Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious injuries a person can suffer. Many Port Richey victims do not survive spinal cord injuries, and those that do often see their quality of life drastically decrease. When negligence leads to spinal cord injuries, you have the right to be compensated for all the many injuries and losses that you will suffer for the rest of your life.
The person or company whose negligence caused the accident should compensate you for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs incurred due to your injuries (such as modifications to your home or vehicle). Compensation also includes projected future expenses for these losses. In the case of a permanent disability, these costs can be substantial.
Insurance companies often try to get out of paying projected future expenses or pain and suffering because it is difficult to prove these losses with certainty. They are, however, very real, and an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer can help you prove the losses you will suffer for the rest of your life.
Call the Port Richey personal injury lawyers at Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers if this has happened to you. We’re standing by to help you.
There are many ways a spinal cord injury can occur. One of the most common is in an auto accident. Use caution when driving in busy parts of town, such as the 19. Surface streets can also get busy, so be careful on Stone Road, Ridge Road, Pine Hill Road, Washington Street, Palmetto Road, and other major thoroughfares.
Spinal cord injuries can also occur when doing outdoor recreational activities such as hiking or boating. We have many outdoor recreation areas here in Port Richey, including Brasher Park, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, the Boy Scout Preserve, Eagle Point Park, the Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, Sims Park, Orange Lake, Pasco Palms Preserve, Oelsner Park, the Robert K. Rees Memorial Park and the Lake Lisa Park. Enjoy these areas, but understand that injuries can occur.
They can happen after slipping and falling in stores, restaurants, and nightclubs when staff fails to clean spills or other hazards, in places as diverse as the Port Richey Walmart Supercenter, the Gulf View Square Mall, and in the Waterfront Bayou Business District.
According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, nearly one out of every fifty people in the United States lives paralyzed. That is 5.4 million Americans. Spinal cord injuries caused nearly thirty percent of these cases. Even more concerning, only 15.5 percent of paralyzed Americans had employment, compared with 63.1 percent of Americans who are not living with a disability. A person paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury is about four times more likely to be unemployed, making it even more important to receive the compensation you deserve for the injury you sustained.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center also reports that there are nearly eighteen thousand new spinal cord injury cases in the United States every year. This statistic does not even account for cases in which the victim dies at the scene of the accident. The medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering over these years are staggering, which is why settlements in paralysis cases can often run into the millions of dollars. Sadly, many spinal cord injury victims have a shortened life expectancy as a result of their injuries. This effect, too, is a loss covered by compensation in a Port Richey spinal cord injury lawsuit.
Two main factors determine the effects of a spinal cord injury:
Incomplete injuries can impair your motor control or sensation in the affected areas of your body. Complete spinal cord injuries result in paraplegia (paralysis of two limbs) or tetraplegia (paralysis of all limbs, also known as quadriplegia).
The general rule is that the higher a spinal cord injury occurs on the spinal column, the greater the area of the body that could be affected. The cervical spine (in the neck area) is the highest, and therefore the most sensitive area. Complete spinal cord injuries in this area can affect the brain and your most basic life functions (such as breathing). The next highest level is the thoracic spine in your chest and upper back. Damage at this level of the spinal cord can affect muscle movement and sensation in these areas.
The lumbar spine covers the lower back. Injuries to this part of the spinal cord can affect the pelvis and legs, and victims injured in this area may need braces or a wheelchair to get around. The lowest level of the spine is the sacral region, which forms the lowest parts of the tailbone. Spinal cord injuries in this low area are the most likely to leave the victim with the ability to walk. you can even have prolonged injuries such as a slipped disked after even a “minor” spinal cord injury.
After an accident, your top priority should always be your immediate health and safety. In the case of a serious spinal cord injury, you will likely be taken to the hospital and might require emergency surgery. You might spend days or weeks in the hospital. Take all the time you need to be sure your medical condition is as stable as possible.
Once you are medically stable, you will want to find a spinal cord injury lawyer right away. You have the legal right to receive compensation for your losses. Without the help of a skilled injury attorney, this right can be in jeopardy. Insurance companies and their lawyers may try to use things you say or do against you. Not only will a lawyer ensure that your legal rights are protected, but they will also handle the paperwork associated with the claims process.
The last thing you need to worry about in the hospital is talking to the other guy’s insurance company. They will bother you about paperwork and documentation, and all the while, your claim could be in jeopardy by the smallest detail you mention. Don’t let this happen. Get an injury lawyer fighting in your corner to protect your legal rights as soon as possible.
