A spinal cord injury is a catastrophic event impacting the life of the survivor as well as his/her family. Damages in any catastrophic case are extensive. This is no less true in a case involving spinal cord injury.
Trial lawyers representing individuals rendered quadriplegic or paraplegic as a result of the negligent conduct of others face a host of problems not encountered in other personal injury actions. Perhaps the most difficult issues to address involve potentially life-shortening sequelae, including medical problems such as respiratory needs, sensory and motor losses, bowel and bladder impairments, pressure sores and often severe depression and other psychosocial impairment.
It is the challenge of the [tape distorts here] to obtain via settlement or trial an adequate award for the injured plaintiff. Liability must be thoroughly reviewed before acceptance of a spinal cord injury case. Damages in one paraplegic case are not the same as in another. The same is true with quadriplegic cases. There will be past, present and future wage losses; past, present and future medical expenses; pain and suffering; emotional distress; and attendant care costs coupled with special medical equipment costs.
When evaluating injury in a spinal cord case, life expectancy must be taken into account because of its effect on future damages. One must determine if respiratory problems exist. A plaintiff may require the aid of a respirator because there is no longer control of breathing function. This may place the plaintiff at a greater risk for respiratory infection.
Seminally, in a given case, bowel and bladder control may be non-existent. Again, concerns of potentially life-threatening infection arise.
Concern of infection also arises from the risk of development of decubitus ulcers or pressure sores. However, with proper care they should never develop. These sores are caused by prolonged external pressure. Given the lack of mobility caused by a spinal cord injury, a greater risk exists for the development of sores.
The evaluation of injuries does not end with potential life-shortening sequelae, but goes individually much further. Counsel must work with appropriate expert and treatment team to address each of the issues relevant in a particular case. Physiatrists, neurologists, orthopedists, psychologists, neuropsychologists, speech, occupational and physical therapists, vocational rehabilitation counselors, nurses, case managers, social workers and other specialists are typically involved.
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury or serious injury to the spine, you need the assistance of John Alton at 1-614-221-6751.