Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries occur when there has been some sort of damage to the spinal column or the spinal cord itself. The spinal cord can still remain intact, but the damage to it can have grave consequences. There are common spinal cord injuries such as:
- Cervical spinal cord injuries – these impact the areas around the head and neck
- Lumbar spinal cord injuries – these affect the legs and the hips
- Thoracic spinal cord injuries – these impact the chest and abdominal areas
- Sacral spinal cord injuries – these affect the thighs, buttocks and pelvic areas
Common Causes of Spinal Injuries
Spinal cord injuries usually result from some type of trauma. The severity of the spinal cord trauma will determine whether the patient can recover from the injury. Some injuries are not severe and/or patients may be in better physical shape and may be able to recover from the injury.
Spinal cord injuries can occur in a variety of different circumstances such as:
- Slips and falls
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Auto accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Diving mishaps
- Injuries sustained from using a product
- Medical malpractice
- Dangerous areas or conditions
Spinal cord injury symptoms can extremely hinder basic daily tasks. When a patient has a spinal cord injury, they will often lose the ability to use their extremities. Many injuries result in some sort of paralysis. Often, the paralysis is either permanent or will persist throughout a long recovery. Beyond the loss of mobility, patients can experience other side effects. They may have difficulty breathing or not be able to control their bladder or bowels. They may experience a loss of sexual function or feelings of intense pain. As such, spinal cord injury side effects will significantly impact a patient’s quality of life.
What Damages Can Be Compensated in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Patients will suffer many damages that can be pertinent to a spinal cord injury lawsuit. Here are some financial and other impacts of a spinal cord injury:
- Lost wages – The loss of mobility will impact the injured’s ability to work. In many cases, the injured patient can never work again.
- Medical expenses – The injured will likely have to undergo many surgeries in an attempt to either stabilize the affected area or regain some mobility
- Pain and suffering – Those who are paralyzed to any degree suffer greatly from the affliction.
- Aides and assistance – Many who have suffered spinal cord injuries need home care around the clock.
- Loss of companionship – Both the injured and their spouse may be entitled to damages for loss of consortium.
Examples of Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
A spinal cord injury lawsuit can take on a number of different forms. Here are some examples of situations where a spinal cord injury lawsuit can be filed:
- A woman becomes a paraplegic after she is rear-ended by a delivery truck driver.
- A man becomes paralyzed from the shoulders down after an accident at a skiing venue.
- A man develops myelomalacia (spinal cord softening) as a result of medical malpractice during spinal cord surgery.
- A woman is paralyzed after sustaining a severe back injury in a workplace accident.
- A baby’s spinal cord is damaged during birth because of excessive mechanical force or negligent doctors during labor and delivery.
Spinal Cord Injury Settlements
- $18 million settlement – The plaintiff, a 58-year-old woman, developed a spinal abscess that later caused paralysis. She filed a lawsuit against the hospital that failed to diagnose her spinal abscess.
- $14.5 million settlement – The plaintiff, a 36-year-old housewife, became a permanent paraplegic after a 100-pound tree branch fell and severed her spinal cord. She successfully sued the city and maintenance company for failing to maintain the trees in the park where the accident occurred.
- $12 million settlement – The plaintiff, a 16-year-old girl, became paralyzed from the neck down after a severe spinal injury caused by a car accident.
- $9.5 million settlement – The plaintiff, a 29-year-old father, became tetraplegic after the car he was a passenger in flipped over in a car accident.
- $8.2 million settlement – The plaintiff, a 40-year-old construction employee, became a permanent paraplegic after he fell 20 feet off a scaffold. The man filed a lawsuit against the construction site for failing to follow OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health) safety requirements.
Issues in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
A spinal cord injury lawsuit will usually come down to several issues. The major issue that a spinal cord injury lawyer will face is establishing that the defendant was negligent. In other words, the lawyer must demonstrate that the defendant owed a duty to the injured to exercise reasonable care, but did not do so. This could occur through either an act or a failure to act when there was an obligation to do so. The spinal cord injury lawyer will then have to show the defendant’s actions were the proximate cause of the injury. Here are some examples of situations that can constitute a negligent act:
- running a stop sign and striking another vehicle
- colliding with another car because the driver was texting while behind the wheel
- failure to maintain property safety
- making a mistake during a surgical procedure that damages a patient’s nerves or spinal cord
- failure to warn someone about a hazardous condition that has the potential to cause injury
Who Is Responsible for a Spinal Cord Injury?
