Spinal cord injuries occur when an individual suffers trauma to the spine or surrounding nerves in the spinal canal. These injuries can cause permanent damage to the body, affecting a person’s ability to move or feel. Yet, beyond the physical damage, people who suffer spinal cord injuries may be unable to return to work, live independently, and maintain relationships if they lose their mobility.
At Domingo Garcia, we work with clients who have suffered catastrophic spinal cord injuries in accidents. We help them build personal injury cases against the appropriate parties liable for their damages. If you or a loved one in Tyler, Texas has a similar story, you may qualify to pursue compensation. A Tyler and Longview spinal cord injury lawyer from our team can oversee your case and fight to have your voice heard. We offer free case reviews.
Spinal Cord Injuries Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage and Paralysis
The spinal cord sends nerve messages to the brain to perform all bodily functions. When a person experiences physical trauma to the spinal cord, they may be vulnerable to severe nerve damage, which can cause them to lose some or all mobility and sensory functions. In worst-case scenarios, victims may become permanently paralyzed below the spinal cord injury.
Mayo Clinic divides spinal cord injuries (SCIs) into two categories:
- Incomplete SCIs: The person still retains some motor or sensory functions below the injury, though the degree of their abilities may vary.
- Complete SCIs: The person lost all motor or sensory functions below the injury, meaning the person now suffers from paralysis.
Paralysis can exist in two forms: tetraplegia/quadriplegia (paralysis affects your body from beneath the neck) and paraplegia (paralysis affects your body from beneath the waist). The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCSC) notes that the most frequent neurological category of SCI is incomplete tetraplegia, meaning victims experience reduced functionality in all four limbs.
Cost of Medical Treatment for SCI Victims Can Reach Millions of Dollars
According to the NSCSC, the estimated lifetime costs for someone with a spinal cord injury can range between $1.7 million and $5.1 million if injured around age 25. Someone injured around age 50 might have estimated lifetime costs ranging between $1.2 million and $2.8 million, depending on the severity of their injury. These estimates are not inclusive of all costs and necessary attendant care as well as complications that can be expected. The actual costs are estimated to be millions, if not tens of millions, of dollars more.
These estimated costs also do not factor in a person’s pre-injury employment history, such as their income or what tasks they had to perform at their job, or other financial and personal factors. Additionally, these estimates are based on 2019 dollars, which means inflation may increase a person’s medical expenses over their lifetime.
Accidents That May Result in Spinal Cord Injuries
Our team handles various personal injury cases involving plaintiffs who suffered severe spinal cord injuries in accidents. Accidents that may lead to spinal cord injuries can include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Oil field accidents
- Defective product accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Amusement park accidents
- Manufacturing and other industrial-related accidents
If you suffered your spinal cord injury in a different type of accident not listed here, our legal team still wants to listen to your case, as we can often still pursue compensation on your behalf. Our Tyler SCI attorneys handle catastrophic personal injury cases, and our mission is to advocate for as many accident victims as possible.
SCI Victims Have the Right to Demand Compensation for Their Injuries
Because spinal cord injuries can affect each accident victim uniquely, it may take a long time to go over your damages and calculate an approximate value for your case. We aim to thoroughly measure your damages so that the compensation total we pursue is fair to your current and potential future situation. Once your case settles, you will not be able to pursue additional compensation.
Below are some key compensatory damages your Tyler SCI lawyer may claim on your behalf when demanding compensation from the liable party or parties.
We Can Calculate the Value of Your Economic Damages
Compensatory damages generally fall within two categories: economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages encompass all financial-related losses, meaning any expense you had to pay due to your accident or debts and losses you incurred when you couldn’t. These damages may include:
- Medical expenses: These include past, current, and future costs for any form of medical treatment your spinal cord injury requires, including physical therapy, a wheelchair, and prescription medications. Having health insurance to cover your medical expenses does not hinder your right to demand compensation for these damages.
- Property damage: If the accident that caused your spinal cord injury damaged any of your property, such as your vehicle in a car accident, you can demand compensation for costs to repair or replace the affected property.
- Income loss: If your SCI affects your ability to earn wages, you may demand compensation to cover them. You can seek past, current, and future loss of wages if your paralysis keeps you out of work permanently.
- Reduced earning potential: In some cases, people with SCIs can still work, but only at a limited capacity. If your loss of motor function forced you to accept a lower-paying position or leave your field for another job that pays less than what you made prior to the accident, you may demand compensation for the difference in salary.
- Out-of-pocket expenses: Some costs will be unique to you or your injury. For example, if you are now paralyzed because of your spinal cord injury, you may require a customized wheelchair, a wheelchair ramp added to your home entrance, and a wheelchair-accessible vehicle. In some cases, disability benefits or health insurance may not cover these costs, forcing you to pay out of pocket.
As mentioned, each catastrophic injury case is unique to every plaintiff. So, if you experienced other financial losses, we can add them to your compensation total.
