Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
A spinal cord injury will have a devastating impact on the life of a victim and their family. When someone suffers these types of injuries, they often need extended medical treatment, may be out of work for the rest of their lives, and may need round-the-clock care at home. Our Tampa spinal cord injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
suffer a spinal cord injury
- A roadway accident – Car accident victims who are in an accident with a truck, those who were operating motorcycles and were struck by a car, or pedestrians who were victims of an out-of-control vehicle could suffer from a spinal cord injury.
- Slip and fall accidents – A fall down a flight of stairs, accidents which occur in areas where the surfaces are so hard the victim suffers permanent damage to their back, a fall in a parking garage because of poor lighting. All these types of accidents can result in spinal cord injuries.
- Workplace accidents – A fall from a scaffolding, construction site accidents, or an accident that occurs when a forklift or other workplace equipment malfunctions can result in a spinal cord injury. Too often, victims of these accidents suffer such a severe injury they no longer can return to gainful employment.
Other situations that can lead to spinal cord injuries include violent attacks such as gunshot wounds, medical errors, or defective product injuries. All of them may result in serious injuries, leaving victims with life-long issues and difficult financial problems.
The result of a spinal cord injury is traumatic. Victims should seek advice from an attorney who has experience handling complicated accident claims. Spinal cord injuries cost thousands of dollars to treat, even when recovery may only be partial. Contact the Fernandez Firm today to discuss your legal options after suffering a spinal cord injury.
Compensation Can You Recover in a Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Accident Lawsuit
If a Tampa spinal cord injury accident injured you due to the wrongful actions of another individual, you may pursue damages.
In Florida, these damages often include:
Economic Damages: These damages refer to the measurable losses that result from an accident. They include:
- Past, current, and future medical bills such as emergency services, surgeries, doctor appointments, hospital visits, and prescription medications
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Rehabilitative therapy, including physical and occupational therapy
- Personal property damages
- At-home nursing care costs
- Household replacement services costs
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic Damages: These damages refer to the subjective losses that occur from an accident. These losses are not easy to quantify and include the following:
- Mental anguish
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a limb
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium
Punitive Damages: Unlike compensatory damages, which compensate the victim for their harm and losses and put them in a position they were before the accident, punitive damages are more concerned with the defendant’s actions.
Typically, the court only awards punitive damages to punish the wrongdoer for their egregious actions and deter these acts. However, victims can only obtain these damages if their attorney can provide clear and convincing evidence of the wrongdoer’s gross negligence or intentional misconduct.
How Much is Your Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Case Worth?
No two spinal cord injury cases are the same. As a result, there are just too many factors that can impact the amount of money you can receive. For these reasons, no lawyer will know for sure or be able to tell you exactly how much money your spinal cord injury accident is worth.
- The severity and extent of the spinal cord injuries you sustained from an accident
- The extent of the medical treatments you will require now and in the future
- The ability to work again following your spinal cord injury
- The need for replacement services following your spinal cord injury
- The credibility of the witnesses and evidence presented
- The degree of the wrongdoer’s culpability
- Whether the spinal cord injury caused you to miss out on any important milestones or significant life moments
- Whether you suffered lost wages because of the spinal cord injury accident
Although no attorney can tell you precisely how much your Tampa spinal cord injury case is worth, when you work with an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer, these attorneys can determine which of these factors can influence your claim and prepare a solid case in response to them, making sure to go after the maximum compensation you deserve.
Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
Generally, there are two types of spinal cord injury, one is called complete, and one is called incomplete.
Here is what that means for victims:
- Complete spinal cord injury – typically this severs the spinal cord where the injury occurred. The victim usually has no motor function and lacks any sensation at and below the injury site.
- Incomplete spinal cord injury – in these cases, the trauma does not cause the spinal cord to sever. However, the loss of function and sensation will vary from victim to victim and is generally tied to the severity of the trauma.
Never take spinal damage lightly. Victims who suspect any spinal trauma need to seek immediate medical care—remember, spinal injuries can occur in any part of the neck and back region. Never ignore pain, numbness, or other signs of a potential injury to any part of the spinal cord.
Living With Spinal Cord Injuries
The American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) estimates more than 17,000 new victims of spinal cord injuries in the United States annually. Approximately one-half of all victims suffer a total loss of motor function below the injury location. This is a frightening number.
The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Car accidents – in people who are under the age of 65, most spinal cord injuries occur in car accidents. Hillsborough County, home to Tampa, has more than 140,000 car accidents on an annual basis. These accidents leave more than 210,000 victims suffering an injury.
