The costs of any injury do not stop at the first round of medical bills. Ongoing treatment, rehabilitation, missed work, lost business opportunities, and the decreased ability to participate in physical activities can affect an injury victim’s enjoyment of life for years to come. When an injury is severe or permanent, these hidden costs can escalate quickly.
For victims of spinal cord injuries, the effects of the injury can be catastrophic. Even spinal cord injuries which do not result in death or paralysis can incur significant expenses for the rest of the victim’s life. Injury victims have a legal right to be compensated for all their losses by the person who caused the injury. It takes an experienced personal injury attorney to carefully identify all the hidden costs of a spinal cord injury and ensure that the victim is fully and fairly compensated for all of them.
Florida law protects the rights of injury victims to be compensated for all their losses by the person, persons, or legal entities which caused their injury. The value of these losses is known as the victim’s “legal damages”. There are many different types of losses which are sustained in an accident, and victims have a right to be compensated for all of them.
Medical Bills: Medical expenses are the easiest loss to value. Often, a victim has specific invoices which show the exact dollar amount spent on medical treatment related to the accident. This can include an initial ambulance response, treatment in an emergency department or urgent care facility, hospitalization, consultations with neurological experts, diagnostic testing, follow up appointments, and any other medical expenses that were incurred as a result of the accident.
Ongoing Treatment: Spinal cord injuries are severe, and they often result in medical treatment that is required for years to come. This can include pain management services, occupational or physical therapy, neuropsychological testing and treatment, and other services related to long-term care. The amount of such expenses can be difficult to calculate, as the cost of future medical treatment cannot be determined precisely at the time a claim is negotiated. Nonetheless, all such services are compensable by the person responsible for causing the injury.
Lost Wages: Many spinal cord injury victims miss a significant period of work immediately following an accident. Lost wages are simple to calculate for a defined portion of time, by calculating the employee’s hourly wage multiplied by the hours of work that were missed. However, a lost wage claim becomes more complicated when an injured worker loses bonuses, performance incentives, or other financial opportunities lost as a result of the accident. It can be difficult to prove the exact amount of such incentives – and to prove that they were only lost because of the accident, and not due to any other factors. Nonetheless, they are a compensable loss sustained by injury victims.
Lost wage valuations also become more complicated with a permanent injury, such as damage to the spinal cord. The employee is entitled to be compensated for all future time lost from work due to ongoing medical appointments, but this is nearly impossible to determine with any accuracy. Furthermore, if an employee’s symptoms are significant, he or she may suffer a permanent impairment to income as a result of the accident. In such a case, the injured employee is entitled to be compensated for his or her decreased future earning potential.
Pain and Suffering: An accident victim’s pain and suffering is often the largest component of a personal injury award. It is also the most subjective and can be the most difficult to prove. This is why many insurance companies attempt to reduce a personal injury award by targeting the pain and suffering component and attacking its value.
Spinal cord and other nerve injuries are notoriously painful. There is extensive research on the pain associated with nerve injuries, and this can be used to defend an injury victim’s pain and suffering award. A skilled attorney will ensure that all past, present and future suffering is fully compensated by the responsible party.
Permanent Impairment: An injury victim is entitled to be compensated for any permanent impairment that he or she will suffer. This can be something as simple as a scar, or as complex as a pianist’s inability to play the instrument after a spinal cord injury. These, too, are incredibly subjective losses that do not lend themselves to an easy valuation. They can also be the most devastating loss an injury victim sustains. With a strong legal argument supported by case law and research data, an injury victim can obtain the compensation he or she deserves for these permanent losses.
It is also important to note that a single treatment can result in several different forms of compensation. For example, many spinal cord injury patients must be temporarily immobilized in order to stabilize or realign the spine (or both). There are set costs for this service (hospitalization, equipment, etc.). Immobilization also results in lost wages, and loss of enjoyment of other social activities (such as sports). And it is almost inevitable that the immobilization procedure will result in pain and suffering. All of these losses are separate, compensable legal damages.
The Right Legal Representation for your Personal Injury Claim
Whether your spinal cord injury was caused by a car accident, workplace accident, medical malpractice, or other factors, you need an experienced spinal cord injury attorney who will aggressively defend your right to be compensated for your losses. The Dolman Law Group has over forty-six years of experience in protecting the rights of injury victims in and around the St. Petersburg area. Call (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free consultation with a personal injury attorney today. Injury victims across southern Florida trust our professional staff, comprehensive legal expertise, and superior customer service.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712