A Georgia Lawyer Helping Spinal Cord Injury Victims Recover Compensation
Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are among the most serious injuries people can sustain. In some cases, victims are left paralyzed with little hope of recovery. Even in less serious cases, people who sustain spinal cord injuries often deal with serious issues like pain, loss of range of motion, numbness, and weakness in parts of their body.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s possible that you are entitled to significant compensation for your accident-related losses. For this reason, it’s imperative that you speak to an experienced lawyer about your options as soon as you can. It’s important to understand that the early involvement of a lawyer will maximize your chances of obtaining the compensation to which Georgia law entitles you. To schedule a free case evaluation with a Gwinnett County spinal cord injury lawyer from Brauns Law, PC. Call our office today at (404) 975-2576.
Spinal Cord Injury Basics
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that allows your brain to send and receive nerve signals to and from the rest of your body. When it is injured, it can interfere with the transmission of these signals, potentially resulting in serious problems. Doctors group SCIs into two broad categories:
- Incomplete – In an incomplete spinal cord injury, there is still some function and feeling below the site of the injury.
- Complete – In an incomplete spinal cord injury, there is no function or feeling below the site of the injury.
Spinal cord injuries are often the result of trauma to the spinal cord itself or the spinal column, which consists of the vertebrae, discs, and muscles and tendons that surround it. Common causes of spinal cord injuries include motor vehicle accidents, pool accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and sports accidents.
Spinal Injuries Can Result in a Lifetime of Losses
It’s important to understand that spinal cord injuries often leave victims with permanent medical problems, including total paralysis below the site of the injury. As a result, a spinal cord injury can profoundly affect the rest of your life and result in untold economic and non-economic losses. In fact, according to the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation, the estimated lifetime cost for a 25-year-old with high tetraplegia (paralysis below the C1-C4 vertebrae), is $4,724,181.
Of course, this is to say nothing of the non-economic losses that SCI victims experience. When you lose the ability to use your use your body the way you used to, your life will never be the same. You may be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of your life and unable to engage in any of the activities that you once did. You may become incontinent and unable to engage in sexual intimacy ever again. You may develop health conditions that are a result of not being able to engage in physical activity. When you consider these and the other ways that a spinal cord can affect you, it’s easy to see how the real costs of a spinal cord injury go far beyond the costs of medical treatment.
Why You Need a Spinal Injury Lawyer on Your Side
Many spinal cord injury cases involve settlements or awards well into the millions of dollars. Which this kind of money on the line, insurance companies are highly incentivized to minimize payouts and even completely deny claims whenever possible. It’s absolutely critical that spinal cord victims obtain the representation of an experienced, aggressive lawyer who is familiar with insurance company tactics. These tactics can include the following:
- Requesting overbroad medical record authorizations in an effort to find something in your past that could qualify as a “pre-existing condition.”
- Unreasonable delays in processing claims
- Waiting for medical bills to pile up before making a settlement offer, knowing that the victim is experiencing financial pressure
- Making unreasonably low settlement offers
- Contacting victims with a settlement offer as soon as possible after an accident, hoping that they have not yet retained an attorney and learned the actual value of their cases
- Pressuring victims to provide a recorded statement about their accident, hoping that they will say something that indicates that their accident was partially or even completely their fault
When you retain an attorney, he or she will handle all communications with the insurance company on your behalf. In addition, your lawyer will obtain evidence of your losses—including those that will occur in the future—in an effort to force the insurance company to adequately compensate you. Importantly, in spinal cord injury cases, obtaining evidence of future medical expenses and lost income requires the assistance of experts who will take into account factors like the rising costs of medical care, inflation, career advancement, and regular raises to arrive at an accurate figure of your actual damages. Without this type of evidence, it can be extremely difficult for victims to obtain the compensation they deserve.
Protecting Your Rights After a Spinal Cord Injury
Protect your legal rights after a spinal cord injury by taking the following steps:
- Keep detailed notes about the way in which your injury is affecting you. Make notes about pain, feelings of depression, an inability to do certain tasks, sleep problems, and social functions that you skip because of your injuries, and anything else that you feel is relevant.
- Do NOT provide the insurance company with a recorded statement
- Do NOT accept any money from either the insurance company or the person that caused your accident or his or her employer
- Call an attorney as soon as you can. Waiting to start your claim could hurt your chances of recovering compensation. In fact, if you wait too long, your claim could be completely barred.
