What Damages Can I Recover for a Spinal Cord Injury?
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you understand the devastating emotional and financial consequences that accompany such a serious injury. Due to the lasting nature of these injuries, it’s important to be aware of available compensation options and how to recover damages to help alleviate some of the financial burdens and improve your quality of life.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a wide range of accidents, including:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slips and falls
- Workplace accidents
- Violence, such as gunshot wounds
- Sports and recreational accidents
Having a comprehensive understanding of your injury and how it occurred will play a pivotal role in determining liability and ultimately recovering damages.
Types of Spinal Cord Injury Damages
When pursuing compensation for spinal cord injury, it’s essential to be aware of the different types of damages available. Generally, damages fall under two categories: economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages aim to compensate the injured party for financial losses incurred as a direct result of the injury. These damages include:
Medical Expenses: In the aftermath of a spinal cord injury, medical bills often represent the most significant financial burden. Recoverable medical expenses may include hospital bills, surgeries, medications, rehabilitation, assistive equipment, and long-term care expenses.
Lost Wages: Spinal cord injuries frequently result in a victim being unable to work for an extended period, or even permanently. Damages for lost wages cover the lost income during that time, as well as potential future lost earnings due to a reduced capacity to work or inability to work entirely.
Property Damage: In cases where the injury was caused by an accident, such as a car or motorcycle accident, damages may also include compensation for property damage related to the incident.
Non-economic damages cover the more subjective and non-financial effects of the injury. These damages can include:
Pain and Suffering: This category includes physical pain a victim experienced as a result of the injury. Determining the value of pain and suffering often depends on the severity of the injury, its long-term effects, and personal circumstances.
Emotional Distress: Individuals with severe spinal cord injuries may suffer from anxiety, depression, and other emotional struggles. Emotional distress damages can help compensate for the psychological impact of the injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life: These types of damages address the diminished quality of life experienced by the victim, as they may be unable to participate in some activities or hobbies they once enjoyed.
Loss of Consortium: In some cases, damages can be sought to compensate the spouse or partner of the injured party for the loss of companionship, affection, and other aspects of their relationship.
Sometimes, Punitive Damages Are Available
In rare cases, punitive damages are available in South Carolina spinal cord injury cases. Punitive damages are intended to punish the defendant for their wrongful behavior and deter the defendant from engaging in similar actions in the future.
“Punitive damages may be awarded only if the plaintiff proves by clear and convincing evidence that his harm was the result of the defendant’s wilful, wanton, or reckless conduct.”
To hold someone accountable for your spinal cord injury and compel them to compensate you for your losses, you must demonstrate that they were negligent. Negligence involves proving that the defendant had a duty to exercise reasonable care, that they breached that duty, that their breach caused your injury, and that you suffered damages as a result.
It’s important to gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim. This may include photographs, witness statements, police reports, and other documentation. In some cases, you may need to consult with experts in the field such as the accident reconstructionist or medical specialists to prove your case.
If you’ve been injured and need help, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.