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Is There an Average Settlement Amount for a Spinal Cord Injury Claim?

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Jan 24, 2022 in Personal Injury

studying mri images of spinal cordsIt is possible to determine an average value for different types of personal injury claims, such as spinal cord injury claims. However, every claim is different and when a victim is seeking compensation, the important thing is the value of his or her claim.

Individual claims are going to be worth more or less than the average, which means the average is just a statistic. An average may be helpful to establish a baseline to compare a claim against, but every injury is unique and affects a victim differently.

These are all reasons why it is vital for spinal cord injury victims to discuss their situation with a licensed attorney. At Phillips Law Group, we have helped many spinal cord injury victims secure compensation for their damages. This includes a $4 million recovery for a car crash victim who suffered a fractured spinal cord and $3.1 million for a car crash victim with a broken neck.   

Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation with a licensed Phoenix spinal cord injury lawyer. There are no upfront fees or legal obligations, so there is no risk in discussing your situation with us. We are here to help.

Spinal Cord Injuries Vary

There are many types of spinal cord injuries. Many personal injury claims are filed on behalf of those who suffered fractured vertebrae. The location of the fracture is arguably the most important factor in determining the severity of the injury. Typically, the injury is worse when it is higher up the spinal cord. When the injury is further down the spinal cord, however, it is usually less severe.

Severe Can Mean Different Things

That said, severe is still a relative term. Someone with fractured vertebrae could lose all use of their legs. Yet they may not have some of the same problems experienced by those who suffered a fracture higher on their spinal cord. Suffering an injury that results in paraplegia is devastating, as is an injury that leaves the victim a quadriplegic.

There are still some significant differences between these injuries. For example, quadriplegics often lose the ability to sweat, which makes it easier for them to overheat. Paraplegics, on the other hand, may still sweat.  

Claims for those with fractured vertebrae typically result in the highest settlement awards compared to other spinal cord injuries. These victims must make significant changes to their everyday lives. For example, they may need to make modifications to their home to accommodate a wheelchair. They may need to purchase a new vehicle.

Lost Earning Capacity

Many of those who suffer spinal cord fractures can no longer work in the jobs they worked in before their injuries. That can mean a significant loss of earning potential. Some victims are completely unable to work because of the severity of their injuries.

Rehabilitation

The cost of rehabilitation after a spinal cord fracture is often astronomical. While there is no cure for a spinal cord injury, rehabilitation is essential. This treatment allows patients to build strength to help them deal with severely limited mobility. These victims may sometimes benefit from prescription medication to help manage various issues that arise from a spinal cord injury.

The cost of treatment immediately after the injury is significant. This includes the expense of:

  • Being taken to the hospital
  • Surgery to stabilize the spine and relieve pressure
  • Staying the hospital
  • X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and other tests
  • And more

Manual and electric wheelchairs are also expensive, and victims may need several throughout the rest of their lives.

Herniated Discs

These injuries can be quite painful, but they are often put into a middle tier in terms of spinal cord injuries. For example, a soft-tissue back injury is often considered the least severe spinal injury, while a fracture is considered the most severe. Herniated discs are somewhere in the middle.

The cost of these injuries should not be underestimated. Some victims may need multiple surgeries to try to fix the problem. Many victims may fully recover with no ongoing issues. However, sometimes surgery is unsuccessful or provide the results the victim hoped for. The victim may be left with chronic pain and need prescription medication and rehabilitation.

The pain from the injury may impact the victim’s ability to continue working in the same capacity or even the same job as before. This could be particularly true if the victim’s pre-injury job involved physical labor or lifting heavy things.

Whiplash and Soft-Tissue Injuries

People tend to think of whiplash as a neck injury, but it can also affect the spinal cord, causing significant pain and limiting mobility in the neck or arms. When victims experience pain that radiates from the neck down the spinal cord, the victim may have a significant injury.

The problem with these injuries is that there is no test to show the severity of the damage. The severity of the injury is based on the patient’s ability to describe the pain and loss of function. Insurance companies are often suspicious of claims for these injuries. In fact, they may often argue that the injury predates the accident in question.

Factors That Increase the Value of a Spinal Cord Injury Claim

Permanent injuries are almost always going to be worth more than temporary injuries. This is due to several factors, including:

  • Length of recovery
  • Invasiveness of treatment
  • Duration of treatment
  • Visibility of the permanent effects of the injury
  • Severity of pain caused by the injury
  • Effect on ability to earn an income by working
  • Impact of the injury on future job opportunities and financial position
  • Age of the victim (older victims’ claims may be worth less than claims filed by younger people)

Factors That Decrease the Value of a Spinal Cord Injury Claim

While there are some factors that could increase the value of a claim, others could decrease the value of a claim, including:

  • Lack of diagnostic tests showing acute injuries
  • Medical expenses being claimed are mostly for diagnostic tests and not treatment
  • Short recovery time
  • Not being prescribed medication or treatment

Emotional/Psychological Impact of a Spinal Cord Injury

Pain and suffering and other non-economic damages from a spinal cord injury may be significant. Victims are often unable to do the things they once enjoyed, particularly physical activities like playing sports or other leisure activities. Spinal cord injuries can also affect the victim’s relationship with his or her spouse and family.

Spinal cord injuries cause a great deal of emotional distress and other psychological issues, as the victim’s life has dramatically changed.

Phillips Law Group is Here to Help. Call Today

Spinal cord injuries are devastating for victims and their families. Unfortunately, many of these injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence and could have been prevented.

If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury because of another’s negligence, we may be able to help you seek justice and compensation. An initial consultation is free of charge, and there are no upfront costs to pay while we handle your case. Our attorneys do not get paid unless you do.

Call today to discuss your situation. Phone: 1-800-706-3000

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