The spinal cord is one of the most vital elements in the human body, as well as one of the most vulnerable in the event of a traumatic accident. Spinal cord injuries can happen in a wide range of situations, often as a result of either carelessness or intentional wrongdoing. The most common causes are car and truck accidents, slip and fall accidents, violent assault, unsafe working conditions, or medical malpractice.
While spinal cord injuries can vary in severity, they’re all likely to seriously impact the victim’s health, ability to earn a living, and overall quality of life. The most serious cases will cause partial or full paralysis, which has major repercussions for the injured person and their loved ones.
If someone else’s negligence caused your injuries, having a skilled spinal cord injury lawyer by your side is crucial to help you understand your legal options. High-quality medical care and support will make all the difference in helping individuals with spinal cord injuries be as healthy and independent as possible.
That’s why the Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos team has decades of experience protecting the legal rights of San Jose residents with severe spinal cord damage. Our San Jose spinal cord injury lawyers are committed to helping our catastrophically-injured clients navigate the legal system, recover fair compensation, and hold the responsible parties accountable.
Why You Should Choose Us
At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we’ve seen firsthand the anguish and stress that spinal cord injury victims face in the aftermath of getting hurt. Along with extraordinary physical challenges, people with spinal injuries will also experience severe financial and emotional hardships.
We know you’re worried about the future, but our team will do everything possible to look out for your interests. Pursuing compensation for spinal cord injuries is a complicated process because so many intricate legal and medical issues are involved and significant difficulty proving liability. You’ll need an experienced attorney with the resources and skills to help you prepare a strong case and maximize the value of your claim.
Our team of skilled San Jose spinal injury lawyers has a solid track record of helping our clients recover fair compensation after suffering catastrophic injuries due to someone else’s negligence.
What Makes Spinal Cord Injuries Catastrophic?
The spinal cord plays a role in almost every function in the body, from moving our limbs to helping organs function correctly. That’s why spinal cord damage is often a life-altering disability that causes difficulty controlling your body and even paralysis. When handling a spinal cord injury, our lawyers work closely with medical experts to determine the full scope of how the victim’s life will be affected in the short and long term. The impact of a spinal cord injury will depend on the severity of the damage and where the spinal injury is located.
1. The severity of the injury
Spinal cord injuries are characterized as either complete or incomplete. A person with complete spinal cord damage suffers a catastrophic loss of all sensory and motor functions below the area of the injury. Incomplete damage is less severe because messages from the brain still have some ability to flow down the cord, allowing partial function to be restored via physical therapy.
2. The location of the injury
The parts of the body left paralyzed after major spinal cord damage depends on the location of the injury on the spine. Typically, the higher up on the spine where the victim suffers a traumatic injury, the worse their resulting loss of mobility and function. A severe spinal cord injury around the neck area will frequently result in quadriplegia, the paralysis of all four limbs.
A spinal cord injury to areas of the back likely results in paraplegia or paralysis of the lower body. If a person has a spinal cord injury in the first three cervical vertebrae, located just below the skull, they may lose control of their breathing and need a respirator to stay alive.
Even when spinal cord injuries are not severe enough to cause paralysis, they can still lead to chronic pain and a limited range of motion, necessitating using a cane, walker, or wheelchair. Spinal injuries are also linked to serious complications that will impact the victim’s health and life expectancy.
They’re more susceptible to bed sores, urinary tract infections, poor blood circulation, kidney stones, atrophied muscles, and other major concerns. At the end of the day, a spinal cord injury is permanent, devastating, and very expensive.
The Damages You Can Pursue in a Spinal Cord Injury Case
The economic consequences of suffering spinal cord damage are enormous, especially since these injuries can make it difficult or impossible to earn a living.
Victims and their families may have to spend more than a million dollars on the initial medical care to treat a traumatic spinal cord injury, followed by tens of thousands of dollars each year for ongoing care.
Spinal cord injury victims will often need an extended period of rehabilitation, including physical and occupational therapy, to help them recover some function and learn how to navigate daily life within the limits of their condition.
When looking at all the costs involved in paralysis or loss of mobility, which will require specialized care for the rest of the victim’s life, recovering compensation is a major priority for anyone in this heartbreaking situation. Choosing the right attorney is critical for calculating the lifelong expenses of this disability and securing the most money to cover your damages.
