Las Vegas Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Every year, approximately 11,000 new spinal cord injury cases arise in the United States. Spine injuries can cause permanent loss of function and feeling in the affected parts of the body. If someone else’s negligence or recklessness caused you or a loved one this serious injury, contact Panish Shea & Boyle LLP right away. Our Las Vegas spinal cord injury attorneys have experience handling complex and catastrophic cases. We can help you fight for full and fair financial compensation for the myriad losses relating to spine injuries.
What are the Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury describes damage to any part of the spine or its nerves. Damage such as blunt force trauma, bone fractures, a severed spine, or harm to the spinal nerves can cause significant loss of function in the body. This is because the spine is in charge of sending and receiving messages from the body and the brain. An interruption in this messaging system can result in loss of the ability to move or feel sensations below the point of injury. Spinal cord injuries can inflict differing levels of disability, depending on the part of the spine that sustains damage. The higher up the injury, the more catastrophic its damages. Injuries to the upper cervical spine, for example, can result in paralysis of all four limbs and the trunk of the body, as well as respiratory issues. Spine injuries can cause tetraplegia, or paralysis in all four extremities, or paraplegia – loss of function in the legs and lower body.
Although no cure exists for spine injuries, patients may be able to improve their prognoses with treatments and therapies.
Why Work With Panish Shea & Boyle?
If you or a loved one has sustained a spine injury, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Panish Shea & Boyle LLP can work hard to fight for the financial stability of your future. A personal injury claim can’t regain what you’ve lost, but it can make the responsible party pay. It could also supply you and your family with the compensation you need to make up for lost wages, lifelong medical costs, physical therapy, pain, and emotional distress. A settlement or verdict could provide the means to live a long, comfortable life.
Call our law firm to schedule a free initial consultation, we represent injured victims throughout the Las Vegas area.
At Panish, Shea & Boyle, our spinal cord injury attorneys in Las Vegas have years of experience representing clients during many different types of cases. We can help you and your family with a claim no matter what type of accident inflicted your spinal cord injury.
Determining if You Have a Valid Case
One of the key benefits of hiring an attorney to represent you during a spinal cord injury case is having a professional identify who can be held liable for your injury. Determining and proving liability can be difficult as someone in the plaintiff’s position. It is your burden to prove that one or more defendants more likely than not caused your spinal cord injury. This requires a preponderance of four main elements:
- The defendant owed you a duty of care; an obligation to act in a reasonable manner.
- The defendant breached his or her duty of care through an act of negligence or carelessness.
- The defendant’s action or omission caused the spinal cord injury.
- The plaintiff suffered compensable losses as a result.
Who Can Be Held Liable for Your Spinal Cord Injury?
The person or party liable for your spinal cord injury will be the one that fits these four elements; in other words, the party most responsible for causing or failing to prevent the accident that gave you the injury. Your lawyer can investigate your case to accurately determine who is liable for your spinal cord injury. This party could be:
- A property owner
- An employer
- A motor vehicle driver
- A product manufacturer
- A physician or hospital
- A government agency
- Multiple parties
Correctly assigning liability is one of the first steps you will need to take for a spinal cord injury lawsuit. Only once your lawyer determines fault can you file a claim against the at-fault party or parties.
Damages You Can Recover With a Claim
The “damages” in a spinal cord injury case refer to the financial compensation available for your real and specific losses. Each case and client are unique in terms of recoverable damages. Before you accept a settlement offer from an insurance company, have an attorney review your case. A Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyer will inform you of all the damages you can recover, as well as whether the amount offered is adequate for your past and future losses. Types of damages you can recover with a spinal cord injury lawsuit include:
- Special (economic) damages. Special damages are those specific to you. They encompass all of your financial losses, including past and future medical costs, treatments, disability accommodations, medications, property repairs, lost wages, lost capacity to earn, out-of-pocket costs, and legal fees. Calculating special damages requires adding up all existing bills as well as projecting the victim’s future expenses.
- General (noneconomic) damages. General damages are the losses that any ordinary person would likely suffer. They refer to nonfinancial or personal losses, such as physical pain, chronic pain, emotional suffering, psychological or mental anguish, post-traumatic stress disorder, inconvenience, loss quality or enjoyment of life, loss of consortium, humiliation, depression, and anxiety.
- Punitive (exemplary) damages. In some cases, a judge will also grant punitive damages. This category of award is designed to punish or penalize a defendant for his or her actions. It is typically only available if the defendant caused the spinal cord injury through gross negligence, maliciousness or a wanton disregard for the safety of others.
The exact damages you can claim with a spinal cord injury case depend on the specific details of your incident and injury. Factors that can affect your recovery amount include whether or not you have a permanent disability, how long it will take you to recover, the full extent of your past and future medical expenses, your amount of pain and suffering, your age, your health, your income, and more.
Are There Limitations on How Much Compensation I Can Receive?
