Injuries to the neck or back are traumatic. They can leave you in intense pain or with full or partial paralysis. These injuries can be particularly dangerous since the spinal cord is so pivotal for the body’s daily functions.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are around (PDF) 28,000 cases of spinal cord injury across the United States, and that doesn’t cover the number of people that simply suffer from neck or back pain.
Serious neck and back pain are debilitating to a person’s way of life. Recovery can mean months of rehabilitation or surgeries, and that leads to serious financial strain on you and your family.
Many neck and back injuries are caused by the negligence of another, whether property owner, reckless driver, or anyone else being careless. If this is the case for your accident, you may be eligible for compensation to help offset the financial responsibility. Read further to learn more about these injuries, your rights, and how you could receive compensation for your injuries.
The first step to getting help is identifying your neck or back injury. These types of injuries can be as minor as whiplash (the most common neck injury) or as major as complete paralysis.
After an accident, adrenaline keeps your body from feeling the full severity of the pain until days or weeks later, and that can be dangerous if you’re seriously injured. It may deter you from getting the proper help. For this reason, it’s always advised that you receive medical attention as soon as possible after an accident.
Some common symptoms that can signal you to a neck or back injury include:
If you experience any of these symptoms you may have suffered a serious neck, back, or spinal cord injury (SCI). Neck, back, or spinal cord injuries can easily be considered catastrophic injuries, and that means high costs and long roads to recovery.
Certain accidents are more likely to cause neck or back injury. The highest percentage of these injuries, in Texas and across the country, are caused by car accidents, and this is followed in a close second by slip and fall accidents.
Other types of accidents that typically cause neck and back injuries can include:
If you’ve been injured in the neck, back, or spine, you’re likely facing the financial uncertainty of rehabilitation, piling medical bills, or even a caregiver in very serious situations. Filing a personal injury claim can be your way to receiving compensation to help with these stresses.
Personal injury cases often require some degree of negligence in order for victims to receive any compensation for their injuries or hold another party liable for the accident.
Negligence is the culprit when a person has a duty to others and carelessly breaches that duty. For example, a driver has a duty to follow the rules of the road. If he or she runs a stop sign, that is negligence. If running the stop sign causes an accident that leaves the other driver with neck trauma, the negligent driver can be held responsible for compensating the victim.
If your injuries were caused by some degree of negligence on behalf of another, you can certainly file a personal injury claim.
There are several parties that can be held liable for your accident. Anyone who can be proven negligent at the time of the accident could be responsible for paying compensation. Those parties could include:
It’s possible that more than one party will be held liable in your case. Your attorney can help identify negligent and responsible parties in your case.
Neck, back, and SCIs are no laughing matter, and life-long costs for treatment can easily be a possibility. This means that victims will need higher compensation in order to cover it all.
If you’ve suffered a neck or back injury in Texas, you may be able to collect both special and general damages.
Special damages are economic and can be valued by monetary loss. This means that you can add up these damages mathematically. Special damages include:
In contrast, general damages are non-economic ones and are for things that a certain amount of money can’t compensate for. General damages include:
Texas is one of the many states across the U.S. that is considered a comparative fault state. This means that personal injury cases are governed by the rules of comparative negligence. Whoever is guilty of your accident must cover the injuries or property destruction caused by that accident. This is in contrast to no-fault states that allow your insurance to provide funds for your recovery even before fault is established in your case.
Comparative negligence means that more than one party can be officially held liable for your accident, including yourself to a certain degree. If you are found partially responsible, your total compensation may be reduced based on how responsible you were. For example, if you are determined to have been 25% responsible for the accident by acting negligently yourself, you’ll only recover 75% of your suffered damages.
Texas’s comparative negligence is modified meaning that if any party is determined to have been 51% responsible or more, he or she forfeits any rights to collecting compensation.
Comparing fault in this way can get complicated fast. Your attorney will help determine if you were partially at fault and how that will affect the amount of compensation you can receive.
Sometimes the decision of whether or not to hire a personal injury attorney can be a difficult one.
Neck and back injuries come with high damages and determining fault, especially in a comparative fault state like Texas, can be tricky to nail down.
It’s recommended that those pursuing compensation through a personal injury case hire an attorney if they’re seeking high amounts of compensation, if it’s difficult to prove which parties are responsible, or if the extent of your injuries is in question. Attorneys have access to professional witnesses that can help your case and it’s their job to handle the difficult areas of personal injury cases.
Hiring an attorney is always your call in the state of Texas, but take serious thought before deciding to accept or deny legal help.
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