Can You Sue for Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating and life-altering medical conditions one can face. In the United States, thousands of people grapple with the profound impact of spinal injuries every year. According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are approximately 17,700 new cases of spinal cord injury recorded annually, and around 288,000 individuals are currently living with spinal cord injuries in the United States. These injuries not only alter their lives but also present substantial physical, emotional, and financial challenges.
At Joudeh & Kuller, we understand the immense difficulties faced by individuals and their families when dealing with spinal cord injuries. Our commitment is unwavering – we aim to help those affected receive the compensation they deserve, so they can focus on recovery rather than financial worries.
The short answer to this question is yes, you can sue for spinal cord injuries, but it’s a complex process. Proving liability and securing fair compensation can be challenging. Spinal cord injury cases often involve substantial medical expenses, loss of income, and lifelong care needs.
To navigate this difficult journey successfully, legal assistance is necessary. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence, identify liable parties, negotiate with insurers, and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
At Joudeh & Kuller, we understand the hardships that come with spinal cord injuries. Our team is dedicated to providing the legal support you need to move forward with your life.
Spinal Cord Injuries Types
A spinal cord injury occurs when there is damage to the spinal cord, a crucial component of our central nervous system. These injuries can be broadly categorized into two types:
- Complete Spinal Cord Injuries: In this type of injury, there is a total loss of sensation and motor function below the level of the injury. This means that the injured individual may experience complete paralysis below the injury site.
- Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries allow for some degree of sensation or motor function below the level of the injury. The severity of impairment can vary widely, ranging from minor loss of function to near-normal capabilities.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries often result from traumatic incidents, such as:
- Automobile Accidents: Collisions on the road are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries. The force of impact can lead to damage to the spinal cord.
- Falls: Slip and fall accidents, particularly among older adults, can result in spinal cord injuries.
- Acts of Violence: Incidents involving gunshots or knife wounds can cause severe damage to the spinal cord.
- Sports Injuries: High-impact sports like football or diving can sometimes lead to spinal cord injuries.
- Medical Malpractice: In some cases, surgical errors or medical negligence can result in spinal cord injuries.
- Construction Accidents: Construction sites are laden with heavy and dangerous machinery and materials that can easily cause spinal injuries when handled improperly.
The Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
The financial burden of spine injuries can be overwhelming. Costs often include extensive hospitalization, surgical procedures, ongoing medical treatment, rehabilitation, assistive devices, home modifications, and lost wages or benefits due to the inability to work. The financial implications of these injuries can be felt for a lifetime.
Based on data from the NSCISC, the annual costs of sustaining spine injuries (including healthcare and daily living expenses), can fluctuate significantly based on several factors, such as the extent of neurological impairment. These expenses can span from approximately $359,783 to $1,102,403 for the initial year, excluding any lost income and benefits.
People with spinal cord injuries might need help with everyday things like driving, taking a bath, and cooking for the rest of their lives. All these costs can pile up and become too much for a family’s budget, especially if they rely on one person’s income.
These expenses don’t even cover the emotional toll that these serious injuries can have on victims and their families. That’s why injured individuals might also be eligible for non-economic damages, which are harder to put a price on. These can include:
- Pain and emotional suffering.
- Humiliation or mental distress.
- Permanent scars or changes in appearance.
- Physical limitations.
- Losing the companionship of a spouse.
Even when an injury cannot be entirely attributed to someone else’s actions, an injured individual may still seek compensation for a portion of the expenses caused by the accident. This is due to New York’s adherence to comparative negligence. Under this principle, a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages will not be hindered by their own role in the accident. Rather, the amount they can recover will be adjusted based on their proportion of fault.
What You Can Do After an Accident That Causes Spinal Injury
For individuals who have suffered a spinal injury, it’s crucial to exercise patience and adhere to your physician’s prescribed treatment plan for your recuperation. Should you discontinue your treatment, the insurance provider responsible for covering your medical expenses may interpret it as a sign that your injury has healed.
It’s advisable not to consider a settlement offer until you’ve reached a stage known as maximum medical improvement. At this point, you will have a clearer understanding of the long-term impact of the spinal injury on your life.
Why Spinal Cord Injury Victims Need a Personal Injury Lawyer
Seeking legal help after a spinal cord injury is crucial for several reasons:
- Legal Expertise: Personal injury law is complex, and an attorney can guide you through the intricate legal process, ensuring you meet all deadlines and requirements.
- Liability Determination: Identifying who’s at fault in these cases can be complicated. A skilled attorney will investigate, gather evidence, and establish liability to secure compensation.
- Maximizing Compensation: Insurance companies often aim to minimize payouts. A lawyer knows the tactics used and can negotiate to get you the full compensation you deserve.
- Negotiating with Insurers: Dealing with insurance adjusters can be challenging. Attorneys can handle these negotiations, preventing quick, undervalued settlements.
- Medical Expertise: Spinal cord injuries require specialized medical attention. Attorneys can connect you with experts to assess your condition and estimate future medical needs.
- Focus on Recovery: Legal claims are time-consuming. With an attorney handling the case, you can concentrate on your recovery and rehabilitation.
Remember, spinal cord injuries can have lifelong consequences. By seeking legal assistance, you’re taking a significant step towards securing the compensation you need to move forward with your life.
Reach out to us
If you’ve experienced a spinal injury, reach out to Joudeh & Kuller for a compassionate and understanding legal partner. Our commitment is to fight for your rights, so you can focus on your recovery and rebuilding your life. Contact us today to discuss your case and take the first step toward securing the compensation you need and deserve.