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Average Settlement for Spinal Cord Injury

Michael Agruss

Written and Reviewed by Michael Agruss

  • Managing Partner and Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law.
  • Over 20 years of experience in Personal Injury.
  • Over 8000+ consumer rights cases settled.
  • Graduated from the University of Illinois Chicago School of Law: Juris Doctor, 2004.

Spinal cord injuries can have a profound impact on the lives of those affected, often requiring extensive medical treatment, rehabilitation, and long-term care. These injuries can lead to significant financial burdens not only from immediate medical costs but also from lost wages and reduced earning capacity. In Illinois, victims of spinal cord injuries may seek compensation through legal claims, and settlements vary based on the severity of the injury, the circumstances of the accident, and the costs of ongoing and future care required.

Understanding the value of spinal cord injury cases in Illinois involves looking at previous settlements and judgments. Settlement amounts may reflect the costs of medical treatment, including surgeries, hospital stays, medications, and any specialized equipment needed for mobility and daily living. They may also account for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Considering the life-altering effects of spinal cord injuries, the compensation sought in these cases is often substantial to cover the wide array of damages incurred.

Legal proceedings for spinal cord injuries require thorough documentation and often rely on expert testimony to project future needs. Experienced personal injury attorneys play a critical role in representing victims and their families to ensure that the settlement achieved aligns with the extent of the injury and the impact on the victim’s quality of life. Each case is unique, and although past settlement amounts can offer a benchmark, personalized assessments are essential for accurate determinations of settlement values in Illinois.

Doctor Pointing With A Finger On A Spinal Cord X-ray

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are complex and have life-altering implications that necessitate a comprehensive understanding for both medical professionals and those affected by such injuries.

Types and Severity of Spinal Cord Injuries

The severity of a spinal cord injury can significantly impact the prognosis and potential settlement outcomes. Complete spinal cord injuries are characterized by a total loss of function and sensation below the site of injury. These affect the ability of the spinal cord to send and receive messages from the brain to the body’s systems that control sensory, motor, and autonomic function. In contrast, incomplete spinal cord injuries preserve some functionality and sensation, with varying degrees of impairment.

Complete Spinal Cord Injury: This means no sensation or voluntary movement below the point of injury and both sides of the body are equally affected.

Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: In these cases, there is some function or sensation below the point of injury, and there is potential for some degree of recovery.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The reasons behind spinal cord injuries are diverse. However, traumatic spinal cord injuries are commonly due to specific incidents.

Automobile Accidents: A car accident is a leading cause of spinal cord injuries, responsible for a significant proportion of SCIs annually.

Falls: Especially prevalent in elderly populations, falls can lead to both complete and incomplete spinal cord damage.

Violence: Incidents such as gunshot wounds can sever or damage the spinal cord.

Sports and Recreation Injuries: Athletic activities, without proper protection, can result in traumatic impacts to the spine.

Understanding the causes is crucial for preventive measures and may influence the legal aspects of claiming injury settlements in Illinois.

Legal Aspects of Spinal Cord Injury Claims

Navigating the complexities of legal processes following a spinal cord injury requires understanding the nuances of eligibility and the indispensable role of legal representation. Victims looking to pursue justice and compensation should be mindful of these critical components.

Eligibility for Filing a Claim

Individuals who have sustained spinal cord injuries due to someone else’s negligence may be entitled to file a claim in Illinois. The eligibility hinges on proving that the injury resulted from another party’s actions or failure to act, which constitutes a breach of their legal duty of care.

Criteria for eligibility include:

Proximate cause: The injury must be closely related to the defendant’s conduct.

Damages: Victims must have recognizably compensable losses, both economic and non-economic.

The Role of an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney

Securing the services of an experienced personal injury attorney is imperative for spinal cord injury victims. A personal injury attorney specializes in advocating for the injured party’s rights and guides them through the intricate legal system to pursue appropriate compensation.

Personal injury lawyers provide representation in negotiations with insurance companies and in court if necessary. They work assiduously to calculate and validate claims for damages, ranging from medical expenses to non-quantifiable pain and suffering.

An attorney with experience in spinal cord injury cases brings forth the nuanced expertise required to navigate the intricate details of such claims, which can significantly influence the settlement’s outcome.

Factors Influencing the Settlement Value

When it comes to spinal cord injury cases in Illinois, the settlement value is significantly affected by measurable costs and impacts experienced by the injured party.

