Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Thousands of people suffer from spinal cord injuries in the United States each year. The resulting disabilities can impact a person for the rest of their life, forever changing the way they work, play, and live. Spinal cord injuries are always tragic, but when they due to another person’s negligence or reckless behavior, they can feel especially devastating.
If you or someone you know suffered spinal cord injuries, you may be entitled to compensation. An Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyer can help you understand your rights and help you seek the maximum compensation possible for your injuries. Call a compassionate catastrophic injury attorney today to get started on your claim.
First Steps to Take After a Spinal Cord Injury in Atlanta
In the event that someone suffers a devastating injury to their spine, their initial thoughts are going to be about stopping the pain and seeking medical attention. But there are several things which need to be done after that in order to set up a strong case against the negligent party. An experienced spinal cord injury attorney in your community could advise you on the first steps to take after a spinal injury in Atlanta and how you could recoup your losses.
Responding to a Spinal Cord Injury
A person could pursue a personal injury claim if they believe the negligence or recklessness of another person caused their spinal cord injury. A spinal cord injury occurs when damage is done to any part of the spinal cord or spinal canal. These horrific injuries commonly occur from car accidents, violent blows to the head or spine, and from trip and fall accidents.
The first phone call after any spinal cord injury should be to a hospital or emergency services in order to seek proper medical attention. A medical provider should assess the injury, treat what they can, and determine what sort of long-term care plan is required.
Why Should Someone Seek Medical Attention Even if They Feel Fine?
Sometimes after suffering an accident or an act of violence, a person may feel fine. However, they should still seek medical care because some injuries can go undetected or present themselves later. In a traumatic event especially, adrenaline can mask the symptoms of an injury. Doctors and nurses can conduct tests and examinations to determine if somebody has received an injury that they do not realize yet.
After the initial procedures are through, people should consider their life or medical insurance policies. Some insurance companies try to avoid working with those who are suffering from devastating injuries. A seasoned attorney could help the injured person get the necessary medical care.
How to Help Strengthen a Case
Someone who is recovering from a spinal cord injury should focus on improving their health after an accident instead of trying to stay highly involved in a potential case. Friends and family can instead gather evidence or speak to witnesses, in coordination with an attorney. Working on a case can cause much stress and it is important for an injured person to keep their healing process going smoothly.
Continuing with daily physical activities may be inadvisable depending on the severity of the spinal injury, as it could not only cause more pain but it could threaten the chance to recover more damages if activity increases the injury. Medical providers will provide the best advice on the level of activity that is advisable. The person should also cease all contact with the individual who caused the injury or allowed it to happen. Any communication between parties should happen through attorneys.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Atlanta
Spinal cord injuries can occur any time a person is involved in a high impact accident. Car accidents are perhaps the leading cause of such injuries. When a person is in a collision, their neck and spine are often under extreme pressure and force. Depending upon the impact, a car accident victim could suffer debilitating, catastrophic spinal cord injuries.
Automotive defects are also known causes of spinal cord injuries. Whether from the seat belt, airbag design, or roof crush, auto manufacturers know from decades of experience the importance of designing and building vehicles capable of protecting occupants from catastrophic injury. Especially in situations where a restraint device fails, a roof crushes in, or the vehicle structure fails, the possibility of a product liability or vehicle defect case should be carefully considered.
Diving accidents are also frequently to blame for spinal cord injuries. If a pool or lake does not have signs indicating depth, a person can mistake how much room they have to dive. A dive can turn deadly when the water is too shallow. A failure to warn swimmers not to dive can result in a premises liability lawsuit if a person suffers an injury.
Workplace accidents can also lead to spinal cord injuries. Construction workers particularly face daily hazards on the job. When scaffolding is not assembled correctly or ladders malfunction, an employee can fall several feet. It is no surprise that such accidents often end in spinal cord injuries.
Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
In the event of a spinal cord injury case, the story is not complete once a legal settlement or judgment is rendered. Many people in this situation will suffer the effects of the injury for the rest of their lives. As a result, those looking to recover damages should learn about the long-term effects of spinal cord injuries in Atlanta. A competent spinal cord injury lawyer could seek compensation for damages as well as help you plan for the future as you begin to pursue a lawsuit.
Spinal Injuries Can Alter Lifestyles
Life can be vastly different after someone suffers a spinal cord injury. There are different types of spine injuries and recovery could look different based on the type and severity. For example, an incomplete injury is one where the ability of the spinal cord to send or receive messages from the brain is not completely lost. Those with incomplete injuries may retain some sensory function below the point of injury. A complete injury is indicated by a total lack of sensitivity and motor function.
Survivors of spine injuries will likely have lasting medical complications such as chronic pain, bladder and bowel dysfunction, and increased heart or respiratory problems. They may need to use a walker or wheelchair, and have to schedule follow-up appointments for months or years afterward. In especially severe cases, they might require caregivers to assist with bathing, eating, or going to the bathroom. This means an in-home nurse might be necessary.
Medical Treatments for Severe Spinal Cord Injuries
In-patient rehabilitation is a common treatment and usually consists of physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Out-patient rehabilitation is the continued therapy treatments but for those who have left the hospital and returned home.
Psychological therapy might be needed for some people after traumatic injuries. A person who has lost the partial use of their body may begin to suffer from depression or post-traumatic stress disorder, and require a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Someone who suffers a spinal cord injury will have many expenses to deal with. The initial treatment after the accident can be expensive, sometimes in the hundreds of thousands of dollars in serious cases. As the recovery process moves forward, the bills will continue to mount. This can include doctor visits, medical devices, rehabilitation, or long-term caregivers. For some, the costs may have to last the rest of their life.
