Dissecting Spinal Cord Injury Fault After a Car Accident


It is a phone call a parent never wants to hear. It is seeing your spouse in a hospital bed wondering what the future holds. No matter how your life is going at any time, it only takes one second for your life to completely change.

Life can change in an instant, and no better example of that reality is a spinal cord injury. Whether it’s you or someone you love being told “you may never walk again”, it changes your perspective in every way. And if someone or something is to blame for your spinal cord injury, it is important to know how to approach finding who or what was at fault for your injuries.

While living with a spinal cord injury involves many changes to your life, don’t let it make you angry. Instead, fight back because the law is on your side. If you or your loved one’s injury was caused by someone’s negligence, looking into whether you have a legal case is necessary to protect the lifelong needs following a spinal cord injury.

With any spinal cord injury, no matter the severity, medical bills and treatment are a large, ongoing cost. You may also be out of work because of your injuries, or because you are caring for your loved one who is injured. You wonder how you are going to make it financially through this time. You see the ads on TV from lawyers claiming they can help you in a personal injury claim. You know things will be different moving forward, but you have never had a lawsuit before and are unsure what it means for you and your family. Where do you even start?

Below are some of the steps that you should take if you or a loved one has sustained a spinal cord injury and believe someone/something is to blame.

Step 1: Collect All Records Associated with the Injury

From the very beginning, it is important to develop a system for organizing the papers and records that you will receive regarding the spinal cord injury. You should first create a folder that contains as many documents as you can find that follows the injury timeline of the person injured. Essential to any spinal cord injury lawsuit, if someone or something is at fault, is to collect records demonstrating the timeline of the injury. Also necessary to any spinal cord injury lawsuit is gathering health records of the person injured.

Try to find as many health records as possible from before the injury. Pre-injury health records will demonstrate how life-changing the injury was. You may have to contact your doctor’s office or school nurse’s office to retrieve these records. Additionally, extracurricular activities you or your loved one may have been involved in before the injury will show the kind of active lifestyle the person had before the accident. Videos, trophies, letters from coaches, and photographs are examples of evidence that can exemplify extracurricular activities. Demonstrating proof of extracurricular involvement can be very useful in a court of law, as this proof shows the courts you have suffered an extreme loss and should be compensated. Additionally, if a law enforcement agency was involved in your case, you’ll want to contact  them and request all the documents associated with your case. This includes the official report, photos, and witness statements.

To collect the proper medical records from the accident, ask the hospital for the following: doctors notes, physical therapy notes, imaging study reports, scans, x-rays, medications,  physical therapy, and mental health services received. You’ll also want to ask the hospital for all the bills from your hospital stay, which will show how much your injury cost upfront.

For anyone who had to miss work due to injuries, you’ll want to calculate the amount of money lost in wages. This can be done by collecting past pay stubs, which will show the wages you were not able to earn as a result of your injury. Additionally, if your job would be difficult to return to because of the spinal cord injury, this can demonstrate lost capacity to earn money. Losing capacity to earn money can result in receiving compensation in a court of law.

Step 2: Identifying the Liable Party

The negligence of a spinal cord injury isn’t always a cut and dry answer. For example, in the case of a car accident, sometimes an injury can have multiple negligent parties. An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer can help you figure out exactly who and what was responsible for the injury at hand. Here are some of the most common at-fault issues:

  • woman on cellphone in a car

    The driver of the car that hit you is at fault. Commonly, drivers will be speeding, not paying attention, running red lights, drinking and driving, or texting while driving. All of these careless driving mistakes put people’s lives at risk.

  • The vehicle is at-fault, or a part in the vehicle is. From seat belts to brakes not working correctly, oftentimes there is a defective product in the vehicle that is to blame for an injury.
  • The fault lies on a third party like a bar/restaurant for serving a patron too much alcohol, causing the driver to drink and drive.
  • If your injury was caused by someone while at work/on the job, you may pursue an action against the company of the employee who caused the injuries.
  • The city or state could be to blame if the accident is the result of the roads not being safe, missing signage, or not being properly maintained.

Where you live will determine how your particular at-fault case is determined. Each state has a different law when it comes to negligence and either falls under “contributory negligence” or “comparative negligence”. In addition, there are 12 states in the country that have the pure “comparative fault” law. A spinal cord injury lawyer can help you navigate your state’s negligence laws, and can ultimately help you find the best solution to receiving compensation.

Let Us Help You!

Compiling the right evidence for your personal injury case can be tricky. Luckily, The Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm has vast experience with collecting evidence and building strong cases for those who have experienced personal injuries. If you have experienced a traumatic personal injury and are looking to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, contact us today at info@spinalcordinjurylawyers.com for a free legal consultation. We know personal injury, and we will fight for you to receive the justice and compensation you deserve.