Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in Charlotte525 North Tryon Street, Suite 1729
Charlotte, NC 28202
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Charlotte, NC Spinal Cord Injuries
Suffering from any type of injury can have long-lasting and severe consequences. When the injuries are to the spinal area, the outcome is often significantly worse than if you injure other areas of your body. The unfortunate reality is that spinal cord injuries are extremely common, and many of them lead to personal injury lawsuits. If you were in an accident that caused a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to recover significant monetary compensation. We understand that money won’t solve everything, but when an accident that isn’t your fault causes you severe injuries, you deserve to be able to focus on your physical and emotional health without the financial stress that results from the accident. If you think you may have a claim or want to explore your options, it’s important to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have been handling all types of personal injury claims for decades, and are well-versed in Charlotte, NC spinal cord injuries and claims. As the largest personal injury firm in America, you never have to worry about a lack of resources or expertise. To schedule a free consultation, contact Morgan & Morgan today.
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What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury is defined as any type of injury to the spine or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. These types of injuries can be mild to severe and can have lifelong consequences for the victim. More minor spinal cord injuries often present with muscle weakness, changes in sensation, and dull or shooting pain. More severe injuries can cause tingling, numbness, and even paralysis.
There are two primary types of spinal cord injuries: incomplete and complete.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
An incomplete spinal cord injury occurs when the injury only partially severs the spinal cord. This allows the individual who suffered the injury to potentially retain or regain feeling and function of parts of the body that are below the injury site. If an injured person loses feelings or function of parts of the body below the spinal cord, there is a chance that it can be regained or at least improved.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
A complete spinal cord injury is one that severs the spinal cord. Individuals who experience a complete spinal cord injury will lose sensation and movement for any part of the body that is connected to the nerves that sit below the injury site. With a complete spinal cord injury, people typically don’t regain sensation or feeling.
What are Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Acute spinal cord injuries are the result of trauma to the body. Examples include car accidents, gunshot wounds, sports accidents, and falls. These types of spinal cord injuries often lead to personal injury claims if they occur due to the negligence of someone else. Workers’ compensation claims are also common after spinal cord injuries.
How to File a Personal Injury Claim?
If you’re involved in an accident and suffer a spinal cord injury, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and recover monetary compensation. To be successful in a personal injury claim, you will need to prove that the defendant was negligent and that the negligence caused your spinal cord injury. To show negligence, you must prove the following elements:
- Duty. First, you need to prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care. For example, if you were in a car accident, you can easily prove this element, as all drivers on the road have a duty to take reasonable measures to keep the others around them safe. The simple act of driving on the road invokes this duty.
- Breach of Duty. Next, you must prove that the defendant breached the duty. This is done by showing that they engaged in some action or inaction that violated their duty to keep others safe. Examples include reckless driving, speeding, drinking and driving, failing to stop at a red light or stop sign, and other traffic violations.
- Injuries/Harm. You also need to prove that you suffered injuries and harm. If you were involved in a car accident but didn’t experience any injuries or financial harm, you won’t be successful in a personal injury claim. To show that you suffered harm, you can present evidence of your spinal cord injury and financial expenses you incurred as a result of the accident and your injuries.
- Causation. Finally, you must prove that the defendant’s negligent action caused the accident and your injuries. If the defendant was engaged in negligent behavior that was not a cause of the accident, you won’t be successful in your personal injury claim simply because they were doing something negligent and you ended up injured.
What are the Damages?
If you’re successful in your personal injury claim, you will be awarded monetary compensation at the conclusion of the trial. This is known as damages. The two primary forms of damages include economic and non-economic.
Economic damages are financial compensation for objectively quantifiable losses that are incurred as a result of the injury and the accident. The most common examples include medical expenses, lost wages, and lost future wages. Common medical expenses include emergency room visits, medications, transportation to and from appointments, follow-up medical care, rehabilitative care, and anything else needed to diagnose or treat injuries.
Non-economic damages refer to compensation that is awarded for intangible losses that cannot be objectively quantified into monetary terms. The most common examples include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In rare circumstances, punitive damages can be awarded at the conclusion of a personal injury claim. Under North Carolina law, punitive damages are only awarded when there is evidence of fraud, malice, or willful or wanton conduct. While economic and non-economic damages are awarded to compensate the plaintiff and attempt to make them “whole” again, punitive damages are used to punish the defendant and to deter the defendant and others from engaging in such wrongful acts in the future.
Statute of Limitations
All personal injury claims must be filed by a certain deadline, or the case will be barred, and the victim will be unable to pursue compensation. In North Carolina, personal injury claims must typically be filed within 3 years of the date of the accident. This may sound like a long time, but you should always contact a lawyer as soon as possible after you experience a spinal cord injury. The sooner you speak with a lawyer, the sooner they can begin investigating and building your case. This makes it more likely that they will be able to recover relevant evidence, such as witness statements and video footage.
What If I Was Partially at Fault for the Accident?
In many states, a victim can recover monetary compensation even if they are partially at fault for the accident that caused their injuries. In North Carolina, however, this is not the case. If it is determined that you are even 1 percent responsible for the accident, you will be unable to collect any monetary compensation whatsoever.
There are some possible ways around the contributory negligence law, though. In some cases, you may be able to recover damages if you can prove that the defendant had the “last clear chance” to prevent the accident. The laws surrounding these concepts are complex, so it’s important to speak with a lawyer right away to determine what you might be entitled to.
How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Cost?
Almost all spinal cord personal injury lawyers (and workers’ compensation lawyers) work on a contingency fee basis. This means that their pay is contingent upon the success of your case. They don’t get paid unless you get paid. Once a settlement is reached or you are awarded damages at the conclusion of the trial, your attorney is paid a percentage of that as their fee. This percentage is usually between 30 and 40 percent. This might sound like a lot, but it’s important to remember that a contingency arrangement allows you to seek out legal help with no financial risk to you at all. Your lawyer could put tens or hundreds of hours into your case, but if they don’t win, they don’t get paid and you won’t be out any money.
Contact Morgan & Morgan for Assistance
Spinal cord injuries can produce some of the most devastating effects on people's lives, making it incredibly important to speak with a qualified personal injury attorney if you find yourself in this situation. When hiring an attorney, it’s crucial that you choose a firm that specializes in these kinds of cases and will work tirelessly to get the compensation that you deserve. Determining legal responsibility for the accident can be difficult, but it is necessary. The spinal cord injury lawyers at Morgan & Morgan will identify potential defendants and work to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We have been handling Charlotte, NC spinal cord injury claims for decades and will do whatever it takes to ensure that justice is served. We will take care of the complicated legal aspects of your claim so you can focus on recovering emotionally and physically. Contact Morgan & Morgan today to schedule a free consultation.