Injuries affecting the spinal cord (and related neurological and muscular systems) can be fundamentally life changing. In many cases, a spinal cord injury — if it is particularly severe in nature — can impose a disabling condition on the victim, thus preventing them from continuing or obtaining gainful employment. The injury may be so catastrophic, in fact, that the plaintiff cannot engage in various recreational or social activities, and their overall quality of life may therefore deteriorate. Given the extensive losses associated with spinal cord injury, damages in such lawsuits in Pennsylvania tend to be significant.
Here at the Law Office of Mark A. Smith in Pittsburgh, PA, we can evaluate your claims and help you determine how best to move forward with litigation so as to maximize your chances of success. We understand the contours of a spinal cord injury claim in Pennsylvania, and we know the defense arguments that you are likely to encounter as you proceed. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Pittsburgh personal injury attorney for further assistance.
Q: What symptoms are typically associated with spinal cord injuries?
A: Spinal cord injuries affect the neurological and muscular systems. Symptoms typical of spinal cord injuries include:
The higher up the spinal cord injury is located, the greater the likelihood of high-functionality loss (due to the injury at-issue). For example, if you sustain a spinal injury at the top of your spinal column, you may be rendered quadriplegic, whereas if you sustain a spinal injury at the lower portion of your spinal column, you may only lose control over your legs.
Q: What damages am I entitled to recover?
A: The consequences of a spinal cord injuries can be life-changing. As such, damages tend to be substantial (in comparison to other sorts of injuries), particularly in situations where the injury victim had a high income career that they are forced to give up.
Recoverable damages in a Pennsylvania spinal cord injury case may include:
Q: Is it necessary that I engage in rehab for my spinal cord injury? It does not seem to be helping.
A: Yes. If rehabilitation is recommended by your physician(s), then you should attend the sessions, even if you believe that they are not helping. In Pennsylvania, injured plaintiffs must make reasonable efforts to mitigate (i.e., minimize) their overall losses. Failure to mitigate could prevent you from securing maximum compensation for your spinal cord injuries.
Q: Can I secure benefits and damages in a spinal cord injury case, or will the two interfere with each other?
A: Yes. You can secure both insurance benefits and damages in your PA spinal cord injury case, and neither will interfere with the other. Pennsylvania implements the collateral source rule, which prohibits the introduction of evidence of “collateral” funds (i.e., evidence of reimbursement). Simply put, any payments from a collateral source will not reduce the damages that you are entitled to receive, and juries are not to consider such evidence.
For example, if you suffer spinal cord injuries in an accident, and you have had most of your healthcare expenses reimbursed by your insurer, you may still sue and recover damages for your medical expenses (in a civil action against the defendant). The defendant cannot introduce evidence of your healthcare reimbursement to prevent you from obtaining a full recovery.
Q: I had preexisting back, neck, and spinal problems prior to the spinal cord injury at issue. Will I still be entitled to recover damages for my injury?
A: Preexisting injuries are complicated. If the preexisting injury or condition is “different” from the new injury or condition, then you are still entitled to recover damages. If the injury or condition is the “same,” then you may not recover damages unless you can show that the spinal cord injury was seriously exacerbated due to the defendant’s negligent or wrongful conduct.
If you have been involved in an accident that was caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another individual (or entity), and you suffered spinal cord injuries as a result, then Pennsylvania law may entitle you to significant compensation. Litigating a spinal cord injury claim — and obtaining maximum compensation, given the circumstances in your case — can be rather challenging. Some defendants can be hostile to your demands, and others may simply undervalue your claims. Simply put: you are likely to encounter a barriers to potential recovery in a PA spinal cord injury case.
Pittsburgh personal injury lawyer Mark Smith has three decades of experience representing the interests of those who have suffered injuries in an accident that was caused by another’s fault, including injuries that affect the spinal cord and related systems. He has a long and successful track record of securing favorable results through negotiated settlement and, where necessary, through aggressive trial litigation on behalf of clients. He is committed to the provision of customized solutions, and he works closely with clients from beginning to end to ensure that there is open communication throughout the process.
Interested in learning more? Call or email to schedule a free and confidential consultation.
Personalized service. Maximum results. The Law Office of Mark A. Smith looks forward to helping you obtain full compensation for your spinal cord injuries.