Spinal Infections

Maine Medical Malpractice Lawyers Handling Spinal Infection Related Injuries

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Spinal infections, like a spinal epidural abscess, can potentially affect one’s health severely and even be fatal. These conditions can occur for various reasons, including errors in diagnosis or an outright lack of diagnosis. Spinal infection lawyers from Berman & Simmons can provide guidance, support, and expert representation, helping provide victims with the representation they deserve.

Types of Spinal Infections and Common Causes

Spinal infections are serious conditions that manifest when bacteria or fungi enter the spinal canal or the tissues surrounding it. These harmful organisms can infiltrate the spine in various ways, often due to invasive medical procedures, surgeries, or when infections in other parts of the body spread.

Surgical Procedures

One of the most common ways these infections arise is through surgical procedures. This may occur during spinal surgeries where introducing foreign materials or instruments can lead to infections if strict sterility protocols aren’t maintained. Any breach in sterility during surgery can introduce bacteria or fungi into the delicate spinal structures, leading to infections.

Invasive Spinal Interventions

Another frequent source of spinal infections is invasive spinal interventions. If not done under completely aseptic conditions, such as epidural injections or lumbar punctures, it can inadvertently carry microorganisms into the spinal region.

Bloodstream Dissemination

Infections can also spread to the spine from other parts of the body. This is typically due to bloodstream dissemination from distant infection sites. For example, if a urinary tract infection is left untreated, the bacteria causing it can spread to the spine through the bloodstream. Similarly, skin infections or severe infections in any other part of the body, if not treated properly, can also spread to the spinal area.

Intravenous Drug Use

Intravenous drug use is another potential cause. Unsterilized needles can introduce bacteria or fungi directly into the bloodstream, which can then travel to various body parts, including the spine, leading to infections and harming survival rate.

Hospital Stays

Infections can also be acquired during hospital stays, known as nosocomial infections. Hospitals are home to many bacteria and fungi, some resistant to commonly used antibiotics. If these organisms come into contact with patients, especially those with weakened immune systems, they can lead to serious infections, including those of the spine.

Spinal infections can result in grave consequences if not diagnosed and treated promptly. The complications can include irreversible neurological deficits, chronic pain, and paralysis. In some instances, untreated spinal infections can be fatal, underscoring the importance of early recognition and appropriate management of these potentially life-threatening conditions.

Proving Liability in Spinal Infection Cases

In instances of spinal infections, establishing culpability can be a complicated process. Claims of medical malpractice might surface due to various factors. These factors might include misdiagnosis, failure to diagnose the condition in time, delays in administering the right treatment, or incorrect surgical procedures being undertaken. Such scenarios reflect the intricate nature of these cases and emphasize the need for a thorough investigation.

Establishing Liability

Establishing liability necessitates proving that a healthcare professional or medical institution has failed in their duty of care, leading to detrimental side effects. This breach could involve failure to recognize the symptoms, incorrect interpretation of test results, misprescribing antibiotic medications, delayed response to a developing infection, or surgical errors. The core idea here is that the healthcare provider did not meet the standard of care expected in their profession, and this failure directly led to the patient’s harm.

Substantial Evidence

One must compile substantial evidence to convincingly demonstrate a healthcare provider’s medical error and its consequential harm. This would involve a comprehensive collection of medical records, highlighting pertinent details of the patient’s health history, treatments provided, and their outcomes. 

Expert Witnesses

It is also crucial to consult with expert witnesses who can elucidate the standard of care and confirm any deviations from it. These experts can help determine whether the healthcare provider’s actions or lack thereof, were indeed inappropriate under the circumstances. 

Establishing a Clear Link

Finally, establishing a clear link between the negligence and the resulting spinal infection is essential to show that the harm suffered by the patient is directly attributable to the healthcare provider’s actions, and that if the error had not taken place the patient would not have suffered the devastating consequences.

Comparative Negligence

In Maine, personal injury cases, including medical malpractice cases, are adjudicated using a legal concept known as a modified comparative negligence system. This rule of law establishes liability and the distribution of damages in instances where the party that has sustained personal injuries might also bear some measure of responsibility for the accident or incident that led to those injuries. It’s a principle that places importance on understanding the degree to which each party involved may be at fault, and it significantly shapes the legal and financial outcomes of personal injury cases.  In spinal infection cases, comparative negligence issues often arise when the healthcare provider tries to defend itself by claiming that the patient did not follow instructions, failed to properly report symptoms, or  delayed seeking treatment.

