Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating and life-altering injuries that can happen to anyone. The Nelson Personal Injury, LLC team understands spinal cord injury victims’ challenges and is dedicated to helping them obtain the compensation they deserve.
Our experienced Minnesota spinal cord injury lawyers will guide you through the entire legal process, ensuring you have the best chance of achieving a favorable outcome.
If you have sustained a spinal cord injury, our legal team can help with your claim. Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation.
Statistics on Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are more common than most people realize. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,730 new spinal cord injuries occur yearly in the United States.
Additionally, the following statistics provide further insight into the severity and impact of spinal cord injuries:
- Approximately 296,000 Americans are currently living with a spinal cord injury.
- The average age at the time of injury has increased from 29 years in the 1970s to 43 years in recent years.
- Nearly 78% of new spinal cord injury cases are male.
- Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, followed by falls, acts of violence, and sports/recreational activities.
Accidents That Cause Spinal Cord Injuries
Various types of accidents can lead to spinal cord injuries. Some of the most common causes include:
Car, motorcycle, truck, and other vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. High-speed collisions, rollovers, and crashes involving pedestrians or cyclists can severely damage the spinal cord.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Falls, particularly from significant heights or on hard surfaces, can cause spinal cord injuries. These accidents often occur at construction sites, workplaces, or other public areas where proper safety measures are not taken.
Acts of Violence
Gunshot wounds, knife attacks, and physical assaults can lead to spinal cord injuries due to direct trauma or damage to the spinal column.
Sports and Recreational Activities
High-impact sports, such as football, rugby, and extreme sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, can result in spinal cord injuries due to collisions, falls, or improper technique.
Surgical errors, misdiagnoses, and other medical negligence can lead to spinal cord injuries.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are two main types of spinal cord injuries you may sustain in an accident:
Complete Spinal Cord Injuries
With a complete spinal cord injury, you lose all sensory and motor functions under the level where the injury occurred. Examples include complete paraplegia (loss of function in the lower extremities) and complete tetraplegia (loss of function in both the upper and lower extremities).
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
In these cases, some degree of motor or sensory function remains below the level of the injury. The extent of impairment can vary widely, from minor loss of function to significant disability.
Long-Term Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can have long-lasting and life-altering consequences. Some common long-term effects include:
Loss of Mobility and Independence
Spinal cord injuries often result in partial or complete paralysis, severely limiting movement and daily activities. Victims may require assistance for basic tasks, impacting their self-reliance and freedom.
Chronic Pain and Discomfort
Many spinal cord injury victims experience persistent pain, muscle spasms, or nerve-related discomfort. Managing this pain can be challenging and may require ongoing medication or therapy. Chronic pain can have a significant adverse effect on quality of life.
Respiratory and Bladder Complications
Spinal cord injuries can disrupt the normal functioning of the respiratory and urinary systems. Victims may face difficulties with breathing, bladder control, or infections due to weakened immune systems.
Pressure Sores and Infections
Limited mobility and reduced sensation can increase the risk of pressure sores and infections. Proper care, regular repositioning, and monitoring are essential to prevent complications.
Spinal cord injuries can lead to significant emotional challenges, including depression and anxiety. Victims may struggle to adapt to their new circumstances and may require ongoing psychological support to cope with their “new normal.”
Potential Compensation You Can Recover
If another party is at fault for causing your spinal cord injury, you may be eligible to recover compensation for damages, including:
Medical Expenses (Past and Future)
Spinal cord injuries often require extensive medical treatment, including surgeries, rehabilitation, and ongoing care. You may be able to recover any past medical expenses you have, as well as any future medical expenses that your physicians expect you to incur, from any at fault party and their insurance company.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
Victims may lose income during recovery or become unable to work due to injury. Recoverable damages include past and future income loss to help address these financial losses.
Pain and Suffering
The pain and suffering related to a spinal cord injury is likely to be significant. Such an injury will have a profound effect on the injured person’s life. It is possible to recover compensation for pain and suffering damages from any at fault party and their injury insurance company.
Due to the significance of the injury, as well as the profound effect such an injury has on the person’s life, a spinal cord injury trauma can lead to anxiety, depression, and other emotional challenges. Compensation for the injuries and the damages caused by the accident may help address the psychological impact of the injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Spinal cord injuries can drastically alter a person’s ability to participate in hobbies, recreation, social activities, and other aspects of life. Recoverable compensation may account for this diminished quality of life.