Assessing Medical Treatment and Expenses

Medical expenses often form the backbone of any spinal cord injury claim. Settlement calculations begin with actual costs incurred for medical treatment and care, which may include hospital stays, surgeries, medications, and rehabilitation. Given the complexity of spinal cord injuries, the need for ongoing care such as physical therapy or accommodations for disability can add to the total amount. Claimants should meticulously document each expense since the sum of these costs will serve as a critical starting point for how much compensation they are entitled to.

Calculating Non-Economic Damages

In addition to tangible financial burdens, Illinois settlements attempt to quantify the intangible effects of the injury. This area covers non-economic damages, which encompass pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. While these damages are subjective, they are no less critical. The severity and permanence of the spinal cord injury directly influence the value assigned to these damages. Judges, juries, or negotiating parties will weigh the physical and psychological toll and the extent to which the injury hampers one’s everyday life to determine the appropriate compensation.

Average Settlements in Illinois

In Illinois, the average settlements for spinal cord injury cases reflect the serious nature of these injuries and the significant impact they have on the lives of victims and their families.

Understanding State-Specific Legal Nuances

The state of Illinois abides by specific legislative nuances which can directly affect the outcome of a spinal cord injury lawsuit. The calculation of settlements for these injuries involves comprehensive consideration of medical expenses, loss of income, and life care costs, as well as noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering. It’s important to recognize that these factors can lead to substantial settlement figures.

Case Studies and Precedents

Evidence shows that plaintiffs in Illinois may expect to receive higher settlements due to the gravity of spinal cord injuries.

  • The average settlement is approximately $651,081
  • The median settlement is around $720,000 in Illinois.

In reviewing case studies and legal precedents within the state, one notes that settlements can vary widely. For example, there was a settlement of $1.4 million for an individual who required back surgery after a vehicle collision. These amounts are indicative of the costs associated with long-term care and the life-altering consequences that victims face.

Navigating the Settlement Process

The settlement process for a spinal cord injury case in Illinois typically involves detailed preparation, an understanding of the legal framework, and strategic negotiation or litigation. Personal injury attorneys play a critical role in this process as they guide spinal cord injury victims through the complexities of the legal system.

Negotiation Strategies

When initiating settlement discussions, personal injury attorneys will gather comprehensive medical evidence and expert testimonials to build a strong case demonstrating the impact of the injury on their client’s life. In a car accident scenario, for example, they might compile police reports, witness statements, and accident reconstruction analyses. Attorneys will then use this evidence as leverage in negotiations with the defendant’s insurance company.

Preparing a demand letter is a crucial step in negotiations is the drafting of a demand letter which clearly outlines the damages being sought. This includes:

Medical expenses: Immediate and projected future costs

Lost wages: Compensation for the time the victim is unable to work

Pain and suffering: Compensation for the emotional and physical distress caused by the injury

Throughout the negotiation process, it is the attorney’s responsibility to communicate effectively with all parties involved. The goal is to reach a settlement that adequately compensates the victim without the need for a trial.

Going to Trial

If negotiations do not result in a satisfactory settlement, the case may proceed to trial. At trial, the personal injury attorney presents evidence to a judge or jury. The evidence must clearly show how the defendant’s negligence caused the spinal cord injury and the subsequent damages suffered by the victim.

Attorneys need to present evidence in a methodical manner, often using visual aids like charts or diagrams to help illustrate the severity of the injury and its impacts. Preparing for trial involves:

Jury selection: Choosing an impartial jury that can fairly assess the evidence.

Opening statement: Clearly outlining the case to the jury at the start of the trial.

Closing argument: Summarizing the case and urging the jury to award a fair compensation.

Both in and out of court, the efforts of a skilled Chicago personal injury lawyer are crucial to ensure that a spinal cord injury victim in Illinois receives a settlement that truly reflects the gravity of their losses.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer at Mike Agruss Law

Your best chance for a spinal cord injury settlement is to work with an Aurora personal injury lawyer from our firm.  The aftermath of a spinal cord accident can be overwhelming, with victims often facing daunting challenges such as physical recovery, financial burdens, and emotional distress. Recognizing the profound impact that a personal injury claim can have on a person’s life, Mike Agruss Law is dedicated to providing compassionate and effective legal representation for the injured. Contact us today to move your case forward.

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