Seeking a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury (SCI), you know the emotions and concerns accompanying such an injury make as profound an impact as the physical toll. You are likely experiencing a mix of anger, stress, and disbelief. You may feel cheated, especially if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. You need to promptly take important actions regarding treatment, evidence, and legal concerns involving compensation for the significant losses and expenses associated with your injury. An experienced spinal cord injury attorney can guide you and assess the scope of your damages, seeking appropriate compensation while taking on the weight of these responsibilities during this difficult time — so you can focus on your recovery and adjustment to life following the injury.
Coping with these changes can be challenging, often requiring ongoing support. Deep sadness, anxiety, and clinical depression are not uncommon, and there is often a severe impact on one’s social life. We understand this can be overwhelming, making it difficult to manage without professional help. The psychological components in the aftermath of a spinal cord injury can also exacerbate vulnerability to infections and other complications.
Spinal cord injuries raise questions about one’s future ability to work, pursue hobbies, and maintain relationships. These injuries also have immense financial implications as you seek to pay medical bills, acquire appropriate assistive devices, and diligently pursue continued therapeutic treatments. You and your attorney must include these critical considerations when determining the scope of your damages due to an SCI.
Given the complexities, it is vital to reach out to an experienced Minnesota spinal cord injury attorney right away. Contact RSC Law today to schedule a free consultation.
Common Types and Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Every spinal cord injury is unique; considering the nature and scope of your injury and the context in which it happened is crucial. The extent of your potential or expected range of physical recovery will depend on the specifics of your spinal cord injury diagnoses.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Our experienced attorneys at RSC Law help spinal cord injury victims pursue significant financial compensation following an accident caused by the carelessness of another. A traumatic spinal cord injury diagnosed under any of the following designations will involve significant expenses and hardships for accident victims:
- Complete Injury: A complete spinal cord injury leads to a loss of all motor and sensory function below the level of the injury.
- Incomplete Injury: With an incomplete spinal cord injury, some degree of sensory or motor function is preserved below the level of the injury.
- Paraplegia: This refers to a spinal cord injury that occurs at the thoracic level or below, leading to impairment or loss of motor or sensory function in the lower extremities.
- Tetraplegia (or Quadriplegia): This is caused by damage to the cervical section of the spinal cord. It leads to partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and the torso.
The effects on the life of a spinal cord injury victim will vary within each of these categories. The negative implications for one’s quality of life are often severe, with significant limits on motor function, sexual function, bladder control, and bowel control being common symptoms of spinal cord damage. In addition to permanent paralysis, difficulty breathing and increased risk for other health issues such as blood clots and reduced blood flow are often associated with spinal cord injuries.
Acute spinal cord injuries differ from chronic spinal cord injuries because an acute spinal cord injury happens suddenly, whereas a chronic injury occurs due to repeated overuse during a gradual span of time. Acute SCIs represent the vast majority of Minnesota spinal cord injuries.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are many ways someone can suffer a spinal cord injury. Your attorney will help you identify any instances of negligence that contributed to your losses to build your spinal cord injury case.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents: These are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for nearly half of new spinal cord injuries each year. Car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and ATV accidents all involve significant risks of severe injuries to the spinal column, and these each may involve different factors pertaining to spinal cord injuries.
- Falls: Particularly common among older adults, falls can lead to spinal cord injuries. Note whether such a fall occurred on another’s premises or involved a slip or trip accident caused by another’s negligence.
- Violence or Gun Accidents: Gunshot wounds and other forms of violence can cause spinal cord injuries. There are many factors to consider in such cases, including questions involving intent and/or illegal use of a weapon. The severe nature of spinal cord injuries often makes cases involving violence or firearms especially complex.
- Team and Recreational Sports Injuries: Impact sports and those involving risks of falls or collisions with obstacles are common causes of spinal cord injuries.
- Diving and Water Injuries: Many spinal cord injuries are caused by diving in shallow water or slipping on wet surrounding or entrance areas.
- Trampoline Injuries: Though recent years have brought wider adoption of safety precautions such as setting trampoline surfaces at ground level and adding protective walls around their perimeters to prevent falls, trampolines remain dangerous and a common cause of serious injuries involving the neck, back, and spinal cord.
- Surgical Complications: Although rare, surgical complications can lead to spinal cord injuries. Note that medical malpractice may be a significant component of such cases.
The specific causes of a serious injury can lead to different experiences of spinal cord disorder. Your condition may have negative implications associated with potential spinal cord diseases related to decreased wound healing or immune function. It will be important to connect the cause with the full effects of the injury you have suffered.
