Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are life-changing traumas that often cause permanent changes in the victim’s physical strength, sensation, and mobility. Approximately 291,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury, which can have a lifelong impact on the victim’s quality of life. These injuries are frequently caused by a trauma to the central nervous system and are often the fault of others. At Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we have a team of highly qualified, experienced, reputable, and dedicated Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers that fight aggressively for the rights of spinal cord injury victims so that they get the compensation they deserve.
We understand that a spinal cord injury can put major emotional and financial burdens on injured workers and their loved ones and ruin their overall well-being and quality of life. Medical bills add up quickly, forcing family members to carry the burden of arranging medical care, physical therapy appointments, and managing medical expenses all at once. This can really strain the family financially.
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s important to seek legal help from a reputable law firm, such as Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, that can both skillfully navigate your claim/case and approach the attorney-client relationship with care and sensitivity.
Our spinal cord injury attorneys are here to help you and will do everything in their power to ensure you get justice and receive fair compensation. Contact us to schedule a Free Case Review and Consultation today.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries often occur due to a sudden and traumatic blow to the vertebrae, discs, or ligaments in the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself. Some of the most common causes of spinal cord damage include:
- Falls – Slips and falls, particularly among people over the age of 65, are a leading cause of spinal cord injuries.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Car accidents and motorcycle accidents can lead to catastrophic injuries, and are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States.
- Sports Injuries – High-impact sports like basketball, football, hockey, and diving in shallow water cause about 10% of spinal cord injuries.
- Violence – Gunshot and knife wounds can lead to severe spinal cord injury.
- Medical Malpractice – Spinal cord injuries can result from a misdiagnosis, surgical errors, or negligence by medical professionals.
- Traumatic Brain Injury – In some cases, people who sustain a traumatic brain injury may also sustain a spinal cord injury due to the trauma of the accident.
- Defective Products – Defective construction equipment or auto parts can lead to devastating accidents, which cause severe spinal cord injuries, and therefore, this can be the basis of a product liability lawsuit.
If you or a loved one are a spinal cord injury victim due to someone else’s actions, it’s important that you consult one of our experienced Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers to advise and guide you accordingly on the right legal steps to seek compensation.
Symptoms and Challenges of Spine Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are generally classified by the type of injury:
- Complete Injury – A complete spinal cord injury is one in which the victim has no sensation or voluntary motor movement on either side of the body below the level of the injury.
- Incomplete Injury – If the victim still has some feeling or motor function below the injury, then it’s referred to as incomplete spinal cord injury.
Paralysis from spinal cord injuries is also referred to as:
- Paraplegia – This form of paralysis affects only the lower limbs, impacting all or part of the pelvic organs, trunk, and legs.
- Tetraplegia – Also called quadriplegia, this means that all of a victim’s limbs are impacted by the back injury.
The location of the trauma on the spinal cord determines which part of the body is affected by the injury.
As a general rule, the higher the injury to the spinal cord, the more severe the symptoms will be. Injuries to the neck and higher vertebrae in the spine affect the respiratory muscles and the ability to breathe, while injuries to lower parts of the spine may affect bladder control, legs and sexual function.
A spinal cord injury usually involves swelling of the spinal cord, which consequently affects the whole body. When the swelling decreases, the patient may regain function months or years after the injury, but regaining complete functioning is rare.
Treatment usually involves stabilizing any broken vertebrae, preventing movement to the injured area, and reducing swelling. While stem cell research has shown some promising signs for the future, there is still no cure for spinal cord injuries.
Steps Involved in Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Initial Meeting with Lawyer
This first step in a spinal cord injury lawsuit is vital to your ability to seek out maximum recovery for your injuries. This first meeting with your spinal cord injury lawyer will focus on discussing the grounds for your potential case (determining whether negligence was involved).
This will involve a detailed conversation and questions about you or your loved one, your/their injury, the circumstances, and how your/their life has been impacted by the injury.
Review of Legal Contracts
Attorneys will review what your legal representation contract looks like. It’s standard for Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers to use a contingency fee agreement, meaning that the lawyer doesn’t get paid unless there is recovery through either – a trial or a settlement.
This will be an opportunity to discuss the possibility of having your spinal cord injury attorney recover their fees from the adverse (negligent) party rather than from your awarded spinal cord injury settlement or trial payment.
Research Into the Case
Once you have signed a contract with your attorney, the investigation period of your spinal cord injury claim/lawsuit begins. During this investigation, your lawyer will try to gather as much evidence as possible concerning your case.
He/she also will identify all potential avenues of recovery, including individuals, corporations, and insurance policies that are available.