Gwinnett County Spinal Cord Injury FAQ
There is no disputing that a spinal cord injury is one of the most severe types of injuries that an accident victim can suffer. These injuries can lead to potentially irreversible complications, such as paralysis, and impact the accident victim for the remainder of their life. As a result of spinal cord injuries, accident victims can’t always care for themselves. In these cases, the accident victim might have to rely upon others for care and treatment, or even reside in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
One reason why spinal cord injuries are so serious is that the full impact of a spinal cord injury is not always known right away. These injuries can progress slowly over time, and the full extent of the injuries could not become apparent until days or even weeks after the injury date.
If you or someone you love suffered a back or spinal cord injury in an accident that someone else caused, the skilled Gwinnett County spinal cord injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm are ready to assist. Our legal team can file a claim or lawsuit on you or your loved one’s behalf and pursue the compensation and monetary damages that you deserve for your spinal cord injury.
What types of accidents in Gwinnett County can lead to a spinal cord injury?
There are many types of serious accidents in Gwinnett County that can lead an accident victim to develop a severe spinal cord injury. Spinal cord damage can result from:
Slip and fall accidents. When an accident victim lands on their back or tailbone in a slip and fall accident, especially on a hard surface like concrete, the accident victim can suffer a spinal cord injury. Slip and fall accidents can occur both indoors and outdoors and often happen when a premises owner fails to ensure that the property is free from spills, defects, and other hazards.
Property owners have a duty to warn about, correct, or repair any known dangerous conditions that exist on their property at a given time. They also have a duty to inspect their properties for potential unknown hazards that might exist, and if there are any, to warn about them or repair them promptly.
Workplace injuries. Many individuals who work in construction and similar industries have to climb ladders, work on top of scaffolds, and use dangerous pieces of equipment. When a worker falls from one of these pieces of equipment, they could sustain a debilitating spinal cord injury. If a worker is injured while completing a job duty, the worker can pursue a claim for benefits through the Georgia workers’ compensation system.
As part of a workers’ compensation claim, the injured work might recover compensatory benefits for all of their medical treatment and bills, a portion of lost wages for missed work time, and permanency benefits, if applicable.
If the worker’s spinal cord injury occurred because of defective equipment or defective parts, the worker could potentially file a third-party claim for damages against the product manufacturer, distributor, or some other person or entity that is in the chain of product distribution.
Car and truck collisions. Serious motor vehicle accidents that occur at high rates of speed and caused by another driver’s negligence can also bring about traumatic injuries, including back and spinal cord injuries. When a motor vehicle driver or passenger is involved in a car collision, their body can snap backward and forward in a very short amount of time. In the worst car accident scenarios, the driver or a passenger can be ejected from the vehicle onto the ground, sustaining a spinal cord or paralysis injury as a result.
Motorcycle, bicycle, and scooter accidents. Motorcycles, bicycles, and scooters are unique in that they offer their operators and riders very little protection in the way of an outer shell or covering. These vehicles leave their riders exposed to the elements and the ground. When a serious traffic accident occurs, there is a strong likelihood that the impact throws the rider from the vehicle onto the ground. Moreover, if the rider lands on their neck or back, there is a good chance that a back or spinal cord injury will result, leading to potential lifelong consequences.
Sports injuries. Sports always come with the risk of injuries, such as pulling a muscle or spraining an ankle while running. However, some injuries happen due to negligence or misconduct, and this can include spinal injuries. In contact sports, there are rules meant to prevent trauma to the spine, though other players might break those rules, and coaches might not enforce the safety rules. This can result in a hit to an athlete that causes spinal injuries.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of any of these occurrences, then the skilled Gwinnett County spinal cord injury lawyers at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with filing a personal injury claim, personal injury lawsuit, or workers’ compensation claim against the appropriate parties.
What are the different types of potential spinal cord injuries?
Not all spinal cord injuries are the same, but all spinal cord injuries can result in serious, lifelong medical problems. The extent of these problems typically depends upon the area of the spinal cord injured in the accident. The four parts of the spinal cord that can suffer an injury in a serious accident include the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, and sacral spine.
Injuries to the cervical spine. Of the various types of spinal injuries, cervical spinal injuries are likely the most complicated and the most serious. The cervical spinal column (found in the neck region) is the area of the spine that is closest to the brain. The cervical area of the spine, which consists of vertebrae C1 through C7, is also extremely sensitive, and an individual who suffers a cervical spinal injury in an accident can also suffer some type of full or partial paralysis, including quadriplegia or tetraplegia.
Moreover, an accident victim who suffers an injury to the cervical spine can lose one or more senses. Depending upon the seriousness of the cervical spinal injury, the accident victim could undergo a surgical procedure to try and correct the condition.
Afterward, the accident victim would complete physical therapy, occupational therapy, or some other form of rehabilitation to recover some functionality in the affected areas. Some victims of cervical spinal injuries are bedridden for the rest of their lives and require around-the-clock care at a rehabilitation center or nursing home.
Thoracic spinal injuries. Just like with the cervical spine, injuries to the thoracic spine can result in severe complications, pain, and symptoms. The thoracic spinal cord consists of the vertebrae numbered T1 through T12. In addition to painful symptoms in the middle of the accident victim’s back, the accident victim can suffer pain in their chest and abdominal muscles.
Accident victims who suffer thoracic spinal cord injuries can also experience symptoms in their lungs, diaphragms, and rib cages, as well as breathing difficulties.
An accident victim who suffers an injury to their thoracic spine can suffer paralysis in the lower back, legs, or abdominal muscles. However, the accident victim’s arms and hands might still be controllable, despite a serious injury to the thoracic spine.
Lumbar spinal injuries. The lumbar spine is the area of the spinal column located in a person’s lower back. An accident can suffer an injury to their lumbar spine in a car or truck accident or in a slip and fall accident. A severe injury to the lumbar spine can prevent an accident victim from moving their hips and legs for the rest of their life. However, an accident victim could have some limited functionality in those areas of the body.
In addition, the victim of a lumbar spinal injury could lose permanent control of their bladder or bowel functions. Consequently, the accident victim could need the assistance of a device to control those bodily functions. Leg and hip problems that result from a lumbar spinal injury could be so severe that the accident victim requires a wheelchair for mobility.
Sacral spinal cord injuries. The sacral area of a person’s spinal column refers to the triangular area located near their tailbone. The purpose of the sacral spinal cord is to control various functions, including the accident victim’s bladder, bowels, pelvic organs, and sexual functions.
Injuries sustained to the sacral spinal cord are rare, and a person typically only suffers a sacral spinal injury due to a direct impact, such as when an accident victim lands on their tailbone by falling onto a hard surface, such as concrete. When a person suffers an injury to the sacral spine, they could lose control over the hips or legs.
In addition to classifying spinal cord injuries based upon the part of the spinal column that is affected, spinal cord injuries also fall into the categories of complete and incomplete injuries.
Complete spinal cord injury. A complete spinal cord injury leads to permanent symptoms and impaired functionality. For example, the victim of a complete spinal cord injury can suffer from paraplegia, tetraplegia, or some other type of paralysis.
Incomplete spinal cord injury. On the other hand, an individual who suffers an incomplete spinal cord injury only suffers some partial damage to the affected area of the body. For instance, an individual who suffers an incomplete spinal cord injury in an accident can have limited abilities to function in that area. Moreover, with physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other types of rehabilitation, the accident victim could gain back some limited functionality in the area of the body that is affected by the spinal injury.
If you or someone you love has suffered a severe injury to one or more areas of the spinal cord in an accident that resulted from someone else’s negligence, then you can assert a legal claim or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. The knowledgeable Gwinnett County spinal cord injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can help you do just that.
What is the statute of limitations in Gwinnett County spinal cord injury cases?
In Gwinnett County spinal cord injury cases, the accident victim or the accident victim’s lawyer only has two years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit for monetary compensation and damages.
This two-year statute of limitations applies in virtually every case, absent some extremely limited exceptional circumstances. If the accident victim or the accident victim’s lawyer fails to file a timely lawsuit, they can no longer file a claim for damages in the future. Therefore, if you are contemplating filing a claim or suit arising out of a spinal cord injury, retain knowledgeable legal counsel in your case as soon as possible.
The experienced Gwinnett County spinal cord injury attorneys at Brauns Law Accident Injury Firm can assist you with filing your spinal cord injury lawsuit promptly.
What potential damages can you recover in a Gwinnett County spinal cord injury case?
There is no denying that spinal cord injuries, regardless of the type, can result in serious and permanent disabilities, complications, and symptoms. In the worst cases, accident victims spend the rest of their lives in a nursing home or assisted living facility. As a result, they might be eligible to pursue various forms of compensation, including a claim for medical bills, lost earnings, loss of earning capacity, inconvenience, pain and suffering, permanent disability, inability to use or move a body part, and loss of life enjoyment, among other types of damages.
In addition, if the accident victim suffered their spinal cord injury while on the job, the accident victim can file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits through the Georgia Workers’ Compensation System. Our spinal cord injury lawyers can help you in these situations as well.
Call Brauns Law Today to Speak With a Gwinnett County Spinal Cord Injuries Lawyer
At Brauns Law, we are dedicated to representing the rights of individuals that have suffered spinal injuries in preventable accidents. We offer completely free, no-obligation consultations and will never collect legal fees unless we successfully recover compensation on your behalf. To schedule your free consultation with attorney David Brauns, call our office today at (404) 975-2576 or contact us online.
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