According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCSC), there are approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injuries in the United States each year. While some spinal cord injuries are minor and heal over time, others can lead to permanent paralysis or brain damage. Victims and their families often find themselves with astronomical medical bills with no way to pay them, but fortunately, they may be eligible to recover spinal cord injury compensation.
To be eligible to recover a spinal cord injury settlement, you must be able to prove that another party was responsible for the accident that caused your injury. For help establishing fault, speak with a personal injury lawyer. The Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. can help you build a case against the party at fault and we will fight to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Call us today: 404-474-0804.
What steps do I need to take to recover compensation for a spinal cord injury?
Regardless of whether your spinal cord injury was the result of a car accident, a fall in the workplace, or something else, there are a few basic steps that you must follow to receive compensation.
Seek Medical Attention: The first step towards recovering a spinal cord injury compensation award is to visit a doctor. A doctor will make sure that your injury does not require immediate surgery and can also provide you with advice on the best treatments for spinal cord injuries.
Not only will this visit ensure that your health is preserved, but the medical paperwork from this initial visit will serve as evidence of your injury.
Speak with an Attorney: Once you have visited a doctor, you should contact an attorney. The attorneys at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz are available to meet with spinal cord injury victims for a no-obligation consultation. We will listen to your side of the story and advise you on whether you have a claim.
After discussing your case with our team, you must begin collecting evidence to prove liability.
How do I prove liability in a spinal injury claim?
In order to recover a spinal cord injury settlement, you will need to prove that the other party was at fault. Liability will depend largely on the cause of your spinal cord injury. A few of the most common causes and who might be liable in each situation include:
- Serious car accidents, e.g., a drunk driver running a red light and colliding with another car. In many cases, the driver of the other car will be liable; however, in some cases, a third party, e.g., the government, a pedestrian, etc., might be liable or you might share liability.
- Truck accidents: Even if the truck driver is 100 percent liable for your spinal cord injury, it is likely that your liable party will be the trucking company.
- Construction accidents, e.g., scaffolding collapsing after a general contractor on a construction site fails to properly assemble or inspect it. Many different parties can be liable in a construction accident: general contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, project managers, architects, etc.
- Gunshots (the 3rd most common spinal injury, according to a 2015 study in The Spine Journal). The shooter is likely your liable party.
Once you have determined your liable party, you need to establish how it is liable. To do so, you must be able to establish the four elements of negligence:
- Duty: The defendant owed you a duty to keep you from undue harm, e.g., drivers owe other drivers a duty to operate a vehicle safely, everyone on a construction site has a duty to do his job correctly and not cause others harm.
- Breach: The defendant breached that duty, e.g., examples above
- Causation: The breach caused your injury.
- Damages: You suffered injuries and damages.
To establish negligence, you must provide evidence such as:
- Police report
- Surveillance videos
- Eyewitness testimony
Proving the Value of Your Damages
After you establish that the defendant is responsible for your injuries, you still need to prove the value of your damages. Without the proper steps, you could end up receiving a spinal cord injury settlement that is much smaller than you need. In general, you can expect to receive compensation for the following things:
Medical Expenses: According to the NSCSC, the average length of stay in the hospital for acute spinal cord injuries is 11 days and the average length for rehabilitation is 35 days (these lengths may be different depending on whether you suffered a complete or incomplete spinal cord injury). These days in the hospital and in rehab can lead to thousands upon thousands of dollars in medical bills.
When you file your claim with the party at fault, you must provide copies of your medical expenses. This will serve as the basis for your compensation award.
In addition to establishing your past medical expenses, you must prove the severity of your spinal cord injury. This will allow you to recover compensation for future medical expenses, such as in-home care. An attorney can help you obtain a medical expert’s opinion on your injury, including how it has and will affect you for the rest of your life.
Lost Wages: While you are recovering from your spinal cord injury, it is likely that you will have to take time off of work, or you may be unable to return at all.
If you have to take time off, take a less demanding job, or quit altogether, you can recover both wages you have already lost as well as compensation for money you would have made.
To recover lost wages, you need your W-2s or pay stubs as well as testimony from a financial expert who can determine how much money you lost and will lose due to your injury.
Pain and Suffering: A spinal cord injury can cause much pain and suffering for the victim and his or her family. You may be entitled to recover compensation for any pain and suffering or mental anguish you or your family members suffered.
Get Help from the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury due to another person’s negligence, contact the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. for help. We will fight to make sure that you receive full and fair compensation from the negligent party.
Call us today at 404-474-0804 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.