Spinal cord injury may occur as a result of trauma, in the case of a car crash or assault, or it may be the result of a disease or degeneration. However, in the case of a disease or degeneration, there is likely no at-fault party unless medical malpractice plays a part. A recent estimate showed that the annual number of spinal cord injuries (SCI) comes to about 17,810 new cases each year.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
While these injuries can occur during common activities, such as playing sports or car accidents, you can also injure your spinal cord during falls or as a result of person-to-person violence. Birth Injuries can be a cause of this injury in infants. Workplace injury and other personal injury issues can also cause spinal cord issues.
Who May Be Responsible?
The litigation process for spinal cord injury can be intense and complex. Depending on the circumstances, there may be several parties involved in your particular case. These may include:
- A driver. If a spinal cord injury occurred as the result of another driver’s negligence that caused a car accident, then that driver may be held personally responsible on grounds of negligence, reckless driving, DUI/DWAI, or any other elements of unsafe driving.
- Property Owner/Manager. It is the responsibility of the property owner/landlord/manager to ensure their property is following safety guidelines and addressing potential dangers immediately through repair and adequate warning to their visitors and residents.
- Employer. Employers are required to ensure safe working conditions and protocols for their employees. This can include providing adequate personal protective equipment as well as ensuring a reasonable degree of safeguards to ensure an employee is not injured by an avoidable accident on the job.
- Government Entity. Government fault may exist when the premises on which the accident occurs belongs to a government entity, and especially when the accident occurs on a public, government-owned and managed road.
- Private Organization. When a private organization or commercial facility fails to provide proper maintenance to repair a dangerous condition on their premises, they can be held liable for any damages which occur as the result of an accident.
- Perpetrator of Assault. When a private citizen commits an act of violence on another person causing an injury, they are liable for ensuing damages.
- Surgeon/Healthcare Provider. If a spinal cord injury occurs due to a mistake in surgery or as the result of an error made by another healthcare provider, that surgeon/provider may be held liable in a medical malpractice case.
- Hospital. A hospital may be held liable due to its own negligence or the negligence of its employees when a patient is injured by one of their staff members via medical malpractice.
Do I Have a Claim?
In addition to the pain, suffering, and frustration of a spinal cord injury, the financial strain can be suffocating—both for the victim and the victim’s family. Depending on the nature of you or your family member’s spinal cord injury, your personal injury lawyer may identify possible claims for medical expenses, lost wages, lifecare expenses, vocational rehabilitation, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, wrongful death and funeral expenses.
Type of Attorney to Hire
A spinal cord injury case will be handled by a personal injury attorney. Choose an attorney experienced in handling cases like yours, as a spinal cord injury will have many challenges and requirements for which you’ll need an experienced leader with the resources to handle your case. Typically your attorney will not require payment, as they are paid through a percentage of the amount you are awarded if successful.