Given the complexity of the modified comparative negligence system in Maine, it is strongly recommended that individuals embroiled in a spinal infection case collaborate with an experienced spinal infection attorney specializing in this area of law. A skilled spinal infection lawyer can significantly contribute to a fair outcome in multiple ways, such as:

  • Thoroughly investigate the incident to collect crucial evidence that can be used to establish the other party’s fault
  • Accurately determining the degree of fault attributed to each party involved
  • Effectively communicating and arguing your case to ensure that your degree of fault is not overestimated, thereby securing a larger compensation
  • Negotiating with malpractice insurance companies and negligent healthcare providers on your behalf to advocate for a fair settlement
  • Taking your case to trial if a fair settlement cannot be reached, using their experience and expertise to present your case in the most compelling manner possible

The role of a seasoned attorney cannot be overstated. They are key navigators in the complex legal landscape of comparative negligence laws in Maine, serving as staunch advocates for clients aiming to secure the maximum possible compensation in the face of personal injuries.

Damages in Spinal Infection Cases

Spinal infections represent a significant health concern, often leading to paralysis or other debilitating consequences for the victims. These infections can severely impact the spinal cord, leading to many complications that can radically alter the victim’s quality of life. In pursuing legal recourse for such cases, the damages sought may vary substantially based on various factors, such as the infection severity, the resultant complications, and the overall impact on the victim’s life.

Types of Compensatory Damages

Compensatory damages in spinal infection cases are intended to make the victim “whole” again, to the extent that is monetarily possible. They represent a financial award designed to compensate the victim for the tangible and intangible losses they have incurred due to the infection. Below is a more comprehensive review of the common categories of compensatory damages:

Medical Expenses

One of the most significant aspects of compensatory damages lies in medical expenses. These expenses encompass various costs and services, including hospital stays, surgical procedures, prescribed medications, and diagnostic tests. These are directly related to treating and managing the spinal infection and constitute a critical part of any compensation claim.

Given the complexity of spinal infections, the financial burden associated with medical expenses is often substantial. The cost can mount rapidly, requiring immediate and ongoing care that could extend over a prolonged period. In certain severe cases, the costs may even span the patient’s lifetime as a constant reminder of the infection’s impact on their life.

Rehabilitation Costs

Rehabilitation often plays a crucial role in recovering from a spinal infection. This rehabilitation can encompass various therapeutic avenues. Physical therapy, for instance, can help restore mobility and function, allowing the patient to regain control over their bodily movements. Additionally, occupational therapy may be necessary to regain essential skills for daily living, thereby enabling the patient to have a certain level of independence and self-sufficiency.

However, in cases where a spinal infection has led to neurological damage, more specialized therapies may be required. These could include speech therapy to help regain communication abilities or cognitive therapy to address thinking, memory, and decision-making issues. It’s important to note that the costs associated with this intensive rehabilitation process can be considerable, adding to the overall financial burden endured by patients and their families.

Lost Wages

Suppose the victim of a spinal infection has been unable to fulfill their professional obligations due to their condition. In that case, they are rightfully entitled to seek compensation for the wages lost during this incapacitated period. This is a crucial component of compensatory damages, providing financial relief for the direct income loss from the illness. This helps to relieve some of the victim’s financial stress, allowing them to focus more intently on the recovery process.

In more severe cases, the impact of the spinal infection might be so debilitating that the victim cannot return to their previous employment or work at all. Under such circumstances, the individual can seek damages for lost earning capacity. This consideration accounts for the long-term financial implications of their reduced earning ability. Such compensation can be vital in securing the victims’ financial stability and well-being as they navigate life’s complexities post-infection.

Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Distress

This particular category of damages compensates for the physical pain and discomfort experienced by the victim due to the spinal infection. The pain related to this kind of condition can be excruciating, lasting for an extended period and significantly impacting the individual’s quality of life. The compensation is designed to acknowledge this profound impact and provide some form of recompense for the physical suffering endured.

However, the impacts of a spinal infection are not confined to physical pain alone. The damages in this category also include emotional distress that the victim may suffer. This could include conditions such as anxiety, depression, or trauma, which can arise in response to the ordeal of the illness and its aftermath. Recognizing these psychological impacts underscores the holistic approach to compensatory damages, addressing the physical and emotional toll of the condition.

Loss of Enjoyment of Life

Hedonic damages, a specific type of compensatory damages, address a unique aspect of suffering due to a severe health condition. Specifically, they refer to the compensation intended for the loss of enjoyment or satisfaction that the victim once derived from various life activities. These activities could span a wide range, encapsulating the individual’s lifestyle and interests before their condition.

This might include hobbies that the victim was once passionate about, recreational activities that brought joy and relaxation, or even travel adventures that enriched their life experiences. It’s a recognition that the impacts of a spinal infection can extend beyond physical and emotional pain to alter how a person experiences and enjoys their life. Such damages compensate for the negative alteration in life quality and enjoyment caused by the spinal infection.

