Spinal cord injuries
Spine injuries are some of the most life-altering injuries a victim can sustain. Unfortunately, they are also some of the most common. Many car accidents result in spine injuries due to the extreme gravitational forces to which the spine is subjected. The spinal cord is complex and delicate and not built to withstand the severe forces of an auto accident.
Types of Spine Injuries
Motorcycle accidents, rear-end collisions, and falls are just a few of the most common accidents resulting in spine injuries. When someone falls wrong, suffers through a high-velocity accident, or withstands some other form of trauma, the spine can easily become injured. Slipped discs, damage to the thoracic spine, and multiple-level spinal cord injuries are common results of most accidents.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves housed within the spinal column. It is responsible for motor control and sensation as well as communication between the brain and the body. Thus, spine injuries generally have serious consequences, including paralysis and loss of body function. Often, these consequences remain with the victim for the duration of his or her life—resulting in lifelong medical costs and other damages.
Estimating the Value of Your Spine Injury Claim
Evaluating spinal cord injuries can be difficult since the courts must consider the long-term mental and emotional ramifications of permanent spinal injuries. With injuries that result in paralysis or permanent disability, the settlement value must include an estimate of that person’s future medical costs, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering, among other factors.
Economic compensatory damages for spine injuries can include past and future medical expenses. Compensation can include the costs of spinal cord surgeries, X-rays, physical therapy, rehabilitation, medication, and special equipment, such as wheelchairs. Economic damage recovery also includes wages lost while in the hospital and lost earning capacity for victims who sustain a permanent injury that affects their ability to work.
Non-economic compensatory damages are intangible—non-monetary losses associated with mental and emotional damage. It can be difficult to place a dollar value on non-economic compensatory damages, and the jury will rely on evidence such as the severity of the injury, what the victim had to go through, and what he or she lost in the accident.
The jury often assesses pain and suffering using a pain multiplier, which takes the victim’s economic damages and multiplies them by a set number. Depending on the severity of the injury, the courts can choose a number between one and ten to multiple the economic compensatory damages by. In the case of a serious injury, the courts will lean towards a higher number.
When injuries are severe enough that a victim’s loved ones (spouses and children) suffer losses such as loss of a marital sexual relationship or parental relationship, the loved ones may recover damages known as loss of consortium. This is often the case when a spine injury results in permanent paralysis.
If a victim fails to follow doctor’s directions for caring for a spine injury, resulting in a worsened condition, the court may allocate a portion of fault to the victim. The courts refer to this as “failure to mitigate damages.” This may result in the victim receiving considerably less in compensation—or none at all, if the courts place over 50% of fault with the victim.
Get Help With Your Killeen Spine Injury Claim
If you need help defending your rights against a negligent party, contact us online or call (254) 690-5688 to speak with a Killeen personal injury attorney about the accident that caused your spine injury. Whether you have suffered temporary or permanent pain and disability from a spine injury, we’re here to help you obtain financial compensation. Trust Ted Smith Law Group, PLLC, with your spine injury case today.