Like many states, Nevada has laws that may limit how much compensation you can receive. These laws, referred to as damage caps, have the power to restrict how much money you can obtain from a defendant for economic or non-economic damages. Even if your case is worth more than the damage cap in your state, this law can limit how much you and your family can receive. For example, in Nevada, there is a limitation on compensation for non-economic damages arising from medical malpractice claims (Nevada Revised Statute 41A.035). If you are filing a medical malpractice claim, Nevada has a cap of $350,000 on non-economic damages only. This means you can recover the full amount of your economic damages, but no more than $350,000 for noneconomic damages. There are also certain damages caps on claims against the State of Nevada or its political subdivisions (counties, cities, agencies, etc.).
As the laws are constantly changing, the applicable damages cap will depend on when your injury occurred. There are narrow situations where the cap will not apply, though only an experienced attorney will be able to determine if your case fits in one of these exceptions. If a damage cap applies to your spinal cord injury case, an attorney in Las Vegas can still do his or her part to maximize your financial recovery. Your lawyer will do everything possible to help you recover up to the state’s applicable damage cap. If a damage cap does not apply to your case, your lawyer will fight for the amount of your past and future losses and expenses. A Las Vegas spinal cord injury attorney will not allow an insurance company to take advantage of you.
I Was Partially Responsible for My Accident, Do I Still Have a Case?
A frequently asked question is, “Can a victim still recover compensation if they are partially at fault for the accident?” The answer is yes, with qualifications. Nevada Revised Statute 41.141 states that a plaintiff’s contribution to the accident and injury does not bar that plaintiff from financial recovery as long as the percentage of fault does not exceed the fault of the parties against whom recovery is sought. In other words, you could still recover compensation for a spinal cord injury if you were partially responsible, as long as you were not more at fault than the defendant(s). Your percentage of fault must fall at or below 50% to remain eligible for financial compensation. If, however, you were 50% or less responsible for the accident, you could recover a partial award. The courts will reduce your award by a dollar amount equivalent to your percentage of fault. If you were 20% to blame, for example, and received an award of $100,000, the courts would reduce your reward by $20,000 ($100,000 x 20%) to reflect your contribution to the accident, meaning you would recover $80,000 in this example. Like with many laws, there are certain exceptions which may apply to your specific situation.
Do not assume you do not have a case if you believe you were partially responsible for your accident and spinal cord injury in Nevada. The state’s modified comparative negligence rule may allow you to still recover at least a portion of a financial reward from the other at-fault party or parties. A personal injury attorney can help you minimize your percentage of liability to maximize financial recovery.
What are the Main Causes of Spinal Injuries?
All spinal cord injuries are devastating, but not all will give the survivor the right to file a personal injury claim. Only incidents that stem from someone else’s negligence have a place in Nevada’s civil justice system. Identifying negligence often takes attention from a team of attorneys. In general, if a reasonable and prudent party could have prevented the injury from occurring, the defendant will be guilty of negligence. Common causes of spine injuries that could give the patient grounds to file a claim are as follows:
- Auto or pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Birth injuries
- Diving and sports accidents
- Slip and falls
- Gunshot and knife wounds
- Surgical errors
- Construction accidents
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
Living with or knowing someone who lives with a spinal cord injury can be overwhelming. You may not know what to expect from one day to the next. The more you learn about spinal cord injuries and how they impact victims, the more peace of mind you may have. Learn more about spinal cord injuries, such as their most common causes and how they impact victims, from data collected by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center for 2020:
- The most common causes are vehicle crashes, falls, acts of violence and sports/recreation.
- The annual rate of spinal cord injuries is about 54 cases per 1 million people in the US.
- The estimated number of people living with spine injuries in the US is about 294,000.
- The average age for victims at the time of injury is 29 years old.
- The majority of victims (78%) are men.
- The majority of victims (58.9%) are non-Hispanic white people.
- The average hospital stay for a spinal cord injury victim is 11 days.
- Incomplete tetraplegia is the most common related neurological injury (47.2%).
- About 18% of victims are employed one year post-injury.
- About 30% of patients are re-hospitalized one or more times following their injuries.
- The average lifetime medical costs of a spine injury vary from $1.2 million to $5.1 million.
At Panish, Shea & Boyle, we never treat our clients like statistics. We see the real person behind the personal injury claim and tailor our legal strategies according to each client’s unique needs. Our attorneys keep up with the latest spinal cord injury facts, information and statistics to better help their clients recover. Our lawyers can answer your most pressing legal questions, respond to your concerns and guide your family through the complicated legal process. Begin your case with a free consultation.
Schedule a Consultation With a Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If one of these incidents describes how your spine injury occurred, contact an attorney for legal representation as soon as possible. Someone could be legally responsible for your injury and related damages. Our Las Vegas spinal cord injury lawyers can help you file a personal injury claim with the correct court, go up against major insurance companies in pursuit of fair settlement offers, and even take your case to trial if necessary. We recognize the lifelong damages a spine injury can inflict on a victim and will stop at nothing to secure maximum financial compensation.
Contact our Las Vegas attorneys today for a free and confidential spinal injury case evaluation.