A spinal cord injury can disrupt your life in the most profound ways. When this occurs, the uncertainty that lies ahead can be unsettling. Life with paralysis is expensive and, for many, working post-injury is not an option and paying bills becomes a struggle. This can cause financial hardship for both the person injured and their family members. However, when the cause of a person’s spinal cord injury is the result of the negligence of another person, business or entity, one may pursue justice and compensation to cover their future expenses and quality of life. This is why, often, their best option is to see if a spinal cord injury lawsuit is possible.
First: Find an Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Who Understands the Paralysis World
When recovering from a spinal cord injury, working through how rent, bills, and medical expenses will be paid can be a major struggle. That is why discussing the facts of how you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury is very important. If you have a case, it is in your best interest to seek legal advice from an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer who will fight for you. You need a spinal cord injury lawyer that understands your future expenses and why it is so important to be compensated for your future expenses. Finding a lawyer with spinal cord injury experience can take some work. You will need to ask people who have spinal cord injuries (and have had successful lawsuits) who they would recommend. You want to make sure that the attorney who represents you is experienced in spinal cord injury cases, has the tools and resources to pursue a case on your behalf, and will work hard to get the best outcome for your case.
Once you have found a lawyer who can advocate for you and push your case forward, make sure you read and fully understand the representation agreement that you will sign, which works as a contract between you and your new lawyer.
Steps in a Typical Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
– Discuss Your Case With Your Lawyer:
A lawyer with spinal cord injury experience will know their way around spinal cord injury law, so make sure to talk with them at length. Your lawyer should also inquire into the necessary areas that pertain to life with a spinal cord injury in order to best understand what your needs will be in the future. This will enable the lawyer to correctly calculate any settlement value and to accurately factor in current and future economic and non-economic damages that may occur. The latter are costs associated with things like pain, suffering, inconvenience, function loss, emotional stress and possible relationship loss tied to your injury.
– Research on Your Case Begins:
Before any legal proceeding will be formally filed in court, your lawyer will begin to conduct research and investigation related to your case. This process can sometimes be the longest step in filing a spinal cord injury lawsuit. Gathering evidence is a critical step in the success of your case. In this process, the lawyer will also need to explore any potential parties that may be liable in your case. As the person bringing a spinal cord injury lawsuit, you are referred to as the Plaintiff. The parties that caused or contributed to your injuries are called the Defendant. There can be more than one defendant named in a case. A good spinal cord injury lawyer will look at all possible areas of negligence including people involved, corporations involved and insurance policies tied to your injury.
– Communication with Insurance Companies:
Many cases involving a spinal cord injury will involve an insurance policy that may provide coverage for your damages. In this case, your lawyer will communicate with all insurance companies involved in the case. For example, if you are in a car accident, your car insurance and the car insurance of the other person involved in the car accident will be contacted by your lawyer via a letter of representation. This correspondence between insurance companies and your lawyer will continue until an agreement is made. If an agreement cannot be made, a lawsuit will be initiated on your behalf.
– Deciding to Go to Trial vs. a Settlement:
One of the biggest decisions you will make during a spinal cord injury lawsuit is whether to and when to settle your case. It is important that you are the one to make this decision, using your lawyer’s advice as guidance. If a case cannot be settled pre-suit, then a lawsuit will be filed. This can be a timely and costly process but often results in the maximum financial recovery for a person. While it is rare that your case will go to trial in today’s civil justice system, with many lawsuits being settled at some point after the lawsuit is filed, you should approach your case with the mindset that your case could lead to a trial. At the end of the day, the right outcome for your case is one that will provide the money necessary to take care of your needs now and in the future.
An example of a successful SCI trial is Chelsie Hill vs. Honda in 2013. She was the passenger in the backseat of a Honda vehicle when an accident occurred. Despite wearing a seatbelt, she was still rendered at T7 complete paraplegic as a result. She was eventually awarded $13 million through her spinal cord injury case.
Sustaining a spinal cord injury can be devastating and disruptive to the lives of the injured person and the injured person’s family. To receive proper financial compensation for you or a loved one’s injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and non-economic damages, finding the right spinal cord injury lawyer to take on your lawsuit is imperative. The process of a SCI lawsuit can be long, but recuperating money to help the person injured and the person’s family is important above all else. Please contact us if you have any questions about starting a SCI lawsuit or what the process of a SCI lawsuit looks like.