Spinal cord injuries (SCI) are life-changing traumas that often cause permanent changes in the victim’s physical strength, sensation, and mobility. Call Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC at (470) 268-5802Our 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.
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.
Atlanta Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Workers’ comp settlement can be a simple and straightforward matter – or a stressful court battle whereby you’ll need an experienced and reputable spinal cord injuries attorney Atlanta to fight for you to get the compensation that you deserve. Call us today at (470) 268-5802 If you were injured at work and want to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.
Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney
Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney: How Do Workers’ Comp Settlement Work? What You Need To Know.
Workers’ comp settlement can be a simple and straightforward matter – or a stressful court battle whereby you’ll need an experienced and reputable spinal cord injuries attorney Atlanta to fight for you to get the compensation that you deserve. Read on to learn what is involved, how settlements are calculated, and ways to reach an agreement.
How Workers’ Comp Settlements Are Reached
If a worker is fully recovered and back to work with no outstanding bills or unpaid benefits, the claim can simply be closed.
In many states, closing a claim involves a settlement negotiated between the insurer and the injured worker, often through his/her workers’ compensation attorney. (And if the parties can’t reach an agreement, a judge will need to decide after a hearing.)
The settlement process typically begins with an offer from the insurance company and employer. This may include payment for unpaid benefits or medical bills, as well as costs of future treatment. If an injury leaves a worker permanently impaired, he/she may also be entitled to a disability award to compensate him/her.
A work-related injury settlement can be either a lump sum or a structured payment plan:
- Lump-sum payment – The injured employee receives a one-time payment for all medical costs and benefits under the claim. Depending on the state, the injured worker may have to agree not to seek any future reimbursement for the injury.
- Structured payment – The injured employee will receive regular payments over a specified period. They may include a separate medical account to pay for future medical care.
Before a settlement is reached, you and your attorney calculate what you think the workers’ comp payout should be. It should be enough to cover previous medical bills and the costs of any future medical care. The settlement should factor in:
- Balances on medical bills, including ambulance rides
- The likelihood of future treatments, such as physical therapy or surgery
- Lost wages or future wage loss
- Temporary or permanent disability payments
- Attorney fees
- State workers’ comp laws and limitations
Once the calculation is finalized, your spinal cord injuries attorney Atlanta will negotiate with the insurance company. Typically, the final settlement is a compromise between the two parties.
In some states, a judge must review the proposed settlement before it is finalized. The judge will consider whether it is fair to the employee, but it is always helpful for you to have an experienced workers’ comp lawyer to protect your interests.
Your role is minimal during settlement negotiations if you have an attorney to represent you and negotiate on your behalf. But, still, keep the lines of communication open and stay updated on progress.
Settlements may take weeks or months to hammer out. During this time, be sure you know your return-to-work options. Injured workers who’re kept informed and know their options are less likely to sue.
If the insurer and your attorney can’t reach a settlement, then the matter will likely head to court for a hearing. And that can be a bit of a gamble for both sides. It will now be upon the court to decide which benefits you deserve based on the merits of your case.
Denied Workers Compensation Claims
Learn about some of the common reasons for denials of workers’ compensation claims – and what you can do about it.
If you were injured on the job or developed a medical condition because of your work—such as lung disease from exposure to toxic chemicals or a cumulative trauma like a repetitive strain injury (RSI)—you are no doubt hoping to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.
But what can you do if your claim has been denied? The answer could depend on the reasons for the denial.
Common Reasons for Denial of Workers’ Comp Claims
Sometimes, employers or their insurance companies often look for any possible reason to deny workers’ comp claims. Of course, that reason should be a valid one under the law. There are several common reasons for claim denials, including:
- Missed deadlines – To receive workers’ comp benefits, you should report your injury or illness to your employer right away. After that, you generally need to file a workers’ comp claim with the state agency (although in some states, your employer or the insurance company will take care of this step after you have notified them of your injury). States have different time limits for reporting injuries and filing claims. For instance, Georgia law requires injured workers to notify their employer within 30 days of the date of injury. If you miss the deadlines, your claim will probably be denied. In some states, you will not be penalized for missing the reporting deadline (by not giving your employer written notice of the injury), as long as your supervisor actually knew that it happened. Still, your claim must be filed in time.
- Disputes about whether the injury is work-related – Your employer may say that you weren’t working when you were injured, that you were involved in some kind of misconduct at the time, or that your current medical condition isn’t actually a result of a workplace accident or exposure. Whatever the reason for the dispute over whether your injury or illness is work-related, you’ll need to gather evidence to support your claim and hire an experienced, reputable, and dedicated spinal cord injuries attorney Atlanta to help you build a strong case. Maybe you need witness accounts about the circumstances of the accident. Or you may need more medical evidence. If your treating doctor has already attributed your condition to your work, but the insurance company disagrees, you may need to attend an independent medical examination to get another doctor’s opinion.
- Your condition doesn’t meet state guidelines – The law in your state may have special restrictions on workers’ comp claims for cumulative trauma or psychological conditions. Some states rule out workers’ comp benefits for illnesses caused by long-term emotional stress at work. Or your injuries might not be severe enough to meet the requirements for a workers’ comp claim in your state.
- You filed the claim after you left your job – Insurers usually deny claims that were filed after the employee was fired, laid off, or quit. But you might have had a good reason for the delay. Maybe you reported the injury while you were still at the job, or you were injured in the period after you gave (or were given) notice but before your last day. Or maybe you were fired in retaliation for reporting a workplace injury (which is illegal). Some states have special rules for workers’ comp claims filed after you left your job. If you qualify for one of the exceptions in your state’s law, you may be able to contest the denial.
What to Do When Your Workers’ Comp Claim Is Denied
You shouldn’t give up your right to workers’ comp benefits just because your claim was initially denied. First, look closely at the letter telling you that your claim was denied. It will probably include the reasons for the denial.
If you think it was simply a matter of mistaken paperwork or something similar, you might consider contacting the claims adjuster to see if you can clear up the issue. But this route isn’t likely to be successful unless your employer or the insurance company made a bona fide mistake and admits it. More likely, you will have to consider appealing the denial.
Appealing a Workers’ Comp Claim Denial
The letter you received may include information about how to appeal the denial of your claim. If so, read it carefully. The appeals process varies in each state. Often, the first level of appeal will be at a hearing before an administrative law judge, where you will have to present medical and other evidence to support your claim. The hearing can be through a state labor department or a state board of workers’ compensation. There are additional levels of appeal beyond the initial administrative levels as well, which vary depending on the state.
When You Need a Lawyer
Unless your claim was denied due to a simple mistake that was immediately cleared up, it would be smart to reach out to a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can help you determine whether an appeal would be the best course of action for you. The timelines for workers’ comp appeals are short and strict, and you don’t want to lose your rights to benefits just because you missed a deadline.
Before you consider filing an appeal yourself, you should definitely talk to a spinal cord injuries attorney Atlanta. Appeals are complicated legal processes, involving rules of evidence and civil procedure that the judge will expect you to know. If you don’t win at the initial levels, you may not be able to present additional evidence later in the process.
One of the reasons that many injured employees lose their appeals is because they didn’t have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney at their side to help them prepare a strong case. Also, most workers’ comp lawyers charge only a percentage of the benefits you receive, so it won’t cost you anything unless you win.
Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney
If you were injured at work and want to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, or perhaps your claim was denied and you want to appeal, contact Bobe & Snell Law Office LLC to speak to one of our experienced workers’ comp attorneys and find out how we will help you.
Call us today at (470) 268-5802 or get in touch with us online for a free, no-obligation consultation/case review.
Spinal Cord Injuries Attorney