What Qualifies for a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran
Because of the effects a spinal cord injury can have on both your health and finances, you may be wondering whether your particular situation qualifies you to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit. While the best way to answer this is to consult with a personal injury attorney specializing in spinal cord injuries, you can learn more about the process by researching the legal basis for a successful spinal cord injury lawsuit.
How is a Spinal Cord Injury Defined?
Damage to your spinal cord that leads to partial or full loss of sensation and motor control results in a diagnosis of a spinal cord injury. Because the spinal cord controls or affects several critical bodily functions, including breathing and maintaining body temperature, this type of injury can lead to a range of serious health issues, including permanent ones.
The severity of your injury plays a significant role in whether you can file a lawsuit, and the amount of compensation you can receive, making it essential to know the different classifications.
- Tetraplegia: Also referred to as quadriplegia, these are the most severe spinal cord injuries, causing different degrees of paralysis of the limbs and interference with routine bodily functions.
- Paraplegia: As a result of damage to the thoracic spinal cord, movement and sensation are eliminated from the lower half of the body.
- Triplegia: Triplegia results in the loss of movement and sensation in an arm and both legs.
Your doctor can make a more in-depth medical diagnosis depending on your particular injury. Hiring a personal injury lawyer with a medical background helps your case immensely since they can better understand your case’s medical terminology and help you prepare for any future problems your condition could cause. Instead of your lawyer needing to ask for clarification from medical experts, they can immediately start working on your case, getting you your compensation faster.
How Did the Spinal Cord Injury Occur and Who is Responsible?
According to the renowned National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 17,810 new spinal cord injuries occur each year within the United States.
Common causes of spinal cord injuries include car accidents, slip-and-falls, sports injuries, medical malpractice, and violent acts by another person. To qualify for a spinal injury lawsuit, another person or entity must be responsible in some way for your injury.
Identifying the responsible party isn’t always simple. A dedicated spinal cord injury attorney can help you determine who to include in your lawsuit. Once identified, you must prove the other party failed to meet a clear duty of care, resulting in negligence. If that is not possible, another option is to prove the party acted intentionally to cause harm.
The most common responsible parties in a spinal cord injury lawsuit include:
- Individuals, such as the other driver in a car crash
- Businesses that fail to provide a safe environment
- Medical personnel failing to provide a standard level of care
- Product manufacturers responsible for a defective product
There is often more than one responsible party. For example, if you suffer a spinal cord injury in a crash with a commercial truck, the driver, as well as the truck’s owner, may be responsible. You can sue multiple parties and recover damages from each one.
Another factor that may weigh heavily in your lawsuit is if an additional party caused your injury to worsen. This may be an emergency room doctor failing to treat your injury in a timely manner, even though you promptly showed up for medical attention.
What if the Responsible Party Cannot Afford to Pay?
No one takes filing a lawsuit against another lightly. Unfortunately, people who sustain a spinal cord injury experience undeserved pain and suffering and extensive financial hardship due to medical bills and lost wages. Many times, injured parties must seek out the responsible party and get just compensation to help pay expenses and get through the months and years ahead.
Occasionally, the responsible party cannot pay the large sums required. What do you do then? One way to move forward with a lawsuit is to identify any additional responsible parties and include them in your claim.
Skilled personal injury law attorneys, like those with Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., in Michigan, can review your case and determine if another party may be at least partially responsible. This might be a manufacturer of a product involved or an employer who failed to run background checks on its employees.
Finding The Evidence For Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Compiling evidence for your lawsuit is paramount before and after its filing. Without sufficient evidence, even if your accident qualifies you for a lawsuit, it could fail, leaving you with no compensation. The following qualifies as types of evidence in a spinal injury lawsuit:
- Medical records: All records relating to your medical treatments are essential. You must have enough evidence to prove the responsible party caused your spinal cord injury. These records can also show additional conditions incurred, such as traumatic brain injuries, which you may want to include in your lawsuit.
- Witness statements: Statements from anyone witnessing the events surrounding your injury can help your case. Collect these as soon as possible, as memory fades the longer you wait. Your lawyer may call these witnesses to testify if your case goes to court.
- Employment and wage records: Lost income and loss of earning capacity resulting from your injury both play crucial roles in your lawsuit and the amounts you can recover.
- Other types of evidence: Additional evidence, such as police reports, videos, and audio recordings, may also serve as evidence. If an employer or manufacturer is included in the lawsuit, particular records relating to the employee or product involved can help prove their negligence.
Your personal injury lawyer helps you determine what evidence exists and how to get it all to prove your case. This way, you’ll be prepared whether you settle with insurance companies or go all the way to trial.
How Long Do I Have to File a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for filing a spinal cord injury case lawsuit is three years. There are instances where this might be extended, but don’t risk the chance of losing the ability to file. Contact a personal injury attorney at our law firm as soon as possible after your accident to ensure you file within the designated timeframe and receive the representation and compensation you deserve.
Call the Top Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers in Michigan Today
A spinal cord injury involves physical, mental, and emotional damages and can lead to financial hardship for you and your family for the rest of your life. For these reasons, you need competent legal representation to successfully file and win your spinal cord injury lawsuit. Contact Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C., today at 866-MICH-LAW to schedule your free consultation.
Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.