This can also place a heavy burden on the injured person’s family. They may need to reorient their priorities, from traveling to appointments to assisting with daily functions. The family will also often help them cope with psychological traumas stemming from the accident. Their recovery will depend on how well the family handles it on a day-to-day basis. If the injured person neglects treatment, recovery may slow or even get worse.
Could Someone’s Family Have a Claim to Damages?
A claim for compensation belongs to the person who suffered the spinal cord injury. That covers hospital bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. However, family members could have their own claim. For instance, a spouse could file for the loss of consortium or loss of companionship. In a wrongful death case, the surviving spouse or children will bring the claim for the full value of the deceased’s life as well as the accrued medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering prior to death.
Life Insurance Might be Available
A local lawyer could be able to assist someone with a spinal injury obtain a long-term life insurance policy since the new living expenses associated with the injury will add up fast. The attorney could work with life care planners to assess how much the treatment is going to cost over the course of their lifetime. This is used to calculate how much to ask for in damages, and could be structured in such a way that it pays out over time. An experienced attorney could also find a long-term life insurance plan that would pay benefits.
Impact of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can fall into two categories – complete and incomplete. Those with complete spinal cord injuries lose the ability to move below where the injury occurred. A loss of sensation is also common in those suffering from complete spinal cord injuries. For those who sustain incomplete injuries, some level of function may still exist. In some cases, a victim may be able to move one leg and not the other or feel limbs they are unable to move.
Various body parts can be impacted by a spinal cord injury. It all depends on where the injury occurred. Injuries located higher on the spinal cord can lead to quadriplegia, in which a person’s legs, arms, chest, and pelvis are unable to move. Injuries lower on the spinal cord can cause paraplegia, which impacts a victim’s legs, pelvis, and chest.
Other symptoms of spinal cord injuries can include difficulty breathing, pain from damaged nerves, changes in sexual function, and loss of bladder and bowel control. Spinal cord injuries can limit a person’s ability to work, travel, and live life the way they once could. An Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyer could assist with helping an injured person recover from their accident by holding the responsible party accountable.
Evidence in Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Cases
When someone suffers a major injury, they should focus on their medical treatment and regaining their health. As soon as you are able, you should contact an experienced attorney in your community for help with your case. As a result, the attorney would take care of everything from filing the claim and gathering evidence, to assisting with scheduling appointments and assisting the plaintiff in acquiring a life care plan.
If you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury due to someone’s negligent actions, you could hold them accountable for damages. A dedicated spinal cord injury attorney could handle the heavy lifting of the case while you focus on your recovery. Speak to an experienced lawyer in your community to learn about the nuances and types of evidence in Atlanta spinal cord injury cases.
Collecting Evidence Following An Accident
The first step a lawyer would take in preparing for a spinal cord injury case will be to gather evidence about how the injury occurred. After understanding the circumstances of the accident, the lawyer could work to understand the injuries by obtaining medical records, speaking to the patient’s caregivers, and learning the basic medical facts of the case. They will also attempt to obtain evidence about the person who was at fault.
An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer could collect and submit evidence by reading witness statements and police reports about the accident, as well as take their own witness depositions to preserve testimony. They will be in contact with doctors to analyze the medical records and acquire necessary facts about the injury to present to the jury.
What Qualifies as Evidence for Spinal Injuries?
Evidence in a spinal cord injury case can be wide-ranging. It can include:
- The police report
- Witness statements
- Medical records
- X-rays and MRIs
- Treatment plans and testimony from medical providers
- Testimony from family and friends who can describe how their loved one’s injury has affected them on a day-to-day basis
This evidence can be used to persuade the jury as to how the injury affected the plaintiff and they can assign damages accordingly.
To establish liability in spine injury cases, it must first be understood what specifically caused the accident, which evidence can play a major part in identifying. If it arose following a car accident, it must be proven that it was caused by the accident and not something that occurred beforehand. Treating physicians in particular could explain the types of accidents that usually cause this type of injury in their past experiences, which makes them valuable pieces of evidence.
The Role of the Plaintiff in Presenting Evidence
The plaintiff should expect to play a key role in gathering and presenting evidence, but not to the extent that it interferes in their recovery. They could provide details as to how the accident happened. If there is a chance that the accident was photographed or recorded on a nearby camera, they could provide that information as well. Perhaps most importantly, they can provide a list of close friends or family who could testify about how the change in the plaintiff’s condition has affected them. A skilled injury attorney can then gather that available information and prepare a case.
A life care planner can review medical records and treatment options to determine how much care will be necessary for the injured person. They will come up with a dollar amount that accounts for ongoing medical expenses and medical equipment, for the duration of life. The goal is to have enough money to properly care for the injured person and allow them to live as comfortably and safely as possible for the rest of their life.
How an Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Could Help
If a spinal injury is severe enough, it could permanently alter someone’s life, including their future capacity for earning income. Thus, it is critical that a lawsuit is pursued carefully and accurately. The best way to accomplish this is to hire a local attorney who could provide counsel on the first steps to take after a spinal cord injury.
A lawyer will be able to assess their injuries from a legal standpoint, determine who might have caused them, and explain what legal action may be available. A knowledgeable attorney could also help them with life care planning and help the injured party find medical providers so they can get proper care while pursuing the claim. If you were in an accident that has damaged your spine, place a call now to learn how you could recover damages.
Accidents happen, but the people responsible for such devastating injuries should be held liable for their actions. If you or someone you love suffered a serious spinal cord injury, an attorney may be able to help. An Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyer can assist you in understanding your legal options and taking next steps to pursue compensation from the person who caused your injuries. Call today for a free consultation.