Spinal cord injuries occur in a variety of settings, from car accidents to truck accidents to slip and fall incidents and even malpractice.
Regardless of how they occur, a spinal cord injury is extremely devastating for the victim and their loved ones. Often, these types of injuries require long-term medical care and can cost victims thousands.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
According to the Mayo Clinic, a spinal cord injury involves any damage to any portion of the spinal cord. It often results in permanent changes to mobility, sensation, and strength.
For some victims, a spinal cord injury leads to permanent paralysis.
Also, the spinal cord controls numerous bodily functions. Therefore, depending on the extent of the damage and where the cord is damaged, a victim could have respiratory issues, body temperature regulation problems, sexual dysfunction, and loss of bladder or bowel control.
Two Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
- Complete: The victim loses all ability to move or feel below the area where the injury occurred.
- Incomplete: The victim still has some sensation or movement below the injury level.
Incidents that May Lead to a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Not all spinal cord injuries are considered acts of negligence, nor is there a responsible party. However, there are types of injuries that are preventable and could qualify for a lawsuit. Anyone suffering from a spinal cord injury should seek a consult with a Gilbert personal injury lawyer to determine if they have a viable case.
Injuries Caused by Negligence
A spinal cord injury lawsuit is typically based on negligence. For example, a drunken driver struck a vehicle, and the individual in that car suffered a severe spinal cord injury. The drunk driver was acting negligently.
In any negligence based claim, a plaintiff must establish the elements of negligence. FindLaw states that these elements include duty, breach, causation, and damages.
This means that the plaintiff’s attorney must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care. Then, the Gilbert personal injury attorney must demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty of care and their breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. Lastly, damages must occur. This means the plaintiff must have financial and emotional damages that warrant compensation.
Defective Products and Spinal Cord Injuries
Sometimes it is not a car accident, but a faulty product that causes a spinal cord injury. These defects, however, can occur in the crash setting. For example, a vehicle had faulty seatbelts that led to the victim’s injury.
In this type of case, a Gilbert personal injury attorney would hold the manufacturer, distributor, or retailer of the defective product responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.
What Compensation Could a Gilbert Personal Injury Attorney Get for a Plaintiff?
The purpose of compensation in any injury case is to compensate the victim for their damages. In a spinal injury case, the costs may include not only the financial aspect of suffering a spinal cord injury, but the emotional and physical trauma the victim may have encountered.
Compensation is designed to make the victim whole again, in a manner of speaking. While this may not be physically possible, the goal is to provide the victim with the financial support they need to cope. Most spinal cord injury compensation goes beyond the traditional monetary compensation.
This is because spinal cord injuries come with extensive, long-term care needs. The victim may require rehabilitation, specialized medical equipment, or they may have a shortened life expectancy due to their injury. Modifications to the plaintiff’s home might be necessary, which are a financial burden. Also, the plaintiff could suffer from secondary conditions, such as respiratory infections, bedsores, and other complications associated with limited mobility.
The costs of living with a spinal cord injury are extensive. In fact, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation laid out the costs in their online analysis. The costs they projected did not include lost wages, benefit losses, or productivity loss.
For those suffering from paraplegia, they estimate that the first year alone will cost $518,904 and each subsequent year costs $68,739. Lifetime costs for paraplegia are in the millions. In fact, they estimate high tetraplegia to average over $4 million in a person’s lifetime if they are injured in their 20’s.
How a Gilbert Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help
While the costs and suffering are astounding, victims of spinal cord injuries are not left without options.
It is in the best interest of anyone suffering from a serious injury to seek a consultation with a personal injury attorney. An attorney can evaluate parties that may be responsible for the damage, but also help identify short-term and long-term costs associated with that spinal cord damage. By doing so, the attorney can ensure a victim receives adequate compensation to cover the extreme long-term costs related to these types of injuries.
For victims of spinal cord injuries, the team at Tobler Law can help. Contact a personal injury attorney today for a free consultation at 480-898-9700 or request a consultation appointment online.