How much your spinal cord injury is worth in a lawsuit depends on many factors unique to your situation. Generally, the more severe your condition, the more you can request from the liable party.
To learn more about your case’s value, consider consulting a personal injury lawyer. They can evaluate your circumstances and put a dollar amount on your economic and non-economic damages.
An Attorney Can Calculate How Much a Spinal Cord Injury Is Worth in a Lawsuit
Someone who sustains a spinal cord injury faces significant challenges in their daily life. Not only will they have extensive medical bills, but they could also lose their ability to work and participate in their favorite hobbies.
If this sounds familiar, you have options. A Criminal attorney can identify your losses and calculate their values. They can consider these factors in their calculations:
Your Lost Time From Work
Suffering a spinal cord injury can jeopardize your financial stability. The longer you miss work, the more money you could request for your lost tips, wages, bonuses, and commissions.
Your Estimated Recovery Period
Mayo Clinic reports that you can’t fully recover from some spinal cord injuries. Yet, with physical therapy, treatment, and mobility equipment you could regain some independence. Your body’s response to treatment determines your necessary care expenses, which all contribute to your settlement’s value.
Your Condition’s Severity
Every accident case is unique, and the severity of a spinal cord injury can impact so many aspects of a personal injury case. These injuries are life-altering, but some victims may qualify for higher compensation because of the long-term effects of the injury. A lawyer can consider your condition’s severity when calculating your recoverable losses.
Your Quality of Life
Your case’s value isn’t just about your financial losses. It should account for your quality of life, too.
When learning about your day-to-day function, a lawyer can consider whether:
- You can live independently.
- You require assistive devices.
- You can continue working (and, if so, in what capacity)
- You require ongoing mental health services.
Your lawyer may consider additional factors than those listed here when determining what you deserve from the liable party. Those factors may include your relationships with others, modifications to your family home, and other pertinent details.
The Exact Details of Your Accident
When arguing your case in court, juries consider some cases to be more compelling than others. For instance, they may award more compensation in a nursing home abuse case than in a collision.
Other details they may consider include:
- Your age
- The accident’s cause
- Your life before the accident
Each of these things can get subjective. Yet, your lawyer can make sense of it all and fight for what you need.
The Two Categories of Your Compensable Losses
Your compensable losses may constitute:
Economic damages intend to make the injured party “financially whole again” by accounting for their direct monetary losses. Each person could recover different types of economic damages based on different circumstances and factors.
Examples of losses you could recover include:
- Medical bills: You could recover the cost of any spinal cord injury-related medical care through a claim or lawsuit. Medical care could include hospitalizations, surgeries, prescription medications, over-the-counter medication, doctors’ appointments, diagnostic testing, and emergency room care.
- Future medical bills: Many spinal cord injuries will require care far into the future. A personal injury attorney can calculate your estimated care costs to learn what you need.
- Rehabilitative care: Spinal cord injury victims generally require rehabilitative therapies to increase their mobility and independence. Examples of rehabilitative therapies include physical therapy and occupational therapy—both of which are compensable.
- Assistive devices: If the injured party cannot walk because of their injury, they could require a wheelchair. They could also require a vehicle that can transport them in said wheelchair.
- Lost income: Because spinal cord injuries can significantly decrease mobility, the injured party could lose their ability to work. If this happens, they can recover compensation for the work they missed. They can also recover diminished future earning capacity if they can work, but not in the same capacity.
- Out-of-pocket injury-related expenses. You may have spent money out of pocket on certain items, such as assistive devices, in-home help, and over-the-counter medications.
As noted, an attorney can review your case to identify your economic damages. They can then gather documentation to prove these losses’ value. This documentation can include bills, invoices, and receipts.
Non-economic damages compensate the injured party for their physical and emotional turmoil. Although they aren’t associated with tangible monetary values, there are still ways to determine their worth.
Examples of non-economic damages in a spinal cord injury case include:
- Pain and suffering: Spinal cord injuries could cause someone to experience excruciating pain. Here, the injured party could recover compensation for that pain through a claim or lawsuit.
- Emotional distress: Losing mobility or feeling in the extremities can cause emotional distress. Injury victims could have to deal with anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or sleep issues because of their injuries.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. A spinal cord injury can transform your life as you know it. Through a lawsuit, you could recover damages that account for the negative changes in your day-to-day life.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. An attorney can help you achieve that goal.
Can I Get Punitive Damages Through a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
Sometimes, judges award punitive damages in cases of extreme negligence or wrongdoing. For instance, a judge may compel a serial drunk driver to pay punitive damages after causing yet another collision. However, whether you can recover punitive damages depends on your situation and the judge overseeing your case. Your lawyer can assess your lawsuit’s details and fight for all of the compensation you realistically could recover.
