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As Bakersfield continues to grow, traffic throughout the city has increased, even in residential neighborhoods and other places with many pedestrians. Unfortunately, the increase in traffic is a major downside to population growth, creating delays for other travelers and increasing the risk of severe injuries.
One of the most severe injuries an individual can suffer in a motor vehicle accident is a spinal cord injury. Motor vehicle accidents are among the most common causes of spinal cord injuries.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in a Bakersfield motor vehicle accident or other accident that someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused, you can obtain compensation for the expenses and psychological impacts of your injury through a spinal cord injury lawsuit.
An experienced Bakersfield spinal cord injury lawyer from The May Firm can assist you in understanding this process.
We are pleased with the results we have obtained for our clients, including:
Note that these are past results and no guarantee of outcome in any particular case.
The May Firm understands that many people are hesitant to seek the services of an attorney because they don’t know how much it will cost to hire one. We also understand the permanence of spinal cord injuries and the need to not only obtain enough compensation to last through a lifetime of complications. Because access to experienced legal counsel is such a vital part of your case, we are available to answer your questions and discuss your case for free during a case evaluation.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that extends down the center of the back from the base of the skull to the waist. The spinal cord—along with the brain—makes up the body’s central nervous system.
The spinal cord primarily relays messages between the brain and other body parts. While the bony spinal vertebrae and the cushioning of the spinal discs generally protect the spinal cord, damage to the cord can still occur.
Contrary to popular belief, a spinal cord injury rarely severs the cord, but just damages it. Unfortunately, despite the spinal cord’s importance to the body’s ability to function, the cord has only a limited ability to heal itself from injury, and the damage is often permanent.
The main risk that individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury face is a loss of sensation and function below the injury, known as paralysis. If the injury occurs high up the cord in the cervical (neck) area, it may paralyze the individual’s limbs, chest, torso, and pelvis. This is known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. Injuries occurring lower on the spine will often paralyze the lower extremities, which is called paraplegia.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the most common causes of spinal cord injuries worldwide include:
Spinal cord injuries are more prevalent in males than females, with young males in their 20s suffering this injury more frequently than other demographic groups. Spinal cord injuries are also more prevalent in the elderly due to visual declines and other physical issues resulting from age that lead to falls.
Spinal cord injuries can result in death. Doctors must treat them promptly. Early treatment generally consists of maintaining the patient’s airway, immobilizing the neck to prevent additional damage, preventing or treating shock, and treating issues that can lead to complications such as stool or urine retention or the development of blood clots.
During the early stages of recovery, rehabilitation will already begin, first to avoid the loss of muscle tone. As time goes by, depending on the individual’s level of physical function, rehabilitation may include learning new ways of accomplishing personal care tasks, using assistive devices and technologies to increase social and work opportunities, and methods of care that can reduce complications like infections.
In addition to ongoing rehabilitation, individuals with spinal cord injuries generally require treatment for the ongoing needs and complications associated with the injury. Any spinal cord injury resulting in a loss of motor function will result in complications, with the average cost per year of addressing these complications ranging over $40,000 annually.
Spinal cord injuries are considered catastrophic injuries due to their high likelihood of producing permanent disabilities that prevent someone from accomplishing personal care tasks independently or earning an income.
In truth, a spinal cord injury can change every aspect of a sufferer’s life, including:
In addition to the extreme psychological impacts of a spinal cord injury, there are also frequent and serious physical complications associated with the injury, such as:
There are approximately 12,500 new spinal cord injuries in the U.S. each year, and more than 275,000 people living with the impacts of a spinal cord injury. More than half of all new spinal cord injuries occur in motor vehicle accidents, while falls cause another 31 percent.
Individuals who suffered their injury because of someone else’s carelessness or recklessness somewhere in Bakersfield can seek compensation for the injury through the spinal cord injury claims process, including a lawsuit if needed.
The statute of limitations for filing your spinal cord injury lawsuit is generally two years after the injury. You must file the claim with the at-fault party’s applicable insurance policy.
The types of insurance policies that are often accessed to compensate individuals for Bakersfield spinal cord injuries include:
Spinal cord injuries are complex, and the legal process of recovering damages for this type of injury is also complex. Read on for the answers to some of the questions we hear most often about obtaining compensation for this type of injury, and contact us for a free case evaluation so you can obtain answers to the legal questions you have about your specific case.
Whether your spinal cord injury occurred in a motor vehicle accident on Highway 99 or a slip and fall at Valley Plaza, we don’t need to tell you how serious this type of injury can be.