For a free legal consultation with a spinal cord injury lawyer serving Tyler, call (903) 593-4545
We’ll Factor in Your Non-Economic Damages
Non-economic damages encompass all physical, emotional, and mental losses that do not readily have a monetary value. Instead, your Tyler spinal cord injury attorney will assign a value to them based on your financial losses and the severity of your injuries (e.g., how long your recovery took/will take, how your injuries have affected your independence or relationships, etc.). These damages are subjective, so we use court-approved formulas to reach these totals.
Some examples of non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering: The most common non-economic damage, “pain and suffering” is often used as a general term for all non-economic damages, since it includes both physical and emotional pain. From chronic pain to long-term depression, you may claim this damage when your spinal cord injury causes you significant discomfort and inconvenience.
- Emotional distress: This type of damage refers to emotional responses to severe injuries, such as developing depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it can also manifest as insomnia or other stress reactions.
- Permanent disability: If medical professionals deem your spinal cord injury permanent, you may demand compensation for having to live the rest of your life with a disability. Examples of disabilities in SCI cases include loss of bodily functions and paralysis. Permanent changes to your physical appearance may also qualify, such as spinal disfiguration.
- Diminished quality of life: In general, if your injuries affect your life long-term or permanently, you are entitled to receive compensation for this significant change. If you can no longer live independently or engage in hobbies and activities you used to enjoy before your spinal cord injury, you may claim that your injuries have reduced your overall quality of life.
Tyler Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Near Me (903) 593-4545
We’ll Request Evidence to Prove the Value of Your Damages
Evidence may vary by which damages you claim, but common forms of evidence include:
- Medical bills for your spinal cord injury treatments
- Invoices or receipts for services, such as car repair invoices
- Proof of salary, such as recent pay stubs, tax documents, or bank statements
- Personal photographs and videos, which can show how you looked or hobbies you enjoyed before your injuries
- Testimonies from expert witnesses, such as your physician, mechanics, and vocational rehabilitation experts
- Testimonies from mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, therapists, or counselors who have treated your physical, mental, and emotional injuries
If you believe other evidence may support your case, please give it to your Tyler spinal cord injury attorney to review and include in your case file.
Surviving Families Can Fight for Spinal Cord Injury Compensation on Their Loved One’s Behalf
Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic because the spinal cord is directly connected to the brain and the body’s central nervous system. Trauma to the spinal cord or its surrounding nerves can result in paralysis or death. If your loved one passed away due to a spinal cord injury, you or another surviving family member may qualify to file a wrongful death action on their behalf.
Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004, the following individuals may file wrongful death claims or lawsuits on behalf of a decedent (deceased individual):
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving parent
- The decedent’s surviving child
If the decedent has no immediate surviving kin, a personal representative of the decedent may pursue compensation on their behalf. A Tyler SCI attorney from our firm can review your case to determine whether you or another family member has grounds to file a wrongful death action.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Families May Pursue Damages Related to Their Loved One’s Death
While money cannot cure a person’s grief, financial compensation can help a surviving family handle the practical consequences of a loved one’s sudden death due to a spinal cord injury. Families experience various losses after losing a loved one, and wrongful death actions can recover some of those losses.
For example, you may claim the following types of damages in your case:
- Costs for your loved one’s funeral arrangements
- Loss of financial support if your loved one provided for the family
- Loss of consortium if you are the surviving spouse
- Loss of parental guidance if you are the surviving child
- Loss of inheritance if your loved one’s death forced you to sell assets to cover debts stemming from their spinal cord injuries and/or death
- Medical expenses for treating your loved one’s SCI before their death
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
Our firm understands coping with a family member’s death is overwhelming. If you work with a Tyler spinal cord injury attorney from Domingo Garcia, we will handle your case and update you as it moves forward in litigation.
A Tyler Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer from Our Team Will Manage Your Case
Hiring a debilitating injuries lawyer to represent you is more than having someone speak on your behalf in a trial or a legal meeting. Tyler spinal cord injury attorneys must prepare your case, which can involve extensive teamwork to gather information, send notices about your lawsuit, and navigate the state’s litigation system.
Our team offers several services to build a comprehensive case file for you and present it to the defendant or a judge and jury while advocating for your right to receive compensation. Some of the key services our attorneys will provide when leading your Tyler spinal cord injury case include:
Investigating Your Case
Spinal cord injury cases often focus on proving how the defendant’s negligence cause the plaintiff’s injuries. While law enforcement might have made a report documenting initial information about your accident, your attorney will likely organize a separate investigation to retrieve key information to support your claims about who caused your injuries, what took place in the accident, and what might have led to the accident.
For example, your case investigation may center around establishing the following key elements of negligence:
- Duty of care: This point establishes that the defendant had a duty of care to you, such as following traffic laws if your case involves a vehicle accident. Our team may reference the official crash report to see if the law enforcement officer cited any traffic violations that the defendant committed.
- Breach of duty: This point establishes that the defendant took actions that violated their duty of care or neglected to take actions that would have prevented them from doing so. Continuing our example, we may interview witnesses who saw the defendant running a red light or retrieve surveillance footage that captured the offense.
