Injuries to the spine are some of the worst you can sustain. Depending on the types of spinal cord injuries, they may have catastrophic, life-long consequences. These injuries may even result in permanent paralysis, making it very difficult to return to work. Since this kind of injury is very debilitating, its payouts are also significant under the right circumstances.
Common Causes of Spine Injuries
Spine injuries are usually caused by accidents involving;
- Violence or assault
- Fall from heights
What to Expect from a Spine Injury in California?
Regardless of how you got your spine injury, you are entitled to worker’s compensation benefits in the State of California. You don’t even need to prove your employer’s negligence for it. However, suppose there is proof of foul play, negligence, or recklessness. In that case, you may expect a higher payout by pursuing a personal injury lawsuit.
What Compensation Entails and the Factors that Determine it
Spine injury claims are based on compensable losses. Typical compensation includes your economic and non-economic losses. Let’s dive into more details to learn what these losses are;
These are the quantifiable financial losses resulting from the injury. They include;
- All medical bills. They include all charges resulting from spine injury treatment, such as surgeries, MRIs, diagnostic exams, physical therapies, future medical care (may last a lifetime), etc.
- Losses in lost income or diminished capacity for future earnings. These damages are determined by examining your paycheques, W-2 tax forms, invoices, and other financial records. These records are matched against the amount of work you missed.
- Loss of earning capacity. It usually requires an expert to assess your projected earnings and your back injuries’ impact on your ability to do any work.
These are the general damages that are not easy to quantify in monetary terms. They include;
- Pain and suffering. The economic damages are multiplied by a set number (from 1.5 to 5). The most severe cases even allow a multiplier of 10.
- Emotional distress. Sometimes, it is assessed separately, and in others, it is counted as part of pain and suffering.
- Loss of consortium. Serious spine injuries may result in permanent physical impairment or paralysis. It deprives the victim of a normal loving relationship or companionship. In such cases, these losses may be awarded.
Some cases are not entirely accidental. They may be caused by a defendant’s action, inaction, or recklessness. Punitive damages are only awarded once the trial has gone through and the jury is delivering the verdict.
The defendant must have committed some outrageous or egregious error for these damages to be considered. Punitive damages not only compensate the victim but also punish a defendant’s behaviour.
Other Factors that may Affect a Spine Injury Claim
The severity of spine injury is the main deciding factor concerning the damages. However, ‘Comparative’ or ‘Contributory’ negligence may affect your payout.
If a measure of the fault lies with you, then you may receive significantly less, or nothing at all. Most States apply the comparative negligence clause. Meaning, you may recover the compensation if the other party was responsible for 50% or 51% of the fault. The damages’ award will be reduced by how much responsibility falls upon you. For example, if your fault is measured at 30%, you will collect 30% less in damages.