Spinal cord damage from car accidents is irreversible. But with proper medical treatment, rehabilitation, and a lot of hard work, many people can still lead fulfilling lives. It’s also an expensive endeavor and the insurance company is probably eager to settle your claim.
If you or a loved one are living with a spinal cord injury, don’t accept the first settlement the insurance companies offer. You need to ensure that your compensation can cover all of your ongoing medical and care needs.
Keep reading to learn more about personal injury settlements and how to determine whether to settle your spinal cord injury claim.
What Is a Personal Injury Settlement?
A settlement is a legal agreement that gives victims lump-sum compensation for their injuries. However, in exchange, you give up your right to a lawsuit or any additional compensation. That means that even if your condition worsens, you can’t go back and demand more money.
“One of the most significant complications in a minor’s personal injury case is that even if the parties involved settle, the court has the power to reject a settlement or even a verdict.”
Benefits of Settling an Injury Claim
There are many benefits to accepting a fair settlement offer, including:
- Faster Resolution: On average, taking a case to trial takes longer than negotiating a settlement.
- Less Stress: Trials can place significant psychological stress on victims. They can also be physically demanding for someone with mobility difficulties caused by a spinal cord injury.
- Guaranteed Outcome: A jury might award you more compensation than a settlement, but they could also award less or nothing at all. With a settlement, you have a guaranteed and known payout.
Should I Accept a Settlement Offer?
Before accepting a spinal cord injury settlement, you have to be completely sure that it is both fair and will cover your long-term care needs. To do this, you’ll need to understand and consider several factors.
1. Assess the Severity of Your Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord is made up of a bundle of sensitive nerves and tissues. It carries messages between your brain and the rest of your body. These messages help you move, breathe, feel pain, and perform essential functions. Damage to your spinal cord can result in partial or complete loss of motor control, loss of sensation, and paralysis.
Early on, when you’re healing and your doctors are still assessing your injury, your future may seem uncertain. However, over time, you’ll get a better sense of your abilities and ongoing medical needs.
Typically, we discourage spinal cord victims from settling their claims until their condition is stable. If you settle too early, you may agree to an amount that does not adequately cover a lifetime of medical care and assistive services.
2. Consider How a Spinal Cord Injury Will Affect Your Life
The body is a complex and interconnected structure, and damage to the spine can impair functions such as breathing, temperature regulation, and bladder control.
Spinal cord injuries can have significant long-term effects on your quality and way of life, such as:
- Having to find a new job that is less physically demanding
- An increased dependence on others for routine activities
- Difficulty exercising or partaking in certain hobbies
- Trouble holding social or sexual relationships
In addition to your medical bills, mobility aids, and other financial damages, your settlement should take these harder-to-calculate (but very real) losses into account.
3. Calculate the Total Value of Your Damages
Spinal cord injuries are notoriously difficult to value accurately because of their long-term effects. Online calculators cannot provide an accurate estimate because they are not designed to anticipate the level and years of care required for a spinal cord injury. Therefore, you should always consult with a lawyer before settling.
The insurance company will try to settle your claim for as little as possible – and you should never assume that it has your best interests in mind. A lawyer, on the other hand, will advocate for you and demand fair compensation for all of your losses, including:
- Ongoing inpatient or outpatient health care
- Lost income and wage-earning capacity
- Physical rehabilitation programs
- Assistive tools or mobility modifications to your home
- Emotional distress and changes to your way of life
At Crosley Law, we frequently consult with doctors and long-term care experts during settlement negotiations so that we can get our clients the compensation they deserve.
Crosley Law: Standing Up for Spinal Cord Injury Survivors
If you’re considering a spinal cord injury settlement, Crosley Law can help you determine whether the insurance company made a fair offer. We have a long track record of helping people with catastrophic injuries navigate their legal claims and would love to learn more about your claims.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.