You do not need a legal or medical background to know that some injuries present challenges when it comes to your remedies after a Georgia car accident. Your monetary damages are closely tied to the severity of your injuries, and there are certain types of harm that are not as open and obvious. Back injuries are an example. The inner workings of the spinal cord are delicate, and they can suffer extremely severe trauma in the violent impact of an auto crash. Unfortunately, despite the potential for serious complications and permanent disability, many victims can have a hard time proving back injuries following a car accident.
Under the circumstances, you might think things look grim in terms of recovering compensation after sustaining spinal cord injuries that are not as visible to others. The good news is that there are strategies for overcoming challenges, and you can count on a Conyers, GA car accident lawyer to assist throughout the process. It is also helpful to review some basic information about proving back injuries in auto crash claims.
Statistics Reveal The Severity Of Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), there are currently anywhere between 252,000 and 373,000 people currently living with spinal cord injuries in the US. Another 17,900 new cases are added every year through various types of accidents. In addition:
- Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of back injuries, with falls coming in second. Sports-related spinal cord trauma is also common.
- On average, victims of spinal cord injuries are 43 years old. This represents a 14-year age increase, as the average age at injury was 29 years old in the 1970s.
- Approximately 78 percent of new spinal cord injury cases every year involve male victims.
- The lengths of stay in a hospital and/or rehabilitation facility have decreased as compared to the 1970s. However, victims will still be hospitalized for 11 days and may be admitted to a rehab center for up to 30 days.
- Around one-third of all individuals who suffer back injuries will be re-hospitalized within a year following the initial trauma. When these victims return to the hospital, their stay averages almost 20 days.
Immense Losses For Victims Of Back Injuries
These statistics demonstrate the serious nature of spinal cord injuries, but you should also understand them from a basic medical point of view. The NSCISC describes how the neurological level and extent of trauma could lead to complete or incomplete spinal cord injuries. A complete injury means the nerves below the affected area of the spine cannot receive messages from the brain, leading to paralysis downward. Incomplete spinal cord injuries allow some communication, but function is still limited.
These medical consequences can lead to enormous losses for victims of spinal cord injuries. As mentioned, stays in the hospital or rehab center can be extensive; the average costs are up to $2,000 per day in a Georgia hospital, and around $1,600 for rehabilitation facilities. You may qualify to recover damages for these and other losses, such as:
- Surgery, physical therapy, and treatment from medical specialists;
- Costs of medical assistive devices, including wheelchair, crutches, and hospital beds;
- Lost wages, if your spinal cord injuries render you unable to work;
- Lost business opportunities, for victims who cannot return to their normal occupation;
- Pain and suffering;
- Decreased quality of life;
- Emotional distress; and
- Many others.
Your Rights As An Injured Victim
When your spinal cord injuries are the result of someone else’s careless acts, your claim for compensation will usually center on the concept of negligence. Therefore, you need to prove four elements to obtain compensation for these extensive losses.
- You must show that the responsible party had a duty to act with reasonable care, whether driving a car, maintaining property in a safe condition, or operating a business.
- You will need evidence showing how that person or entity breached this legal duty of care through careless misconduct.
- It is necessary to establish causation between the breach of duty and accident that caused your spinal cord injuries, such that you would not have been hurt but for the breach.
- You must prove that you suffered losses as a result of receiving spinal cord injuries.
Note that there may be limitations on the compensation you can recover after suffering back injuries. For one, Georgia has a two-year statute of limitations that starts to run the date of the accident. If you do not file a lawsuit before this deadline expires, you are forever barred from obtaining monetary damages. Plus, Georgia follows the law of contributory negligence, which highlights your own conduct in an injury-causing accident. If you were also negligent, your compensation will be reduced by the proportion of fault assigned to your actions.
Overview Of The Legal Process In Car Accident Cases
In most cases, you will begin the legal process by filing a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company. You might be able to work out an agreement to settle, but keep in mind that insurers are for-profit businesses. These companies have their own bottom line to protect, so they typically deny claims or offer a lowball settlement amount. A claims adjuster may blame the accident on you or suggest that your back injuries are not severe. Under the circumstances, you will need to sue in court to obtain fair, reasonable compensation for your losses.
Trust Your Claim To A Skilled Georgia Car Accident Attorney
This information should be helpful in terms of understanding the challenges with providing back injuries after a motor vehicle crash, but there are many other details that apply in a real-life situation. As such, your first priority should be retaining experienced legal counsel for help with the process. Our lawyers at MG Law are prepared to fight for your rights and tackle the hurdles, so please contact us to schedule a no-cost case assessment. We can meet with you at our offices in Conyers, Covington, or Atlanta, GA. After reviewing your unique circumstances, we can determine how to proceed with your case.