Spinal Cord Injuries

One day your life is full of activity. You work, play, and go about your daily activities without a thought. And then, in a matter of seconds, your world is completely changed. When you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, your life will never be the same. You may question if having survived the accident was good luck or bad. Your losses at first seem mind-boggling. You may be depressed, anxious about your future, despondent over all that you’ve lost. When your injury was the result of someone else’s wrongdoing, your sense of injustice may be overwhelming; it was not your fault, but you’re the one who is suffering. In Florida, spinal cord injuries in traffic accidents, falls, criminal acts, and other adverse events cause suffering and disability every day. In many these cases, a skilled personal injury lawyer can get you the money that will allow you and your family to move on with life after you’ve suffered spinal cord damage.

Unfortunately, a spinal cord injury is generally irreversible. You will deal with the limitations it has caused for the remainder of your life. Your care will be expensive and your losses great.

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that the cost of caring for a patient with a spinal cord injury can range from $1 - $5 million, depending on the part of the spine injured, whether the injury is complete or incomplete, and the age of the victim. That’s before you factor in the loss of income and productivity resulting from the injury.

How well you are able to adapt will have to do with the area of the spine damaged, whether the injury is complete or incomplete, and whether or not you have sufficient resources to enable you to get the best quality medical treatment, personal care and household assistance, and alterations to your home and vehicle that may allow you some degree of independence. So you will need to do everything in your power to ensure that you have enough money to provide for your future and for those who depend on you for support that you’re no longer able to provide.

Legal Assistance in and around Tampa Bay for Spinal Cord Injury Victims

You need to find an aggressive and committed personal injury attorney who will fight tirelessly to force the person, business, or other party responsible for your terrible loss to compensate you for your financial and quality-of-life damages. In Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, if you have sustained a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or deliberate act, whether it was caused by a motor vehicle accident, a fall, a medical error, a workplace accident, an act of violence on someone else’s property, or any other situation that can be attributed to another party, you should protect your right to recover monetary compensation for your injury by calling the law offices of attorney Stephen Maltezos immediately.

Why a Spinal Cord Injury is so Catastrophic

The spinal cord is the pathway between your brain and the rest of your body. It is the communication system that allows you to feel, to move, to control your bladder and bowels, and to function sexually. All the information going from the brain to every point in your body and from every point on your body to your brain travels through the nerves of the spinal cord.

For the most part, the higher up on your spinal cord the injury occurred, the greater your disability will be, because you typically lose function below the point of injury. When the injury is in the region of your cervical spine (neck) you are likely to suffer from tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia), which is paralysis of all four limbs and often of the diaphragm, affecting your ability to breathe without a respirator. Injuries to the thoracic or lumbar spine often produce paraplegia, or paralysis of the lower body only.
A spinal cord injury can be either complete or incomplete. A complete injury leaves you with not movement or feeling, or function below the injured area of your spinal cord. An incomplete injury is one in which there is some sensation or functioning below the point of injury. You might be able to move one leg or one arm more than the other; or you may have some feeling in some part of your body, even though you can’t move it.

Although most spinal cord injury victims are confined to a wheelchair for life, a few with incomplete injuries will be able to walk, but they may have other serious disabilities, for example loss of bowel and bladder control. Your degree of impairment will depend on the location and severity of your injury.

Spinal Cord Injury Damages You May Be Able to Recover

Your attorney will first need to prove with a preponderance of the evidence that the other party caused your injury. Once liability has been established, you may claim two categories of damages: economic damages, non-economic or quality of life damages. A third category, though rare, is also possible: punitive damages, an extra award not to compensate you for your losses but to punish the liable party for some especially egregious wrongdoing that showed depraved indifference to your well-being.

Economic damages

can be assigned a dollar value and proved by producing bills, receipts, and employment records. They may include:

  • Cost of medical treatment and future projected treatment costs
  • Cost of prescription medications
  • Cost of rehabilitation and therapy (occupational, psychological, and physical)
  • Lost wages and diminished earning potential over your lifetime
  • Cost of required medical supplies, equipment, and mobility devices, for example which often include a wheelchair, ventilator, braces, catheters, and so forth
  • Cost of redesigning and altering your home, and in some cases vehicle, to accommodate your disability
  • Transportation expenses
  • Cost of nursing home, assisted living, or in-home care
  • Cost of training and caring for a service dog or other animal

Non-economic damages are those that affect your quality of life but are more difficult to assign a monetary value, for example:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish and emotional disturbance
  • Diminished mobility
  • Damage to your marriage, your ability to function as a parent, or to other significant relationships; loss of sexual function
  • Loss of your independence
  • Loss of ability to participate in your favorite activities
  • Loss of dignity

Free Legal Consultation
If you or a member of your family suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, call the offices of Stephen Maltezos as soon as possible to arrange a time for a free legal consultation. If traveling to Steve’s offices in Tampa or St. Pete is not a possibility due to your injury, let us know, and he will meet you at the hospital, rehab facility, or your home. Steve will review the facts or your case and answer all of your legal questions. If he takes your case, you will pay nothing up front, nothing out of pocket, and nothing at all unless he wins money for you.

Spinal cord injuries are high dollar value cases, and depending on the circumstances, you may be able to recover a significant amount of money, which can help in a myriad of ways with your adjustment to your life as a person with a serious disability. But insurance companies will fight vigorously to avoid paying these large claims, so having a lawyer like Steve Maltezos who is energetic, hard-working, committed, and smart is essential. It is important to get legal help early on to preserve your right to a recovery. Florida law limits the amount of time you have to file a law suit, so call Maltezos Law now and take the first step to secure your future and that of your family when your abilities have been severely restricted by a catastrophic injury.