If a spinal cord injury happened in an accident, contacting a Stuart spinal cord injury lawyer could be the beginning to recover the oncoming expenses by filing a lawsuit.
A Stuart spinal cord injury lawyer has litigated many of these cases and offers a free, no-obligation consultation to hear the facts and determine if they comprise the basis of a lawsuit to achieve monetary damages.
Experienced catastrophic injury attorneys work on contingency. If they win the lawsuit or achieve a settlement, their fee is a portion of the money that is awarded, but losing the case means they do not get paid.
Spinal Cord Accidents
A spinal cord injury that causes severe paralysis of the body’s trunk, legs, or an arm is classified in Florida law as a catastrophic injury because the injury is a permanent impairment. The Mayo Clinic adds that a spinal cord injury produces life-long changes in sensation, strength, and bodily functions below where the injury occurred.
The Spinal Cord Injury Journal reports that most of these injuries are caused by four types of events:
- Automotive wrecks, 36.5 percent
- Falling, 28.5 percent
- Violent acts that include shootings, 14.3 percent
- Sporting accidents, 9.2 percent
Applicable Law in Spinal Cord Cases
Expenses for spinal cord injuries can be recovered if the injury was because of the negligence of someone or a business entity.
Negligence is legally defined as a reasonable person who fails to use proper care toward others or acts in a manner that a reasonable person would not act.
In Florida, the comparative negligence standard applies. Under this law, a person who is partially responsible for causing harm or property damage cannot claim all the damages incurred. For example, someone who is 80 percent at fault can only claim 20 percent of the damages.
Burden of Proof
Proving negligence centers on a person having a legal duty of care toward another. For example, motorists share the road and therefore owe a duty of care toward other drivers.
A breach is committing some act that violates the required duty, and but for the breach, the accident would not have happened, which is called causation, and the result of the breach is a financial loss or injury called damages.
Spinal Cord Injury Damages
Long-term medical care, surgeries, and therapeutic treatment far exceed the income of average families, costing between $1.07 million and $4.5 million over a lifetime, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.
Typical damages available to those who sustained a spinal cord injury are:
- Medical and surgical expenses
- Therapeutic treatments, including equipment purchased or rented
- Loss of current and future income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
- Property damage
- Punitive damages, if the negligent act was egregious
Statute of Limitations in Florida
In Florida, an injured person must file a lawsuit within two years of the injury. Missing the deadline can prevent the case from ever going forward.
How a Stuart Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Can Help
Stuart spinal cord injury lawyers will keep the injured person informed throughout the legal process, beginning with gathering all the evidence necessary to prove the case. The attorney will develop the lawsuit and calculate the amount of damages to be sought.
Often in severe injury cases, an expert witness may be necessary to explain complex spinal cord injury information to a judge or jury and to refute the defendant’s view of the case.