In the days and weeks following your accident, your doctors will begin to develop a treatment plan. It could take time to know whether your injuries will be permanent. You might need physical therapy, occupational therapy, or other rehabilitative services. Your lawyer will gather all the necessary documentation from these providers. Then, they will work with expert witnesses to use this information to project all the future losses you will sustain as a result of your spinal cord injury.
In cases involving permanent injuries, it is not possible to know the exact value of losses at the time a claim settles or goes to trial. It does help you legally to seek medical assistance to learn when review our blog on when you should see a doctor after your accident. This uncertainty is due to many spinal injury victims continuing to accrue medical bills, lost income, and endure pain and suffering for the rest of their lives. Because of this, injury lawyers often use expert medical, occupational, and financial witnesses to project the value of these losses over the remainder of the victim’s expected life.
Here is how that works:
If you can never return to work, the defendant must compensate you for all the wages you would have earned between the time of the accident and your expected age of retirement, including employment benefits such as health insurance premiums and employer retirement contributions. Your attorney will likely need to hire an economist to act as an expert witness to project these costs and adjust them for inflation.
If you can return to work, but only with limited hours or limited responsibilities, this will result in future lost wages as well. The calculation becomes a little more difficult in this case. Here, the economist must determine the difference between what you were earning before the accident and what you can earn after the accident. This difference applies to all the years left before your expected retirement. The economist will also add lost bonuses, commissions, or employment benefits that you have lost in your new position.
Many spinal cord injuries are permanent, meaning that the victim will need ongoing medical care for the rest of their life. Because a victim must file a claim within two years of an accident, you might now know the exact dollar amount of all your medical bills at the time an injury case settles (or goes to trial).
Your lawyer can hire expert witnesses to project the cost of your future medical expenses to deal with this. Lifecare planners are certified experts trained to estimate the costs of future medical expenses. They will project the cost of your doctor bills, medications, equipment (such as a walker or wheelchair), in-home care, modifications to your home, and any other costs that were made necessary by the accident.
Most people do not have a network of experts they can trust to properly calculate future financial losses, and this is only one of many benefits of having the help of the right Port Richey spinal cord injury attorney.
Regardless of the severity of your injuries or how much medical care you require, it is likely that you will endure pain and suffering for a long time after a spinal cord injury, and possibly for the rest of your life. Even minor damage to the spinal cord can permanently impair your motor skills or lead to a lifetime of tingling and unpleasant sensations. You deserve compensation for all the physical pain you will feel and all the emotional suffering you must endure due to your spinal cord injury for the rest of your life.
Pain and suffering includes many intangible losses. Spinal cord injury victims can never again pick up their children, walk across the stage at a graduation, or dance with their child at their child’s wedding (especially if the injury has resulted in paralysis). If you can no longer work, you will suffer the loss of pride that comes with being a capable employee. These are very real and painful losses that injury victims must endure.
But how do you calculate the monetary value of your pain and suffering? Unfortunately, there is no way to prove the exact dollar amount of anyone’s intangible losses. Insurance companies take advantage of this fact, especially when a claimant does not have their own injury lawyer.
The claims adjuster might pressure you to settle your claim quickly before you can investigate the true value of your pain and suffering. They might try to claim that your pain and suffering “isn’t worth very much.” They might simply make a lowball settlement offer and refuse to go any higher. You don’t have to accept these tactics.
You have the legal right to file a lawsuit and let a jury decide what your pain and suffering is worth. Experienced spinal cord injury lawyers know how to present a compelling case to a jury. They will have you testify about how your pain impacted your life and the emotional suffering you endured. They can have medical experts testify about how your symptoms are likely to persist for the rest of your life. Skilled litigators know how to make a compelling case to a jury, so get you the compensation you deserve.
Often, in cases involving extensive pain and suffering from permanent injuries, stubborn insurance companies will agree to a settlement before trial. This is because they know that juries are often sympathetic to accident victims with paralysis and related medical conditions, and insurers want to avoid a jury trial.
You don’t have to search all over the internet to find seasoned spinal cord lawyers in Port Richey. Nicoletti Walker Accident Injury Lawyers is your resource for legal protection after any spinal cord injury in South Florida.
Our experienced Port Richey spinal cord injury lawyers fight hard to protect your legal right to receive compensation for all of your injuries and losses, past and future. Call (727) 845-5972 or contact us online for your free consultation. We have helped many Florida injury victims protect their legal rights to get the compensation they deserve, and we can help you, too.
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