Victims of serious accidents may suffer injuries to their spinal cord, which in turn may lead to lifelong complications. One of the most severe complications that arise from a serious spinal cord injury is complete or partial paralysis. This is a life-altering condition.
Unfortunately, many spinal cord accidents and injuries are entirely avoidable. If a person had taken the time to watch the road carefully, safely maintain their premises, or comply with some other legal duty, the accident which led to the spinal cord injury might never have occurred and someone might never been injured.
If you or a person you love suffered a severe spinal cord injury in an accident resulting from someone else’s negligence, you have legal options available to you. One of the first steps you should take after your accident is to contact an experienced and compassionate spinal cord injury lawyer in your area. Your lawyer can meet with you to discuss the accident that caused your injury and help you develop a plan for recovering the monetary compensation you deserve.
Accident victims have a brief window of time to pursue monetary compensation for their spinal cord damage and other injuries. Therefore, you should contact an Edmonton spinal cord injury lawyer right away so that they can begin advocating for you.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries that Accident Victims Suffer
A spinal cord injury occurs when one or more nerves in the neck or back become severed—usually in a severe accident. An accident victim’s body may twist and turn in such a way that it severs these nerves and causes a full or partial spinal cord injury.
One of the most common types of spinal cord injuries is paralysis. This condition prevents an accident victim from using a particular body part—or group of body parts—after their accident. Moreover, it limits or completely inhibits sensation in the affected areas and prevents feeling and movement in those areas. It may restrict the accident victim’s use of their hands, arms, feet, and legs.
The two most common types of paralysis are full paralysis injuries and partial paralysis injuries. With a complete paralysis injury, the accident victim may be unable to use any of their four limbs. With a partial paralysis injury, the accident victim may have the use of their hands and arms, but they may be unable to use their feet or legs. As a result, they may need to spend the rest of their life in a wheelchair.
Spinal cord injuries may also come with lifetime care costs, as the individual may be unable to complete daily living tasks and care for themselves. Therefore, they may rely upon around-the-clock caregivers for the assistance they need.
What Accidents Cause Spinal Cord Injuries?
Several types of accidents that result from negligence may cause a spinal cord or paralysis injury. First, an accident victim may suffer a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle collision, such as a car accident, truck accident, motorcycle accident, pedestrian accident, or bicycle accident.
These collisions usually happen when a driver operates their vehicle in a careless or reckless manner under the circumstances. For example, the at-fault driver may not be paying attention to the road sufficiently, may violate one or more traffic laws, or may operate their vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
In a motor vehicle crash, the force of a collision may also cause the accident victim’s body to move around violently inside their vehicle, twisting their neck or back. In some accident scenarios, the force of the collision may be so strong that it physically ejects the accident victim from the driver’s side or passenger side door, causing them to suffer a spinal cord injury.
A forceful bicycle, motorcycle, or pedestrian crash may knock the accident victim violently to the ground, causing them to land on their head, neck, or back. As a result, they may suffer a debilitating spinal cord or paralysis injury.
Spinal cord injuries can also result from premises accidents. Premises owners and occupiers have a duty to maintain their properties in a reasonably safe condition at all times. This means that they must routinely inspect their properties for both known and unknown dangerous conditions. Moreover, if they come across a hazard on their property, they have a duty to make the necessary repairs or, at the very least, warn others about the condition within a reasonable period of time. If they fail to do so, they may be responsible for any injuries that occur on their premises.
Spinal cord injuries are common following a slip and fall accident where the accident victim lands on their neck or back. If the accident victim can prove that the property owner failed to take remedial action after a spill, they can pursue a claim or lawsuit against the property owner for various damages.
Spinal cord injuries sometimes also result from workplace accidents—primarily when a person works in the building or construction industries. These individuals typically have to work around large and heavy equipment on a daily basis. Consequently, they are at risk of suffering severe injuries. If an accident victim falls off a ladder, scaffolding, or piece of equipment, they may suffer a neck or back injury, which leads to spinal cord complications.
In those circumstances, in addition to filing a timely workers’ compensation claim with their employer, the accident victim can file a third-party claim for damages against the construction site contractor, supervisor, or equipment manufacturer, seeking various damages.
Finally, some spinal cord injuries result from medical negligence and malpractice. For example, a medical provider might make a grave mistake while completing a medical procedure. In that instance, the injured patient may be eligible to file a malpractice claim with the provider’s insurance company.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in one of these types of accidents that resulted from negligence, you have legal options available to you. A knowledgeable spinal cord injury lawyer in your area can go over your options with you, help you file a claim, and pursue the total amount of monetary damages you deserve to recover for your spinal cord injury.
