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Evansville, IN Spinal Cord Injuries
By their very nature, spinal cord injuries are serious and should always be treated with the utmost caution. A serious spinal cord injury can have lifelong consequences and can cause severe injuries, such as numbness and paralysis. If you suffered Evansville, IN spinal cord injuries and they were due to someone else’s negligence or a work-related injury, you may be entitled to significant monetary compensation.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan can help determine if you have a valid claim and if so, what your next steps should be. We have been handling all types of spinal cord injuries for decades, and our lawyers will do everything possible to ensure you have the best chance of success. If you have any questions or would like to take steps to initiate a claim, contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free case evaluation.
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What are Common Spinal Cord Injury Claims?
If you suffered an injury to your spinal cord, you might be entitled to recover significant monetary compensation. An experienced lawyer should always be contacted, but it’s a good idea to understand the laws so you can try to determine if you may have a claim. The most common types of spinal cord injury claims include medical malpractice claims, personal injury claims, and workers’ compensation claims.
Medical malpractice claims are often filed after a person experiences a spinal injury. Most people expect that when they go to the doctor, they will leave in a better place—or at the very least, they won’t leave feeling worse. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. The most common spinal injury scenarios that lead to a medical malpractice claim include the following:
- Anesthesia Mistakes. Many people are unaware that the improper administration of anesthesia can actually leave you with serious spinal cord injuries. This is rare, but if it occurs, it can cause epidural hematoma—bleeding inside the spinal column. This can occur as a result of traumatic needle insertion when placing the epidural.
- Surgical Errors. Surgical errors are probably the most common cause of medical malpractice claims, and this is no different when it comes to spinal cord injuries. Anytime you undergo a surgical procedure, you’re at risk of injury. If the medical professional isn’t trained properly, they don’t position you properly, or they simply make an awful mistake during surgery, you could end up with severe Evansville, IN spinal cord injuries.
- Chiropractic Malpractice. Many people go to the chiropractor with serious back pain and leave feeling quite a bit better. Unfortunately, some leave with serious injuries to their spinal cord. While a chiropractor is not an M.D., they can still be sued for medical malpractice.
Proving Medical Malpractice
To be successful in a medical malpractice claim in Indiana, you must prove the following:
Duty of Care. The first element you must prove is that the medical professional owed you a duty of care. This is done by simply establishing that a doctor-patient relationship existed. If you can prove this, then you can prove that they owed you a duty of care. If you had a doctor’s appointment or surgery scheduled, this is clearly evidence of a doctor-patient relationship. Once a doctor-patient relationship exists, there is a level of care that the doctor is required to provide to all patients.
Breach of Duty. Next, you must show that the medical professional breached that duty of care. This is done by showing that their conduct fell below the standard level of care that they were required to adhere to. The fact that an injury occurred does not automatically mean that there was a breach. Sometimes accidents happen and it’s truly no one’s fault. Whether something is considered a breach of the duty of care will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Common examples include surgical errors, failures to diagnose, and incorrect administration of medications.
Injuries. If you can prove that there was a breach of the duty of care, you then must show that you experienced injuries and losses. If you prove that a medical professional was negligent and breached the duty of care, but you didn’t experience any negative consequences from it, this isn’t enough to be successful in a medical malpractice claim. You have to actually be injured and suffer harm.
Causation. Finally, you must prove that your injuries were caused by the doctor’s negligence. For example, because the doctor failed to diagnose you in time, your spinal cord injury got worse and is no longer treatable. If a doctor was negligent and you suffered an injury that had nothing to do with their negligence, however, this isn’t enough for a successful claim.
Statute of Limitations
In Indiana, you must file a medical malpractice claim within 2 years from the date of the injury. If you fail to do this, you will be barred from filing a claim and will miss out on the ability to recover any compensation, regardless of how strong your case would have otherwise been.
Spinal cord injuries are common in car accidents and often lead to personal injury claims. If you were in a car accident and it was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a civil suit and recover monetary compensation. To prove negligence in a personal injury case, you will have to prove the same elements as you do for a medical malpractice claim. Instead of proving that a doctor owed you a duty of care, you will have to prove that the driver responsible for the accident owed you a duty of care. Similar to how all doctors must meet a standard level of care, all drivers on Indiana roads are required to take certain precautions to keep other drivers around them safe—this is their duty of care.
Indiana’s personal injury statute of limitations is also two years from the date of the injury.
Spinal cord injuries often occur at work, as well. If you experienced a spinal cord injury at work, you might be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and obtain monetary and other benefits through this insurance.
Worker’s compensation insurance is a no-fault system, meaning even if the injury was your fault, you can almost always still obtain benefits, with limited exceptions. It’s important to understand that you won’t have to prove that your employer was negligent or did anything wrong. The simple fact of being an employee gives you the benefits of workers’ compensation insurance in most workplaces in Indiana.
If you were injured because you were engaged in horseplaying or you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you won’t be successful with a worker’s compensation claim. If you were injured on a lunch break or while traveling to or from work, you may also not qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. You should always speak with a lawyer to discuss your options.
Statute of Limitations
In a workers’ compensation claim in Indiana, there are two deadlines you must make sure you meet. First, you must notify your employer of your injury within 30 days. Then, you must actually file your workers’ compensation claim within 2 years of the date of your injury. If you miss either of these deadlines, you likely won’t be able to collect any benefits.
What Are the Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries are categorized into two different types, complete and incomplete.
Complete spinal cord injuries are the most serious kind, and they occur when the spinal cord is permanently injured. This eliminates the brain’s ability to send the body signals below where the injury site is. For example, if you injure your lumbar spinal cord, it could cause paralysis below your waist, but you could still have the full and unaffected function of your arms and all body parts above your waist.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries are most commonly caused by compression or damage to the spinal cord. Spinal cord bruising, stretching, and having something pressing against the spinal cord are common examples of an incomplete spinal cord injury. This type of injury, like a complete spinal cord injury, also prevents the brain from sending some signals to the area below the injury. However, a person with an incomplete spinal cord injury may retain some function of those limbs or even regain function over time as the injury heals.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Evansville, IN Spinal Cord Injuries?
All types of spinal cord injuries typically share similar symptoms, including an effect on breathing, heart rate, metabolism, bladder and bowel function, muscle movement, reflexes, and sensations. Common symptoms also include tingling, numbness, and paralysis.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Today
Spinal cord injuries are unfortunately quite common, causing serious and lifelong injuries in some circumstances. They often occur from car accidents, falls, violence, sports injuries, and surgical complications. If you suffered a spinal cord injury that wasn’t your fault, or you injured yourself at work, you might be entitled to recover monetary compensation to help ease the financial stress of your injury.
Morgan & Morgan can help determine if you have a valid claim and if so, what you’re entitled to. The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan are experienced in handling all types of spinal cord injuries and want to help you seek the justice you deserve. As the largest personal injury firm in America, you can be confident that we have the resources necessary to set you up for the best chance of success. Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free consultation.