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Spinal cord injuries are some of the most traumatic and life-changing injuries that an individual can suffer from during an accident. This type of injury tends to be very severe and can turn a victim’s life upside down. 

If you or a loved one is dealing with such an injury, you’re likely overwhelmed. The path to recovery is filled with medical treatments and questions about the future. On top of that, the financial burden seems unfair and impossible to manage. This situation might feel hopeless, especially when you’re fighting against the consequences of another’s negligence. Fortunately, there are ways to seek compensation for the damages you suffered. If you or someone you love suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be able to seek compensation for the damages suffered. 

If you’re worried about long-term care, rehabilitation possibilities, and uncertainties about the legal process after a serious spinal cord injury, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the steps you can take to secure justice. 

At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA., our spinal cord injury attorneys can help you through this difficult time. We know that you need money now to help cover the costs of current and future care. Present and future medical costs, as well as lost earnings attributable to a spinal cord injury, are a financial nightmare for someone suffering from this type of injury. 

Call Prosper Shaked today if you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to another person’s negligence. We can assist you in receiving compensation for your injuries and helping you get your life back together.

The Long-term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries often affect both the victims and their families for a lifetime. Initially, the medical costs associated with hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, and ongoing treatments can be staggering, quickly depleting savings and leading to significant debt. These injuries frequently require modifications to living spaces, specialized equipment, and long-term personal care, further escalating expenses.

The loss of income compounds these financial challenges, as many victims cannot return to their previous employment, reducing their earning capacity and sometimes leading to complete loss of income. In addition, family members may need to take time off work to care for their loved ones, further adding to the loss of income a family may feel. 

This financial strain is accompanied by intense emotional stress. Injured victims may experience a range of emotions, including anger, frustration, depression, and a sense of loss for their pre-injury life, which can strain personal relationships and impact family dynamics.

Families often find themselves trying to juggle medical care, insurance claims, and legal issues, all while trying to support their loved one’s physical and emotional recovery. When this occurs, spinal cord injury victims and families must turn to an experienced Miami spinal cord injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can help secure the compensation necessary to cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While no amount of compensation can undo the harm you’ve suffered, you and your family shouldn’t have to endure unnecessary financial hardships because of someone else’s negligence. 

How Can Our Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys Help?

First and foremost, dealing with a spinal cord injury can be an overwhelming experience, not just for the injured person but for their loved ones as well. It’s a time filled with emotional, physical, and financial turmoil. We can step in as a guide and advocate, navigating the complexities of legal claims and insurance to ensure that you’re not alone in this journey.

At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, PA., we offer comprehensive legal services to support spinal cord injury victims and their families. We understand the medical aspects of these injuries, how they impact your life, and what future care might be needed. This expertise is crucial in accurately calculating damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, and compensation for pain and suffering.

From the start, we will meticulously investigate the circumstances surrounding the injury, gathering evidence to build a strong case. This may involve interviewing witnesses, consulting medical experts, and collecting documentation of your injury. Our goal is to establish liability and prove the extent of your damages.

Fighting Insurance Companies So You Don’t Have To

We understand that insurance companies, at their core, are businesses looking to make a profit. This means they have strong incentives to minimize the amount they pay on claims. They employ various tactics to achieve this, such as disputing the severity of your injury, questioning the necessity of certain treatments, or even attempting to place some or all of the blame for the accident on you. 

We have the experience to counter these tactics effectively. We understand the ins and outs of insurance law and how to negotiate with insurers. Prosper Shaked will ensure that the insurance company does not pressure you into accepting a lowball offer or agreeing to terms not in your best interest. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, we are prepared to take the matter to court to fight for the compensation you deserve.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) result from damage to the spinal cord that affects communication between the brain and the rest of the body. The extent and location of the injury determine the nature and severity of the impairment. 

SCIs are categorized into two main types: paraplegia and quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia).

Paraplegia refers to the paralysis of the legs and lower body, typically resulting from injuries to the mid or lower back (thoracic, lumbar, or sacral regions of the spinal cord). Individuals with paraplegia may retain full use of their arms and hands.

Quadriplegia involves paralysis of all four limbs, along with, in most cases, the torso. It occurs due to damage to the neck region (cervical spinal cord) and results in varying degrees of paralysis in the arms and legs, and often affects body functions such as breathing, bowel, and bladder control.

Long-term Issues and Costs

The long-term issues and costs associated with paraplegia and quadriplegia are substantial, affecting virtually every aspect of an individual’s life and necessitating comprehensive, ongoing care.

