Spinal cord injuries are terrible to contemplate and awful to experience. By definition they are catastrophic since the spinal cord, unlike so many other parts of the body, cannot heal itself, Although there are experimental treatments with stem cells being used in early-stage clinical trials, suffering a spinal cord injury means you will be dealing with some degree of sensory or motor impairment for the rest of your life.
Spinal cord injuries frequently result in long-term incapacity which, apart from its physical restrictions and emotional trials, can cause financial disaster. If you have experienced a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct, apart from requiring urgent medical care, you need the name of a trustworthy personal injury attorney with a track record of successful outcomes in order to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive the compensation you deserve.
If you are located in Middle Tennessee and have suffered a spinal cord injury, you at least have the advantage of having a first class personal injury attorney right here in Nashville. Brian Cummings, lead attorney of Cummings Law, has multiple awards attesting to his legal skill and his fine reputation among his peers, including the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent) and membership in the exclusive group of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100. Brian Cummings has a history of winning millions of dollars for his clients and is ready to take on any adversary to fight for you.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
While we all tend to think of full or partial paralysis as the primary effect of a spinal cord injury, there can be other after-effects. The results of a spinal cord injury depend largely upon which part of the cord is injured and how severe the injury is. Some spinal cord injuries respond to long-term physical therapy, and many patients can be helped to regain independence by using new, often robotic, technological equipment. Tragically, other victims will remain incapacitated for the rest of their lives.
Causes of A Spinal Cord Injury
Of the many ways in which the spinal cord can be injured, a large number are caused by the negligence, recklessness or malice of another person. The most frequent cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States is vehicular accidents; car, truck, and motorcycle accidents account for almost half of annual spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord injuries are also caused by the following, listed in order of their frequency:
- Falls (especially in individuals over the age of 65)
- Medical malpractice
- Violent assaults with weapons (primarily guns or knives)
- Diving into shallow water
- Collision contacts during active sports
- Industrial accidents
If your spinal cord injury occurs as the result of a car accident, for example, the other driver may have been driving recklessly or while distracted or impaired by drugs. If you were injured in a diving accident, those responsible may have neglected to post adequate signage warning of the water’s depth. Even if you were hurt while playing football or lacrosse, your coach may have been negligent or your equipment may have been defective. For any of these reasons, Cummings Law may successfully sue for damages to pay for both your economic (tangible) costs:
- Medical costs / medical expenses
- Lost income (present and future)
- Physical, psychological, and occupational rehabilitation
- Necessary assistive devices
- Personal healthcare
- Property damage
And noneconomic (intangible) costs:
- Loss of sensation or pins and needles sensation
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of muscle tone
- Loss of sexual function
- Loss of mobility
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Damage to your relationships with loved ones
If the party who caused you such devastating injury demonstrated particularly egregious behavior, for example driving while texting or inviting you to swim in a pool with no warning about its depth (or lack of it), Cummings law may also be able to win you punitive damages. Punitive damages are money damages awarded over and above the award to compensate you for your losses and damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the bad behavior of the person who hurt you and to discourage others from engaging in such dangerous misconduct.
How Legal Liability Is Determined in Tennessee
Although in some cases, who is at fault for your injuries may be clear-cut and indisputable, there are many occasions in which multiple parties involved arguably bear some of the blame. It is possible, for example, that you fell down a broken flight of stairs, but someone knew of the problem and did not warn you, or that you were hit by falling debris somewhere that you arguably were not supposed to enter. When such accidents occur, the court may determine that multiple parties are at fault. It is then the court’s responsibility to decide what percentage of fault to assign to each. That fault sometimes is assigned, in part, to the injured party – which is another reason to hire a top-notch attorney as early as possible to protect your rights to obtain the highest amount of monetary compensation possible for your injuries and damages.
In Tennessee, the legal doctrine that applies when multiple people may be responsible for a person’s injuries is known as modified comparative fault. What this means is that the court may, for example, hold you 20 percent at fault for your spinal cord injury if you were intoxicated at the time you got hurt (like a quarter of all spinal cord injury victims). The court may find that you bear some of the burdens for other reasons than intoxication. You may be found partly at fault because you were engaging in risk-taking behavior at the time of injury, were experiencing a dizzy spell, or were ignoring a posted warning.
Whatever the reason, if the court assigns you a percentage of the fault, your awarded damages will be reduced in an amount related to your percentage of fault. If, for example, you are found to be 20 percent at fault and you are awarded $100,000 in damages, you will actually receive only $80,000 of the $100,000 total amount because your monetary award is reduced by your percentage of fault. It is important to understand that in states like Tennessee, with modified comparative fault, if you are found to be more than 50 percent to blame for your own injury, you will not receive any compensation at all. Don’t worry though. If you have sought the savvy legal counsel of Cummings Law, we will always protect you. Having been through such litigation many times before, Brian Cummings is highly skilled at maximizing your potential recovery, including defending against any claims that you bear some fault for what happened.
Contact Our Nashville Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Cummings Law is always on your side and will fight with vigor and integrity to win your case. We have the in-depth knowledge of federal law and Tennessee law to back up our well-honed skills in both negotiation and litigation. We also have a keen awareness of, and empathy for, all the suffering you and your family have gone through and continue to endure. We also have the experience to develop the proof necessary to obtain damages for your future costs and for your future loss of income. We will fight aggressively so that you will have the substantial nest egg you need going forward after your life was changed forever due to someone else’s mistake.