Spinal Cord Injuries In Florida Auto Accidents
Too many people underestimate just how serious automobile accidents can be, especially in this day and age, but if someone survives, the injuries can be life-changing. This is particularly true with spinal cord injuries – the slightest bruise to the area can affect every aspect of daily life. If you have suffered a spinal injury in a car crash, be aware that while you have the right to seek compensation, doing so may involve a few more potential obstacles than someone whose injuries come from a non-driving accident.
Statistics & Causes
2020 data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) shows that there are approximately 17,810 new spinal cord injuries sustained per calendar year. This works out to roughly 300,000 people in the United States who live with spinal injuries. More than three-fourths of new cases are male, and about three-fourths of new patients have an incomplete form of injury, whether paraplegia (only the legs affected) or tetraplegia (all four limbs).
Vehicular accidents make up the highest percentage of all new spinal injury cases, at about 39 percent, with falls ranking close behind. There are many opportunities in a vehicle accident to sustain a spinal injury – even with a seatbelt on, whiplash or an impact on the same side as the passenger can still result in significant trauma to the spinal cord. Without a seatbelt, the risk is obviously even higher – but it is important to keep in mind that even if you were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of your accident, it still may be possible for you to recover damages under Florida law.
A spinal cord injury sustained in an accident off the road, such as via medical malpractice or slip-and-fall accidents, may be settled with the business or the allegedly negligent actor, or the injured plaintiff may decide to file suit. In cases that involve auto accidents in Florida, injured people must generally file a claim with their personal injury protection (PIP) insurance carrier in order to recover. Florida has what is known as a no-fault auto insurance system, which means that people who are injured in an automobile accident carry insurance to cover their medical bills instead of bringing suit in court.
That said, there are exceptions to this rule. Florida law holds that if someone’s injuries are “significant and permanent,” as spinal injuries often are, they have the right to file suit against the (allegedly) negligent driver in court. The general thinking behind instituting a no-fault insurance system is to keep state dockets clearer for more serious lawsuits, but any lawsuit where someone is injured in a permanent way will generally qualify as “serious.” Thus, if your spinal cord injury is permanent, you can generally discount the aspect of having to file a claim with your PIP insurer, and focus on filing suit. However, each case is different.
Contact A Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Suffering a spinal injury is something that many people simply do not recover from. If you have been through this kind of accident, you need to be able to focus on rebuilding your life, instead of worrying about medical bills and other finances. The compassionate and experienced Tampa spinal injury attorneys at the Rinaldo Law Group can try to answer your questions while guiding you through the legal process. Call our offices today for a free consultation.