Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits

Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe and life-altering injuries, often resulting in permanent disability and significant medical costs. The complexity of spinal cord injury lawsuits varies based on the circumstances of liability, requiring specialized legal expertise to navigate effectively.

Key Takeaways

  • The value of a spinal cord injury case depends on the severity of the injury and its impact on your life.
  • To win a lawsuit, you need to prove liability and an immediate cause of your injury.
  • The statute of limitations varies by state, so it's important to file your lawsuit on time and avoid missing the legal deadline.
  • Consider hiring a spinal cord injury lawyer, as their experience can help you navigate the legal process.
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Lawsuit Updates

May 2024

Ongoing Spinal Cord Stimulator Lawsuits

Patients continue to file lawsuits against major manufacturers like Nevro and Boston Scientific, alleging severe complications from spinal cord stimulators, such as device malfunction and inadequate pain management. These cases emphasize the devices' alleged defects and the manufacturers' failure to provide adequate warnings or instructions​.

Mar 2024

Boston Scientific Settles Patent Dispute with Nevro

Boston Scientific agreed to pay Nevro $85 million to settle a patent infringement lawsuit concerning spinal cord stimulation technology. This settlement also includes a licensing agreement, allowing Boston Scientific to continue using the contested technology​.

Feb 2024

Nevro Faces Setback in Patent Litigation with Boston Scientific

A jury found that Nevro had willfully infringed on two of Boston Scientific’s spinal cord stimulation patents. Nevro was ordered to pay $20 million in damages, although it plans to appeal the decision​.

Jan 2024

FDA Issues Warning on Spinal Cord Stimulators Following Patient Deaths

The FDA released a warning regarding the safety of spinal cord stimulators after reviewing adverse event reports that included numerous patient deaths and serious injuries. This warning stresses the importance of trial use before permanent implantation to mitigate risks​.

Dec 2023

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Medtronic Over Spinal Cord Stimulators

The lawsuit alleged that their spinal cord stimulators caused severe injuries to patients. This legal action highlights issues such as ineffective pain relief and serious physical complications resulting from the devices​.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries are severe disruptions to the normal function of the body's central nervous system. These conditions typically result from significant trauma to the spine and often lead to permanent changes in strength, sensation, and other bodily functions below the site of the injury.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can occur due to various incidents, each potentially providing grounds for a lawsuit. Here are some of the primary causes:

  • Automobile Accidents: Car, motorcycle, and truck accidents are the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. The force of a collision can result in severe damage to the spine, often due to the negligence of another driver.
  • Medical Malpractice: Errors during surgery, improper diagnosis, or failure to provide adequate treatment can lead to spinal cord injuries. Medical professionals and institutions may be held liable for these mistakes.
  • Slip and Fall Accidents: Unsafe conditions in public or private properties, such as wet floors, uneven surfaces, or lack of proper signage, can result in serious falls and spinal injuries. Property owners can be held responsible for failing to maintain a safe environment.
  • Workplace Accidents: Jobs that involve heavy lifting, operating machinery, or working at heights pose a risk of spinal cord injuries. Employers may be liable if they fail to provide adequate safety measures or training.
  • Sports Injuries: High-impact sports like football, diving, or gymnastics can cause spinal injuries, especially if safety protocols are not followed. Liability can extend to coaches, trainers, or sports organizations.
  • Acts of Violence: Assaults, including gunshots and stab wounds, can cause significant damage to the spinal cord. Perpetrators of such violent acts can be held legally accountable.
  • Defective Products: Faulty medical devices, such as spinal implants, or defective consumer products can lead to spinal injuries. Manufacturers and distributors may be liable for producing or selling unsafe products.
  • Recreational Activities: Injuries sustained during activities like boating, skiing, or amusement park rides may result from negligence or faulty equipment, leading to potential lawsuits against operators or equipment manufacturers.

Understanding the diverse causes of spinal cord injuries is crucial in pursuing a lawsuit, as identifying the liable parties is essential for obtaining the compensation needed for recovery and ongoing care.

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If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to any of these causes, it’s important to seek legal advice to understand your rights and options.

