Car accidents can cause severe and sometimes permanent injuries. This includes damage to the spinal cord that results in irreversible paralysis. After a severe car crash in Texas, a victim who is diagnosed with paralysis may be able to seek damages, or financial compensation, for several past and future foreseeable losses connected to the injury.
Past and Future Medical Care
A patient with paralysis will require extensive and expensive medical care. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center’s 2023 Data Sheet, the average lifetime cost in health care and living expenses alone in a patient with a spinal cord injury ranges from $1,376,436 to $5,837,155, depending on the age at the time of diagnosis and the severity of the injury.
It is critical to pursue a fair financial award for past and future medical care as a victim with paralysis after a car accident. Necessary medical treatments may include surgeries, physical therapy, rehabilitation and medications. Living with paralysis can also involve the need for disability accommodations, such as wheelchairs, other mobility assistive devices, and home or vehicle modifications.
Lost Wages and Future Earning Capacity
Living with paralysis often means no longer having the ability to earn a living wage. If a victim with paralysis can earn a living, he or she may have to take a job with fewer hours or for less pay than he or she earned prior to the car accident. Lost wages and lost future capacity to earn are compensable losses in the average car accident lawsuit in San Antonio. A victim must prove lost earnings with evidence such as medical records and employment documentation.
Physical Pain and Emotional Suffering
An injury as severe as paralysis can cause significant pain and suffering. This includes physical pain, such as chronic pain and nerve damage, as well as emotional distress, mental anguish and psychological trauma that can last for the rest of the victim’s life. It is possible to seek financial compensation for pain and suffering – also known as noneconomic damages, intangible losses or general damages. They can include diminished or reduced enjoyment of life and quality of life due to a permanent injury.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of consortium compensation is available when a victim’s loved ones suffer losses due to a victim’s long-term injury. Examples include loss of spousal relations, love, affection, companionship and sexual intimacy. Another example is the loss of parental guidance, advice and company for minor children. This compensation is typically available to close family members of a victim.
Other Available Damages
The three categories of damages are economic, noneconomic and punitive. Economic damages refer to the financial or specific losses associated with the accident, such as medical bills. These damages may also include property repairs, totaled vehicle replacement, travel and transportation costs, attorney’s fees, and out-of-pocket expenses. Noneconomic damages are described above.
Punitive damages are a relatively rare type of award that is reserved for cases where the defendant acted with gross negligence, fraud, malicious intent to harm, recklessness or a wanton disregard for the safety of others. These damages are awarded in cases where a judge wishes to punish a defendant for especially wrongful or egregious acts.
Finally, if a victim who suffers a severe spinal cord injury ultimately passes away from the injury, such as due to complications associated with paralysis, surviving family members may be eligible for damages in a San Antonio wrongful death lawsuit. This can include compensation for a funeral or burial, the victim’s medical bills, and the family’s mental anguish.
For more information about the potential value of a severe spinal cord injury claim in Texas, contact Hill Law Firm for a free consultation.