Severe Spinal Infection Cases: Increased Damages

In cases involving severe spinal infections, where the victim suffers permanent disabilities or wrongful death occurs, the damages awarded can be considerably larger. Permanent disability can lead to a lifelong loss of income, ongoing medical and care costs, and significant pain and suffering. The impact on the victim’s enjoyment of life can be profound, as they may be unable to engage in activities they previously enjoyed or achieve life milestones they had planned.

In wrongful death cases resulting from a spinal infection, the victim’s family may pursue damages on behalf of the deceased. These can include the loved one’s pre-death suffering, funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support and services, and loss of companionship and consortium.

Damages sought in spinal infection cases can be substantial and multi-faceted, reflecting the complex, life-altering implications these infections can have. Victims need to seek experienced legal counsel to ensure they are fully compensated for the numerous tangible and intangible damages they may have incurred.

The Malpractice Claim Process and How an Attorney Can Help

Navigating the process of filing a claim for a spinal infection can be daunting. Multiple factors can make this journey challenging, such as the complexity of the medical condition itself, the obstacles of the medical malpractice process, and the strategies healthcare providers employ to minimize payouts for medical errors.

When dealing with conditions like spinal infections, it’s not uncommon for negligent healthcare providers to attempt to mitigate their financial responsibility. This may occur through various means, such as downplaying the severity of the condition, protracting the claim’s defense, withholding settlement offers, or proposing settlements that inadequately cover the extent of the required treatment and related costs. All these tactics can leave the claimant grappling with significant medical expenses and physical and emotional distress.

Given the gravity of these issues, it is of paramount importance to enlist the support of a strong legal advocate to champion your cause. Such an advocate, typically an attorney with significant experience in medical malpractice law, can pursue your case fiercely, ensure the protection of your rights, and strive to secure justice for you.

An experienced attorney can assist in numerous ways during the process of pursuing a medical malpractice claim for a spinal infection. Here are some of the critical roles that an attorney can play in this context:

  • Gathering Evidence: The attorney can help collect all necessary medical records, physician testimonies, and other evidence demonstrating the spinal infection’s seriousness and the extent of the medical treatment required. This evidence forms the foundation of a strong claim.
  • Assessing Damages: Accurately quantifying the damages you have suffered is vital. This includes medical costs, lost wages due to inability to work, future care or rehabilitation costs, and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An attorney can assist in accurately assessing all these aspects.
  • Navigating the Malpractice Claim Process: An attorney can guide you through each intricate step of the medical malpractice system, from filing the initial notice of claim, to taking discovery from the defendant healthcare providers, to  presenting the case before the malpractice tribunal.
  • Advocating for Your Rights: An attorney is a powerful ally who can fight for your right to fair treatment and adequate compensation and can push back against attempts by the healthcare provider’s defense to undervalue your case.

Engaging an attorney well-versed in medical malpractice and personal injury law is an investment in ensuring that you are adequately compensated for your spinal infection. They can adeptly handle the intricacies of the claims process, negotiate assertively on your behalf, and, fully prepare to present your case in court.

Contact Berman & Simmons for Spinal Infection Lawyers

The assistance of spinal infection lawyers from Berman & Simmons can make a substantial difference in the outcome of a spinal infection case, helping victims navigate the challenging path toward justice and compensation. By helping victims understand and assert their rights, our team provides an invaluable service that can help alter a person’s recovery journey, paving the way for a more secure and hopeful future. Contact us today to learn more.

How Berman & Simmons Can Help

Medicine is complicated. So is the law. Determining whether an act of medical malpractice occurred and obtaining compensation for injuries requires an in-depth understanding of both. At Berman & Simmons, our attorneys combine their legal talents with extensive medical knowledge and work closely with the world’s leading and most highly credentialed medical experts to get our clients the maximum amount of compensation available. 

We understand the struggles that victims of medical malpractice face, including those who suffer preventable spinal epidural abscess injuries. When you speak with us at your free initial consultation, we will carefully and patiently listen to your story as part of our comprehensive effort to understand what happened. We will then bring our extensive experience and unmatched resources on your behalf, developing solutions that can make your life better, including obtaining payment for or deferral of your debts until we resolve your case.

Please contact Berman & Simmons today at 866-664-2403 to arrange your free consultation. You pay nothing unless we obtain compensation for you by settlement or jury verdict. Our Maine medical malpractice lawyers are ready to help you through this difficult time so you can recover and rebuild your life.

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    compensation: Economic and non-economic.

    If your case goes to trial and a jury agrees you deserve compensation, the jury members will decide how much the money you should receive for each category of damages.

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