This could also include your own insurance policy should you have an uninsured motorist (UM) policy. In the case of a car accident in which another person caused you or a loved one injuries due to negligence, for example, your attorney would look at:
- The insurance policies of both the driver and the owner of the vehicle (if they are not the same person or if it’s a company)
- The company they work for if they were driving as part of their job
- Other factors and parties who may be potentially liable for your injuries
Communication with Insurance Companies
During this time, your spinal cord injury attorney may send out letters of representation – this involves corresponding with any insurance companies that are involved in the spinal cord injury claim.
This period of the lawsuit often runs on a 30-60 day calendar of back-and-forth communications that can take multiple months to complete between your attorney and the other parties.
Going to Trial or Agreeing on a Settlement
Your lawyer is going to act in your best interest and will provide legal counsel about what they think is your best option based on their years of experience and their legal knowledge.
A settlement is sometimes the best option, depending on the specific case and its surrounding circumstances, and other times it is in the best interest of the client to go to trial.
However, the decision about whether to go to trial or agree to settle with an insurance company is ultimately yours, and your attorney should support and act in your best interests. Experienced Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers will know exactly what a fair settlement should be in your case, therefore will advise you accordingly.
What Does Pain and Suffering Mean in Court?
Before you calculate pain and suffering for your spinal cord injury compensation, it is important to know what the phrase “pain and suffering” means in court. Pain and suffering is a kind of umbrella term for a range of physical and psychological effects that occur as a result of a spinal cord injury. It could include:
- Actual pain from injuries
- Grief or emotional distress
- Development of phobias and other mental disorders
- Loss of function
Any of the above (and more) could be considered part of a pain and suffering claim in court. Because pain and suffering is so broadly defined, it can be difficult to fully account for in court.
Another complicating factor is that the pain and suffering you experience is subjective—nobody can look at you and know all of the hurt and loss you have experienced and express it as a set number on a scale. Spinal cord injury settlements calculated at one value in one case can be very different in another case because of this fact.
So, if there is no standard, how is pain and suffering calculated? Different spinal cord injury attorneys and insurance companies might try to calculate pain and suffering in different ways.
One common method for establishing pain and suffering damages is to take the direct losses that have been incurred—such as medical bills and lost earnings—and apply multiple of those losses. The multiplier can be any number but is usually less than four times the value of your damages.
Another way of calculating pain and suffering is to use the “per diem” model. In this model, a specific dollar amount is set to be the value of the suffering of each day from the date the injury occurred to the time that “maximum recovery” is reached. So, if the assigned amount is $75, and it takes 300 days to recover, the pain and suffering damages would be calculated as being $22,500.
Of course, there are some issues with this—especially in cases involving permanent damage to the spinal cord or brain.
First, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury, there is a very real chance you won’t fully recover. So, it can take a long time to establish if you have truly reached “maximum recovery” after your gains from therapy have topped out. And this is a vital factor for consideration that Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers often bring up during initial consultations.
Second, most spinal cord and brain injury victims can’t afford to wait to reach maximum recovery before filing a personal injury claim. There is a limit to how long you can wait to file a claim—if you miss this deadline, you can’t file at all.
So, you may end up either rushing to establish a potential recovery date that could be inaccurate or waiting so long that you lose the chance to collect compensation.
Proving Pain and Suffering in Court
Another tricky aspect of pain and suffering claims is that they are often difficult to prove in court. As we said earlier, pain is subjective—and nobody can really know how much suffering you have been through just by looking at you. So, it is important to keep track of the following to prove pain and suffering:
- Medical bills and records that help prove the extent of your injuries
- Psychiatric evaluation reports
- Testimony from friends and family about changes in your life post-injury
Anything that can be used to demonstrate what your injuries have cost you emotionally and physically could be valuable for a claim of pain and suffering.
Of course, even with plentiful evidence, it is easy for others to undervalue your suffering from a spinal cord injury. This is why it is so important to have the help and support of an attorney who has experience in handling SCI and TBI cases.
Get In Touch With Us Today!
A spinal cord injury lawsuit typically could take months, if not years. Some cases can be resolved quickly when all of the parties involved can come to an agreement. However, some cases could take longer because of negotiations or insurance companies acting in bad faith.
Having caring, compassionate, knowledgeable, dedicated and experienced Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers can make the difference between getting the justice and compensation settlement that you deserve and just settling.
Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
At Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC, we have a team of dedicated, reputable, and professional Atlanta spinal cord injury lawyers with over 35 years of experience that can help you seek compensation to recover damages due to your spinal cord injury. They will fight for your rights and justice and look out for your best interests.
Call us at (470) 268-5802 or contact us online to schedule a FREE, No-Obligation Consultation/Case Review to discuss your case and the way forward.