Suffering any type of injury due to another person’s negligence can be a harrowing and expensive experience. Injured individuals can typically seek compensation for their losses through personal injury claims, and the damages they receive generally reflect the extent of their losses. Spinal cord injuries are among the most devastating wounds a person can suffer. Anyone in the San Mateo area who has suffered a spinal cord injury, or has a loved one who has suffered such an injury should reach out to Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger today for legal representation.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Their Effects
The spinal cord is the large bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down through the spinal column. These nerves carry signals between the brain and the rest of the body, making the spinal cord one of the most essential parts of the body. When something injures the spinal cord, it will affect all of the parts of the body the affected area reached. A wound lower on the spine will typically have less severe results than a wound closer to the base of the skull. However, all spinal cord injuries share a common trait: they are permanent. Unlike the rest of the body, the spinal cord cannot heal itself after an injury.
A wound to the lower area of the back may affect the victim’s ability to walk and control bowel functions. A wound higher on the spine may leave the victim paralyzed and unable to regulate bodily functions without the assistance of medical devices. For example, a person who suffers a spinal cord injury at the neck could completely lose the use of their arms and legs and may also require a ventilator to breathe.
Compiling a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
If a spinal cord injury results from negligence, the victim can pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. If the victim’s injuries render him or her unable to represent his or her own interests in court, a family member may handle the legal proceedings on his or her behalf. Like any other personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff’s success will depend on his or her attorney’s ability to prove the defendant’s negligence.
The plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care, breached that duty in some way, actual harm resulted from the breach, and the harm suffered was the direct result of the defendant’s negligence. The plaintiff will also need to compile evidence to prove the extent of the losses caused by the defendant’s actions.
Damages in spinal cord injury lawsuits are often extensive. Victims can claim a variety of damages including:
- Medical expenses. Injured plaintiffs can sue for all of the costs directly related to treating the spinal cord injury. This can include emergency transportation fees, hospital bills, prescription costs, physical therapy and rehabilitation costs, and any other medical expenses resulting from the incident.
- Property damage. If the defendant’s actions damaged or destroyed any of the victim’s personal property, the plaintiff may sue for the cost of repairing or replacing those items.
Lost income. Many spinal cord injuries leave victims permanently disabled to some degree. Victims can sue for the income they lost while receiving treatment, as well as the income they would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
- Pain and suffering. The justice system recognizes that the experience of an injury is worse for victims than the resulting financial burden. Judges use a variety of methods to calculate pain and suffering damages, but the amount is typically a multiple of the plaintiff’s other sought damages. Pain and suffering applies to the physical pain, emotional distress, and mental anguish caused by an injury.
Anyone who has suffered a spinal cord injury in the San Mateo area needs a reliable attorney to seek compensation for such devastating losses. Reach out to the team at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys will meet with you to discuss your situation and let you know what to expect from a spinal cord injury lawsuit.