- Falls – for those over 65, falls are the most common cause of spinal cord injury. With more than 12 percent of all residents in Tampa over 65, this is a concerning statistic.
- Other causes – more than 1,200 assaults occur in Tampa every year, and violent attacks account for a portion of spinal cord injuries.
Victims who suffer a spinal cord injury often require months of treatment to regain some mobility, assuming their injury is incomplete. During this time, victims often are unable to work, must participate actively in rehabilitation therapy, and may need specialized tests to help measure the extent of their recovery. The costs of caring for a spinal cord injury victim can be significant, and no family should have to bear the costs of treatment for an injury that occurred because someone else behaved recklessly or negligently.
Recovering Financially Following a Tampa Spinal Cord Injury
In general, a spinal cord injury will result in a hospital stay of approximately 11 days, and a rehabilitation stay could last up to 34 days. During those 45 days, victims are unable to return to work. Once out of rehabilitation, there is no telling how long a victim may need to continue at-home rehabilitation, nor is it possible to determine how long it may be before a return to full-time employment.
During this time, the victim’s family faces financial challenges, particularly if the injured person was a breadwinner. Even when a victim has disability coverage through their employer, they will not earn as much as if they could work full time.
Other financial losses may include:
- Fringe benefit losses – many people have generous benefits packages at work, which may include matching funds to retirement accounts, incentives for reaching certain milestones, use of a company car, and profit-sharing accounts based on earnings. Someone who can’t work is losing out on these benefits and cannot recover those losses once they return to work. The person or party responsible for the victim’s injury should be held accountable for these losses.
- Medical costs paid for by the victim – some of the best insurance plans require certain out-of-pocket costs. Victims who have suffered a spinal cord injury due to a negligent action should not have to bear the brunt of these additional expenses. Instead, the person who behaved negligently should be held responsible.
- Modifications and devices – when a victim returns home from the hospital, they may require specialized equipment and home modifications to enable them to get the care they need while recovering. These modifications and specialized equipment can be costly, and the family should not have to pay for these unexpected expenses.
- Other potential claims – according to Florida tort statutes, specifically Section 768.72, in cases where gross negligence or intentional misconduct results in an injury, victims may have additional financial claims.
The only way you can successfully determine the damages you may claim if you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury is to seek the assistance of an attorney with experience handling Tampa spinal cord injury cases. Contact the Fernandez Firm today.
Insurance Adjusters and Spinal Cord Injury Claims
One of the challenges of filing an insurance claim following a spinal cord injury is the extent and long-lasting impact of the injury may not be known for weeks or months following the injury. This is another reason why getting a lawyer involved in this process early is so important.
Here is what we know about spinal cord injury victims:
- After one year, only about 12 percent have returned to work.
- During the first year, about 30 percent were hospitalized a second time.
- Spinal cord injury victims have a lower life expectancy.
- Spinal cord injury victims’ medical and personal care expenses can be more than $70,000 annually.
Insurance companies know these numbers. Some insurance companies go to extreme lengths to avoid paying victims of spinal cord injury any more than you force them to pay.
This avoidance often leads adjusters to attempt to minimize the extent of injuries, blame the victim for their injury, or work hard to prove a previous condition made the spinal cord injury more likely.
These are just a few of the reasons why working with a results-oriented spinal cord injury lawyer makes sense. They will serve as an advocate for the victim and address their legal rights. Insurance company adjusters typically have no interest in making sure a victim knows their rights. In fact, the less a victim knows about their rights, the more beneficial to their employer. The attorneys at the Fernandez Firm advocate for victims and deal with insurance companies on their behalf.
Often, victims wonder why insurance companies care about how much they settle a claim for. After all, they have a contract with the person who is paying premiums. Most people believe the process is: customers of the company take out insurance coverage to protect them if they caused an accident. They assume because this contract exists, the insurance company will simply pay any legitimate claim. This is not what happens in many cases.
Insurers answer not only to their policyholders but to their shareholders. While a policyholder expects to receive payment for a legitimate claim, the shareholders are generally more interested in the company’s bottom line. After all, the more claims they pay out, the lower the company’s earnings. Unfortunately, insurance companies are interested in protecting the bottom line—that means collecting as much as possible in premiums and paying as little as possible in claims.
Liability in Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Cases
The parties responsible for a victim’s injuries vary.
Some examples include:
- Roadway accidents – while a two-car accident may result in one driver being at fault, it is not always this cut and dry. When an accident involves a truck, for example, the trucker, their employer, a maintenance company, or a parts manufacturer may partially cause a victim’s spinal cord injury.
