Spinal cord injuries are potentially very serious and could be life threatening. The worst case scenario for anyone who has had a serious accident and had severe damage to their spinal cord is when they end up in a wheelchair for the rest of their life or need lifelong support and help.
In these circumstances, if you think that you weren’t responsible for the accident that caused your spinal cord injury, you should very seriously consider taking legal action.
A personal injury claim may be necessary for you to allow you to live the rest of your life in as much comfort as is possible. What you can claim for depends on the state you had the accident in, but at least should cover all current and potential future medical costs, as well as all lost income, including all future losses.
In some states, you may be able to claim for things like ‘pain and suffering’ or punitive damages. The latter may be awarded if it can be shown that the at-fault party was particularly negligent.
Why Spinal Cord Injuries are So Important
There are some injuries that will never really affect your life that much. However, the spinal cord is such an important organ that any sort of damage to it could be permanent and lead to loss of feeling or movement that will probably never be reversed.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerve fibers that lead down from the brain through a central cavity in the backbone or spine, really a large number of interconnected bones. The severity of a spinal cord injury depends some different factors, including:
- where the spinal cord has been damaged;
- whether the accident cut the nerves completely or just pressed against them; and
- if surgery can repair any partial damage.
At present, medical technology cannot yet replace nerve fibers that have been cut. If the spinal cord has been severed in the neck, all feeling and movement below that level will have been lost.
The degree of severity of the injury is less the lower the point in the back where the damage has been done.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Personal Injury Claims
If the accident that caused your spinal cord injury was caused by someone else and you were not at fault, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. If your injury is severe and you expect to be disabled for the rest of your life, it is vital that you consider any sort of legal action that is available to you as the total cost of adapting to your injury is likely to be much greater than you can afford yourself.
Each state has slightly different rules when it comes to what you can claim for. You may find that you are able to make a partial claim, even if it is decided that you were partially responsible for your own injuries.
Evidence that backs up your claim is vital as it is up to you and any attorney you hire to demonstrate who was at fault. You must also have well documented evidence to show how much the treatment and ongoing support is going to cost you into the future.
Don’t Try and Settle a Claim By Yourself
Because of the complexities of state personal injury law and the need for rigorous evidence it is strongly advised you seek the most experienced attorney you can find for any very serious injury like a spinal cord injury.
Don’t negotiate with an insurer without consulting with your attorney first. Such an offer may fall well short of what you really need to cope with life in the future.