Spinal Cord Injury: Basic Facts
Spinal cord injury occurs when there is any damage to the spinal cord that blocks communication between the brain and the body. After a spinal cord injury, a person’s sensory, motor and reflex messages are affected and may not be able to get past the damage in the spinal cord. In general, the higher on the spinal cord the injury occurs, the more dysfunction the person will experience. Injuries are referred to as complete or incomplete, based on whether any movement and sensation occur at or below the level of injury.
The most important – and sometimes frustrating – thing to know is that each person’s recovery from spinal cord injury is different.
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Diving into shallow water
Spinal cord injuries affect more men than women. The majority of people who sustain a spinal cord injury are young adults between the ages of 16 and 30 because of riskier behaviors.
- Cancer Osteoporosis
- Multiple sclerosis
- Inflammation of the spinal cord
The effects of spinal cord injury may include the following:
- Loss of movement
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflex actions or spasms
- Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
- Pain or intense stinging sensation
source: The Shepherd Center
Steps Involved In Filing A Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
A personal injury, particularly one as serious as a spinal cord injury is likely to cost you anywhere from tens of thousands to millions of dollars and can even lead to permanent loss or reduction of income. If another party was at fault for the injury, you shouldn’t have to pay for their mistakes.
What to expect in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
It is worth noting that every lawsuit will be different and the circumstances that surround each case will be unique. While the injury, facts surrounding the case, case handling, and other factors will differ from one case to the next the basic steps outlined below typically remain the same.
Step 1: Contact legal counsel
As with any major injury, the first step after getting medical treatment is to contact a qualified legal professional to find out what your options are and how to protect your rights.
The first meeting with a spinal injury lawyer focuses on discussing the grounds for your potential case. It involves a detailed conversation and questions about the injury, circumstances, and its effect on your life/livelihood.
Step 2: Reviewing the Contract with the Lawyer
Lawyers typically review what the legal representation contract looks like. Spinal injury lawyers often use a contingency fee agreement, which means that he/she does not get paid unless there’s recovery either through a settlement or a trial.
This stage of your spinal injury lawsuit will be the perfect opportunity to discuss with your lawyer the possibility of having him/her recover their fees from the negligent party rather than from the trial payment or settlement that you receive.
Step 3: The Lawyer Gets Started with Research
Once you sign a contract with the lawyer, the investigation period of the spinal injury lawsuit commences. During the investigation, the lawyer attempts to collect as much evidence as possible pertaining to your case.
The lawyer will also identify all potential avenues of recovery, including corporations, individuals, and available insurance policies. This may also include your own insurance policy in case you have an uninsured motorist policy.
Step 4: Communication with Insurance Companies Starts
Your spinal injury lawyer will correspond back and forth with any insurance companies involved in your claim. This phase of the lawsuit can take several months to complete between your spinal injury lawyer and other parties.
Step 5: Deciding Whether or Not to Go to Trial or Agree to a Settlement
The spinal injury lawyer will act in your best interest by providing legal counsel about what he/she thinks is your best option based on their legal knowledge and years of experience. The best option sometimes is to agree to a settlement, but this will depend on your case and the surrounding circumstances.
In other instances, however, it is in the best interests of the client to go to trial. Ultimately, the decision about whether or not to agree to settle or go to trial is yours and your lawyer should always support and act in your best interests.
Spinal cord injury lawsuits can be challenging to litigate since they require expert testimony from trusted medical professionals and expert legal representation that can also effectively coordinate all the medical experts involved. Akers Law Offices has the experience of dealing with personal injury cases to make sure your rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve.