One of the most catastrophic and life-altering injuries is damage to the spinal cord. They can result from various causes, such as car accidents, falls, sports injuries, violence, or medical malpractice. Paralysis of varying degrees, loss of feeling, persistent pain, breathing difficulties, bladder and bowel malfunction, sexual dysfunction, and psychological discomfort are all possible outcomes of spinal cord injuries, dependent upon their seriousness and location.
If a spinal cord injury is the consequence of another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the victim may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, lost pay, suffering and pain psychological anguish, loss of satisfaction with life, and possibly additional damages. However, pursuing a spinal cord injury claim can be complex and challenging. You will need to prove that the other party was at fault for your injury and that your injury resulted in significant losses.
Having a skilled attorney on your side to help you through the legal process and advocate for your rights is essential after a spinal cord injury. They can:
- Investigate your case and gather evidence to support your claim
- Identify all liable parties and insurance policies involved
- Negotiate with insurance adjusters on your behalf
- File a lawsuit if necessary and represent you in court
- Hire expert witnesses to testify about your condition and damages
- Maximize your recovery by seeking all available sources of compensation
In this blog post, we will discuss some important aspects of spinal cord injury law that you should know if you are considering filing a claim.
Types of Claims
There exists two main kinds of spinal cord injury claims:
Personal injury claims are based on negligence.
This means that you have to provide proof that the other party owed you a duty of care (such as driving safely or providing adequate medical care), breached that duty (such as speeding or misdiagnosing), caused your injury (such as hitting your car or performing surgery incorrectly), and harmed you (such as causing paralysis or infection).
Product liability claims are based on defective products.
This means that you have to prove that the product that caused your injury was defective in design (such as having sharp edges or faulty wiring), manufacturing (such as using poor materials or quality control), or marketing (such as failing to warn about potential risks or instructions). You do not have to prove negligence in product liability claims; instead, you have to show that the product was unreasonably dangerous when used as intended.
Depending on your case, you may be able to file both types of claims against different parties. For example, if you suffered a spinal cord injury from a car accident caused by another driver who was using defective tires, you may be able to sue both the driver for negligence and the tire manufacturer for product liability.
Statute of Limitations for Spinal Cord Injury Claims
A statute of limitations is a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit. If you miss this deadline, you may lose your right to pursue compensation for your spinal cord injury. Spinal injury claims have different time limits based on the state and the specifics of the claim. The typical time limit for filing a personal injury claim is between one and six years after the incident that gave rise to the claim. The statute of limitations for product liability claims is between one and four years, beginning with either: The time when you discovered or should have discovered that your injury was caused by a defective product; OR the date when the product was sold by its manufacturer.
However, there may be exceptions or extensions to these rules depending on certain factors, such as whether:
- You were under 18 years old when the accident occurred;
- The defendant left the state after causing your injury;
- The defendant concealed their identity or involvement in causing your injury; or
- Your case involves government entities, medical malpractice, or wrongful death.
Therefore, it is crucial that you consult with an experienced Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible after suffering an injury. A lawyer can help you determine which statute of limitations applies to your case and file your claim before the deadline expires.
In Atlanta, Georgia, the statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits is typically two years from the day of the accident. Nonetheless, you may have up to five years from the date of the negligent act or omission to initiate a claim for damages if medical negligence contributed to your spinal cord injury. There may also be other factors that affect the statute of limitations, such as whether you were a minor at the time of the injury or whether the defendant tried to hide their fault.
Spinal cord injuries can have a devastating impact on your physical, emotional, and financial well-being. That’s why you deserve to be compensated for all the losses and hardships that you have endured and will continue to face in the future.
The damages that you can recover for your spinal cord injury claim depend on several factors, such as:
- The severity and extent of your injury
- The impact of your injury on your ability to work and earn income
- The cost of your past and future medical care and rehabilitation
- The pain and suffering that you have experienced and will experience
- The loss of enjoyment of life and quality of life that you have suffered
- The emotional distress and mental anguish that you have endured
In general, there are two types of damages that you can seek for your spinal cord injury claim: economic damages and non-economic damages.