There are numerous potential causes of back injuries, including car accidents, motorcycle crashes, and slip and falls. Two primary types of back injuries are spondylolisthesis and cervical radiculopathy. The former happens when vertebrae in the spine slip, often over a bone below or forward or backward. Symptoms can include lower back pain, muscle stiffness or weakness, and pain radiating down the leg. The last of these happens when there is damage to nerve function due to compression of the nerve roots near the vertebrae. This can result in pain that spreads into other areas of the body, weakness, or loss of sensation. If you suffer from one of these conditions as a result of someone else's careless actions, the Los Angeles back injury lawyers at Sharifi Firm may be able to help you recover compensation.Establishing Liability for a Back Injury
In most cases, a plaintiff needs to prove the defendant's negligence in order to recover compensation. This means that the plaintiff will try to establish four elements by a preponderance of the evidence: the defendant's duty toward the plaintiff, a breach of duty, actual and proximate causation, and actual damages.
Damages must be established through documentation and testimony. They can include both special damages (economic damages) and general damages (noneconomic damages). Special damages may include medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, replacement services, reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs, and property damage. General damages are more subjective, including items such as loss of enjoyment and pain and suffering.
The diagnosis for back injuries may affect the type of treatment that is necessary and the special damages to which a plaintiff may be entitled. For example, spondylolisthesis may be treated through physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, epidural steroid injections, decompressive laminectomy, or implanted devices to stabilize the vertebrae. Insurance adjustors are familiar with various back injury diagnoses and the types of treatment that are typically required in connection with them.
However, an adjustor's familiarity with a diagnosis does not always translate to a good settlement offer. The culture of insurance companies means that an adjustor may err on the side of a more conservative treatment than what an individual plaintiff might need.
You should consult an attorney before talking to an insurer or accepting an offer. In California, a defendant takes a plaintiff as he or she finds him under the "eggshell" plaintiff doctrine. This doctrine recognizes that the same accident can affect different victims in different ways. The physical condition of a plaintiff, even if he or she is unusually weak, is not relevant to how much compensation is appropriate.
If a plaintiff’s condition is made worse by the defendant's wrongful conduct, a jury must award damages that reasonably and fairly compensate the plaintiff. In other words, even if your degree of back pain or injury is unusual for a particular kind of accident, if the defendant is legally responsible and you are able to prove an elevated degree of pain or injury, you would be entitled to a proportionate amount of compensation.Contact an Experienced Back Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles
At Sharifi Firm, PLC, our Los Angeles back injury attorneys understand how debilitating these conditions can be. Call us at 1-866-422-7222 or use our online form to set up a free consultation. We also represent people who need a car accident attorney or guidance with another type of personal injury claim in Temecula, Rancho Cucamonga, Riverside, San Bernardino, and elsewhere in Southern California.