There Is No Average Settlement Value for Spinal Cord Injury Cases
Many spinal cord injury cases never see the inside of a courtroom. They resolve between the injured party and the liable insurance company. These outcomes are generally confidential and not known to the general public.
Without a functioning database, there is no way to know the average settlement for a spinal cord injury case. As noted, everyone’s case is different and therefore has a different monetary value. If you work with a lawyer, they can assess what you’re owed based on your situation.
You Have a Limited Time to Seek Compensation Through a Lawsuit
Each state limits how long you have to file a civil lawsuit. You could have anywhere from a few months to a few years to file, depending on where you live. It’s vital that you act within the appropriate timeline, or you could lose the right to sue. This is yet another reason why you may consider partnering with a personal injury lawyer. They can file your case within the statute of limitations and advocate for your rights in court.
Many States Don’t Cap How Much You Could Seek Through a Lawsuit
Many states don’t limit how much plaintiffs can request in personal injury lawsuits. This means there’s no limit to what you can request from the liable party. Take Georgia, for instance. It doesn’t cap your recoverable damages unless you suffered harm as a result of medical malpractice.
Don’t discourage yourself from seeking restitution because the amount you’re requesting seems high. A lawyer can determine if any limitations apply to your case, and they will work hard to seek fair compensation for your losses. You deserve compensation for each of your injury-related losses, no matter the expense.
Steps to Take After an Accident Leads to a Spinal Cord Injury
You reasonably want as much compensation as possible in the aftermath of your spinal cord injury. The steps you take after your accident could bolster your case and, by extension, how much you can recover. If possible, you should consider:
Seeking Medical Care
You need medical documentation to support your case, such as:
- Imaging scan results, including X-rays and MRIs
- Lab test results
- Testimony from your healthcare team
- Your treatment plan
- Your medical records
- Your medications
- Notes from a mental health professional
For your case to succeed, it must assert that because you suffered a spinal cord injury, you have damages. The information above asserts that you suffered an injury and sought medical attention, for which you want compensation.
Following Your Doctor’s Orders
For your lawsuit to succeed, you must show that you did everything possible to better your condition. This may include taking medications responsibly, attending physical therapy, and limiting your physical activity. You might have concerns about affording medical care and feel tempted to forgo medical assistance. Yet, through legal action, you could recover those losses.
Filing an Accident Report or a Police Report
Depending on how or where the accident occurred, file an accident report. This may include notifying law enforcement or a property owner of the incident. Be honest about what happened, and avoid speculating about who caused your injury. Later on, your lawyer can use the accident report’s details to supplement your case.
Refusing to Give a Recorded Statement
The liable insurance company may ask you to give a recorded statement. Here’s some friendly advice: don’t give one. The insurance company hopes that while giving a statement, you’ll share information that could hurt your case. Only supply the liable insurer with the information it absolutely needs, like your contact information and other related details.
What Are the Benefits of Working With a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
Partnering with a Personal Injury lawyer in Augusta can help you recover compensation.
- Manage all communications. Speaking with the insurance company and opposing counsel may feel daunting, especially after sustaining an injury. A personal injury attorney can take over all communications, so you can focus on recovering.
- Offer guidance through your case. By representing yourself, you risk constantly asking: “Am I doing the right thing?” With a lawyer’s insight, you get peace of mind knowing you have all the information needed to make informed decisions.
- Determine how much your case is worth. Your lawyer can calculate your economic and non-economic damages by reviewing your situation. They can also explain whether the judge could award punitive damages.
- Negotiate with the other party. Your lawyer may first try to resolve your case through negotiations with the insurance company. This involves presenting your case’s evidence, managing communications, and protecting you from aggressive insurance tactics.
- Represent you in court. There are many obligations that go into pursuing a lawsuit, from managing your case’s deadlines to following courtroom procedure. A lawyer can handle all of them.
Many personal injury attorneys don’t charge upfront fees or costs for their legal services. In this arrangement, you could retain a lawyer’s help without paying anything out of pocket.
A Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Prove Negligence
You must establish negligence to have a successful injury case.
The elements of negligence include:
- Duty of care: The other party had a duty of care to act in a safe manner that would not harm others.
- Breach of duty: The other party breached their duty by not acting in a safe manner like a reasonable person would in the same situation.
- Causation: The other party’s actions caused your spinal cord injury.
- Damages: Finally, you must assert that you have damages because of the spinal cord injury. Damages could include medical bills, loss of enjoyment of life, pain, and suffering, and lost income.
Bottom line: how much you can recover through a spinal cord injury lawsuit depends on your situation. When you partner with a lawyer, you get peace of mind knowing that someone’s advocating for your best interests.