Legal Basis of Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuits

If you suffer a spinal cord injury in an accident in Arizona, you may be able to file a lawsuit in pursuit of financial compensation for your related losses. To have a lawsuit, you must prove your case based on the appropriate legal doctrine. The legal basis for your case could be negligence, breach of warranty, strict liability or other grounds.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are preventable. They involve avoidable mistakes, such as a property owner failing to keep a premises free from hazards. Spinal cord injuries related to trauma are often due to:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Falls
  • Sports activities
  • Acts of violence
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products
  • Explosions or blasts

These accidents can cause spinal cord injuries such as fractures, nerve damage, slipped disks and paralysis. If someone else reasonably should have prevented the incident that gave you a spinal cord injury, that person or party may be held financially responsible.

When Can You File a Lawsuit for a Spinal Cord Injury?

The main legal basis for a spinal cord injury lawsuit is negligence. The definition of negligence is a failure to act with reasonable care, causing harm or injury to another person. If there is proof of someone’s negligence in relation to a spinal cord injury, that person or party may have to pay damages (financial compensation) to make the victim whole again.

Other foundations for an injury claim are strict liability, breach of warranty and intent to harm. Strict liability means that a defendant is responsible for a victim’s injuries even if he or she was not negligent. A breach of warranty means that the defendant failed to fulfill a promise to the victim. Intent to harm is a knowing or malicious intent to cause the victim’s injury.

Elements of Negligence

It is the victim’s burden to prove the basis for his or her claim. The elements of proof required change according to the legal basis of the lawsuit. Proving negligence, for example, requires clear and convincing evidence that four main elements are more likely to be true than not true (a preponderance of the evidence):

  1. The defendant owed the victim a duty of care. A duty exists when the law recognizes a relationship between the defendant and the victim that requires a certain level of care.
  2. The defendant failed to fulfill his or her duty of care. Referred to as a breach of duty, this can describe any act or failure to act that went outside of the defendant’s duty of care to the victim.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty caused the accident or injury. There must be proof of actual causation between the defendant’s breach of the duty of care and the victim’s spinal cord injury.
  4. The victim suffered compensable losses. Finally, the victim must have proof of losses for which he or she is claiming compensation, such as medical bills or lost wages.

You may not need to prove all of these elements, however, for another type of spinal cord injury claim, such as a product liability lawsuit.

Why Should You Consider a Lawsuit?

It is important to understand whether or not you have grounds to file a lawsuit for a spinal cord injury in Arizona. If this is your legal right, bringing a cause of action can hold one or more parties accountable for your serious injuries and provide financial compensation for several losses, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Disability
  • Physical therapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Lost wages
  • Lost capacity to earn a living
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

It can be especially critical to file a lawsuit if you or a loved one suffered a permanent spinal cord injury, such as quadriplegia or paraplegia. In this case, the value of a lawsuit could be significant for lifelong damages. These include the physical pain and emotional suffering related to a severe spinal cord injury. To find out if you have grounds for a spinal cord injury lawsuit, contact an attorney today.