Spinal cord injuries (SCI) cause lifelong disabilities and require extensive hospitalizations, surgeries and long-term care. Because of the catastrophic nature of spinal cord injuries, victims who file and win a personal injury lawsuit are often awarded very high compensation amounts. In today’s blog, we walk through how a spinal cord injury lawsuit works and how compensation amounts are determined.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) almost 18,000 people in the US experience a spinal cord injury each year. Car accidents account for 38% of spinal cord injuries, followed closely by falls (32%). Gunshot violence (14%) and recreational sports (8%) are also common causes of SCI. Also to note, males account for more than three quarters of spinal cord injury victims.
How Does a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Work?
Personal injury lawsuits are typically filed on the legal basis of negligence. Proving negligence in a civil lawsuit requires first that the other party owed you some sort of level or ‘duty of care’ and that the other party failed in that duty which caused your injuries. In other words, another person or party is at fault for the accident. For instance, motorists owe a duty of care to other drivers, their passengers and pedestrians on the road to operate their vehicle in a safe manner. Property and business owners should make sure their premises are safe and free from hazards.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer who can advise you of your options, build your case and then represent you in negotiations and litigation. A spinal cord injury lawyer will create and build a case to prove the other party’s liability by gathering evidence and consulting with experts. Your law firm will also help to keep track and organize medical bills and records to document your injuries and their costs as well as negotiate with insurance companies, healthcare providers and the other party’s attorneys.
How Much is a Spinal Cord Injury Worth?
One of the most important elements to consider when evaluating how much your spinal injury case is worth is what’s expected down the road. In the case of an SCI, you or your loved one will require ongoing medical care or rehabilitation. The NSCISC estimates that in the first year after an injury, a person with paraplegia could expect medical costs of more than $500,000 with a lifetime cost of more than $2.5 million for a 25-year-old. The estimated costs only increase with more severe cases of tetraplegia. A spinal cord injury lawsuit would seek compensation for the lifetime costs of your injury.
Beyond medical expenses, other damages that often come with a personal injury claim for SCI are lost wages and benefits. Lost wages would include the loss of income during the time in which you were recuperating but may also include the future losses if you are unable to work or work in the same job you had before the injury. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will bring in economists and labor experts who will consult on and offer testimony to what you could have expected to earn.
Other elements of compensation include non-economic damages and punitive damages. Examples of non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. These types of damages are intangible, meaning there isn’t a specific dollar amount to account for this kind of loss. However, in cases of serious injury, non-economic damages can be up to 5 times the amount of economic damages (medical expenses and lost wages). Punitive damages are designed to prevent others from being hurt or injured in the same way and are typically reserved for cases involving the most reckless and intentionally negligent behavior.
Brandon J. Broderick, Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers, Here for You 24/7
When a loved one is injured, the emotional trauma and recovery process is challenging to get through, not to mention the financial burdens and stress. At Brandon J. Broderick, Attorney at Law, we are by your side through the process and its outcome. In addition to the passion and client-care we bring to every case, we will interact with insurance companies on your behalf as well as compile and review witness statements, medical reports, and other health care provider information to prove your case and pursue the maximum amount of compensation.
Contact us today for a free consultation. One of our trusted team members will listen to your story, learn about your case, and can advise you on the next steps. Many of our clients feel a sense of relief once they make that first phone call. Don’t go it alone. Let us help you turn your setback into a comeback.