- Workplace accidents – while 440.11(1)(b), Florida Statutes (2003) prohibits an employee from suing an employer for injuries caused on the job, this does not apply if an employer is negligent or if the injury was a result of a negligent or deliberate act by a third party. Your accident injury attorney can explain this to you in better detail.
- Slip and fall accidents – depending on where the accident occurred, there may be more than one party liable for injuries suffered by a spinal cord injury victim. Premise liability laws could apply and involve the building owner, the building’s maintenance company, or negligent security.
These cases can get very confusing, and this is why Tampa spinal cord injury victims should not attempt to resolve their cases without lawyers. Remember, when hiring a spinal cord injury lawyer, a victim is hiring someone who will serve as an advocate on their behalf. Contact the Fernandez Firm today to see what we can do for you.
Tampa Spinal Cord Injury FAQs
Following a Tampa spinal cord injury accident due to another person’s reckless, wrongful, or intentional actions, you deserve legal help and answers. That is why in this blog post, we have prepared responses to our client’s most frequently asked questions regarding spinal cord injury accidents.
With these details, we hope you better understand the legal recourse you can pursue and the financial recovery you are entitled to following this devastating ordeal.
1. What Exactly Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury refers to damage to the spinal cord that leads to a loss of function, including feeling and mobility. Generally, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries include trauma and disease.
An accident doesn’t need to sever the spinal cord for the loss of function to occur. In truth, the damage can leave the cord intact and still lead to a loss of function.
2. How Do I Know If I Have a Valid Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Accident Claim?
Unfortunately, determining whether you have a valid injury claim is not always easy. Generally, to figure this out, you need to speak with a skilled spinal cord injury accident lawyer as soon as possible.
This is because there are often many factors and questions that need to be discussed to figure out whether your claim is viable, such as:
- Was your spinal cord injury the result of another person’s reckless, negligent, or wrongful actions?
- Did you have to endure substantial medical bills because of your spinal cord injuries?
- Did you miss work because of your spinal cord injury?
- Will you ever be able to work again following your spinal cord injury?
- Do you still have time to file a spinal cord injury claim?
- Is there any insurance money available following your spinal cord injury accident?
Even though there is no simple answer to this question when you work with an experienced Tampa spinal cord injury accident lawyer, these attorneys can look into your accident, figure out if you have a viable case, and help you pursue the damages and justice you deserve.
3. What Are Some Common Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury Accident in Tampa?
In many instances, a spinal cord injury can stem from a traumatic and sudden blow to the spine that fractures, crushes, dislocates, or compresses one or more of your vertebrae.
Although these injuries can occur for many reasons in Tampa, some of the more common accidents and factors that tend to result in these injuries include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, especially at dangerous Tampa intersections, including Sheldon Road and Waters Avenue W. and Anderson Road and Waters Avenue W.
- Acts of violence including gunshot wounds and knife wounds
- Falls from great heights
- Alcohol, which is a factor in about one out of every four spinal cord injuries
- Sporting activities
4. Are All Spinal Cord Injuries Permanent?
In general, complete spinal cord injuries are often permanent, while incomplete spinal cord injuries may allow some functional improvement. This is because a complete spinal cord injury directly damages the nerves that send signals to the brain that control many human functions.
As a result, even with the modern technology and advanced medical treatments we have today, doctors cannot fully heal all of these wounds. At times, medicine can help alleviate pain and help these individuals lead productive and independent lives, but many of these spinal cord injuries will remain permanent.
5. What Are Some Common Spinal Cord Injury Complications?
Unfortunately, if you suffer a spinal cord injury, various complications can result from this injury.
Many times, victims will often have to deal with:
- Bladder control issues
- Bowel control issues
- Skin sensation problems
- Circulatory control issues
- Muscle tone problems, such as uncontrolled tightening or limp muscles
- Respiratory symptoms including difficulty breathing and coughing
- Fitness and wellness problems
- Sexual health issues such as fertility problems
- Pain in the joints and muscles or nerve pain
- Mental health issues such as depression
6. Is There a Time Limit to Bring a Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
If you are looking to bring a spinal cord injury claim in Tampa following an accident, you need to realize that you have a limited amount of time to do so. The statute of limitations is a law that dictates the maximum amount of time you have to bring a suit following an alleged offense. If you do not bring this lawsuit within that allotted time, you can be barred from pursuing compensation for your injuries.
In Florida, you have four years from the accident date to bring an injury claim. However, this deadline can extend or shorten depending on numerous exceptions. For these reasons, you need to act fast and reach out to a skilled spinal cord injury attorney as quickly as possible so that they can determine exactly how much time you have to file your case.