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The Costs Associated With Spinal Cord Injuries

The costs associated with a spinal cord injury can be substantial and vary widely depending on the severity of the injury and the level of care required.

Medical expenses can include hospitalization, surgery, and emergency medical care, which can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Following the acute phase, ongoing costs often include physical and occupational therapy, medication, and regular medical check-ups.

Moreover, many individuals with spinal cord injuries require modifications to their living spaces, such as wheelchair ramps, widened doorways, and specialized bathroom equipment, which can be costly. There is also the potential need for mobility aids like wheelchairs and modified vehicles, which add to these costs.

There are also long-term expenses such as care assistance and potential loss of income if the injury results in diminished working capacity or inability to work. Psychological counseling may also be necessary, as spinal cord injuries can have significant mental health impacts, including depression and anxiety.

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Spinal Cord Injuries and What to Expect in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Spinal cord injuries can have profound and lasting impacts on an individual's life, often resulting in permanent disability, loss of income, and extensive medical expenses. When pursuing a personal injury lawsuit for a spinal cord injury, it is essential to understand the legal process and what to expect.

The first step typically involves a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the injury and identify the liable parties. This may include gathering evidence, such as medical records, accident reports, witness statements, and expert testimony.

Once liability is established, the next phase is filing the lawsuit. The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant's negligence or intentional actions directly caused the injury. This often requires presenting detailed medical evidence and expert analysis to illustrate the extent of the injury and its impact on the plaintiff's life.

During this stage, both parties may engage in pre-trial motions, discovery, and negotiations. Many cases are settled out of court through negotiations or mediation, where the defendant agrees to compensate the plaintiff for their damages.

If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial. During the trial, both sides present their evidence and arguments, and a judge or jury determines the outcome. A successful lawsuit may result in compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related damages.

The complexity and duration of spinal cord injury lawsuits can vary significantly, often requiring the expertise of specialized personal injury attorneys to navigate the legal intricacies and advocate for the best possible outcome for the injured party.

Get Help Navigating Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit

Understanding the intricacies of a spinal cord injury lawsuit is crucial for achieving a successful outcome. If you or a loved one is facing the challenges of a spinal cord injury, you need advice and support from experienced professionals.

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Valuation of Spinal Cord Injury Cases

Estimating the value of a spinal cord injury case involves considering various aspects that contribute to the overall compensation. Here’s a breakdown of the primary factors:

  • How severe and permanent the injury is
  • What medical treatment is required to treat the injury
  • How much the victim lost financially because of the injury
  • How much the victim lost in terms of quality of life
  • How the injury affects the victim's daily activities and relationships
  • Whether or not the victim experiences physical pain and emotional distress

The unique circumstances of each injury play a significant role in shaping the potential compensation, and each element contributes to the total value of a claim.

For example, the average settlement for spinal fusion, a common procedure associated with severe disc injuries, often ranges from $150,000 to $600,000, with some cases reaching up to $12 million depending on factors like injury severity and incurred medical expenses.

On the other hand, the average settlement amounts for herniated disc injuries typically range from $65,000 to around $360,000. However, in cases involving severe injuries that require extensive medical treatment or lead to significant disability, settlements can go much higher, with some reaching over $1 million​.

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Notable Spinal Injury Settlements

Nevro Corp and Boston Scientific reached an $85 million settlement in a notable legal battle over spinal cord stimulation technology. This settlement resolved ongoing litigation concerning high-frequency spinal cord stimulation technology, highlighting the significant stakes in protecting proprietary medical advancements​.

Medtronic Inc. settled for $2.8 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act related to "SubQ stimulation." The lawsuit claimed that Medtronic induced physicians across multiple states to submit false claims for this unapproved pain relief procedure, demonstrating the regulatory and legal risks involved in marketing medical devices​.

The Severity of Your Spinal Cord Injury and Your Settlement

The severity of a spinal cord injury significantly influences settlement amounts, as more severe injuries often lead to greater financial, physical, and emotional impacts.

Such injuries might necessitate extensive medical treatments, long-term care, and substantial lifestyle adjustments. They can also affect earning potential, requiring compensation for lost wages and future earnings.