- Causation: This point establishes that the defendant’s breach and the accident are related. We may bring in accident reconstruction experts to provide this analysis after a car wreck. Construction or manufacturing accidents may require different expert witness testimony or reference other evidence material, such as user manuals.
- Damages: This point establishes that you suffered a spinal cord injury and other damages due to the accident. We may collect evidence such as medical records from your hospitalization, repair invoices, before and after photos, videos of your recovery process, salary information, and other documents to build a profile on you.
Handling Administrative Tasks and Communications
While investigating your case, your Tyler SCI lawyer will also handle legal procedures to submit your case to the appropriate court system (e.g., local, state, or federal court). This often involves filling out and drafting legal paperwork on your behalf, such as reports describing your case and the information we’ve collected to present on your behalf. Other administrative duties may involve filing legal motions, preparing for hearing dates, and responding to court notices about your case.
Your spinal cord injury attorney serving Tyler can also handle all communications on your behalf. This can help protect your case, as inquiring parties may use any statements you make as part of their defense while the case is ongoing. You can refuse to answer questions without your attorney’s presence or refer the inquiring party to our law firm to respond on your behalf. We can handle communications with:
- Insurance company representatives or adjusters
- The defendant’s attorney and their legal team
- Court officials
- Law enforcement officers and detectives
- Private investigators
Representing You in All Legal Appearances
Not all personal injury cases end in trial. Many plaintiffs have opportunities to settle their cases outside of court after going through negotiation talks with the defendant. If it is beneficial for you to accept a settlement offer, our legal team will navigate this route. However, our objective is to fight for fair compensation for you, so we are prepared to go through trial if necessary.
If you are dealing with the heavy toll of a spinal cord injury, you should be resting at home or in the hospital—not dealing with legal paperwork and insurance company negotiations. As such, your attorney will serve as your representative in all legal appearances, such as:
- Negotiation meetings: These meetings may occur during the claims process if the defendant wants to avoid a trial. We may use a lawsuit as leverage to sway the insurance company to cooperate with your demands. Additionally, your attorney will keep note of any delay tactics the defendant uses to keep you from following through with a lawsuit.
- Court hearings: Your lawyer can present your case in front of a judge and jury during all hearings for your case, including pretrial hearings and sentencing hearings.
- Out-of-court settlement meetings: At any point during the litigation process, you and the defendant can agree to settle the dispute outside of court. You can look to your Tyler spine injury attorney for legal counsel on whether you should accept a settlement offer or continue fighting for your terms in the trial.
Our team will also be available to provide any guidance on your case if you have questions or concerns. We aim to be transparent in our services, so do not hesitate to contact us whenever you want updates about your case.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Minute to File Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Texas has a filing deadline for all personal injury cases, which can affect your spinal injury case. Per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003, plaintiffs must submit their injury lawsuits within two years of the date of the accident.
However, certain areas of personal injury law may alter a case’s statutory deadline. For example, if your case falls under:
- Product liability: You will have two years from the date of the accident or the date when you discovered a product may have caused your spinal cord injury (e.g., a posture-correcting device that damaged your spine further). However, with product liability cases, there is a statute of repose of 15 years.
- Medical malpractice: You will have two years from the date of the incident or the date when you discovered malpractice may have caused your injury (such as learning a surgeon left a foreign object inside you during surgery, causing damage to your spine), per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 74.251.
- Wrongful death: You will have two years from the date of the accident that ultimately caused the victim’s death, even if they did not pass away until a later date.
- Truck Accident: You will have 2 years from the date of your wreck to file a lawsuit.
- Construction or Work Injury: You must file suit no later than the 2 year anniversary of your injury.
Your Tyler spinal cord injury lawyer will confirm your case’s statutory deadline as a standard procedure we take for each client we manage. We may use official accident reports, death certificates, or timestamps on video footage to retrieve this information.
Filing Late Can Jeopardize Your Case
Failing to submit your case within its filing deadline can result in:
- The court rejecting your case upon its submission, as it is past the filing window period
- A judge dismissing your case upon reviewing it or per the defendant’s request if the defendant discovered you filed your lawsuit past its statutory deadline
If your case gets dismissed, you will not be able to demand compensation through the civil court system. Our team can take steps to notify the appropriate parties about your intention to sue, but you must first decide to start your legal journey with us.
Call Domingo Garcia Today to Get a Free Spinal Cord Injury Case Review
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident and now struggle with paralysis or other difficulties in your life, you may be entitled to collect compensation from the at-fault or liable party. A Tyler spinal cord injury lawyer from our team at Domingo Garcia can lead your case and represent you throughout the litigation. We research our clients’ cases thoroughly and help them pursue compensation that fairly covers their damages.
We have won millions of dollars for our clients, including settlements of $5.5 million, $5 million, $4.6 million, $4.35 million, and $3.75 million for spinal cord injury victims. Call our firm today to get a free case review. Our lawyers work for a contingency fee, so you do not owe any attorney’s fees unless we win your case.