There is a wide variety of people who may be held responsible for a spinal cord injury. The short explanation is that whoever was the “proximate cause” of the injury may be liable in a lawsuit. In other words, a spinal cord injury lawyer will have to show that “but for” the defendant’s actions or inaction, the plaintiff would have never been hurt. Usually, this will be the other driver in a car accident or someone who was driving the car in which the plaintiff was injured. However, this could also be a third party if their actions caused the accident. For example, if a truck runs a red light causing two other vehicles to crash, then the truck driver will be the proximate cause of the injury.
Another example of a possible defendant in a spinal cord injury lawsuit is the manufacturer of the product that caused the injury. For example, if a car manufacturer sold a vehicle that had defective brakes, which caused a crash, then it would be the manufacturer instead of the other driver who is legally responsible for the injury.
Possible Defenses for a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
In some instances, the defendant may try to claim that the plaintiff is responsible for their own injury. If a spinal cord injury occurred during a dangerous activity such as skydiving or horseback riding, the defendant may argue that the plaintiff assumed the risk when they engaged in that activity. The spinal cord injury lawyer will have to show that regardless of the plaintiff’s actions, the defendant is still liable because they were negligent. The defendant may also try to argue that the injured party was negligent in their own right and should not be able to recover from their injury.
For example, the defendant may claim that the injured party was speeding at the time of an accident so they should not be entitled to any financial compensation when they were hit by another driver who was also doing something illegal.
Why You Should Speak With a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Spinal cord injury lawsuits are high-stakes cases. Plaintiffs will generally get one chance to sue the responsible party and receive financial compensation, so it is essential that they file their strongest possible claim. This will require a spinal cord injury lawyer to present the best case to the court. The settlement or jury award will have to be large enough to cover what may be a lifetime’s worth of care. This requires the ability to place a financial value on the compensation necessary to pay for all of the damages that the victim has suffered along with the care that is necessary.
The trial of a spinal cord injury lawsuit may involve complicated evidence. To establish certain facts for a judge or jury, a spinal cord injury lawyer is required. Often, this will involve a detailed recreation of the scene of the accident. Medical evidence may also be required to demonstrate the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. Alternatively, winning a spinal cord injury lawsuit may require a showing that a certain product was defective, which will necessitate the presentation of scientific evidence and expert testimony. This means that specialized knowledge is a must, and this is something that a spinal cord injury lawyer will have.
While the defendant will have to show some sensitivity to the plaintiff’s injury, it does not necessarily mean that they will want to admit liability and pay what the plaintiff requests. Often, the defendants are large corporations who have their own sophisticated lawyers who will do everything they can to protect their clients from large-scale liability. They will not simply concede the case. Plaintiffs must retain a spinal cord injury lawyer in order to obtain the best possible result.
How The Eichholz Law Firm Can Help
Attorneys at the Eichholz Law Firm can help those who have suffered spinal cord injuries (and their families) from start to finish. We can help establish the facts of the case and prepare a claim to be filed in court. Our spinal cord injury attorneys will advocate on behalf of the injured throughout the ordeal. This could include the deposition process and negotiating a possible settlement with the responsible party.
In the event that the case goes to trial, The Eichholz Law Firm will provide vigorous counsel and will fight for the legal interest of the injured while acting as a trusted counselor throughout the process. The Eichholz Law Firm has extensive experience in representing those who have suffered catastrophic injuries and can bring this experience to bear in putting the strongest case forward.
Call us at (855)-551-1019 or fill out an online form for a free consultation.
- Shepherd Center. “Types and Levels of Spinal Cord Injury”, Shepherd Center, https://www.shepherd.org/patient-programs/spinal-cord-injury/about/levels-and-types. Accessed June 12, 2019.
- Zawn Villines. “The Top 10 Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries”, SpinalCord.com, https://www.spinalcord.com/blog/the-top-10-causes-of-spinal-cord-injuries. Accessed June 12, 2019.
- Spinal Cord Team. “What is the Process for a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?”, SpinalCord.com, https://www.spinalcord.com/blog/process-spinal-cord-injury-lawsuit. June 12, 2019.
- Nolo. “Spinal Injury Lawsuits”, Nolo, https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/spinal-cord-injury-lawsuit-32417.html. Accessed June 12, 2019.