7. If the Insurance Company Wants to Talk to Me Following My Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Accident, Should I Speak with Them?
Before you talk to the insurance company, you need to remember that the insurance company is not your friend. They are a business that wants to make money. By paying you out less, the more money they make. That is why insurance adjusters will try any tactic they can to get you to admit fault for the incident so that they can reduce the amount of your claim or deny it altogether.
For these reasons, it is always better to be cautious when talking to these insurance companies. This means you do not want to make any statements to the insurer or even discuss your spinal cord injury accident without first speaking to a skilled Tampa spinal cord injury accident attorney.
These lawyers can help you understand how these insurance companies work and what types of information you should be careful discussing with them. Better yet, these lawyers can handle these conversations with the insurance company on your behalf and ensure you do not say anything that can end up hurting your case.
8. Do I Have to Worry About Proving Negligence Following My Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Accident?
If you suffered a spinal cord injury because of another person’s negligent actions, you should not have to worry about proving the elements of negligence to obtain the money you need. Instead, reach out to a Tampa spinal cord injury accident lawyer to do this for you.
These attorneys can tackle this process for you and gather the evidence required to prove:
- The wrongdoer owed you a duty of care or a legal obligation to act safely around you.
- The wrongdoer breached this duty of care, such as by acting recklessly.
- The wrongdoer caused your spinal cord injury because of their negligent actions.
- You suffered substantial damages due to your spinal cord injuries, such as significant medical expenses and lost wages.
Proving negligence in a spinal cord injury accident can get rather complicated. However, when you work with an experienced Tampa spinal cord injury accident lawyer, these attorneys can take on this investigation for you and ensure that they secure the evidence needed to show what happened and who was at fault for your spinal cord injury accident.
9. Following My Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Accident, Why Do I Need to Retain Legal Representation?
To bring a successful spinal cord injury accident claim in Tampa, you need to bring strong legal evidence and solid arguments that can show what happened and who was at fault for your harm. However, for many recovering from this devastating injury, this is often the last thing on their mind. Fortunately, with experienced legal counsel, you will not have to take on this challenging legal battle on your own.
Once retained, our skilled spinal cord injury attorneys at the Fernandez Firm can:
- Discuss your spinal cord injury accident with you in detail, determine if you have a viable legal claim, and figure out the legal options you can pursue.
- Investigate your Tampa spinal cord injury accident and secure the evidence needed to show liability and damages.
- Ensure that legal motions and documents are filed before time expires.
- Bring in the experts such as accident reconstructionists, doctors, and economists to substantiate your claim.
- Hold all those at fault for your spinal cord injuries accountable.
- Take over all the discussions and negotiations with the insurance company and go after the fair settlement you need.
- Take your case to trial, if required, and fight for a successful resolution to your suit.
If your or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury in Tampa, do not wait any longer to seek the legal help you need. A knowledgeable and experienced spinal cord injury accident lawyer can fight for your rights, and pursue the justice and financial recovery you deserve.
What Victims Can Expect From a Tampa Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Oftentimes, victims do not know what to expect from a lawyer and that is why they avoid seeking legal help after an injury. Here are some of the ways an attorney can help a Tampa spinal cord injury victim:
- Establish liability – after thoroughly reviewing the facts of the case, a lawyer can determine who is at fault and who may be liable.
- Place a value on the case – because a Tampa spinal cord injury lawyer has had prior experience, they can more easily help victims understand the maximum amount of the claim they can put in for.
- Obtain and evaluate evidence – lawyers can collect and evaluate witness statements, relevant security tapes when available, and other available evidence.
- Negotiate with insurers – an attorney can help negotiate a settlement with an insurance company. While the victim of a Tampa spinal cord injury retains control over whether to accept a settlement, a lawyer can help them understand its benefits or drawbacks.
- Filing lawsuits when appropriate – a Tampa spinal cord accident attorney can also file a civil lawsuit when negotiations with the insurance company fail. They can meet important deadlines on time.
For those who are victims of a spinal cord injury or have a family member who suffered a spinal cord injury, they should contact a Tampa spinal cord injury attorney, like those at the Fernandez Firm, for a free case evaluation, at (813) 278-1032.
These evaluations cost nothing nor do they obligate you to hire us. This evaluation will help make sure you understand your legal options. Should you opt to hire an attorney to represent you after a spinal cord injury, our Tampa spinal cord injury attorneys work on a contingency basis—you pay them no legal fees unless they obtain a settlement for you. Contact the Fernandez Firm today to get started.
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