Groups » Mistakes to Avoid When Settling a Spinal Injury Lawsuit

Around 12,500 cases of spinal injury cases are reported in the U.S. every year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. The most common causes of spinal injury include:

  • Vehicle accidents – 38 percent

  • Falls – 30 percent

  • Violence (mostly gunshot wounds) – 14 percent

  • Sports and/ or recreational activities – 9 percent

  • Medical and/ or surgical – 5 percent

  • Other reasons – 4 percent

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating and cause physical and emotional distress for the victim, as well as his or her family.

What is Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries refer to the damage of the spinal cord that leads to full or partial loss of sensation and/or motor control. Spinal cord injuries can paralyze the victim from the hips down (i.e., paraplegic) or in all four limbs (i.e., quadriplegic). Since the spinal cord is responsible for the most important functions of the body, any damage to it can lead to a host of permanent and serious health problems – thus, these injuries can be classified as catastrophic injuries.

When to File a Spinal Injury Lawsuit?

When a person sustains severe injuries such as spinal cord injuries, people mostly think of filing a case to recover the expenses. But not every accident qualifies for a lawsuit. In order to understand whether you should proceed to court after sustaining injuries, consider the following factors:

1. Who is Responsible?

In order to file a lawsuit and keep it from being dismissed, someone has to be at fault. In simple words, you must be able to prove that the injury was caused due to someone else’s negligence. For instance, you can file a case against a driver who hit your car, due to distraction, and caused neck or spinal injuries. Alternatively, you could file against a doctor who did not treat a spinal cord infection properly. These are just two examples of when it could be possible to file a case.

2. Did the Injury Grow Worse?

Oftentimes, it is very difficult to determine who is liable for the injuries. Ask yourself: Did someone make the injuries worse? Did your employer stop you from seeing a doctor, which resulted in the worsening of injuries? Did the doctor fail to identify the severities?

3. Can the Negligent Party Pay for the Damages?

Sometimes, the negligent party, which caused the injuries, is not covered under any insurance policies. It might therefore become impossible for him/her to afford to pay compensation for the damages. However, by hiring an experienced lawyer, you can access various government benefits.

For instance, a 31 year old woman and a mother of two in Kansas filed a case against an automobile company for defective designing. The woman sustained neck injury and subsequent C-5 quadriplegia. The 1992 minivan that she was driving had design defects, such as a defective seat belt system, inadequate roof crush resistance, etc. The Kansas City spinal injury attorney representing her was able to prove the plaintiff’s allegation with the help of ‘destructive crash testing.’ The woman was awarded a $2.25 million settlement.

Mistakes to Avoid When Settling Spinal Injury Lawsuits

Negotiating personal injury cases such as spinal cord injuries can be a delicate matter; people often make mistakes that lead to dismissal of their lawsuits. The defendant and the negligent party’s insurance company look for chances to show that they were not responsible for whatever happened.

In order to make sure that your case is strong enough and that you get the desired amount of compensation, here are some mistakes that you must avoid:

1. Giving Recorded Statements

Victims must avoid giving recorded statements unless represented by a lawyer. Most insurance company adjusters would try to persuade the victim to give his or her statements regarding the accident or mishap, which can be used against them during the trial. Oftentimes, the questions are framed so that the victim unknowingly gives a statement; thus, refrain from saying anything until your lawyer arrives.

2. Not Seeking Medical Attention Immediately After an Accident

Oftentimes, victims are not able to feel the pain just after an accident. They don’t seek medical attention immediately. But, this can be the biggest mistake. Not only will the delay put your health at risk, but you will also not have enough evidence to prove that you were hurt in the accident. A doctor or a chiropractor will be able to identify the severity of the injury and give a report that you can use as evidence.

3. Not Seeking Legal Counsel

Most people think hiring a lawyer can drain them financially, but that is far from true. Most lawyers offer free consultations on the first meeting and work on contingency fees, so you only pay them if you win the case. An experienced lawyer will be able to guide you through the claims process and help you collect evidence that will make your case stronger. Thus, you must instantly seek legal counsel after you have sustained injuries.

Even though everyone is free to file a case when injured, not everyone should. And if you file a case, you must know how to proceed to keep from getting the case dismissed. Thus, avoid the mistakes mentioned above and take legal help immediately to know whether your case qualifies for a lawsuit or not.

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