Personal Injury Lawsuits for Paralysis Victims
UPDATED: July 19, 2013
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If you have been the victim of an accident resulting in partial or complete paralysis, you can pursue damages in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. Paralysis injuries have a substantial and permanent effect on your life, and your damage calculations will need to reflect your economic, physical, and emotional losses. Because paralysis lawsuits involve substantial damages, many of which are projected future costs, you will need to work with an experienced attorney.
Damages in Paralysis Lawsuit
If you have been paralyzed, there are a list of damages available to you in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The law allows long term damage calculations for the lasting impact of your injury across the following categories:
- Lost wages / earning potential - including difference in pay between the job you previously had and a job you could get after your injury
- Costs of medical treatment, prescription medication, and ongoing rehabilitation
- Costs of necessary medical devices or equipment such as wheelchairs, ramps in and out of your home, and modifications to your home or vehicles
- Pain and suffering damages for your ongoing physical discomfort
- Emotional distress damages
- Loss of consortium
- Damages for long term diminishment in quality of life - calculated to compensate you for the inability to do things you used to enjoy such as hobbies, exercise, or other activities that you are unable to perform due to paralysis
Keeping track of, and calculating, all of your damages is critical, and needs to be done prior to finalizing your legal action. Many of your damages require you to project future costs and place value on intangible things such as pain or suffering.
NOTE: Many states have laws that cap some types of personal injury damages at a certain amount. You can look up the damage caps or ask your attorney about them, and find out how your case may be affected.
Obstacles to Your Paralysis Lawsuit
Even though you may think your case is clear cut, there are a number of concerns that you need to be aware of:
- Deadlines and procedural details: Every state has a statute of limitations which restricts the time you have to file your case. Although most personal injury cases have two or three years, you should act quickly to ensure you do not miss deadlines. Lawsuits and insurance claims require close attention to procedure, and it is easy to overlook a step if you act without the assistance of an attorney.
- Proving you did not contribute to the accident: A common defense to personal injury lawsuits seeking damages for paralysis is the argument that you contributed to your injuries. Comparative or contributory negligence are legal arguments that allow defendants to reduce or eliminate their liability if the injured party's own mistake caused or contributed to the accident. If the opposing party successfully argues that your careless actions led to the accident, you risk losing all or part of your damages.
- Valuing your damages: As mentioned above, identifying and calculating damages in a personal injury case involving paralysis requires you to estimate future costs and place value on intangibles such as pain, suffering, and emotional distress. Performing these calculations requires an understanding of the law and experience with experts who can support damage claims.
- Missteps when speaking to opposing parties: A personal injury lawsuit involving paralysis will require a careful approach to working with insurance companies or opposing attorneys. Everything you say and do after you file a claim or lawsuit can be used to evaluate your case, and it is very easy to say something that indicates you were partially at fault for the accident, even if you weren't, or that downplays your pain or suffering.
Due to the severity of the injury and the value of the claim, you will need to work with an experienced attorney before you take action in a personal injury lawsuit seeking paralysis damages. Lawyers offer free consultations, and many will work on a contingency basis or add attorneys fees to your damage award - meaning you will not pay the attorney out of pocket. Reach out to an attorney for an evaluation of your case, and ensure you have the best chance of collecting the damages you are owed for your paralysis injury.