Spinal cord injuries are more than painful—they’re frightening. In many cases you may be uncertain about your future. Will I ever recover? How severe are my injuries, and how will I pay for them? Who is legally liable? You don’t have to face these questions alone.
Let us match you with a qualified lawyer for free. We can give you a FREE phone consultation to go over your questions, evaluate your claim, and help you decide what you need to do next. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.
What are the most common types of spinal cord injuries?
Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord itself is damaged due to an accident or other trauma. There are two main types:
- Incomplete spinal cord injuries mean the spinal cord is partially severed. People with incomplete injuries still have some ability to function in the affected areas. The level of functioning will depend on how serious the injuries are. Incomplete injuries can sometimes lead to paralysis on only one side of the body.
- Complete spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is completely severed. A complete spinal cord injury typically means losing all function in the affected parts of the body.
Different parts of the spinal cord regulate different parts of the body. This means that the effects of a spinal cord injury will depend on the part of the spinal cord that was injured. In general, injuries that occur closest to the head are the most severe. Here are the major areas that might be affected in a spinal cord injury:
- The cervical spinal cord connects the spinal cord to the brain. It includes 8 vertebrae, identified as C1-C8. Injuries in this area can cause quadriplegia (paralysis in both arms and legs) and patients with injuries at the upper vertebrae may be unable to breathe on their own.
- The thoracic spinal cord is the middle part of the spinal cord. Its vertebrae are numbered T1-T12. Injuries to the thoracic spinal cord may lead to paraplegia (paralysis in the legs).
- The lumbar spinal cord is in the lower back, where it begins to bend inward. There are five lumbar vertebrae, L1-L5. Injuries to the lumbar spinal cord can cause paraplegia, but there may still be some muscle function in the legs.
Who is “at fault” in a spinal injury claim?
Many spinal cord injuries are caused by car accidents. Some victims are drivers or passengers, while others were struck while walking or bicycling. In any of these cases, the person whose carelessness, or “negligence” caused the accident is legally at fault. A driver doesn’t have to break a law, be exceptionally reckless or hit you intentionally to be found negligent. Negligence just means a driver wasn’t as careful as he or she should have been. Examples of negligent behavior include distracted driving, following too closely or running a stop sign.
When a driver is at fault, their insurance must pay ALL of the costs and damages for everyone involved in the accident. In some cases, it is easy to tell who was at fault. For example, rear end accidents are usually caused by the driver in back. But in other cases, fault is much more complicated. There may be multiple causes, there may be criminal acts like DUI involved, or there may be a product malfunction that requires extensive investigation. In these types of cases, it is critical to have legal help to make sure the proper parties are held accountable.
How much money am I entitled to in a spinal cord injury claim?
Financial recovery for a spinal cord injury accident depends on the cost of your injury, so there is no one-size-fits-all formula for predicting what you will recover. However, there are certain types of costs that a typical spinal cord patient will be eligible for. These include:
- Medical expenses, including hospitals, doctors, tests and more
- Prescription drug costs
- Rehabilitation such as physical therapy
- Lost wages to make up for time you have missed from work because of your injury
- Assistive equipment such as wheelchairs that help you compensate for the loss of function in your body
Because spinal cord injuries are severe and often permanent, many people with spinal cord injuries recover additional large amounts of money. This money may be awarded for pain and suffering, permanent disabilities, or your spouse’s loss of your company and assistance. Money can’t bring your old life back, but it can help you support your family while you continue working toward the maximum recovery possible.
I have an offer from the insurance company. Why do I need a lawyer?
An insurance company’s offer can feel like a godsend when you are struggling to come to terms with a serious injury. The trouble is, that insurance company offer will almost never be enough to pay for your treatment and care, especially for a long-term condition like a spinal cord injury. The insurance company knows this, but it hopes you will accept the quick cash and sign away your right to ever recover any more. This is how insurance companies make a profit.
Atlanta car accident law firms can spot these kinds of tricks and prevent you from being taken advantage of. We start off every claim by making sure you are seeing doctors who are qualified to diagnose and treat your condition. We may bring in experts to go over your medical records and estimate the full amount your injury will cost in medical care and lost income over the rest of your life. Armed with these numbers, we drive a hard bargain with insurance companies to get you the full amount you deserve. We take care of the legal side so you can focus on your injuries.
Talk to an Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer for Free
Our lawyers have a long track record for helping accident victims get the money they need. Our payment policy is simple: we don’t charge you unless we win money for you. Let us give you a FREE consultation to talk about your case and explain your options—with no obligation. Call us at (404) 341-6555 or fill out the form to the right to get your free consultation today.