Whether a spinal injury results from a car accident, a fall, or some other cause, the impact on the lives of spinal injury victims and families can be devastating. The lifetime medical costs associated with spinal injuries can be enormous and life-altering. Fortunately, an experienced spinal cord injury attorney can help you and your family get the justice and compensation you deserve to live a happy and fulfilling life.
At Hickey Law Firm, our lawyers have the experience and knowledge to help you during this difficult time. We will utilize our expansive medical network to ensure expert opinions are utilized to strengthen your case.
If you are in the Miami area and would like to learn more about how our spinal cord injury lawyers can help you with your personal injury case, give our office a call at 305-371-8000 to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves located in your backbone. It carries messages between your brain and the rest of your body. When your spinal cord is damaged, it can result in a partial loss of motor control or sensation in specific areas of your body. These kinds of injuries can leave patients fully or partially paralyzed, including:
- Paraplegic: when someone is paralyzed from the waist down.
- Quadriplegic: when someone is paralyzed in all four limbs.
Because your spinal cord controls various functions, including breathing, body temperature and bladder function, accident victims can experience numerous permanent and other serious health problems.
What Causes a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries usually result from a traumatic injury or blow to the spine. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Slips, trips and falls
- Acts of violence (gunshots, stab wounds, assaults etc.)
- Recreational sports
Spinal cord injuries can also sometimes occur when a surgical mistake is made during an operation. This would constitute medical malpractice.
Fortunately, if you or someone you love has sustained a spinal cord injury, depending on the circumstances that surround your case you may be entitled to compensation. That's where an experienced spinal cord injury attorney comes into play.
How Can a Spinal Cord Injury Case be Proven?
Spinal cord injury (SCI) must be diagnosed by a qualified medical provider. If your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence, it will be important that an investigation take place to establish liability and uncover all contributing factors. It may be necessary to work with accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, and other experts to build a solid SCI case.
How Long Does it Take to Settle a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
Most personal injury claims settle within 12 months. If your case is particularly complex, it may take longer to settle. Claims that end up going to trial can take up to two years.
Who Can File a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
Victims of SCI can file a spinal cord injury claim. So too can the parents or legal guardians of minor or dependent children and adults. The best way to learn about your eligibility to file a claim is by talking to an experienced spinal cord injury attorney.
If a spinal cord injury results in death, immediate family members and a select few others may be able to file a wrongful death claim. As with standards SCI claims, this is something best discussed with an experienced attorney.
Is There a Statute of Limitations on Filing a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
In the state of Florida, you have four years from the date of an accident to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit. This clock starts from the date of the accident, not the date you discover your injury.
It is best to file a claim as soon as possible following SCI. Waiting to file can cause complications in building your case and may end up costing you part or all of your settlement. Most personal injury attorneys will even come to consult with you in the hospital to help ensure no time is wasted.
Please remember: your initial consultation with an attorney should be free of cost and obligation. If you are not happy with a specific attorney or a firm, keep looking. You are never bound to a lawyer simply because they come to talk with you.
How is Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury Determined?
Two types of compensatory damages may be sought in a personal injury claim:
- Special Compensatory Damages. These include economic damages that can be proven, such as medical expenses, lost wages, and any other demonstrable monetary consequence of your injury
- General Compensatory Damages. Sometimes known as “pain and suffering,” these damages account for things that have no fixed monetary value such as physical pain, emotional suffering, changes to quality of life, and inconvenience caused by your injury
If you settle with an insurance company before talking to a lawyer, they will likely use a standard formula to determine what your claim is worth. This formula is unlikely to cover general damages and may place a cap on special damages.
If you work with a lawyer, he or she will seek full compensation for special damages and maximum compensation for general damages. The amount your attorney seeks will be based on the ways your injury has and will continue to impact your health and happiness, not on an arbitrary, one-size-fits-all formula.
In nearly every case, working with an attorney will result in seeking a more substantial settlement.
What Can Compensation Cover?
Working with a skilled attorney who understands the legal process associated with these kinds of injuries can help you and your family obtain the compensation you deserve. Compensation awarded in spinal cord injury cases can be used to continually pay for life expenses. However, the money can also be used to cover other costs, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Current and ongoing medical expenses
- Lost wages
- In home care
Our team of dedicated lawyers will help fight for your rights. Together, we will work tirelessly to help you get the justice and compensation you and your family deserve.
The Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers at Hickey Law Firm Can Help
The spinal cord injury lawyers at Hickey Law Firm have years of combined experience we will put to work for you. Using our network of medical professionals, we will continually strengthen your case to ensure your family remains financially, emotionally and physically stable throughout this difficult time.
If you are in the Miami area and would like to discuss your case with our spinal cord injury attorneys, give our office a call at 305-371-8000 to schedule your free consultation. We are proud to serve clients in Miami, South Florida and around the world.