Seeking Compensation For Spinal Injuries
Almost any type of injury can occur as a result of an auto accident, depending on the specific facts of the crash. One particularly difficult and trying type of injury is those which impact the spine – even if the spinal cord itself is untouched, damaged nerves and cracked vertebrae may need months and years to heal. If you have sustained a spinal injury after a car crash, however, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the other driver or another defendant whose negligence may have played a role in causing harm to you.
Spinal Injuries Are More Common Than Before
While the number of injuries to the spinal area is not a tracked statistic, the sheer number of spinal cord injuries can help one realize the scale of the issue, with the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reporting approximately 17,700 new spinal injuries per year, with nearly 80 percent being male. The sheer number which take place in auto accidents is also worth noting, as the Mayo Clinic estimates that almost half of all spinal cord injuries are sustained in automobile or motorcycle accidents.
One other noteworthy item among spinal injury statistics is that while popular culture sees a spinal injury as either causing paraplegia or quadriplegia, the reality is that many victims sustain a less serious injury, but still require assistance with daily life. These people are still disabled in many respects by spinal injuries, even if they do not rise to a specified threshold. A scientific scale known as the ASIA scale has been developed because so many spinal injuries are ‘incomplete’ (that is, not causing complete quadriplegia), on which muscle and motor functions are graded.
Who To Sue?
If you have been injured in an automobile accident and sustained vertebrae fractures, damaged nerves, or spinal cord problems, you may be able to bring suit against a defendant whose negligence played a role in the crash. However, it can sometimes be confusing in determining who to bring suit against, especially if the accident was complex. Florida has a rule that generally, auto accident victims are not permitted to bring suit for their injuries; normally medical bills are expected to be handled by insurance companies. However, there is an exception in the law which allows a suit if your injuries are serious – generally, resulting in the loss of a limb or an “important bodily function” – which means that many spinal cord injury victims will be able to bring suit in a court of law.
If you are permitted by law to sue, you must meet three criteria (technically four, but one has been stipulated in most cases). You must show that a duty to exercise reasonable care was owed by defendant to plaintiff (which is true by law in Florida), and that the duty was breached by the defendant’s conduct. You must also be able to show that no other cause for your injuries can be established, and that your injuries are bad enough to need medical care – for example, if you have sustained just cuts and bruises, a negligence case will likely not be successful.
Call A Knowledgeable Attorney Today
Because of their ability to affect the majority of the body, spinal injuries can be some of the most devastating to sustain. If you have a spinal injury due to someone else’s negligence, contacting an experienced lawyer may be a good idea. The Tampa spinal injury attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group can sit down with you and help you determine the best path to take for the future. Call us today at 813-831-9999 for a free consultation.