What is the average settlement for a spinal cord injury?


May 19, 2021 / Catastrophic Injuries

If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Spinal cord injuries can be serious, and even catastrophic, which means significant medical bills, lost wages and other unanticipated expenses. You should not have to bear these costs alone, especially if you were injured in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence.

Because every case is different, there is not an “average” settlement for a spinal cord injury.  Depending on the level of injury and/or disability, settlements can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars.  Each case is fact-dependent.  In determining a settlement amount, several factors come into play.  Some of these include:

  • Severity of injuries
  • Number of people injured
  • Who was at fault/comparative fault
  • Amount of property damage
  • Whether there was gross negligence/possibility of punitive damages
  • Willingness of insurance companies to negotiate in good faith
  • Amount of current medical and hospital bills
  • Loss of future earnings potential
  • Cost of future health and medical care
  • Aggressiveness of plaintiff’s attorney.

Depending on the facts in a case, there are additional factors that could influence the amount of a settlement in a spinal cord injury case. A skilled and experienced personal injury attorney can assess your case and advise you on the settlement amount you may be entitled to. The aggressive lawyers at Stephenson Rife have helped countless injury victims get the justice they deserve. We can do the same for you. To find out more about how we can help, call us for a free initial consultation at (317) 680-2501.

Things you can be compensated for as part of a spinal cord injury settlement

There are several kinds of expenses that are calculated when the monetary value of a spinal cord injury settlement is determined. Some of these include:

  • Medical, hospital and doctor bills
  • Loss of current and future earnings
  • Cost of future medical services and in-home care
  • Home modifications and improvements to create handicap accessibility
  • Loss of consortium (filed by spouse)
  • Pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death.

Generally, the more severe the injury, the greater the financial payout. For example, complete paralysis will likely result in a larger settlement than loss of the use of some fingers. A plaintiff’s future prognosis and ability or inability to work will also be factored into a payout.

What are the different types of spinal cord injuries?

A spinal cord injury — damage to any part of the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal (cauda equina) — often causes permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury, according to the Mayo Clinic.  The settlement amount you receive could depend on which, how many, and the severity of the injury symptoms you experience.

Some spinal cord injury types include:

  1. “Complete” spinal cord injury – All feeling, sensation and motor control are lost below the level of your injury.
  2. “Incomplete” spinal cord injury – Some motor and sensory function remain below the affected region of the spinal injury.
  3. Tetraplegia/Quadriplegia – Legs, arms, hands, trunk, and pelvic organs are affected by the spinal injury.
  4. Paraplegia – Trunk, legs and pelvic organs are paralyzed by spinal injury.

Symptoms of spinal cord injuries

According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal cord injuries of any kind may result in one or more of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Loss or altered sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold and touch
  • Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
  • Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity and fertility
  • Loss of movement
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
  • Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord.

Immediately after a car crash, fall, work accident, or other incident, emergency signs of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes
  • Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back
  • An oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
  • Weakness, lack of coordination or paralysis in any part of your body
  • Difficulty with balance and walking
  • Impaired breathing
  • Loss of bodily fluids.

If you have experienced one or several of these symptoms after an accident, it is important to pay attention to them.

What to do if you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury

There are some important things you should do if you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury and think you may be entitled to a financial settlement:

  1. Seek medical attention right away, including surgery, if necessary.
  2. Keep all medical records, doctor communications, physical therapy orders, test results and X-rays.
  3. Do not admit fault or discuss potential causes of an accident if that is how your spinal cord was injured.
  4. Contact a personal injury lawyer right away.

Often after a severe injury, a victim is so focused on medical treatment that they don’t have time or the ability to consider the legal implications of their injury. But the longer you wait to contact a lawyer, the more likely it is that important evidence will be lost or discarded, and witnesses will disappear. The sooner you act, the better.

Contact a skilled spinal cord injury lawyer today

The amount of your financial settlement for a spinal cord injury may depend on the skill and experience of the attorney you hire. The more aggressive and adept your lawyer, the better your chances of success. The attorneys at Stephenson Rife have represented countless clients who have been injured through accident or other catastrophic event. We are tough against opponents and compassionate toward our clients. We understand that your life has been turned upside down, and we will not rest until we get you the justice you deserve. For a free assessment of your case, call us at (317) 680-2501. We would be glad to answer your questions and discuss your legal options.

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