Additionally, the intensity of pain and suffering, along with the loss of enjoyment of life, are considered, which generally increases the compensation needed to support the victim's altered circumstances.

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If you or a loved one has experienced a spinal cord injury, explore your options for securing the compensation needed to support your recovery and future well-being.

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Compensation and Damages

In spinal cord injury cases, determining and obtaining appropriate compensation and damages is crucial for addressing the extensive and often lifelong impacts these injuries have on a victim's life.

Compensation in spinal cord injury cases typically covers both immediate and long-term financial needs arising from the injury. It aims to restore, as much as possible, the financial position the victim would have been in if the injury had not occurred. This includes a comprehensive calculation of both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic Damages in a Spinal Cord Injury Claim

Economic damages refer to measurable losses resulting from the injury. These are typically quantified through documentation and include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and any other out-of-pocket expenses directly related to the injury.

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Medical Expenses

Medical expenses cover all health-related costs incurred from the injury, such as emergency treatment, surgical procedures, hospital stays, medications, and any specialized equipment needed for recovery and daily living. These costs can accumulate immediately following the injury and extend indefinitely into the future.

Rehabilitative Care

Rehabilitative care expenses encompass ongoing physical therapy, occupational therapy, and any other forms of rehabilitation needed to maximize recovery. This category of compensation addresses the costs associated with helping the victim regain as much functionality as possible and adapt to new limitations.

Modifications to Your Home or Vehicle

Compensation often includes modifications to the victim's living environment and transportation to accommodate their new physical limitations. This can involve costs for installing ramps, modifying bathrooms for wheelchair access, and adapting vehicles for hand controls.

Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury Lawsuits

Pain and suffering compensation addresses the non-economic impact of spinal cord injuries, such as physical pain, mental anguish, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and other subjective effects that do not have a direct financial cost but significantly affect the victim's quality of life.

Claim the Full Extent of Your Damages

Understanding the various types of damages you can claim is crucial for ensuring comprehensive compensation. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s essential to explore your legal options to cover both economic and non-economic losses.

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Legal Considerations and Steps

The legal foundation typically revolves around proving negligence when initiating a spinal cord injury lawsuit.

If your injury resulted from an accident, such as a car crash or a slip and fall, the case might be framed around demonstrating that another party's actions or lack of action directly led to your injury. This means you must show that the responsible party failed to meet the required standards of care or safety, leading to the accident and subsequent injury.

Establishing this legal basis involves presenting evidence that clearly illustrates the connection between the negligent behavior and the specific damages you suffered. To substantiate these claims, you will need thorough documentation and expert testimonies that can convincingly demonstrate how the negligence resulted in your spinal cord injury.

The General Steps in Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit

Navigating a spinal cord injury lawsuit requires a structured approach to ensure all legal aspects are thoroughly addressed. Here are the essential steps you need to take:

  • Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: Spinal cord injury attorneys will guide you through the legal process and help determine if you have a viable case.
  • Document Everything: Keep detailed records of medical treatments, expenses, and any correspondence related to the injury.
  • File a Lawsuit: Your attorney will help draft and file a complaint against the responsible parties, outlining your injuries and the compensation sought.
  • Discovery Phase: Both sides exchange information and gather evidence. This might include depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories.
  • Negotiation and Mediation: Before going to trial, there is often an attempt to settle the case out of court through negotiations or mediation.
  • Trial: If a settlement is not reached, your case will go to trial, where a judge or jury will determine the outcome based on the evidence presented.

By methodically following this process and working closely with your legal team, you can navigate your lawsuit with greater confidence and clarity, aiming for the best possible resolution of your claim.

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Determining Who Is At Fault for a Spinal Cord Injury

Identifying the party responsible for a spinal cord injury is crucial in a legal context, as it forms the basis of your lawsuit. This process involves establishing liability, which can be due to negligence, product defects, or a failure to meet the standard of care.

In the case of medical devices, fault may lie with the manufacturer if the device was defective or improperly marketed. In other scenarios, healthcare providers might be liable if their actions deviated from accepted medical practices, leading to injury.

