No matter how they are caused, spinal cord injuries inevitably come with extremely high medical expenses. With only 52 percent of spinal cord injury patients being covered by private health insurance, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, these costs can be overwhelming even under the best of circumstances.
Even for patients with private health insurance, it can be difficult to pay all the associated medical and rehabilitation bills. However, if your spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of another person, a personal injury attorney could help you hold them liable to pay these medical bills. Consult with a knowledgeable St. Petersburg spinal cord injury lawyer to learn more.
Spinal Cord Injury Costs
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, average first year medical expenses after a spinal cord injury total $537,271 for paraplegics and over $1.1 million for quadriplegics injured in the upper parts of their spine. For a 25-year old who sustains a spinal cord injury causing paraplegia, the average lifetime cost is near $2.4 million. Spinal cord injury patients spend an average of 11 days receiving acute care in the hospital, followed by 34 days in a rehabilitation facility.
Negligence is a legal concept that is commonly used in injury cases. In the context of civil law, it is defined as the failure of one party to take the proper care in doing something which causes injury or damages to another party.
The five elements of legal negligence are as follows:
- Duty of care – both parties had some type of relationship, such as that between a doctor and patient or one driver on the road and another, and the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff to protect them from harm as much as reasonably possible
- Breach of duty – the defendant failed to use reasonable care in fulfilling their duty to the plaintiff
- Cause in fact – the defendant’s actions directly caused the plaintiff’s injury
- Proximate cause – the defendant caused harm that they could have foreseen based on their own actions or inactions
- Damages – the defendant’s failure to use reasonable care resulted in actual physical damages to the plaintiff
Time Limits for Legal Action
Victims with spinal cord injuries in St. Petersburg have a limited amount of time in which to pursue civil restitution for their damages. As established in Florida Statutes §95.11(3), civil lawsuits for injuries must be filed within four years from the date of the accident. If a plaintiff files their case after the statute of limitations has expired, they would more than likely have their case thrown out of court.
Some spinal cord injury cases are extremely complex and require months or even years of research prior to the formal filing of a lawsuit. Accordingly, contacting a reputable spinal cord injury lawyer in St. Petersburg sooner rather than later is a good way for a plaintiff to ensure their case is filed within the state-mandated deadline.
Start Working with a St. Petersburg Spinal Cord Injury Attorney Today
You do not have to suffer alone after experiencing a spinal cord injury. A qualified St. Petersburg spinal cord injury lawyer could review your case and determine if it meets the standards for negligence. If so, they could send a settlement demand letter to the party responsible and, if a fair settlement cannot be reached, take your case to trial to pursue the compensation you deserve.
If you have endured a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of someone else, you can get the legal help you need today. Simply pick up the phone and call to schedule your free consultation.