cord injury treatment can include many different elements and approaches. Most of the time, it includes medication and surgery. Spinal cord injuries will typically always require physical therapy after major procedures like surgery.

There are two distinct stages of spinal cord injury treatment: acute and rehabilitation. The acute phase begins at the time of injury and lasts until the person is stabilized. Acute spinal cord treatment can include:

  • Observation in the intensive care unit
  • Administering medications like corticosteroids to help reduce swelling in the spinal cord
  • Mechanical ventilation to help the injured person breathe 

Rehabilitation begins as soon as the person has stabilized and is ready to start working toward independence. This stage involves working directly with the patient through physical, psychological and neurological drills to help them regain lost functions in a shorter period of time.

Treating a spinal injury can be expensive and exhausting. It imposes financial and emotional burdens that victims and their families may not be prepared for.

Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits

Negligence is a major cause of many spinal cord injuries. A negligence lawsuit relies on the theory that someone else’s actions caused your injury. This usually happens because they disregarded a basic duty owed to you (for instance, if they broke road safety rules, causing an accident). 

The main point is that the accident could have been avoided if the other party took the proper steps to prevent it.   

The job of any spinal cord attorney is to prove that your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. At The Smith Law Center, we have decades of experience building solid litigation strategies for spinal injury victims and their families.

What Types of Damages Can I Receive for a Spinal Cord Injury?

While no monetary amount can fully compensate for the life changes a spinal cord injury brings, a damages award can greatly offset many of the associated costs. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer can help you recover the following types of damages:

Medical bills: You may be entitled to reimbursement for all medical bills resulting from the injury, including hospital bills, ambulance rides, prescription medications, doctor visits, rehabilitation, and future medical expenses. In most instances, the damages from a lawsuit can pay for costs not typically covered by conventional insurance.

Lost wages: An award can provide compensation for time away from work and loss of future earning capacity (for instance, if the spinal injury has considerably affected the person’s skill set).

Pain and suffering: Accident victims can experience lasting physical and emotional pain. Monetary damages may be available for the pain and suffering brought on by a spinal cord injury.

Wrongful death: When a spinal cord injury results in death, the surviving family members may be able to sue the negligent party. In these cases, the family may be eligible to receive damages based on their pain and suffering. They may also be entitled to compensation for these losses, which help ease the financial burden left by their loved one’s absence.

Get In Touch with a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

Spinal cord injuries can place many demands on the injured person and their families. At The Smith Law Center, we understand the challenges you may be going through. We make every effort to pursue the best outcome for your case. To make sure you get what you need to move forward in life, contact The Smith Law Center today. 

We have a nationwide reputation for handling spinal injury cases. Founding attorney Stephen Smith has a unique certification from Marquette University’s Neuroanatomical Dissection of the Human Brain and Spinal Cord program. These qualifications set us apart and provide us with extensive knowledge in the area of spinal cord injuries. 

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury and need representation, call us at (757) 695-9064 or contact us online. Consultations are always free and without obligation.   

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If you or a relative had a severe reaction to military housing mold, it might be time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Mold is everywhere, and can be dangerous. Researchers have linked mold to serious respiratory illnesses in some individuals.

Smith Law Center may be able to help if a property owner failed to keep you safe from mold in your military housing. We are one of Virginia’s oldest and most successful firms. We know how to hold negligent property owners responsible, especially when the military is involved.

Call us at (757) 244-700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. There’s no fee for learning more about Virginia mold laws, your rights, and your legal options.

Mold in Military Housing

Black mold in military housing became widely known when Reuters published an investigation in 2018. Since then, the Department of Defense and the housing providers were supposed to take steps to improve the situation.

Unfortunately, a 2020 audit by the DoD Office of Inspector General found many issues, including the need for mold remediation, still persist.

Monetary Awards in Military Housing Toxic Mold Cases

If the property owner lets toxic mold run wild and continue to cause you harm, talk with our toxic mold attorneys about filing a lawsuit.

You may receive financial compensation for:

Service members and their families do not receive different types of damages than civilians. These are civil lawsuits in traditional courts of law.

Military Housing Mold Toxicity Symptoms

The Institute of Medicine discovered there was evidence connecting exposure to indoor mold with:

  • Upper respiratory tract symptoms;
  • Coughing;
  • Wheezing;
  • Asthma symptoms in individuals with asthma; and
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals with weak immune systems.

There is also limited evidence that mold causes respiratory illnesses in healthy children or causes people to develop asthma.

Understanding Exposure to Toxic Mold in Military Housing

The topic of toxic mold is complicated. This Is in part because the term “toxic mold” isn’t accurate. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains mold isn’t toxic or poisonous. However, some molds are toxigenic, which means they produce toxins called mycotoxins.