Proving fault requires a clear demonstration that the defendant's actions or inactions directly caused the injury. This often involves gathering substantial evidence such as medical records, expert testimonies, and documentation of device or procedure failures.

Common Defenses in Spinal Injury Cases

In spinal injury cases, defendants may employ several common defenses to challenge the claims made against them.

One typical defense is disputing liability by arguing that they did not breach their duty of care or that their actions did not directly cause the injury.

Another defense often used is contributory negligence, where the defendant suggests that the plaintiff's own negligence contributed to their injury, potentially reducing the compensation owed.

Additionally, defendants might argue that the plaintiff has failed to mitigate damages, meaning they did not take reasonable steps to minimize the impact of their injury, such as following medical advice or seeking timely treatment.

Understanding these defenses can help you and your legal team prepare a robust response to strengthen your case.

Navigate the Complexities of Determining Fault

Identifying who is at fault for a spinal cord injury and understanding common defenses are crucial steps in building a strong legal case. If you or a loved one is pursuing a spinal cord injury lawsuit, seeking expert legal advice can help you navigate these complexities and develop a robust strategy to secure the compensation you deserve.

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The Statute of Limitations for Spinal Cord Injuries

The statute of limitations is a legal doctrine that sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit after an event that triggers the need for legal action. Missing the deadline imposed by the statute of limitations law can result in losing the right to file your claim altogether.

This period varies by state and the type of claim involved. The deadline to file can depend on whether the injury resulted from general negligence, medical malpractice, or a defective product. Each category can have different statutes of limitations.

For example, medical malpractice claims typically have a shorter timeframe than general negligence claims due to the specific requirements for proving fault in medical cases.

To effectively take legal action and pursue justice, you must thoroughly understand the statute of limitations laws in your state. Consulting a qualified attorney can be very beneficial when navigating the statute of limitations, as lawyers can provide guidance and ensure timely filing.

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Spinal Injury Lawyer Fees

The cost of hiring a spinal injury lawyer can vary widely based on the complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience, and the fee structure they offer.

Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they only get paid if you win your case. Typically, this fee is a percentage of the settlement or court award, ranging from 25% to 40%.

While these fees may initially seem substantial, investing in a qualified lawyer is necessary as their deep knowledge and experience in handling spinal injury cases can profoundly impact your case's outcome. A great lawyer will:

  • Provide detailed evaluations to gauge the merits and potential value of your claim, ensuring you understand every possible legal avenue.
  • Craft a comprehensive legal strategy tailored to the specifics of your case, focusing on maximizing your compensation through meticulous preparation and evidence gathering.
  • Negotiate assertively with insurance companies and opposing counsel to secure a fair settlement without the need for a protracted court battle.
  • Represent your interests vigorously in court, utilizing their expertise to advocate effectively for your rights and the best possible legal outcome.

For this reason, it's important to consider the long-term benefits that come from having a skilled legal advocate on your side, which can far outweigh the initial costs of legal representation.

Frequently Asked Questions

The average value of a spinal cord injury lawsuit can range significantly based on the injury's severity and impact. Settlements can vary from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.

The time limit, or statute of limitations, for filing a spinal cord injury lawsuit varies by state but generally ranges from one to six years from the date of injury or discovery of the injury.

Common obstacles when claiming spinal injury include proving negligence, establishing the full extent of damages, dealing with insurance companies, and potential contributory negligence claims from the defense.

After sustaining a spinal cord injury, immediately seek medical care to assess and manage your condition. Keep detailed records of all treatments and impacts on your daily life. Avoid discussing fault or agreements with insurers until you have consulted with a personal injury lawyer who can guide you through your legal options.

Pain and suffering are proven through medical records, expert testimony, personal testimony about daily life impacts, and documentation of mental health treatment.

Life expectancy can be shorter for individuals with severe spinal cord injuries, particularly if they result in significant health complications. That said, medical care advances have improved these people's outcomes significantly.

Depending on the extent of impairment and its impact on life functions, a severe spinal cord injury can qualify an individual for disability benefits under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Social Security disability guidelines.

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