A spinal cord injury can change every aspect of a person’s life and can affect the lives of their family members as well. Learning how to adapt to a spinal cord injury can be a long and excruciating process that comes at great financial and emotional cost. It is also devastating to consider that someone else’s negligence caused such a life-altering injury.
You might find some relief in seeking damages for your injuries with the help of a Clayton County spinal cord injury lawyer. In addition to acquiring financial compensation, holding someone accountable can have a positive effect on emotional healing. Contacting a seasoned catastrophic injury lawyer early in the process could help you consider your legal options and what to expect going forward.
Spinal Cord Injuries Can Be Life-Altering
Spinal cord injuries occur when the cells or nerves within the spinal cord are damaged. Bruising or compression of the spinal cord or severance of the nerves running along the cord can lead to permanent injury.
The location of the damage is critical because people with spinal cord injuries typically lose sensation or functioning in the body below the site of the injury. The higher the injury is on the cord, the less functioning the injured person is likely to regain.
The leading causes of spinal cord injury among younger people are sports (especially diving) and gun violence. For people aged 45 and older, vehicle accidents and falls cause most spinal cord injuries.
The Importance of Establishing Negligence
When seeking monetary damages, an injured person must show that someone else acted negligently, and that the negligence was a contributing factor in the accident. Without the presence of negligence, there is no opportunity to collect damages. Consulting early with a local attorney could help an injured person in Clayton County identify potentially negligent parties and secure proof of their wrongdoing.
Several parties may have contributed to an accident, including the injured person. In that event, a claimant could seek damages from all the at-fault parties who bear more responsibility than the injured person. However, according to Georgia law, an injured person has no legal right to damages if they bear 50 percent or more of the responsibility for an accident.
When a person pursues a claim for damages a court will determine how much responsibility, if any, each party has for the accident. For example, if the court finds the accident victim 20 percent responsible and other parties 80 percent responsible, the injured person is entitled to damages. However, the court will reduce the amount the person receives by 20 percent.
What Are The Common Types Of Damages An Injured Claimant May Be Eligible to Recover?
Those who have been injured in an accident to the reckless and negligent actions of another may be eligible to recover compensation. The most common types of recoverable damages:
- Past and future medical expenses;
- Mental anguish;
- Loss of consortium;
- Lost wages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and
- Lost earning capacity.
Are Punitive Damages Available in Some Cases?
Occasionally there are aggravating circumstances that make it appropriate for an injured person to seek special damages called punitive damages. In general, damages are meant to compensate an injured person for their losses. Punitive damages, however, are intended to punish a particular party for a specific action.
If a claimant is seeking punitive damages, they must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the faulty party was not just negligent but acted in a way that was intentional, malicious, or so reckless that it amounted to a disregard for the possible consequences. Personal injury cases that merit punitive damages are not typical in Clayton County but it is sometimes appropriate to seek these damages. A savvy attorney could analyze all the facts of a situation to determine whether to request punitive damages.
Protect Your Interests with a Clayton County Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Clayton County allows injured people only a brief window of time to bring a lawsuit—two years from the date of accident in most cases. Two years after a spinal cord injury, many people are still recovering. They and their families are typically not in a position to be negotiating for a fair settlement.
It is wise to hand over the responsibility for obtaining compensation to a knowledgeable Clayton County spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. Contact us today to schedule a case review.