Permanent Disability or Disfigurement
Severe spinal cord injuries may result in lasting physical impairments or disfigurement. Recoverable cCompensation may address the long-term consequences of such injuries and the disability and disfigurement it causes.
Home Modifications and Assistive Devices
Victims may require home modifications or assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, ramps, and bathroom modification, to accommodate their new limitations. Compensation may cover these costs to facilitate a more accessible living environment for the injured person.
How the Value of Your Case Is Determined
Determining the value of a spinal cord injury case can be challenging. Several factors are considered, which include the following:
Amount of Insurance Coverage Available
Unfortunately, how much is recoverable in a spinal cord injury case will often depend on the amount of insurance coverages available. The amount of coverage will often vary depending on whether the at-fault party is a private party, commercial vehicle, or business. If the at fault party does not have insurance coverage or collectible assets, the injured person may not be able to recover anything for their injury, regardless of how bad their damages are. For car accidents, individuals can protect themselves and their families by talking to their insurance agent to insure they have sufficient underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage.
Severity of the Injury and Its Long-Term Effects
The extent of the spinal cord injury and its lasting impact on the victim’s life play a crucial role in determining the case’s value. More severe injuries typically result in higher compensation.
Cost of Medical Treatment, Rehabilitation, and Ongoing Care
The financial burden of medical treatment, rehabilitation, and lifelong care can be substantial. Compensation may be determined by calculating these expenses to alleviate the victim’s financial strain.
Loss of Income and Future Earning Potential
The injury’s effect on the victim’s ability to work and earn a living is considered when determining compensation. Loss of income and reduced earning capacity can significantly impact the case’s value.
Pain, Suffering, and Emotional Distress Experienced by the Victim
Compensation may be influenced by the degree of pain, suffering, and emotional trauma experienced by the spinal cord injury victim, with more severe cases potentially resulting in higher recoveries.
Impact on the Victim’s Overall Quality of Life
A spinal cord injury can drastically change the victim’s lifestyle, social interactions, and ability to participate in activities they once enjoyed. This impact on quality of life is considered when determining compensation.
Degree of Negligence or Fault Involved in the Accident
The level of responsibility or negligence of the at-fault party can influence the compensation awarded. Higher degrees of fault may result in larger settlements or verdicts.
How Our Law Firm Can Help
At Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, our Minnesota spinal cord injury lawyers are dedicated to providing compassionate and aggressive representation for our clients. We can help you by:
- Investigating the circumstances surrounding your accident;
- Gathering evidence to support your claim;
- Identifying all liable parties;
- Consulting with medical and financial experts to determine the full extent of your damages;
- Negotiating with insurance companies and opposing parties for a fair settlement;
- Representing you in court if necessary to pursue the compensation you deserve.
Q: What should I do immediately after suffering a spinal cord injury?
A: Seek immediate medical attention and follow your doctor’’s recommendations. Document the details of the accident, gather evidence, and contact a spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Q: How long do I have to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit in Minnesota?
A: The statute of limitations for personal injury cases based on negligence in Minnesota is generally six years from the accident date. However, specific circumstances may affect this deadline, so it’s essential to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible.
Q: Can I still recover compensation if I was partially at fault for my spinal cord injury?
A: Yes, Minnesota follows a comparative fault system. You can recover compensation as long as your percentage of fault is not greater than the combined fault of all other parties.
Q: What if the insurance company offers me a settlement for my spinal cord injury?
A: Do not accept settlement offers without consulting an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer. Insurance companies often try to minimize their liability by offering low settlements very early on after an accident that do not cover the full extent of your damages.
Q: How much will hiring a spinal cord injury lawyer cost?
A: Most spinal cord injury lawyers, including those at Nelson Personal Injury, LLC, work on a contingency fee basis. This means you do not pay any legal fees upfront, and your attorney will only receive a percentage of your recovery if they win your case. If there is no recovery, there are no attorney’s fees, ever.
Q: How long will resolving my spinal cord injury case take?
A: The time it takes to finalize a spinal cord injury case varies depending on the case’’s complexity, the insurance coverages available, the parties’ willingness to negotiate, and the court’s schedule. Your attorney can provide a more accurate estimate based on the specifics of your case.
Q: What if my spinal cord injury occurred while I was at work?
A: If you were injured at work, you are likely to be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. If a third party, separate and apart from your employer is responsible for causing the injury, you may also have a personal injury claim against the third party and their insurance company. Consult with a spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss your options and ensure you receive maximum compensation.