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Spinal Cord Injury: What is it, and Why Does Catastrophic Injury Require a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Spinal Cord Injury: What is it, and Why Does Catastrophic Injury Require a Personal Injury Lawyer?


When it comes to Spinal Cord Injury, what the insurance companies won’t tell victims could add further hardship to serious injury, as well as permanent pain and suffering.

In our current writeup on the Shaked Law Resource Blog articles related to Spinal Cord Injury (also known as “SCI”), we’ll explore detailed information on spinal cord injuries that’s often overlooked by victims, as well as their families when seeking legal representation after an accident involving the neck and spine. This highly informative article will further be able to help those who have been injured determine the best course of action when it comes to choosing the best legal representation for their case, as well as what to expect when it comes to damages recovered on their behalf.

Similar to our October 2018 writeup A Closer Look At Physical Pain After Accident where we first provided our readers the truth about what the insurance companies don’t want victims to know when they’ve been injured by no fault of their own, we’ll further provide information necessary for victims experiencing Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay.

Spinal Cord Injury and the central nervous system

Spinal Cord Injury sustained as a result of an accident causes damage to the central nervous system. The central nervous system itself is found deep within the spinal cord and is responsible for everything from feeling hunger to breathing (while we don’t actively have to think about doing so). A Spinal Cord Injury can be devastating; that’s because the spinal cord carries important nerve signals between the brain and the rest of the body.

These signals control bodily sensation, the ability to breathe, eat, walk, run, jump, and think.  When these signals are interrupted because the spinal cord suffers an injury from either an impact to the region (i.e. a motorcycle accident, motor vehicle accident) this is considered trauma. Any Spinal Cord Injury is considered from both medical and legal standpoints to be catastrophic. Violent acts such as a blow to the spine from a gunshot or sports-related injuries such as football tackles are other common ways a Spinal Cord Injury is found to occur.

Birth defects

Sometimes, children are born with a Spinal Cord Injury that can cause developmental delays such as Cerebral Palsy, paralysis from birth or shortly after from improper birthing methods, or tumors considered a genetic defect. These birth defects, if caused by another person, could mean a family is owed damages either due to Medical Malpractice or Medical Negligence; a lawyer familiar with the laws surrounding specific childhood Spinal Cord Injury should be retained to advise on the specifics of the case.

Under normal circumstances, we’ve established that surgical mistakes which occur when a doctor is medically negligent fall under medical malpractice or possibly medical negligence, this also is dependent upon the case and the specifics should only be discussed with a qualified Board Certified lawyer.

A catastrophic injury can complicate the law

Within the area of Personal Injury law, there are three separate ways lawyers are able to determine what’s considered to be a catastrophic injury.

  1. Medical malpractice: whether it’s a healthcare provider’s negligence, a doctor’s misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, or a surgical error, all of these failures to uphold the standard of care can all result in extreme bodily injury to the victim. Injurious behavior on the part of a medical professional can almost certainly lead to wrongful death. For this reason, it is classified as a catastrophic injury.
  2. Product liability lawsuits: these can arise when defective products reach consumers before the manufacturing error can be rectified. If a defective car is placed on the market and the brakes fail, or the seatbelts don’t work properly, these types of defects can cause permanent, irreversible injury and in some cases lead to wrongful death. This extreme situation would classify these types of cases as a catastrophic injury.
  3. Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury are two of the most catastrophic injuries that can occur. These injuries can be the result of motor vehicle, motorcycle, near-drowning, hit-and-run, defective products, or work-related injury. However one sustains a TBI or a Spinal Cord Injury, if it was at the hands of a negligent or reckless person, there is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit and for damages to be obtained.

While every case is unique and only a lawyer can advise on its specifics, as only a judge can determine what will or will not be heard in court, Personal Injury actions cannot exceed the Statute of Limitations allowed by law. There are specific exceptions when a case is given its due diligence, however. Catastrophic injuries said to fall under the Discovery Rule may be given an amended amount of time. This exception would be left to the judge, and whether His or Her Honor feels that the victim couldn’t have reasonably known their injury was due to medical malpractice.

Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay

In the game of Deny, Delay, Don’t Pay the insurance companies try to hide this fact from accident victims and/or their surviving family members. The truth is the victim has a right to have compensation recovered on their behalf by a lawyer. This compensation is necessary for medical expenses, lost wages, and most importantly the pain and suffering sustained due to an injury or accident for which they were not at-fault.

The insurance companies don’t want to pay for it, but victims of Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury will need lifetime medical and mental health care. Both types of care are expensive, and many insurance companies will refuse to pay a reasonable amount. That’s when a lawyer must not fear taking the case to trial. An experienced lawyer will never back down from going into the trenches for their client. They know the law, and they know that no dollar amount can be placed on the pain and suffering of a victim, but that nonetheless they deserve a fair amount of damages that cover the care and cost of living with a catastrophic injury for the rest of their life.

Compensation should also cover every attempt to restore a victim’s quality of life aside from basic medical necessities.

Spinal Cord Injury checklist

There are certain things victims of spinal cord and traumatic brain injuries should know about their rights. The insurance companies aren’t on your side, but an experienced attorney and the law are. This checklist can help victims and their families gain a further understanding of the laws that the insurance companies want you to overlook, or miss altogether:

  • The Americans with Disabilities ActAlso known as the ADA. This law protecting the disabled was enacted by congress in 1990. The most recent amendments to this act were enacted on January 1, 2009 by President Barack Obama.
  • The Foundation for Spinal Cord Injury“FSCIPCC” is a not-for-profit educational foundation for the care and ultimately the prevention of spinal cord injuries. This foundation raises funds through public awareness, educational seminars and events, and uses the funds to further research in the area of spinal cord injuries.
  • The CDC’s website has real statistics on real injuries. This website provides unbiased facts that the insurance companies hope you’ll overlook. The CDC frequently updates their statistics on catastrophic injuries to reflect the most recent data available.

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