Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious injuries that someone can experience because of the profound effect they can have on the way an individual, and their loved ones, live their lives. If you or someone in your family has become paralyzed because of an accident or an act of violence, then you deserve compensation, and we can help.
With our 75 years of combined experience helping our clients in Florida seek justice for their personal injury, you know that your case is in good hands. We have helped hundreds of people throughout Florida to successfully secure the compensation they deserve.
Following an incident involving paralysis, financial damages quickly accumulate, and the emotional suffering that people experience is often more difficult than other types of injuries. Insurance companies will not pay out large amounts of money easily, which often leaves those who experienced the worse injuries with a settlement that is insufficient.
We will do everything possible to fight for justice and fair compensation. Our phone lines are always open, so you can speak to us at a time that suits you.
Call us now on (941) 444-4444 for a free consultation.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
According to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders, a spinal cord injury (SCI) is,
“damage to the tight bundle of cells and nerves that sends and receives signals from the brain to and from the rest of the body.”
The spinal cord starts at the lower part of the brain and extends down the back. An SCI can be caused by direct injury to the spinal cord or damage to the tissue and bones surrounding the spinal cord. This can lead to temporary or permanent forms of paralysis, which restrict sensation, movement, body functions, and strength in the body.
Injury and Severity
Paralysis is commonly a result of a serious spinal cord injury. The extent of disability following an injury depends on where on the spinal cord the injury occurs.
A spinal cord injury results in a loss of never function below the level of injury. Therefore, if the trauma occurs higher on the spinal cord, then this can lead to tetraplegia or quadriplegia, which means a loss of movement in most areas of the body, including all limbs.
An injury to the lower spinal cord is more likely to cause paraplegia, which affects the legs and lower body.
Type of injury
Spinal cord injuries can be classified as complete or incomplete.
- A complete injury – Means there is no communication of the nerves and motor functions, and sensations below the point of injury are lost.
- An incomplete injury – Means the spinal cord can still send some messages to and from the brain. As a result, people retain some sensory function and control of muscles below the point of injury.
Primary damage is caused directly by the injury and leads to immediate paralysis. Secondary damage comes later as a result of inflammation that presses on the spinal cord and vertebrae, as well as from changes in the activity of cells.
Justice for Spinal Cord Injury Victims
According to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, around one in 50 people in the United States live with a form of paralysis. This is a shocking number. To put it in perspective, it’s the same number of people as the combined populations of Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.
Paralysis is defined as a loss of sensation and restricted movement that affects certain areas of the body. These effects can be temporary or permanent. The most common cause of paralysis in the United States is stroke, and the second is an injury to the spinal cord.
According to the World Health Organisation, the majority of spinal cord injuries are due to preventable causes such as road traffic crashes, falls, or violence. Considering the profound effects on mobility and quality of life, seeking compensation is essential.
While no amount of money can give you the life you once had, it can make life easier. When you don’t have to worry about paying for medical bills, ongoing care, or loss of income, it gives you more opportunity to adjust to what has happened. Having the money to make appropriate home adjustments, have outside carers, and get the ongoing physical therapy needed, can make a world of difference.
What It Means to Live With Quadriplegia and Paraplegia
Children who become paraplegic or quadriplegic may require assistance at school and at home and may struggle to find work as they get older. They may need life-long support to live their life, as well as counseling for their physiological trauma.
Currently, there is no cure for quadriplegia or paraplegia, although advancements are being made all the time. Some functions can improve or digress over time, and the prognosis is not only dependent on the severity of the injury but also the quality of care and methods of treatments used. Compensation can help you to ensure that you or your loved one receive the best care.
A spinal cord injury leads to severe physical injuries. However, the trauma of a severe accident or violent crime can also have serious physiological effects. Furthermore, the drastic changes that a person may have to make to their life and the level of help they may need on a daily basis have further emotional implications.
People with paralysis often become depressed, suffer strained relationships, and may be unable to participate in activities they once loved. All of this should be accounted for when you are fighting for a fair settlement.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, most spinal cord injuries occur as a result of:
- Road traffic accidents.
- Workplace accidents.
- Sports injuries.
- Medical/surgical errors.
- Gunshot wounds.
Following a spinal cord injury, it is essential that victims receive immediate care. Determining the extent of the injury and starting treatment quickly can be essential to recovery. Often victims will need a long-term treatment plan and hospitalization, surgery, residential rehabilitation, and the use of medical devices or medication.
Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
On average, the first year of expenses for paraplegics in the United States is more than half a million dollars. For quadriplegics, the average cost is between $800,000 to $1.2 million.
Some of these costs are covered by private insurance or Medicaid. However, even if you have health insurance, that does not stop you from accumulating medical debt.
Insurance premiums, deductibles, and other factors can limit coverage. Furthermore, home adjustments, home-care, or the latest treatments may not always be covered by insurance policies. This can leave families devastated by debt and an inability to provide a loved one with the quality of care they need and deserve.
