If you were in an accident, you may have suffered serious injuries to the spine. A spinal cord injury brings traumatic damage to the body and could cause lifelong disability. Whether you are injured temporarily or foresee a long-term disability, it can be helpful to talk to a lawyer to find out your legal options.
After an accident occurs, a Sarasota spinal cord injury lawyer can aid you in obtaining compensation for your injuries and help you navigate through the legal process. They will use the legal recourse available to those who are injured through negligence.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Your spinal cord is located along the center of your spine and goes to the brain stem. It consists of nerve tissue that is covered by three thin layers of protective tissue called membranes. This area is a vital part of your body functioning correctly because it sends messages to the brain and is one of the main parts of the nervous system.
In fact, the spinal cord along with the brain make up the central nervous system (CNS). A spinal cord injury will be what is termed ‘complete' or ‘incomplete':
- Complete means the injury has eliminated all sensory feeling and you don't have motor function, or the ability to control movement, below the spinal cord injury.
- Incomplete means you are experiencing some sensory feeling and may have limited motor function below the affected area.
Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
There are a variety of symptoms you may acquire with a spinal cord injury. Keep in mind, this may vary, depending on whether it is a ‘complete' or ‘incomplete' injury. The main signs and symptoms include the following:
- Inability to move
- Pain caused by the damaged nerve fibers in the spinal cord
- Altered sensation, which may include no sense of feeling in certain parts of the body
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Changes in sexual function
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing and clearing secretions from the lungs
Recovering Damages from a Spinal Cord Injury
Suffering a spinal cord injury can set your entire life back from where it was. You may be confined to limited mobility for now. In some cases, the ability to move around could be long term, creating more damages.
When the cause of your injuries is due to someone else's negligence, you can seek compensation for the damages. According to Florida law, there are three main types of damages you can seek after an accident, these are:
Economic damages involve the bills that are probably piling up. This may include medical bills and a loss of income. You also might have other costs, such as medical equipment, physical rehab, prescriptions, and miscellaneous costs. Some people have future medical bills because of a permanent disability. With a disability, you would lose your ongoing income, making it necessary for future payments.
These are the non-monetary damages that affect your quality of life. Although these damages may not cost you money or bills, they cost you peace of mind. Under Florida law, you are allowed to also be compensated for these kinds of damages. Some of the non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, loss of pleasure, loss of enjoyment, and loss of doing the many things you used to do before.
The drastic change in your life can result in non-economic damages. A Sarasota spinal cord injury lawyer will calculate the amount of compensation you can seek for these damages. They use one of two methods to determine the amount - the multiplier method and the per diem method. Your lawyer will use the method that is best for your situation.
In some cases, you may be allowed to file for punitive damages. Your attorney will know whether your case fits. A jury awards these damages to a plaintiff if the defendant acted maliciously or grossly negligent. Florida does have a cap on punitive damage awards, which means the amount you obtain is limited. Florida's statute allows you to get three times the amount of compensatory damages, or $500,000. You will get the higher of the two amounts.
Your Sarasota spinal cord injury lawyer will create a case that revolves around the evidence and the other party's negligence. In Florida, the negligence statute used is Statute 768.81. This statute says that Florida is a pure comparative negligence state. This type of comparative negligence law allows you to collect damages even if you were up to 99% at fault.
Each party is able to collect a comparative amount, which means the award will be subtracted by the amount they contributed to the accident. A Sarasota spinal cord injury lawyer will work to show that you were less at fault than the other party. They will investigate the evidence and show the other party's negligence in the accident.
Statute of Limitations
In any type of personal injury claim, your attorney will follow the guidelines of the state in which the incident occurred. In Florida, the statute of limitations is found in Section 95.11. It gives you up to four years from the date of the accident to file a claim.
Seek Recovery with a Sarasota Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
A top Sarasota spinal cord injury lawyer can provide you with the guidance for filing a personal injury case. The attorneys at the Dolman Law Group, have secured millions in wins for their clients and will use every legal avenue to secure you a fair settlement. They will work with you on a contingency basis, so you don't have to pay anything until the case is won.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with the Dolman Law Group today to set up a free case evaluation and get started on your case right away.