There are many ways that a person can sustain a spinal cord injury, including car accidents, falling objects, violence, and falls. This type of injury impacts a patient’s physical, psychological, and social well-being and can result in medical costs that can be impossible to afford.
As a leading personal injury law firm, Morgan & Morgan’s Memphis attorneys have witnessed the devastating effects of spinal cord injuries. Whether caused by a car crash, medical error or other accident, spinal cord injuries can impair a victim’s ability to work, socialize and pay for much-needed medical care. Our Memphis attorneys are dedicated to holding the parties responsible for our clients’ injuries accountable for their actions. By taking legal action, we can help spinal cord injury victims recover the compensation they need to readjust to life following an unexpected accident.
If you or a loved one suffered a serious spinal cord injury, we may be able to help. To learn what our Memphis spinal cord injury attorneys may be able to do for you, please fill out our free case evaluation form today.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the cases that our attorneys have handled include:
If you were injured by a Memphis medical professional, and believe he or she directly caused your injury, you may be able to file a claim for negligence. To prevail in a negligence case, your attorney must prove: the doctor had a duty of care; this duty of care was breached in some way; you suffered a spinal injury; and the breach was the cause of the injury.
For example, assume a patient undergoes surgery on dislocated discs in their spine. The patient’s surgeon has a duty of care to perform the procedure with due care, as any other surgeon would under similar circumstances. During the surgery, the surgeon becomes distracted and nicks a different part of the patient’s spinal cord. He either fails to notice his mistake or believes it is insignificant. The patient suffers a spinal cord injury as a result and, left untreated, the injury worsens, resulting in partial paralysis. If the patient can prove the surgeon acted negligently and this caused their paralysis, they may be able to make a claim for damages.
The most difficult factor to prove in a spinal cord injury case is causation — that the negligent party’s action directly caused the injury. If you move forward with a spinal cord injury lawsuit, an attorney can gather evidence to prove causation by reviewing medical documents and procedure notes; interviewing witnesses; investigating the surgeon’s background; and consulting with medical malpractice experts to obtain their opinions.
Negligence: If you suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident and believe your injury was caused by another’s action or failure to act, you may be able to recover damages for your losses. While product liability is also a possible course of action, most cases will be brought under the theory of negligence. In a negligence claim, your attorney must prove four elements: the defendant owed you a duty of care, this duty was somehow breached, you suffered an injury, and the breach was the direct cause of your injury. For example, a red car speeds through a red light and hits a blue vehicle at the intersection. Drivers have a duty of care to act carefully and exercise awareness of their surroundings to prevent harm to others with whom they share the road. By speeding through the light, the driver of the red car has breached this duty. When the blue car is struck, the driver suffers injuries to his left hand and leg. To treat his injuries, the driver of the blue car has to undergo surgery and rehabilitation. If the driver of the blue car can prove that the red car’s breach of duty was the direct cause of his injuries, and that he suffered damages as a result, he may be able to recover compensation for his losses.
If you have been injured due to another’s negligence, a car accident attorney can help collect information and evidence which may be vital to your claim’s success. Our attorneys have access to experts who can assist in the fact-finding stages of your claim which may involve:
- Evaluating the crime scene;
- Interviewing witnesses;
- Reviewing traffic footage, if any;
- Reviewing information taken by an insurance company; and
- Consulting experts in the car accident field, including accident recreationists.
If you were injured in a car accident and believe a product in either car contributed to or caused the crash, you may have a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer. In a product liability case, a manufacturer can be held strictly liable for its defective products, without proof of negligence. Your attorney must show that a defect exists and an injury resulted; however, if your car was purchased second hand— or used— strict liability is not a viable cause of action.
If you believe the car or one of its parts was responsible for the crash, you may be able to recover compensation from the manufacturer. To prevail, your attorney will have to show:
- The manufacturer had a duty to sell a safe product;
- The manufacturer breached this duty (knew or should have known of defect);
- The defect caused the injuries sustained. In preparing a claim against a product manufacturer, your attorney may review the company’s manufacturing process, determine whether other manufactured parts were defective, and establish how the defect could cause your injuries.
Who is Liable When You Suffer a Back Injury at Work?
Workers who sustain a spinal cord injury at work may have concerns about their job and how they will continue to provide for their families. Fortunately, workers’ compensation provides benefits for medical bills and lost wages. In exchange for workers’ compensation, these workers cannot sue their employer; however, they may be able to file a lawsuit against a third-party, whose negligence caused their injury. Workers who have been denied workers’ compensation should contact an attorney immediately to discuss their claim.
What Damages Can You Receive in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
In a spinal cord injury lawsuit, an attorney may be able to help you recover the following damages:
Medical Bills: Plaintiffs can recover money for any medical bills resulting from the injury, including hospital bills, prescription drugs, doctor visits and rehabilitation, as well as any future medical expenses.
Lost Wages: Compensation for time spent away from work, as well as a loss of earning capacity in the case of a serious injury that renders the victim unable to work, may also be awarded.
Pain and Suffering: When an individual suffers a spinal cord injury, they can experience lasting physical and emotional pain. These victims can receive monetary damages for this pain and suffering.
Wrongful Death: When a spinal cord injury results in death, the victim’s’ family may be able to sue the negligent party. In these cases, the family may be eligible for damages based on the pain and suffering of the victim, as well as money to ease the financial burden left by their loved one’s absence.
If you or a loved one suffered a severe spine or back injury, fill out our free case evaluation form today. Our Memphis spinal injury attorney will evaluate your case to determine how we may be able to help you.