Spinal Cord Injuries
Every year, approximately 17,700 people in the United States suffer from a spinal cord injury. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury and Statistical Center, that is about 54 injuries per every million people, and about 288,000 live with the effects of a spinal cord injury. If you have suffered from a spinal cord injury, you may need legal help to protect your rights and your financial interests.
Spinal Cord Injuries Cause and Effect
Although 78% of these injuries occur to men and the average age at the time of injury is 43 years old, these injuries can occur to anyone. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are as follows:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Violence, including gunshot wounds
- Sports and recreation
- Surgical errors
Your spinal cord is responsible for carrying messages from your brain to the rest of your body, and when this critical part becomes injured, you can suffer from serious health problems. Some people end up paralyzed after a spinal cord injury, and others may struggle with breathing issues, inability to regulate body temperature, bladder issues, and problems with sexual functioning. Those concerns can happen on their own or alongside of paralysis.
The Cost of a Spinal Cord Injury
Dealing with a spinal cord injury can be extremely expensive. Depending on the extent of your injury, you may need doctor appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and even permanent in-home help. You may also need medical devices such as wheelchairs, oxygen tanks, or other essentials. If your injury was caused by another person, they may be liable for these expenses.
In addition to medical costs, you may also suffer other expenses. You may lose time at work, and in some cases, people lose the ability to work, forcing them to forego countless dollars in future income. On top of that, you may also have to contend with loss of mobility, loss of sexual abilities, and pain and suffering. To attempt to get compensation for these issues and expenses, you may need to bring a lawsuit against the entity who is liable for your injuries.
Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
Spinal cord injury lawsuits are a type of personal injury lawsuit. To be successful, these lawsuits need to establish that another entity is liable for your injury. To prove that, your lawyer needs to show that the defendant had a duty of responsibility to you, that they breached that duty, and that their negligence caused your damages.
To give you an example, imagine that you walked into a store. The storeowner has a duty to ensure that the environment is reasonably safe for you. As you walk through the store, you encounter a large puddle and you slip and fall. The puddle had been there for hours, and by ignoring it, the store owner breached their duty of care to you. Due to the fall, you suffered a spinal cord injury, and you incurred damages related to medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In this situation, the store owner may be liable to pay for your injuries.
Similarly, if you are injured due to a careless driver, a broken staircase, or a defective product, the driver, the owner of the staircase, or the manufacturer of the product may be liable for your damages. Often, it can be challenging to spot the liable party, and in some cases, there may be more than one liable entity. To protect your interests, you should consult with an attorney, and they can let you know the best steps to take in your situation.
What to Expect With a Spinal Injury Case
Typically, your case starts with a consultation with an attorney. They look over your case and help you decide the type of settlement to which you may be entitled. Then, they answer your questions about the legal process.
If you decide to pursue compensation from the liable party, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to go to trial. Often, your lawyer can just negotiate with the liable party’s insurance company to secure a fair settlement on your behalf — if an insurance company is already offering you a settlement, consult with a lawyer because these companies often offer lowball settlements to keep victims quiet. In some situations, the case may go to mediation instead of to court. If the other party refuses to settle, you may have to go to court.
Your lawyer helps you assess your costs and damages, and they fight to help you win a settlement in that amount from the other party. Traditionally, these cases are fought on a contingency basis. In other words, you don’t pay anything unless you win a settlement. Then, you pay a percentage of the settlement to your legal team.
If you have suffered from a spinal cord injury, you are not alone, but you need someone in your corner fighting for you. At Tinti, Quinn, Grover, & Frey, we are personal injury lawyers who can help you. To learn more, contact us to set up a free case evaluation today.