Tucson Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Many catastrophic spinal injuries are utterly life-changing, leading to paraplegia or quadriplegia. Most of our clients with these sorts of cases face major difficulties. They must adapt their lives so that they may work, drive, or navigate their homes once more, when they can work at all. Some will face lifelong disability.
Making all these adjustments takes money, and the best source of that money is usually a personal injury settlement. If a negligent party was responsible for your spinal injury, the Law Office of Tony Merchant can help you get the funds you need to pay your medical bills, as well as to pay the bills generated from your need to make life adjustments related to your accident.
Spinal Cord Injury Resources
- The National Spinal Cord Injury Association
- The NTAF Fund
- Adapting a Home for Wheelchair Accessibility
- The Adaptive Driving Alliance
- The ASIA Impairment Scale
- Being Your Own Advocate: Living with a Disability or Chronic Illness
- Driving Following an Injury or Disability
- Hiring a Caregiver
- The Job Accommodation Network
- Tuscon Catastrophic Injuries
What kinds of spinal cord injury cases do you take?
We take any case in which another person’s negligence causes a spinal injury. This includes car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and slip and fall cases, which are the most common sources of spinal cord injuries.
Negligence exists when a person has a duty of care to another person. That duty of care is usually to prevent some sort of harm from occurring, to the best of that person’s ability.
For example, every driver on the road has a duty of care to other drivers to follow traffic laws and to make their best effort to avoid accidents. Every property owner has a duty of care to clean up safety hazards in a timely fashion, and to warn guests on the property when safety hazards exist.
If a party fails in that duty of care than they can be held accountable for your financial losses. That’s the difference between tripping and falling of your own accord, which personal injury law does not cover, and slipping and falling because a property owner failed to replace a loose stair railing.
Not sure whether your case is strong enough? There are two considerations you can look at when trying to make this determination.
The first is what you were doing at the time of the accident. Were you mostly at-fault or mostly not at-fault? Were you breaking any laws at the time of the accident? Did you pay attention to warnings and heed them? Were you taking any action where it could be argued that you assumed risk?
If not, then you probably have a case. You have a personal injury case any time someone else’s negligence causes you to get hurt.
Not sure what happened on the day of your case? Speak to a personal injury attorney anyway. We are very adept at helping to reconstruct facts when the injury victim was too hurt to gather evidence at the scene.
The other thing to look at is the severity of your spinal injuries. Most spinal cord injuries are severe. Severe injuries are the ones that require the most help from personal injury attornies! If you already know your case is going to be big and expensive then it’s worthwhile to talk to a personal injury lawyer right away.
You don’t have to engage in any guesswork. Here at the Law Offices of Tony Merchant we’re happy to review the facts of your case and to tell you whether your spinal cord injury case is worth pursuing. All you have to do is make an appointment.
How can a Tuscon Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer help with your case?
There are many ways that a spinal cord injury lawyer can help.
If you involve a spinal cord injury attorney early enough then your lawyer can deal with the insurance companies on your behalf. This can keep you from making major mistakes that could weaken your case.
Your attorney will prepare your demand letter and will track down the facts of your case. We also have a network of expert witnesses who can help strengthen your case by helping to prove the extent to which your injuries have impacted your life, the facts of your case, or other relevant details.
Here at the Law Office of Tony Merchant we leave no stone unturned. We prepare for litigation but work hard to negotiate a good settlement on your behalf. As 92% of all personal injury cases are settled out of court these negotiation skills are particularly important. A great deal of the eventual value of your spinal cord injury settlement will depend on these skills.
Why are spinal cord injury cases so complex?
The injuries themselves are extremely complex. They are also expensive to treat. Many spinal cord injuries require long term care and rehabilitation services.
Because these cases are so expensive, insurance companies fight much harder to avoid paying the claim. They may try to defend themselves by challenging whether or not they had a duty of care to you. They may try to claim, for example, that you assumed the risk and knew what you were doing when you chose to take an action. Or a property owner may claim they didn’t have enough time to learn about a hazard and so had not attained the duty of care which required them to clean up the hazard.
If they can’t do that, they will often try to use Arizona’s contributory negligence laws against you. These laws state that if a person bears some responsibility for their accident then they also must bear some of the financial burdens. If you are found to be 25% at-fault for your accident then your eventual settlement or award amount would be reduced by that same percentage.
