Spinal cord injuries affect the spinal cord due to trauma rather than disease. These injuries can happen in an instant and are some of the most serious a person can sustain. In many instances, they can dramatically affect your quality of life and leave you unable to function in the same manner you once did.
Adding insult to injury, spinal cord injuries are often the fault of someone else. Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, with slip and falls—often on another person’s property—coming in at a close second.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury and the injury was the fault of someone else, you may be able to file a lawsuit to seek compensation for the injury. Due to the complexity of these cases, though, you may want to first speak to a Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer who could help you do so effectively. A capable catastrophic injury attorney could advocate for you.
Lawsuits involving spinal cord injuries are typically based on negligence. The plaintiff—the person filing the lawsuit—must be able to prove this negligence in order to receive damages.
Negligence in a legal context is failing to act in a reasonable manner that does not keep other people safe. When someone drives recklessly, does not maintain their property, or otherwise fails to uphold their implicit or explicit responsibilities to maintain the safety of others, it could be considered an act of negligence if it causes injury to another party.
In many cases, there may be more than one negligent party in a spinal cord injury case. If two or more drivers caused a car accident, for example, all drivers involved in the crash may be considered negligent to some degree. Importantly, this is also true for the driver who sustained the spinal cord injury.
Chicago is governed by Illinois’ comparative negligence statute. Under this law, if an injured individual is found to be less than 50 percent negligent in the accident that caused their injuries, they can still claim compensation. However, that compensation would be reduced by the percentage of fault they themselves bore. Those who were more than 50 percent at fault for an accident are barred from claiming compensation for their injuries.
Typically, injured parties who file personal injury suits seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, and pain and suffering. All these damages may be sought in a spinal cord injury lawsuit as well, but compensation would likely have to reach beyond those as well. Spinal cord injuries are estimated to cost anywhere from $300,000 to over $1 million in just the first year after the injury occurs.
These costs include not just typical expenses and damages for a personal injury case, but also may incorporate renovations that need to be made to a home, a vehicle that can be driven or accessed by the injured individual, private healthcare, rehabilitation, and more. All these costs, as well as any other expenses related to the injury, can be claimed in a lawsuit.
This is another area in which speaking to an experienced Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer can be valuable. An experienced lawyer could understand the damages—both current and in the future—involved in a spinal cord injury and help their client ensure all their costs and expenses are included in a lawsuit.
While spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious you could ever face, the statute of limitations—or time limit—you have to file their lawsuit remains the same. In Chicago, most personal injury claims have a statute of limitations of two years, and a lawsuit filed after that time would likely not be heard by a judge.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury and believe someone else was to blame, contact a Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible. No one should have to live with someone else’s mistake, and by being properly represented, you may not have to live with the financial burden of that mistake. Speak to a skilled attorney today to find out what you may be entitled to.