The Law Place can help you to take legal action against the party at fault to recover compensation so that you don’t have to worry about medical expenses. Insurance companies will have experienced lawyers on their side whose job is to limit the amount they pay in compensation. Therefore, it is important that you also have experienced legal representation.
Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury Victims
- Medical bills – When fighting for compensation for medical bills after a spinal cord injury, it is essential that past and future medical expenses are taken into account, including ongoing physiotherapy, home care, and home adjustments.
- Lost income – Both lost income and lost earning potential should be compensated for, as well as the cost of re-training in something new if necessary.
- Property damage – Accidents often lead to property damage, especially in car accident cases. You should be compensated for the replacement or repair of your property.
- Pain and suffering – As discussed, spinal cord injuries can lead to a lot of emotional suffering, including the potential for things like depression and PTSD. It is important that you are properly compensated for this. These types of damages can be subjective, but an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will know how to maximize the amount you receive in pain and suffering damages.
Taking Legal Action for Spinal Cord Injuries
Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are accidents such as serious car accident or slip and fall. These types of occurrences are often preventable and due to someone else’s negligence. When someone acts negligently against you, you can hold them liable for your damages. An attorney will look to prove negligence in four steps:
- Proof of duty of care – First, your attorney will need to prove that the at-fault party owed you a duty of care. Road users have an assumed duty of care to follow traffic laws and keep those around them safe. Similarly, your employers must adhere to federal workplace standards, and medical professionals have a duty of care to their patients.
- Breach of duty of care – Next, it must be proven that the duty of care was breached. I.e., someone was driving over the speed limit, a preventable surgical error occurred, or a dangerous condition in a workplace environment was known about and should have been cleared away.
- Evidence of injury – Next, the injury must be evidenced through medical records and photos.
- Causal link to injury – Finally, it must be proven that the breach in duty of care directly caused your injuries.
On the other hand, if your spinal injury was due to a criminal act committed against you, such as a gunshot or assault, then you can still hold the perpetrator liable for your damages. You may be able to claim damages against someone who caused your injuries even if there is insufficient evidence to convict them of the crime. This is because the burden of proof in civil cases, such as personal injury claims, is lower than that of criminal cases.
How a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help You Seek Compensation
The road to recovery following a spinal injury is often lifelong, and it can have drastic consequences for the physical and mental health of the victim and their loved ones. Hiring a lawyer can ease the stress of navigating the legal process so that you can focus on your recovery.
You are more likely to receive a higher amount in compensation when you have an attorney, regardless of their fees. At The Law Place, we work on a contingency basis, monitored by The State Bar Association. This means that we do not take anything upfront and only take a percentage of your eventual settlement if we are successful. That way, you don’t have to worry about legal fees.
At The Law Place, we have vast experience in personal injury cases involving spinal injury. We understand what a difficult time this is for you and how important compensation is to your recovery.
We will provide a free consultation where you can ask any questions you have before you agree to representation. Once you agree, we will get right to work investigating your case, consulting medical and legal experts, using our resources to gather as much evidence as possible, and communicating effectively with insurance companies and anyone else involved in your case.
With your permission, we will also discuss the details of your case with our whole team so that you can benefit from all of our shared knowledge. At the same time, one of our attorneys will be the primary driver of your case, so you have a familiar voice to share your concerns with.
We will also communicate with you through each step of the process and work with you to secure a fair settlement that covers the extent of your losses, future expenses, and your emotional suffering.
Most personal injury claims settle outside of court. However, if your case does go to court, then your attorney will be ready to present evidence and fight for fair compensation.
How Long Do I Have to File a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
The statute of limitations in Florida for personal injury claims is four years from the date of the accident, as outlined in Florida Statute 95.11. In extreme circumstances, such as if you were in a coma for a prolonged period, there can be exceptions to this.
While four years sounds like a long time, the sooner you speak to us, the better. Witness memory fade, crime scenes are cleared away, and CCTV footage is deleted. The sooner you start the legal process, the stronger the evidence will be in your case, and the more likely you will be to secure a high amount in compensation.
What You Should Look for in a Personal Injury Lawyer
Considering the importance of compensation following a spinal injury and the difference it can make to your quality of life, you need to ensure that you have the best representation possible. Having high-quality representation can make a massive difference to the success of your case.
At The Law Place, we believe that we are the best people for your case, but you shouldn’t take our word for it. We encourage our clients to do their research so that they are confident that their case is in the best hands. Consider things such as:
- Experience – Does your attorney have experience with personal injury cases in Florida?
- Trial – Do they have examples of successful cases that made it to trial?
- Client reviews – Your attorney should be able to provide examples of positive client testimonials.
Contact Us Today for a Free Case Evaluation
At The Law Place, most of our attorneys are AVVO-rated 10.0. This is the highest possible rating and has been earned through years of service, client reviews, and awards.
We are fully committed to using the full extent of our legal skills to secure maximum compensation for you, so you can focus on your emotional and physical recovery.
We offer a free consultation at no obligation to you. So contact us today at (941) 444-4444.