Proving Negligence in Spinal Cord Injury Cases in Minnesota
A spinal cord injury case involves several key elements to prove negligence:
- Duty of Care: First, you must establish that the party responsible for your injuries had a “duty of care” towards you. This means they had an obligation to act in a manner that would prevent harm to others.
- Breach of Duty: Next, you need to demonstrate that the party breached this duty. It could involve showing that they acted in a way that a reasonable person would not have under the same circumstances. Alternatively, you may need to show that they failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would have under the same circumstances.
- Causation: You then need to prove that the party’s breach of duty directly caused your spinal cord injury. This often involves consulting knowledgeable medical professionals to establish a clear link between the negligent act and the injury.
- Damages: Lastly, you must show that you suffered damages due to your injury. This could include medical bills and related expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, reduced quality of life, and more.
The specifics of how you might prove negligence will depend on the details of your situation. It’s also worth noting that Minnesota follows a modified comparative fault rule, which means that you can bring a negligence claim if you were not 51% or more at fault for your injury, but your compensation may be reduced proportionally if you were partially at fault.
How Medical Care and Physical Therapy Can Influence Your Spinal Injury Case
Pursuing timely and appropriate spinal cord injury treatment and adhering to prescribed physical therapy is crucial for medical and legal purposes following a spinal cord injury. Seek medical attention immediately when a back or neck injury occurs.
Evidence for Scope of Injuries
Immediate and consistent medical care following a spinal injury not only potentially aids your degree of medical recovery but also provides a detailed record of your injuries, treatments, and progress. These records are valuable evidence that can help demonstrate the severity and extent of your injuries, as well as the impact they have had on your life.
Medical Care and Physical Therapy Expenses Contribute to Damages
The costs of medical treatment and physical therapy are significant factors in the calculation of damages in a personal injury case. By diligently following through with your prescribed treatment, you are effectively documenting these necessary expenses, which can then be factored into the financial compensation you may seek.
Chances for Improvement in Condition and Implications for Damages
Depending on the details of your injury, there may be some potential for an improvement in your condition. Seeking knowledgeable and experienced medical professionals early may help you to identify opportunities for treatments to effect some positive change under some circumstances. Likewise, some forms of treatment may help to prevent the deterioration of your condition.
Changes in your condition due to treatment or physical therapy could potentially affect the total damages you may be awarded, as it might indicate a change in future medical costs and an increased or decreased capacity to return to work. Improvement doesn’t negate the fact that you were injured and that you incurred costs due to someone else’s negligence. Your attorney will guide you to pursue accurate and realistic assessments regarding the possibility of improvement in your medical condition.
While the primary goal of seeking immediate and ongoing medical treatment is to optimize medical recovery, it also plays a crucial role in supporting your spinal injury case by providing tangible evidence telling the story of your injuries and the associated costs.
Be Aware of the Statute of Limitations for Spinal Cord Injury Cases
The statute of limitations is a crucial factor for spinal cord injury cases. In Minnesota, the general rule is that the statute of limitations for personal injury cases is six years. This means that you have six years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit. This time limit may be shorter depending on specific circumstances.
The importance of this deadline cannot be overstated. If a lawsuit is not filed within this timeframe, you may be permanently barred from seeking compensation for your injuries and related losses. It’s vital to speak with a knowledgeable spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible after you suffer a spinal cord injury. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights, guide you through the process of filing a claim, and ensure that all deadlines are met.
Prompt action is also important for gathering and preserving evidence. Over time, evidence may be lost or destroyed, and witnesses’ memories may fade. Gathering evidence early on can strengthen your case and increase your chances of proving negligence and the full extent of your injuries and damages.
It is worth noting that there are some exceptions to the six-year statute of limitations. For instance, if the injured person was under the age of 18 at the time of the injury, the statute of limitations does not begin to run until the person turns 18, but additional limits may be imposed. These exceptions are complex and will require guidance from an experienced attorney to navigate the filing requirements, deadlines, and concerns of your unique case.
Contact RSC Law to Discuss Your Spinal Cord Injury Case in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Build Your Strategy
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, we understand your whole world has been turned upside down. We are deeply familiar with the necessary steps to pursue compensation for your injuries and the mounting expenses that are causing you undue financial strain during this difficult time. At RSC Law, our Minneapolis spinal cord injury attorney team is here to guide you throughout the legal process.
Contact Robichaud, Schroepfer and Correia, P.A. today to schedule a free consultation. We will assess the unique details surrounding your Minnesota spinal cord injury and the events that led to the incident to build a sound legal strategy for pursuing financial compensation on your behalf.