Whether from a fall or dive, violence, medical mistake or car accident, Florida spinal cord injuries can be utterly devastating. Such injuries can be catastrophic, permanently limiting one’s mobility, career options, recreational opportunities, relationships and more. But the question of whether or not to file a lawsuit depends on a host of factors best discussed with an experienced civil trial lawyer.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, more than 17,800 new spinal cord injuries are reported in the U.S. every year, and about 300,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury. The average age at the time of injury is 43. Top causes are motor vehicle accidents and falls, followed by violence, sports (including diving) and medical/surgical incidents.
Tragically, Southwest Florida is no stranger to spinal cord injury incidents, particularly those involving diving, given our close proximity to so many bodies of water. Late last year, a Georgia teenager suffered a spinal cord injury in Naples. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the victim, an 18-year-old competitive swimmer at Florida State University, dove from a boat into shallow water. She is now paralyzed from the chest down.
In that case, there was no immediate mention of potential litigation. As our Naples neck and back injury lawyers can explain, the question when determining lawsuit viability is whether negligence – by another individual, business or organization – legally caused the injury. To prove negligence, one must show the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, breached that duty and as a result of that breach an injury ocured.
Possible Defendants in Florida Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits
Examples of defendants in previous civil cases involving Florida spinal cord injuries:
Drivers/vehicle owners (in car accident cases).
Truck drivers or companies.
Owners of businesses negligent in maintaining a safe premises. That could mean failure to prevent dangerous criminal activity or clean up/warn of a slipping or tripping hazard. It could also mean failure to warn about the shallow depth of a pool or other body of water.
Nursing homes where staffers were negligent or conditions were dangerous.
Companies that employ people who cause accidents leading to spinal cord injuries.
A physician or hospital that was negligent in providing health care, resulting in a spinal cord injury.
Companies that make, sell or distribute defective products that cause accidents that lead to spinal cord injuries.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury at work, you’re likely entitled to workers’ compensation. However, you’ll still want to explore third-party litigation, which has greater potential to cover the full extent of your damages, as we explained in a recent Florida injury lawyer blog.
Florida Spinal Cord Injury Costs
Average annual expenses for health care, living costs, etc. for Florida spinal cord injuries vary significantly depending on:
The severity of one’s injury (degree of mobility and neurological impairment.
Age/health at the time of injury.
Pre-injury employment history.
For example, according to the NSCISC, if you’re a relatively healthy 25-year-old and suffer a spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia (injury from the waist down), you can expect your estimated lifetime costs will be roughly $2.5 million, with a life expectancy of 65. Someone who is 50-years-old and suffers the same injury might expect lifetime costs of about $1.6 million with a life expectancy of 66. But this doesn’t account for wage loss or intangible losses like pain and suffering, loss of life enjoyment and loss of consortium that could be claimed in a civil case.
Over the years, most of our clients who have suffered from serious spinal cord injuries do not immediately think of filing a lawsuit or how they are going to recover financially from a serious injury such as this. The first thought of most is how am I going to get better? or What is my life going to be like now? or even, How will I support my family? A lawsuit is often an avenue of last resort once the reality of the costs of past and future medical care present themselves; this is made worse by the fact that the injured party is likely limited in their earning capacity.
Determining the full extent of damages in both the short-term and long-term is a complex but critical part of a Florida spinal injury case. Having an experienced, dedicated legal team working for you ensures no aspect is overlooked. We carefully analyze every element of your case and fight for full and fair compensation.
If you are injured in Fort Myers, Naples, Punta Gorda, Sarasota or Key West, contact our injury attorneys at Garvin Injury Law at 800.977.7017 for a free initial consultation.
Spinal cord injury, Mayo Clinic
More Blog Entries:
Car Accident Lawyers Weigh Proposed Changes to Florida’s No-Fault Law, April 23, 2021, Naples Injury Lawyer Blog
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