At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we work with life care planners to identify all the services involved in adjusting to a spinal cord injury and forecast these costs into the future. The types of compensation you may be entitled to pursue include:
Economic damages reimburse the wide range of out-of-pocket expenses that victims incur as a result of their spinal cord injury, such as:
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy and other long-term treatments
- Home health aides
- Modifications to your home or vehicle to accommodate your spinal cord injury-related disability, such as wheelchair ramps and railings
- Lost income from missing work, being unable to return to work, or a diminished earning capacity
Non-economic damages include the physical, emotional, and psychological harms that resulted from the at-fault party’s negligence. It’s very difficult to put on a price on these intangible losses, but an experienced San Jose spinal cord injury lawyer can help you identify and substantiate these very real consequences.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering as a result of being seriously injured
- Emotional anguish due to adjusting to a difficult new reality
- Depression characterized by losing hope and feelings of worthlessness
- Grief over the loss of bodily functions
- Loss of consortium for victims that cannot be intimate with their spouse
- Reduced quality of life
Punitive damages are given at the court’s discretion and only when the at-fault party caused the victim’s injuries due to extreme negligence. Punitive damages go beyond compensatory damages and financially punish the defendant’s reckless or malicious behavior. For example, if you suffered a spinal cord injury due to using a dangerous product that the manufacturer knew was defective, your attorney could argue you deserve punitive damages.
How We Help San Jose Spinal Cord Injury Victims
Whether you’ve been hurt by a negligent truck driver, a dangerous product, or substandard care from a medical professional, you deserve compensation. Because the damages in spinal cord injury claims are so significant, insurance companies go to great lengths to minimize payouts. They have a range of strategies to deny their client’s liability, minimize the severity of the victim’s injuries and offer a settlement amount that’s not nearly enough to cover the costs of this catastrophic disability.
The experienced spinal cord injury lawyers at Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos can help you level the playing field with skilled, compassionate legal services. We’ll work to review all available evidence, consult with experts to strengthen your case, and prepare a comprehensive analysis of all your economic and non-economic damages. If we can’t reach a fair settlement at the negotiation table with the at-fault party’s insurer, our team is ready to take your case to court.
Frequently Asked Questions About Filing a Spinal Cord Injury in San Jose
How likely will my spinal cord injury claim reach a court trial?
Most personal injury cases in California settle outside of court. However, lawsuits for catastrophic injuries like spinal cord damage are more likely to proceed to trial because the victims are seeking much higher compensation amounts. That said, spinal cord injuries are still more likely to settle with the liable party’s insurance company, often after an extended negotiation process.
In reality, both sides will prefer to reach a mutual agreement without going through a stressful and expensive court trial. However, insurers are always determined to pay as little as possible. Your attorney must prepare a solid case that proves the at-fault party’s negligence, document the victim’s damages, and justify a fair compensation amount.
What happens if I was partially at fault for causing my spinal cord injuries? Can I still seek compensation?
California follows a system of comparative negligence, which allows personal injury victims to pursue compensation against the at-fault party even if they share some of the blame. Under these same rules, the amount the plaintiff can recover in a spinal cord injury case is reduced by their percentage of fault. For example, a claimant who is awarded a $2 million award but was assigned 20 percent of the blame would still be eligible to receive $1.6 million in compensation.
How long do I have to file my spinal cord injury lawsuit?
California limits how long victims have to file a lawsuit after getting hurt due to a negligent business or individual. The statute of limitations is usually two years, but this deadline is only one year for spinal cord injuries that involve medical malpractice. In scenarios where the at-fault party is a government entity, you only have six months to begin the legal process. If you don’t pursue your claim before the statute of limitations, the court bars you from filing a lawsuit to pursue compensation for your losses.
How much will it cost to hire a spinal cord lawyer?
At our firm it cost you NOTHING to schedule a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer for your spinal cord injury! We operate on a contingency fee basis where you don't pay unless you win.
Following a devastating accident that causes severe spinal cord damage, victims and their families often wonder whether they can afford high-quality legal assistance.
At Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos, we provide a free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case and how we can help you obtain fair compensation. Once you hire our firm, we’ll investigate and prepare your case without any upfront fees or hourly billing.
Contact a Spinal Cord injury Lawyer
If we recover compensation for your damages, we collect a percentage of the amount recovered as payment. This payment method is called a contingency fee agreement, and it’s a system that makes legal representation very accessible for spinal cord injury victims, regardless of their financial situation.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your losses. Contact Galine, Frye, Fitting & Frangos at (650) 345-8484 for your free case evaluation and learn how we can help you with your injury claim.