NEW MEXICO SPINAL CORD INJURY LAWYERS
CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A NEW MEXICO SPINAL CORD INJURY ATTORNEY TODAY
A spinal injury may take a serious toll on a victim’s physical and emotional well-being. Physical injuries come in all forms and may vary greatly in their degree of severity. A recovering victim should not have to fight for relief alone. Filing a claim for compensation after suffering a personal injury may be burdensome for victims. You may ease this burden by speaking with an experienced attorney to see how they may be able to help you with your claim.
COMMON CAUSES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES
Most people probably hear the term “spinal injury” and immediately think of the worst-case scenario. A lot of the time spinal injuries may be viewed as synonymous with becoming paralyzed. However, the truth is spinal injuries come in many forms and can be caused by a wide array of accidents. The following causes are a few of the common situations that may lead to a spinal cord injury:
- Sudden traumatic impact to your spine, such as a car accident or sports accident
- A penetration to your spine that could result from debris, a knife, a gunshot, or any other sharp objects
- Fluid accumulation in your spinal cord, which may result from some other type of severe bodily injury
- Arthritis, infections, inflammation, or any other type of non-traumatic ailment that may lead to spinal nerve damage
COMMON TYPES OF SPINAL INJURIES
While spinal injuries come in many forms and may not always lead to the most severe result possible, they are almost always serious to some extent. This makes sense considering the spinal column is such an important part of our bodies. Here are a few of the common types of spinal injuries a victim may experience after an accident:
Often referred to as quadriplegia, tetraplegia is a type of incomplete injury where your arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected.
Paraplegia is an incomplete injury where either all or part of your trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are affected.
Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries
This type of injury occurs when the head and the neck above the shoulders are affected.
Lumbar Spinal Cord Injuries
Lumbar spinal cord injuries occur where the hips and the legs are affected.
Thoracic Spinal Injuries
This type of injury occurs where the upper chest, mid-back, and abdominal muscles are affected.
Sacral Spinal Injuries
Sacral injuries occur when the hips, back of the thighs, buttocks, and pelvic organs are injured during a spinal injury.
Common Effects of a Spinal Injury
Beyond affecting your motor functions, spinal injuries can take both a physical and mental toll on recovering victims. A few of the other common effects of spinal cord injuries may include, but are not limited to:
- Loss or altered sensation
- Loss of bladder control
- Spasms or other reflex issues
- Changes in sexual function
- Difficulty breathing
- Weight gain
- Emotional trauma
Who is at Fault?
Generally, you can show fault in a spinal injury claim by being able to prove that another party was negligent. This means that a party who owed a duty of care to you breached that duty and caused you harm. To determine that someone is at fault for your spinal cord injury, you will need to be able to show that they breached some duty they owed to you. This liability can fall on an individual, a group of people, or an employer. Sometimes liability can even be partially imputed to the victims themselves. The circumstances of fault are heavily dependent on the circumstances surrounding your claim and injury.
If you are injured in an accident that leads to some type of spinal injury, you may be able to seek compensation from the negligent party. If you were partly responsible for the accident, however, your recovery may be limited. New Mexico is a pure comparative fault jurisdiction. This means that each party involved in an accident is liable for their portion of the fault. For example, if the negligent party was 100% at fault for your injury, then they may be responsible for 100% of your potential damages. However, if the negligent party was only 60% at fault for your injury and you were 40% at fault for your own injury then the most you could recover from the other party is 60% of your damages.
How to File a Spinal Injury Claim
1. Seek Medical Attention
No matter what, the most important thing to do to file a claim is to seek medical attention for any bodily injuries. Taking care of your physical well being, especially after a major injury, always needs to be the top priority. Usually, if you receive a spinal injury, the injury may be apparent. However, sometimes we may not always be aware of the extent of our injuries and may even write them off as not being a big deal. Regardless of how severe you feel like your injuries are, we want to encourage everyone to be safe and receive the treatment they need. Additionally, receiving medical treatment can make a big difference in your claim because you will have official documentation about your injuries, the treatment you received, and your treatment plan going forward.
2. Call the Police
Calling the police is always important if you can. Calling the police to the scene to give them the details of what happened shortly after you have been involved in any type of accident has several benefits. Your memory recall will be better, and the police can create an official police report that may be used in helping you seek compensation for your claim.
3. Thorough Documentation
Documentation can play a major part in helping you file a successful claim. Document anything and everything you can by taking photos, making notes, and speaking with any eyewitnesses who might have seen the accident. Do your best to obtain documentation of relevant information as soon as possible to ensure its accuracy and quality.
4. Speak with an Attorney
Having a New Mexico spinal cord injury attorney with experience handling spinal injury cases is the best way to protect yourself from being taken advantage of. An attorney may be able to help advise you on your options, open a claim with your insurance carrier, and negotiate any settlement offers.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
After hiring an attorney, opening a claim with insurance, and conducting an investigation, you will likely have the option to negotiate settlement offers. Most cases settle because most parties want to avoid an expensive trial. Your attorney may be able to provide valuable advice about the appropriateness of any settlement offers and whether to accept or decline the offer.
When you sustain a spinal cord injury, you may potentially recover two different types of damages. You can seek economic damages and non-economic damages for your injury.
Economic damages cover bills that are easily quantified with a set amount of money. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and other incidentals, like gas money for driving to and from doctor’s appointments. Medical bills can be quite costly in spinal injury cases, but the recoverable amount will ultimately depend on the circumstance of your injury.
Non-economic damages are based on the impact the injury is going to have on your life going forward, and are therefore less concrete. These types of damages generally cover intangible costs such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. These damages are not as quantifiable and are heavily dependent on the accident and your individual injury. Nonetheless, non-economic damages are particularly important in spinal injury cases as spinal injuries have the potential to impact a victim’s life in a long-lasting way.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
Statute of limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations placed on each type of legal claim. The statute of limitations places a time limit in which you can file a lawsuit and seek any compensation for a claim. Each state has a different statute of limitations for spinal cord injuries. Under New Mexico law, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a personal injury claim for compensation.
Time is always an important consideration in the legal process. Ultimately, if you wait too long to file a claim, you may be barred from recovery altogether.
CALL THE PERSONAL INJURY LAWYERS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP TODAY
We believe accident victims should not have to worry about affording legal representation. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t owe us anything unless we win your case. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Our dedicated New Mexico attorneys have years of experience helping accident victims seek compensation for their injuries. If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, we may help you navigate the complex legal process. Call us today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our New Mexico spinal cord injury lawyers.
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