Severe injuries to the spinal column can result in permanent disabilities requiring long term expenses, including rehabilitation care, nursing and home care, transportation expenses, and future costs of medical care, including revision surgeries. According to published data, the average lifetime cost for an individual who has suffered a severe form of spinal cord injury can average between $1 Million and $2 Million dollars. Such astronomical costs can cause financial ruin for victims and their families who are already reeling from the devastating injury.
What is the Value of A Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Severity of the Spinal Cord Injury
The overall value of a personal injury claim is primarily dependent on the severity of the injury suffered. What makes this complicated in spinal cord injury lawsuits is that you may not notice or be aware of the extent of the injury until professional neurological evaluations are conducted. While you may experience some symptoms of a head injury, it is only after a proper examination that we can have a full understanding of injuries. Brain injuries are generally categorized in minor, mild and severe types. However, regardless of the classification, each type of spinal cord injury carries its own impact. Some of the most common types of spinal cord injury are as follows
- Paralysis – The loss of the ability to move a part of or most of the body due to spinal injury.
- Quadriplegia – Loss of movement over all four limbs of the body (also known as tetraplegia).
- Paraplegia – Loss of movement and sensation of the legs and lower body.
- Partial Paralysis – Partial immobility of a limb, fingers, or toes due to spinal cord damage.
- Spinal Contusions – Bruising of the spinal column.
Life Care Costs:
The majority of individuals with spinal cord injuries will require some degree of life care, which may include nursing care, home care, expenses for transportation, and at-home education. In many cases, such care becomes the responsibility of family members and loved ones who are unable to work or seek higher levels of employment. Such costs may not seem much in the short term; however, spinal cord injuries are more likely than not to be permanent, which will result in aggregated Lifecare costs spiraling into the hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars.
Age at the Time of Injury
Age is an important factor in any injury. For example, if a minor suffered a serious injury, the value of that injury will be more than if he were much older. Courts will consider how this injury has impacted the quality of life for that injured party. Generally speaking, if the injury took place at a young age, it can be considered a more life impacting injury. Regardless of the point in the person’s life, a spinal cord injury can have long lasting impacts. However, courts will consider the expected time the injured party will need to live or cope with this injury. These are critical factors in helping understand or evaluate the elements of your potential head injury case.
Present and Future Medical Bills and Rehabilitation Expenses
Medical bills provide a number for which the insurance companies will assess the degree of damage. It is common that the extent of bodily damages to a person would be reflected on his or her medical bills. However, this is not always the case. In certain situations, you can suffer significant injuries which are not reflected on medical bills.
Usually when you file an injury claim your attorney will review all medical records. This is often referred to as “special damages” or “specials.” Once your attorney reviews the medical bills and specials, it is possible to get a better understanding of your case value.
Loss of Income and Loss or Reduction of Future Earnings Resulting from a Disability
Loss of income is a significant element of a spinal cord injury claim. Here is how it works: you evaluate what your earnings were before the accident and you consider how that will be impacted after the accident. Loss of earnings essentially calculates how much your earning capacity has decreased as a result of this accident.
In order to obtain an accurate figure, a vocational expert will be brought in. Vocational experts will consider factors such as age, earning capacity, family earning capacity, social status, and more to come up with a valid number. This number will then be presented as part of your demand for damages.
Life Impact – Pain and Suffering
Life impact is perhaps the single most important element. How has this changed you? How has your life been different as a result of this accident? What are you not able to enjoy any longer? This is the most human element of your claim. It analyzes what you have lost not in terms of dollars, but in terms of quality of life. Some term this as the suffering element of your claim.
To determine this, psychological evaluations will be conducted. Additionally, it is always advisable to keep a journal. Often times, what a jury or judge finds most profound is not the expert testimony, but the story from the injured party. Stories such as how Christmas or Thanksgiving are different. These are all facts which should be recorded in a journal where possible.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury: Paralysis Paraplegia and Quadriplegia: Some of the most common causes of spinal cord damage in the United States are as follows:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Medical Malpractice or Surgical errors
- Boating Accidents
- Sports Injuries
- Skiing Accidents
- Dog bites
- Workplace Accidents
- Construction accident
Second Opinion on Your Spinal Cord Injury
Many times, clients will come to us with questions about the average value of a spinal cord injury case because they are curious if their current attorneys are misrepresenting them. Some lawyers aim to settle cases as quickly as possible for reduced amounts because it means they get quicker paychecks. The more cases they settle, the more money they make, even if they aren’t making a lot on each one. Clients may feel pressured by both their attorneys and the insurance agencies to settle quickly – in these cases, the client does not benefit at all.
If you feel that you are not being offered a fair amount of compensation for your claim, contact us for a free second opinion. We’ll be glad to tell you what we think you should be earning and whether or not your current lawyer is acting in bad faith and intentionally lowballing your settlement so he can move on to the next case. Don’t let your current attorney or an insurance agency take advantage of you – let us help and bring you the compensation you deserve.
What an Attorney Can Do for You – Filing a Spinal Cord Injury Case
Always remember that healing is the most important part of your claim. Before attorneys, insurance adjusters or any other aspect, focus on healing. Remember you have certain timelines to follow, so make sure you are educated on these matters with regards to any decision you make. Victims of severe injuries are entitled to monetary compensation for damages from all at-fault parties including recovery for
- All present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation care and nursing home care
- Transportation expenses
- Lost Wages and future reduction of income due to disability
- Pain and Suffering including emotional grief and depression
- Punitive damages – where possible
Contacting an Attorney – When contacting our Law Offices you will immediately speak with a personal injury attorney that can provide you with a free no cost consultation regarding the potential value of your case and the best legal course of action so that you can receive the financial compensation you deserve. Our offices are available to field your call 24 hours per day and 7 days a week.