What Qualifies As a Spinal Injury Lawsuit?
December 7, 2022 / Catastrophic Injuries
A spinal injury can be a life-changing event, which is why it’s important to know what qualifies as a spinal injury lawsuit.
In the worst case, a spinal injury can leave you permanently paralyzed or otherwise disabled. But even in less extreme scenarios, spinal injuries can lead to chronic pain problems or, at the very least, a long recovery time which could result in lost wages.
Regardless of the severity, your spinal injury is likely to cost you hefty medical expenses. It can be helpful to know that you have options for pursuing a lawsuit. But what qualifies as a spinal injury? Let our attorneys at Stephenson Rife help you prepare your case.
What Qualifies As a Spinal Injury Lawsuit?
Although spinal injuries are always upsetting, not every spinal injury qualifies as a spinal injury lawsuit. In order to pursue a spinal injury lawsuit, you need to be able to prove that the spinal injury was due to a fault not your own and that it could have been avoided. There are two different qualifiers when it comes to a spinal injury lawsuit.
- Spinal Injury Due to Negligence: If your spinal injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. For instance, if you were rear-ended by another vehicle and the force of the accident led to a spinal injury, you could sue the other driver.
This is not limited to car accidents. If you are hurt on a work site that is not up to code or were injured by someone’s pet that they allowed to get loose, this can also be considered negligence. In any situation where the defendant had a duty of care which they failed to meet, resulting in your preventable spinal injury, you may be able to sue.
- Spinal Injury Due to Defective Products: In a way, defective products are more of an indirect form of negligence. The manufacturer had a duty to make sure the product worked properly before sending it out, but somewhere along the way, something went wrong. This could be faulty airbags, seatbelts, tires, or brakes, as well as things like unsafe flooring.
Your legal team must be able to prove that your spinal injury was the fault of a different party than yourself, whether through their negligence or through a defective product that they produced and sold. You must also be able to prove that had the defendant taken better care, your spinal injury could have been avoided. If you are able to meet these qualifications, then you can easily move forward to a spinal injury lawsuit.
How Much Is a Spinal Injury Lawsuit Worth?
The amount that your spinal injury lawsuit will be worth will depend on your case, as well as the state in which you live. Compensation is typically divided into two categories: economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are straightforward. This compensation is designed to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, property damage to your vehicle in the event of a crash, and so on. If the spinal injury leaves you permanently disabled, you may also be able to receive compensation for that disability.
Sometimes referred to as “emotional damages,” this form of compensation is a little more nebulous. It’s designed to cover the mental and emotional harm done to you in the aftermath of your spinal injury. For instance, pain and suffering or emotional distress can sometimes be compensated. If your spinal injury left you unable to work or reliant on others for help, you may also be able to claim loss of enjoyment of life.
You will need to see a mental health professional and keep a record of your emotional distress in order to prove this often-contested claim. Speak to our attorneys at Stephenson Rife about whether or not you qualify for these types of non-economic damages.
With that out of the way, let’s get to the numbers. Every injury case is different, with back and neck injury lawsuits often reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. In Indiana, the average back injury settlement is over $450,000. The largest back injury settlement recorded was $1,350,000.
Spinal Injury Lawsuits: Settlement or Trial?
In most cases, you will be able to settle your spinal injury lawsuit without having to go to trial. This is typically just a tedious effort of dealing with the insurance company to ensure that the right amount will be paid by a certain time. Insurance companies may try to find loopholes or pay less than you’re owed, which is why it’s important to have an attorney at your side.
In some cases, the insurance company will counter an offer with an amount that is frankly unreasonable and will be unwilling to budge. When this happens, our legal team at Stephenson Rife will advise you to take the case to trial. Trials are a longer process and can be exhausting, but they also tend to result in much higher compensation. Our team will work to get you the maximum compensation possible in your case.
Indiana’s Comparative Negligence Accident Laws
Indiana is an at-fault state, meaning if someone is found to be at fault for your spinal injury, their insurance is required to compensate you. However, it’s also important to keep in mind that Indiana uses a comparative negligence system.
According to this comparative negligence system, if you are 51% or more at fault for the accident that caused your spinal injury, you will be unable to collect damages. If you are less than 51% at fault, you can collect damages proportionate to the percentage of which you weren’t at fault. By this law, if you are 10% responsible for the accident that caused your spinal injury, the insurance company is required to cover 90% of the costs.
Let Stephenson Rife Help You With Your Spinal Injury Lawsuit
Need help filing your spinal injury lawsuit and getting the compensation you deserve? Let us take care of you! Contact Stephenson Rife today to learn more and to set up a free consultation: (317) 680-2501.