Every percentage point counts and could mean the loss of thousands of dollars, which means you can expect the defendant in your personal injury case to try to cast as many aspersions on your actions on the day of the accident as possible.
Finally, the defendant insurance company may try to downplay the severity of your pain, injuries, and future needs. For example you may know you will not be able to return to work and so will need disability compensation. The defendant may claim there are plenty of jobs you can still do, even if you live with daily, chronic pain and exhaustion as a result of your spinal injury, or even if you were in a field which used to require you to do a lot of heavy lifting. They do this to try to keep your pain and suffering and loss of income potential awards low.
An attorney who truly understands spinal injury cases can often help you deflect these tactics. It takes a great deal of legal acumen to bring these cases to their best conclusion.
How much compensation can you expect for your spinal cord injury?
Every spinal injury case is different. Many of these cases exceed $1 million in value, but much will depend on the facts of your case and your own actions leading up to the accident or injury.
Every personal injury settlement does have three parts though, and understanding this can help you understand what your settlement should look like and accomplish.
First, your spinal cord injury settlement should pay for your economic damages. These include:
- Your medical bills up to the point of maximum medical improvement.
- Your projected future care and rehabilitation bills.
- Compensation for special equipment you might need such as wheelchairs or alterations to your vehicle which will allow you to drive.
- Your lost wages for the days you were recovering in the hospital.
- If you can no longer work, disability payments.
- Payments for services you required as a result of the injury, such as housekeeping services.
Some of these amounts are straightforward. If you have $500,000 in medical bills then your settlement should be worth at least $500,000. Others are more negotiable. If you’ve lost earning capacity then what does that really mean? How many years of work would you have had left in you, and what kind of salary would you have made? These are projections and so are subject to some argument and interpretation.
The second type of damages are non-economic or pain and suffering damages. In Arizona, these are calculated by assigning a “multiplier” to your injuries. A multiplier of one says that your injuries are mild and aren’t expected to have a long-term impact on your life. A multiplier of five would be the maximum level of devastation, with life-altering impacts.
Whatever multiplier you receive is then applied to your economic damages to get an additional pain and suffering award. For example, if your economic damages are $500,000 and your multiplier is 3, then your pain and suffering award would be $1.5 million for a total of $2 million on your settlement.
As there are no charts, graphs, or guides in Arizona law which provide an objective measure of what that multiplier should look like there is no way to tell what your multiplier will be. This is one of the issues that your lawyer will have to negotiate on your behalf when both parties sit down for a settlement conference.
Some spinal injury cases will include an additional type of damages called punitive damages. These are rare in Arizona as the population of this state is largely suspicious of personal injury cases to begin with. Nevertheless, if you were harmed by someone whose negligence went above and beyond the norm or did something worthy of punishment like drinking and driving then you may be able to obtain punitive damages as well.
How does a Tuscon spinal cord injury lawyer get paid?
Personal injury attorneys don’t require massive retainers or hourly fees. Instead, when they accept your spinal cord injury case they agree to work on contingency. This means that you and your attorney will agree on a percentage that the attorney will take after successfully negotiating a settlement on your behalf.
Those who put their trust in qualified spinal injury attorneys are 40% more likely to recover funds at all. They’re also likely to recover three to ten times more money than they would have on their own, even after the attorney’s percentage and associated case expenses are accounted for. Thus there are no risks when you hire a spinal cord injury lawyer.
When you get your settlement the check will initially go to your lawyer. Your lawyer will then distribute the money to those that have a claim, like the hospital that treated you directly after the accident. From there, the attorney will take their cut and then forward the rest of the money on to you so that you can begin using it to put your life back together.
The entire process typically takes 18 to 24 months; it takes more time if you end up going to court and less if you end up settling out of court. The time it takes and the amount of up front expense an attorney invests into fighting for you mean that you are truly getting a partner who is ready to help you succeed.
Why choose Tony Merchant?
- Over 30 years of experience as a personal injury attorney.
- A long track record of winning millions of dollars for clients like you.
- Experience with spinal cord injury cases.
- Has won numerous awards for work in the personal injury field.
- Has published dozens of papers on personal injury cases in prestigious law journals.
Mr. Merchant is responsive, empathetic, and kind. He’s here to help you make the most of your personal injury settlement. Don’t try to go it alone. Call (480) 581-8801 to schedule a consultation today.