Filing a Spinal Cord Injury Claim
After suffering a spinal cord injury in an accident resulting from negligence, an experienced personal injury lawyer in your area can file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf.
As part of the claim-filing process, your lawyer can:
- Submit documentation to the insurance company, including copies of your medical records, lost wage documents, and other potential evidence, so that the settlement adjuster can adequately evaluate your claim
- Submit a settlement demand letter to the insurance company on your behalf
- Negotiate with the insurance company adjuster for you
- Threaten litigation if the adjuster refuses to offer you fair compensation for your spinal cord injuries and their consequences
The litigation process begins when your lawyer files a lawsuit on your behalf in court. If the case does not resolve during litigation, your lawyer can take your case to trial, where a jury will decide the case outcome. You may also be eligible to consider alternative dispute resolution options, like binding arbitration and mediation, as a way to resolve your case favourably.
The Statute of Limitations in Spinal Cord Injury Cases
Spinal cord injury cases are a type of personal injury case. When it comes to claims and lawsuits, accident victims have a brief time window in which to take legal action. Specifically, they have two years from their accident date in which to file a lawsuit seeking monetary recovery.
The statute of limitations clock begins running on the accident date and stops running precisely two years later, to the day. If an accident victim files their claim or lawsuit for damages belatedly, they will not be eligible to recover monetary damages for their spinal cord injuries and related complications.
Given this extremely short statute of limitations window, it is extremely important that you have a knowledgeable spinal cord injury lawyer advocating for you as soon as possible. If the two years have almost run in your case, your lawyer can promptly file a lawsuit on your behalf and pursue the damages you deserve through the litigation process.
Recoverable Damages in a Spinal Cord Injury Case
Accident victims who suffer spinal cord injuries often face lifelong complications. Fortunately, these complications are legally compensable via a personal injury claim or a lawsuit.
The total damages that an accident victim may recover for their spinal cord injury depends upon a variety of factors. Those factors include the type of injury that occurred, whether paralysis is involved, and the necessity for round-the-clock care.
First, if you suffered a relatively minor spinal cord injury and you had to miss time from work, you may be eligible to raise a lost wage claim. To legally prove these damages, your lawyer will need to obtain earnings statements and other financial information from your employer, which shows the work dates that you missed—and the amount of monetary compensation you lost.
Moreover, some spinal cord injuries are permanent in nature. As a result, to keep working, the accident victim may need to switch jobs or careers. When that happens, the accident victim can file a claim for loss of earning capacity.
Spinal cord injuries can also be excruciating and may cause the accident victim to experience lifelong symptoms. Accident victims may be eligible for past pain-and-suffering damages, beginning on their accident date and lasting until the present time. Moreover, if a medical provider determines—to a reasonable degree of medical probability—that your spinal cord injury is permanent, you may be eligible for future pain and suffering damages. These damages compensate accident victims for their symptoms, as well as for their anticipated inconvenience going forward.
Spinal cord injury victims may also become unable to care for themselves and complete daily living tasks without assistance. Their quality of life may decrease dramatically, and they may be unable to spend time with family members and friends as they once did. In these circumstances, the accident victim may be eligible to recover compensation for their lost quality of life and loss of life enjoyment.
Moreover, if the accident victim suffered a full or partial paralysis injury that limits their bodily movements or sensation, they can assert a claim for loss of use of a body part.
If the accident victim’s spinal cord or paralysis injury limits their ability to be intimate with their spouse, they can make a claim for loss of spousal companionship or consortium.
Finally, if the accident victim becomes unable to care for themselves and requires around-the-clock attendants, they can recover compensation for those expenses as well.
A knowledgeable and compassionate spinal cord injury lawyer in your area can review your case with you and determine which of these damages you may be eligible to recover as part of your claim or lawsuit. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you maximize your compensation and make you whole again to the greatest extent possible.
Call an Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Your Area Today
Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe injuries that an accident victim may suffer. While at-fault individuals and entities do not intentionally cause spinal cord injuries and other complications, the law holds them accountable for their negligent actions and inactions. That is where the personal injury claims-filing process comes into play. Spinal cord injuries are life-changing events. There will be a lot of things to focus on, and you should let your lawyer handle your legal battles.
A compassionate Edmonton personal injury lawyer in your area can file the necessary claim on your behalf—or, if necessary, file a lawsuit in the court system—seeking monetary damages. Your lawyer can then highlight the strengths of your claim while downplaying any weaknesses and introduce medical testimony at a deposition or trial. Your lawyer will work hard to ensure that you recover the highest amount of compensation available in your personal injury claim or lawsuit.