The nervous system is one of the most vital parts of our body. It allows us to perform manual functions, like walking, and automatic functions, like digesting food. One of the primary components of the nervous system is the spinal cord. It sends signals to and from the brain, allowing us to complete these manual and automatic tasks. When the spinal cord is damaged, however, the results can be devastating and even deadly. These injuries can lead to a spinal cord injury lawsuit.
Suppose you or a loved one has suffered from spinal cord injuries due to someone else’s actions. In that case, you may be able to file a personal injury claim. You can recover compensation for damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and more. Our Michigan spinal cord injury lawyers can help you file your personal injury claim to receive the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (248) 557-1688 and schedule your free consultation to discuss your potential spinal cord injury lawsuit.
How Can Negligence Lead to a Spinal Cord Injury?
Negligence can cause a variety of serious injuries in a lot of different contexts. Spinal cord injuries can occur when a strong blow to the spinal column crushes, compresses, or severs the spinal cord. If an accident causes this kind of injury, it’s possible that the person responsible for the accident could be found negligent and held responsible in a personal injury case.
For example, suppose someone goes to a chiropractor, and the chiropractor compresses their patient’s spinal cord by being too rough during an adjustment. In that case, they may be found responsible for any injuries they cause. The spinal cord injury survivor (or their immediate family, if they die due to the negligent act) can file a spinal cord injury case against the chiropractor and sue them for chiropractic malpractice.
What Are the Elements of Negligence?
In any personal injury lawsuit, the legal team for the victim (the plaintiff) must prove that the other party involved in the accident (the defendant) was the one who caused the accident. To do this, the plaintiff must prove that the four elements of negligence were present in the accident. The four elements of negligence are:
- Duty of care, which is the defendant’s responsibility to act in a way that is reasonably cautious and responsible around others;
- Breach of duty of care, which occurs when the defendant fails to act in a way that provides others with reasonable care;
- Causation, which is what links the defendant’s breach of care to the accident victim’s injuries; and
- Damages, which are the losses that the accident victim suffered from.
Let’s look at an example: if someone is driving a car, they have a responsibility to drive cautiously and respect the rules of the road. This is their duty of care to other drivers, and when they breach it, they can cause a car accident. If that driver does cause an accident and harms another person, the driver will most likely be found negligent and therefore responsible for any damages they caused.
For a spinal cord injury claim to be valid, all four of these elements have to be present. A skilled Southfield personal injury attorney will know how to establish a duty of care, prove breach of care and causation, and help a spinal cord injury victim recover compensation for their damages.
What Are the Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?
There are four different kinds of spinal injuries, separated by where in the spinal column the injury occurred. These spinal cord injuries include:
- Cervical, which occurs at the neck;
- Thoracic, which occurs at the upper back;
- Lumbar, which occurs at the lower back injuries; and
- Sacral, which occurs at the bottom of the spine, where the spine meets the pelvis.
Depending on where the spinal cord injury occurred and how severe the injury was, victims can suffer from paralysis or nerve damage to specific parts of their body. Spinal cord injuries that occur higher in the back can cause more dysfunction than spinal cord injuries that occur lower in the back.
For example, if someone suffers from a sacral injury, they may lose function in their hips and/or legs. If someone suffers from a cervical injury, however, they may experience paralysis from the neck down.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be caused in a variety of different ways. Some of the most common causes include:
- Car accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Intentional acts of violence;
- Medical errors; and
- Sports injuries.
Many spinal cord injuries are the result of negligence or intentional malice. If you or a loved one has suffered from a spinal cord injury as a result of someone else’s actions, you should contact a spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss your potential legal options.
Spinal Cord Injuries Caused by Defective Products
Defective products can also cause spinal cord injuries. Faulty seat belts or airbags could cause an accident victim to suffer from severe injuries, and they can hold the manufacturer of the faulty product responsible for those injuries in a product liability claim.
Who Is Liable for a Spinal Cord Injury?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident, different people could be found liable for a spinal cord injury. For example, in Michigan car accidents, the driver that caused the car accident could be found negligent and held liable for any spinal cord injuries they caused. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer will evaluate the facts of the case and determine who should be held liable for your spinal cord injury.
Gathering Evidence in Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
Spinal cord injury lawyers will investigate the cause of your accident. They will also help gather evidence to prove the elements of negligence were present in your case. This evidence can include police reports, medical records, witness testimonies, expert testimonies, security cam footage, dash cam footage, and pictures of the injuries you sustained. That way, they can prove the other party involved in the accident was at fault, and that they caused your spinal cord injury.
What Compensation Can I Get from a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit?
If you file a spinal cord injury lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are the measurable, monetary losses that you suffered as a result of the spinal cord injury. Non-economic damages are the other, non-financial losses you suffered as a result of the spinal cord injury. These kinds of damages are more nebulous. This is because they don’t have a price tag attached to them, so they tend to vary.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for economic damages such as:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of working potential
- Assistive medical equipment and home renovations
If you file a spinal cord injury claim, you may also be able to recover compensation for non-economic damages, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
What Happens if the Responsible Party Cannot Afford to Pay?
Some spinal cord injury lawsuits make it to trial. However, many personal injury lawsuits like this will be settled outside of court. In a spinal cord injury settlement, the person accused of negligence will agree to pay the victim a certain amount. This can resolve the case and save everyone the trouble of going to trial. If the case goes to trial and the victim wins, the defendant will be ordered to pay the victim compensation.
If the defendant is unable to pay the settlement amount or trial award, or refuses to pay it, the victim’s legal team will make attempts to collect payment. They can do this by sending reminders to the defendant, reaching out to their bank or employer, or even garnishing their wages, if need be. They are legally responsible for paying the victim compensation, regardless of whether or not they want to pay.
How Long Do Victims Have to File Spinal Cord Injury Cases in Michigan?
Every medical malpractice and personal injury lawsuit has a specific time frame in which they must be filed. This is called the statute of limitations. In Michigan, spinal cord injury victims have exactly three years from the date of their injury to file a claim for personal injury.
Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in Michigan at Lipton Law Today
Spinal cord injuries are often life-altering and life-threatening, and they can permanently damage a person’s body. Spinal injury victims are also often forced to become dependent on assistance from walkers, wheelchairs, and other medical equipment to live their day-to-day lives. When a person suffers from a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, they deserve compensation for their injuries. Luckily, spinal cord injury lawyers can help victims seek justice and receive fair compensation for their losses and suffering.
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury, call the Lipton Law spinal cord injury attorneys. With a long history of handling personal injury claims, you can rest easy knowing your case is in capable hands. Call (248) 557-1688 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a spinal cord injury lawyer today.