However, the experienced spinal cord injury lawyers at The May Firm can tell you that you can use the California civil court system to obtain compensation for the extraordinary expenses and quality-of-life impacts a spinal cord injury produces.
Here are the answers to some of the questions our Bakersfield neighbors ask us most often about spinal cord injuries.
The process you use to obtain compensation after suffering an injury due to someone else’s carelessness or recklessness is the spinal cord injury claims process. This involves submitting a demand for the expenses and impacts of your injury to the carrier of the at-fault party’s applicable insurance policy.
The insurance company then has three options:
Generally, the insurance company will either reject the claim outright or offer to settle for a lesser amount. This offer is generally far lower than the case’s value but serves as a good jumping-off point in negotiating for a fair offer.
At some point, however, if the other side doesn’t offer a fair settlement, your attorney may advise you to file a lawsuit.
In California, you must file a lawsuit in court within two years of the date on which the accident occurred.
California allows spinal cord injury claimants to seek the recovery of both economic and non-economic damages—both for the expenses and psychological impacts of your injury.
Common expenses and impacts to appear on damage claims in a Bakersfield spinal cord injury case include:
To have a successful outcome to your claim, you must be able to show that someone else was liable (legally responsible) for causing your injury.
You prove liability by showing:
Catastrophic injuries have a high likelihood of permanent disabilities and drastically decreasing an individual’s ability to earn an income. Commonly, the term refers to injuries to the central nervous system, including the brain and the spinal cord.
Catastrophic injuries tend to result in higher-value legal cases due to the permanence of the injury and the need to provide enough compensation to pay for service, treatment, and equipment for the duration of the individual’s life.
Every settlement reflects the unique facts of the case it pertains to and the willingness of the parties on either side to agree. Because of this, there is no average settlement in a Bakersfield spinal cord injury case.
Many factors, however, can affect the value of your claim, including:
Yes, generally speaking, you can file a lawsuit on your spouse’s behalf. However, if your spouse didn’t name you in a living will or other legal document as a personal representative, you must obtain a medical proxy, power of attorney, or conservator to make legal decisions. Obtaining these documents usually requires a court hearing in which you will need to show that your loved one is mentally or physically unable to make his or her own decisions.
While there is currently no cure for spinal cord injuries, researchers are working all the time to develop treatments to assist spinal cord injury sufferers with the many difficulties that arise with this type of injury. That said, settlement agreements are almost always final.
Just as you can’t go back and ask the at-fault party’s insurance provider for more money if you discover that the settlement did not provide enough to completely compensate your expenses, the insurance company cannot demand that you return money that you truly believed you needed.
If you have not spoken to a Bakersfield spinal cord injury lawyer about your case, you should do that before agreeing to the settlement. Insurance adjusters are not in the business to help those whom their insureds injured, they’re in business to make money. One of the ways they do that is by avoiding large payouts on claims.
Early settlement offers have very little to do with ensuring that you obtain enough compensation for a permanent injury such as a spinal cord injury. Instead, they’re all to do with getting someone to agree to a low amount before they have had the opportunity to completely understand their injury’s expenses and impacts.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not consider the money you receive in compensation for the impacts and expenses of a personal injury income and does not tax it.
However, there are two exceptions you should be aware of:
A Bakersfield spinal cord injury lawyer from The May Firm can pursue the maximum amount of compensation available in your case.
We understand that your spinal cord injury has changed every aspect of your life, from your ability to work to your relationships with your loved ones and friends. Let an experienced Bakersfield spinal cord injury lawyer from The May Firm help you understand the process of obtaining compensation for the many expenses and impacts you are facing because of your injury.
For your free case evaluation, contact The May Firm online or by calling (866) 825-7909.
Contact us to get started. It is important to have the proper legal representation on your side if you’re involved in a motorcycle crash. Often wrongful blame is placed on the rider in a multi-vehicle collision due to the increased risk that comes with riding a motorcycle. Insurance companies are reluctant to side with the motorcyclist and oftentimes will attempt to place the full or partial blame on them. Don’t accept that blame and the legal repercussions that come with it.
Call (866) 619-6679 to schedule a free consultation with our award-winning motorcycle accident lawyers. We’ll help determine the viability of your case based on your testimony and help you determine the best way to proceed. Working on a contingency fee means our lawyers are only compensated when your case or settlement is won, and our extensive experience and case history allow us to settle most claims out of court, giving you a faster resolution to your case and allowing you to focus on your recovery process. We factor in every possible expense when building your settlement: Medical bills, wage loss, property damage, and emotional suffering are all considered. Our goal is to help you put your life back in order to the best of our ability.