Spinal stenosis is a condition involving a narrowing of the open spaces within the spine. The narrowing results in pressure building on the spine’s nerves and spinal cord. Spinal stenosis occurs most frequently in the lower back and neck.
In the neck, symptoms vary from no pain at all to numbness, weakness, or tingling in the hand, arm, foot, or leg. In the lower back, the symptoms can include pain or cramping, especially when standing or sitting for long periods of time.
This medical condition is caused by various factors, which can include an overgrowth of bone, herniated disks, tumors, thickened ligaments, spinal injury, or other causes. Spinal stenosis can lead to various other medical conditions and can create long-term issues as well.
What is Negligence in a Spinal Stenosis Claim?
Depending on the facts, an individual who develops spinal stenosis because of an injury caused by another person may often bring a personal injury lawsuit against that person. Personal injury includes both harm caused by negligence (such as in an accident) or intentional actions.
Negligence is when a defendant is liable because their carelessness conduct caused the plaintiff’s injury. It is generally defined as the failure to use the amount of care an ordinary individual would take in similar or same circumstances.
To be successful when filing a claim based on negligence, a plaintiff must show the defendant’s liability through four elements. These elements are:
- Duty Owed to the Plaintiff: The plaintiff must prove that the person owed a positive duty of care to the person (such as a doctor, who is held to medical care standards).
- Breach of the Duty: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant failed to uphold their duty. An example of this is where a medical professional fails to follow proper medical procedures during a spinal operation.
- Causation: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s conduct was the direct cause of the spinal stenosis.
- Damages: The plaintiff must be able to calculate and measure the amount of damages caused by the injury. This can be calculated based on factors such as medical bills, property damage, and other costs.
A negligence claim is often filed when the spinal injury occurred because of an accident caused by the defendant’s negligence, such as a car accident or a slip and fall incident. A failed surgery or surgical malpractice during the procedure is another common cause of spinal stenosis.
Damages in a spinal stenosis claim may cover various losses experienced by the injured party, including pain and suffering, lost wages, and other similar economic losses.
What If a Person Intentionally Caused My Injury?
An individual intentionally injured by another person can sue under intentional tort laws. An example of this is where the spinal injury resulted from a battery. In such cases, the plaintiff must prove their case by showing that the defendant intentionally contacted the plaintiff in a harmful or offensive manner, thereby injuring the plaintiff. Intentional injuries can also form the basis of criminal charges as well.
What If a Defective Product Caused the Spinal Stenosis?
In some cases, spinal stenosis can be caused by a defective product. An example of this is where a medical instrument fails during a spinal surgery or spine procedure, resulting in a spinal stenosis injury. In such cases, it may be possible to file suit for the injuries that were caused by the defective product.
For these types of cases, the lawsuit will typically be filed against the manufacturer of the defective product. Here, the injured party may bring suit based off various categories under product liability laws. For instance, they may be able to sue under a manufacturing defect theory of law. This can apply if there is something wrong with the way that the medical device or instrument was constructed.
In other situations, it may be possible to file suit under a design defect legal theory. Here, the plaintiff needs to prove that there was a defect in the way that the product was designed, such as the use of metals that are too weak, resulting in a product failure.
Lastly, product defect laws also include options for filing lawsuits where there is a warning defect. This can happen for instance if there are insufficient warning labels on the medical device, incorrect warnings in the manual, or other similar defects. Thus, spinal stenosis lawsuits can sometimes involve various types of liability laws, depending on exactly how the injury was sustained.
Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney about Filing a Spinal Stenosis Lawsuit?
Spinal stenosis is a complex medical condition, and some cases can involve many legal issues. It may be in your best interests to contact a local personal injury attorney about your spinal stenosis injury. The attorney can advise you of your legal rights and provide you with legal assistance for your lawsuit.