Spinal cord injuries, like brain injuries, can be catastrophic. If you are lucky enough to survive the initial injury your life is fundamentally altered in a split second. More than 250,000 Americans live with these injuries. National Institutes of Health estimate that 12,000 people a year suffer from spinal cord injury, 80% of them men. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury you need help from legal professionals.
As a personal injury law firm, many of our John Foy & Associates clients have suffered the gamut of injuries from soft-tissue damage to full paralysis. The injured person is going to require long-term, continuing care, which is extremely expensive. The University of Alabama estimates that the health care and living costs of a major spinal cord injury can be more than a million dollars the first year and almost $185,000 a year after.
“If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury, this is not the type of case to handle on your own,’’ says our firm founder John Foy. “You need professional help. You need an attorney who knows how to handle these types of cases.”
You only get one chance to settle a personal injury claim. Don’t jeopardize your or your loved one’s future by not getting expert help. Our spinal cord injury attorneys are available for a free consultation or second opinion at 404-400-4000.
What should I do if a loved one or I have a spinal cord injury from an accident?
A spinal cord injury can happen in many ways. As a personal injury firm, we’ve seen a lot of these injuries resulting from auto accidents and tractor-trailer accidents. People who do physical labor, such as construction or factory workers, are also at great risk. If you or a loved one has suffered, first we want you to get immediate help. Unlike minor accidents you may not be able to gather information at the time of the injury. It might not be possible to get names of witnesses right away. We have a team of investigators on staff that can go back and recreate the accident.
Call a personal injury attorney as soon as you can. “The more time that is taken or delayed the more negative things can happen,’’ says our firm founder John Foy. Often people want to minimize what has happened to them and they are quick to settle with an insurance company. They want to make life go back to the way it was and think that a quick settlement will do that. You can return to a productive life after a traumatic spinal cord injury, but you will need a lot of medical and financial help. But spinal cord injuries require a lot of care with endless medical expenses. Once you settle with an insurance company, you never have the chance to go back and remake your case.
“Even if we can’t help at John Foy & Associates, you’ll get a free consultation and at least peace of mind,” says John Foy.
What are the some of the common types of spinal cord injuries?
Spinal cord injuries have many symptoms. The most catastrophic injuries involve paralysis and are classified in these ways:
- Quadriplegia—Loss of movement in all four limbs, chest muscles are affected and the patient usually needs a breathing machine.
- Triplegia—Loss of movement in one arm and both legs.
- Paraplegia—Loss of movement and sensation in both legs.
Critically injured patients will need 24/7 care the rest of their lives, others will be able to lead independent lives with a lot of support. Patient costs add up beyond medical care–vocational training, special equipment, home care and psychological counseling will all be necessary.
Sometimes spinal cord injuries are not apparent right away. You may have been in a fender-bender and discounted your injuries. You think a few trips to a physical therapist or chiropractor and you’ll be back in business.
As personal injury attorneys we often see clients who have had minor car accidents and whose injuries did not reveal themselves until much later. Without treatment your condition could worsen. The Mayo Clinic lists symptoms that may indicate a spinal cord injury:
- Extreme back or neck pain
- Lack of control of bowels or bladder
- Numbness in your fingers or toes
- Difficulty breathing
- Changes in your sexual function
What are some of the causes of spinal cord injuries?
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation lists major causes of spinal cord injury:
- Work accidents
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Sporting or recreation accidents
What can I expect to recover if I have a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury case is a personal injury case. You are eligible to be compensated in three areas:
- All reasonable and necessary medical expenses, including past and future expenses.
- Lost income due to the injury.
- Pain and suffering.
In a catastrophic injury, we try to recover for future medical expenses so that you will be covered throughout your life. Often for younger clients or someone who is entirely disabled, we structure the recovery so that all of the money isn’t spent at once. This is called a “structured settlement” and it protects the client through a special needs trust.
How are spinal cord injury cases different from other personal injury cases?
In most other accidents, you are injured and you recover. Spinal cord injury cases are different because these injuries have long-term health issues that require long-term care. That means a lifetime of costs.
People with spinal cord injuries can go on to lead amazing lives. They participate in marathons, basketball games. They go back to work, attend college, start families. And more and more research is breaking ground on regenerative therapy. Let our attorneys set up you or your loved one for a chance at a productive life.
Is there a time limit to file a claim for a spinal cord injury?
There is always a time limit or statute of limitation to file a personal injury case. Generally that period is two years, but some municipalities and other situations have shorter exceptions. Beyond the legal time limit, we urge clients to seek help as quickly as possible. We can help you get the proper medical treatment. We will fight for your financial well-being while you fight for your physical recovery.
What if my injury happened at school or on the sports field?
“Call us right away,” urges our firm founder John Foy. Public schools in Georgia are often protected against civil suits, but many municipalities and schools have private insurance for exactly these kinds of accidents. In addition, a sports injury can be complicated, because you are assuming a risk by participating in the sport. That said, we have had several successful cases against municipalities.
What if my injury happened at work?
Any injury at work may be handled as a workers compensation case. This means that you are protected as an employee to be compensated for an injury that happens on the job. However, sometimes a work injury involves a third party who can be at fault for your injury. Then you can proceed with both a workers compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. For example, if you are driving for work and your car is hit by a tractor-trailer, you would be able to file both types of cases. If another employer on the job is responsible for your injury, you can file both kinds of cases. “If you’re on the clock and somebody else is at fault for the accident, you can have both claims,” says John Foy.
If I am a crime victim who suffered a spinal cord injury can I file a personal injury claim?
Violent crime is the second cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. We don’t know if the criminal has the ability to pay for your injuries. “Even if we are not able to identify the criminal we may be able to still recover money for you,” says John Foy. “We’ll go after every possible responsible person, or party that may be out there.”
Crime victims may also be eligible for punitive damages—damages that the court awards to punish the defendant. This is especially true in drunk driving accidents. In addition, Georgia has a crime victim’s program fund for medical bills. We’ve helped many victims get compensation from this fund for medical bills.
What can a Spinal Cord Injury attorney do for me?
Anyone who has suffered a spinal cord injury needs an expert in his or her corner. You only have one chance to get this right. John Foy & Associates has been in business in Georgia for more than 20 years and through those many years our clients have been awarded more than a millions of dollars in compensation. We know the local experts and will get you the best medical care possible while we work your case. You need to fight for your rights. You want the peace of mind and confidence that you chose a spinal cord injury attorney who will fight for you. Give us a call at 404-400-4000.
“This is what we do. We do one thing, and one thing only, and we do it very well,” says John Foy.