In personal injury cases, a spinal cord injury is classified as a catastrophic injury because of the devastating impact on the victim and their families. People with this type of injury have to face life with several limitations. It also doesn’t help that the victim gets lifetime medical costs and other financial difficulties.
Thus, it is crucial spinal cord injury victims know their legal options after an accident. Our Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers will cover the preceding in this article. Contact us immediately if an accident leaves you with spinal cord injuries.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
The spinal cord makes up the column of bones called the vertebrae (spinal column). It is a long fragile structure housed in the spinal canal running through the spine’s center and protected by the vertebrae. A spinal cord injury damages any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal.
A spinal cord injury causes permanent changes to the victim’s strength, sensation, and other body functions below the injury site. The wound can be complete or incomplete. It is complete if you lose all sensory ability and motor function movement below the spinal cord injury. It is incomplete if you have some motor or sensory function below the affected area.
Common symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Loss of motor functions
- Difficulty breathing, coughing, or clearing secretion from the lungs
- Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
- Pain or intense tingling sensation due to nerve damage
- Loss or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
Spinal cord injuries occur in any of the following:
- Motor vehicle accidents including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, truck accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
- Slip and fall accidents
- Recreational sport activity
- Workplace accidents
- Acts of violence
This injury type can also result from errors during high-risk surgical procedures on the neck or back. In this instance, the action would be a medical malpractice case. Learn more from our Atlanta medical negligence attorneys.
What Is the Legal Basis for a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
Primarily, an injury must have occurred because of an accident. However, to have a valid legal claim, you must show that the accident and resulting injury are because of another person’s negligence. Negligence is the failure to exercise reasonable care in a given situation.
Reasonable care in a car accident case, for instance, amounts to obeying traffic rules and not driving under the influence. Thus, a driver who does the preceding would answer for your spinal cord injury. But, you’ll need to prove negligence by showing that the responsible party owed you a duty of care, breached the duty, caused your injury, and you suffered damages for which you need compensation.
What Are the Legal Options Available to a Spinal Cord Injury Victim?
Generally, you have two legal options as a victim of this injury type. The first is an insurance claim against the fault party’s insurance policy. Let’s use a car accident as a case study.
Suppose you suffer a spinal cord injury from a rear-end accident caused by a drunk driver. The fact the driver rear-ended you and was impaired makes liability clear. So, once you confirm that they have enough auto insurance policy, you can file a claim to get compensation.
The second option is a personal injury lawsuit. A lawsuit becomes an option in any of these situations:
- The fault party’s insurer rejects your claim.
- The fault party’s insurer offers you a lowball settlement
- The responsible party lacks insurance coverage
- The damages suffered are so extensive that the fault party’s insurance coverage cannot adequately cover them.
In a spinal cord injury, the fourth option is always the reason for litigation. This is because the wound has financial, emotional, physical, and social costs. While emotional damages and pain and suffering are not quantifiable, the court does its best to ease the victim’s anguish by awarding enough sum for them to lead comfortable lives. This explains why most spinal cord injury settlements run into millions of dollars.
Lastly, if there is evidence that the fault party was grossly negligent, you should consider a lawsuit. This is because insurance companies do not pay punitive damages; only the court awards it. Again, consult our Atlanta injury lawyers to know the option best for you.
Contact Us Today!
At Calvin Smith Law, our personal injury lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you get maximum compensation for your spinal cord injury. We have gotten millions of dollars for our clients and will do the same for you. Call us today for a free case review.