  • Medical and Rehabilitation Expenses: Initial hospitalization, surgery, and acute care are just the beginning. Long-term rehabilitation, physical therapy, and occupational therapy are often required to maximize independence and functionality.
  • Assistive Technologies and Home Modifications: Wheelchairs, adaptive devices, and modifications to the home (such as ramps, widened doorways, and accessible bathrooms) are necessary to accommodate mobility limitations and promote independence.
  • Ongoing Healthcare Needs: Individuals with SCIs are at increased risk for secondary conditions, such as pressure sores, urinary tract infections, and respiratory complications, which require ongoing medical attention and can significantly contribute to overall costs.
  • Loss of Income and Employment Challenges: The ability to work may be affected, leading to a significant loss of income. Vocational rehabilitation and job retraining may be necessary to help individuals find new employment opportunities within their physical capabilities.
  • Personal and Emotional Support: Beyond physical needs, individuals with SCIs often require psychological counseling to cope with the emotional impact of their injury. Support groups and therapy can play critical roles in adjusting to a new way of life.
  • Caregiver Support: Many individuals with severe SCIs require assistance with daily activities. This can mean hiring caregivers, which adds to the financial burden, or relying on family members, which can strain personal relationships.

The financial impact of living with paraplegia or quadriplegia can be overwhelming, with costs running into millions of dollars over a lifetime. It’s not just the direct medical costs but also the loss of income and the need for ongoing support and adaptations that contribute to the financial strain.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can result from a variety of incidents, many of which are sudden and traumatic. Understanding the common causes of these injuries is essential for both prevention and recognizing the circumstances that might lead to legal claims for compensation. Here are some of the most frequent causes:

  • Vehicle Accidents: Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents are among the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. The force of the collision can cause damage to the spine, leading to partial or complete paralysis.
  • Falls: Falls, especially from significant heights, are a common cause of spinal cord injuries in older adults, but they can happen to anyone. Workplace falls, such as those on construction sites, and slips and falls in public places are notable examples.
  • Violence: Gunshot wounds, stabbings, and assaults can cause traumatic damage to the spinal cord. Violence-related spinal cord injuries are often unpredictable and can result in severe impairment.
  • Sports and Recreation Injuries: Activities that involve a high degree of physical contact and risk, such as football, diving, skiing, and horseback riding, can lead to spinal cord injuries if accidents occur.
  • Diseases: Certain diseases can also lead to spinal cord damage. Conditions like cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and inflammation of the spinal cord can cause deterioration and injury over time.
  • Work-related Accidents: Jobs that involve heavy lifting, operating machinery, or working at heights can increase the risk of spinal cord injuries. Workplace safety measures are crucial to prevent serious workplace accidents in Miami.
  • Alcohol Use: Alcohol is a factor in about one in every four spinal cord injuries. Intoxication can lead to accidents due to impaired judgment and coordination.

Proving Negligence After a Spinal Cord Injury

To prove negligence, a victim must prove the following elements to a court:

  • The defendant owed a legal duty of care to the victim under the circumstances;
  • The defendant breached the duty that was owed to the victim, and
  • The victim suffered damages as a result of the breach.

Florida follows the Modified Comparative Negligence Doctrine, which states that an injured accident victim can recover damages even if a court finds them partially at fault. The amount of damages they can recover will be reduced by their percentage of fault. However, they can recover in proportion to the defendant’s percentage of responsibility only if the plaintiff’s own share of responsibility is 50 percent or less.

For example, an injured accident victim (plaintiff) recovers damages of $100,000 for a spinal cord injury sustained in an accident, and a court determines that the plaintiff was 30% at fault for the accident. The plaintiff’s damages will then be reduced by $30,000, and the plaintiff will ultimately receive $70,000 as compensation. However, if the court determines that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault for the accident, they will be barred from recovering anything at all.

The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Miami-Dade County, Florida is generally two years from the date of incident. This means an injured person has two years from the accident date to file a personal injury claim in court.

Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries in Miami

Victims of spinal cord injuries need to seek just compensation for their injuries, especially if they require long-term care. There are two types of damages that a victim can receive after suffering from a spinal cord injury: compensatory and punitive. 

The purpose of compensatory damages is to make the plaintiff “whole.” Compensatory damages are divided into two subcategories: monetary and nonmonetary. Some examples of monetary damages that a spinal cord injury victim can collect are:

  • Present and future medical expenses
  • Present and future earnings
  • In-home assistance and renovations
  • Property damage
  • Victims can also collect nonmonetary damages in a personal injury lawsuit. Some examples of nonmonetary damages include:
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Emotional distress

If a court finds that a defendant’s behavior is intentional or particularly egregious and outrageous, it may award punitive damages to the plaintiff. The purpose of punitive damages is to “throw the book” at the defendant to deter people from committing similar acts in the future. Florida limits the amount of punitive damages awarded in personal injury cases to three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, or $500,000, whichever is greater.

Call a Miami Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

If you or someone you love have sustained a spinal cord injury due to the carelessness, recklessness, or negligence of another, you must consult an experienced personal injury attorney. Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys PA has access to the tools and resources that can assist you in receiving the compensation you deserve. Spinal cord injuries are devastating and life-changing. Do not suffer without being fairly compensated for the injuries you have suffered. Call Prosper Shaked today at (305) 694-2676 for a free consultation.