Mold is common in military housing because it’ll grow anywhere there’s moisture. That includes on and inside walls, carpet, upholstery, wallpaper, and heating and air conditioning systems. This is especially pronounced in humid conditions such as those present in Virginia.

Some people have no difficulties around mold, even large infestations in their homes. Other individuals are sensitive to molds, including those that produce mycotoxins. Someone can have a severe reaction when exposed to a large amount of mold indoors.

People may be more likely to experience mold toxicity symptoms if they have:

  • Allergies,
  • An underlying lung disease,
  • Immune suppression,
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder,
  • Asthma, or
  • Another chronic respiratory disease.

Common Types of Military Housing Mold

When you’re trying to learn more from the CDC and other resources, you’ll see the word “fungus” a lot. Mold is a type of fungus, which is something that exists all around us. Fungi are living organisms different from animals, plants, and bacteria. There are over 200,000 types of fungi and over 100,000 types of molds.

If you discovered mold in your military housing, it could be Cladosporium, Penicillium, Stachybotrys chartarum, Aspergillus, or many other types. Stachybotrys is what everyone knows as black mold. Aspergillus is a common indoor fungus, which releases mycotoxins and can cause illness. Your symptoms may resemble common allergy or asthma symptoms.

Who is Liable for Military Housing Mold?

Since 1996, most military housing has come under the management of private companies:

  • Belfour Beatty Communities: Fort Eustis and Fort Story/li>
  • Lincoln Military Housing: Dahlgren, Little Creek, Naval Station Norfolk, Northwest Annex, Oceana, Portsmouth, Quantico, and Yorktown/li>
  • Hunt Military Communities: Fort Lee and Langley AFB

Outside of Virginia, Lendlease and Corvias Military Living are two more housing providers. Together, these five companies formed the Military Housing Association.

Military families living in on-base housing must take their complaints to their private management company — not the military. The company is responsible for providing habitable conditions and making repairs, including mold remediation.

If you’re unsure about your rights, review your state law and local ordinances about mold. In general, it’s the landlord’s responsibility to provide a habitable unit, which means it has to be safe to live in. A unit isn’t safe if it’s causing a tenant health issues due to mold.

The Virginia Residential Landlord and Tenant Act requires landlords to disclose if there’s mold in the written report of the move-in inspection. If a tenant discovers visible mold in the unit, then the Act requires the landlord to remove the mold and relocate the tenant until it’s gone at no additional cost to the tenant.

Unfortunately, many families find their housing providers aren’t receptive to complaints. Attorney Stephen M. Smith has handled many mold lawsuits against military housing providers who fail to abide by their lease terms and the law when it comes to mold remediation and other hazards.

Other Hazards in Military Housing

Many service members and their families deal with uncomfortable, if not hazardous, conditions in privatized military housing, including:

Lead Paint: Lead-based paint can cause headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, organ damage, and in extreme cases, death.

Asbestos: Exposure to asbestos harms a person’s lungs, and can lead to lung fibrosis (scarring), lung cancer, and mesothelioma.

Radon: Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking. It naturally forms underground, however cracks and gaps in buildings lead to over-exposure indoors.

Poor Water Quality: Dozens of military sites have water with detectable levels of harmful chemicals.

Other issues involve rodent or insect infestations, pesticides, and faulty electrical wiring.

What Happens When a Lot of People Get Sick?

Sometimes mold exposure impacts a single individual or family. However, when the mold spreads throughout military housing, it can impact hundreds or thousands of people.

Occasionally, a large enough group of people are injured to allow for a class action or mass tort lawsuit. A class action lawsuit is one where a class representative acts as the plaintiff on behalf of the group of hurt individuals. Not every victim participates in the lawsuit. There are rules about when a group is big and similar enough to create a class action.

Mass tort lawsuits are different. When there are fewer plaintiffs who have their own set of circumstances, each person files a lawsuit. For efficiency’s sake, one or a couple of law firms may represent most plaintiffs, and the lawsuits are consolidated in a federal court.

Call the Military Housing Mold Lawyers at Smith Law Center for Help Right Away

Mold cases come about in a few ways. You or a loved one may start getting sick, and after weeks or months of struggling to find answers, you finally realize your military housing has a mold infestation. In other cases, you struggle with visible mold and then become ill.

Once you connect the illness with the mold, it’s time to talk with a toxic mold lawyer. Reaching out to an attorney early helps you build a strong compensation claim. We know how to collect evidence, identify who is liable, and craft a successful argument for a settlement or court award.

Attorney Stephen M. Smith has decades of experience handling injury claims and has been internationally recognized for his work. He has litigated cases involving catastrophic injuries and complex legal and scientific issues. In 2019, he was inducted into the Virginia Lawyers Hall of Fame.

You’re in good hands when you come to Smith Law Center for help. Reach out online or call (757) 244-7000 to schedule your 100% free consultation.

Military Housing Mold Lawsuits: FAQs

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