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Paralysis is a life-changing condition that can have an impact on not only the person paralyzed but his or her entire family as well. The associated loss of income, medical bills, and daily strain that can come from losing the ability to walk or move can be tremendously stressful to deal with alone.
You should not take on the complex legal challenges of filing suit after a paralyzing accident on your own. Instead, you should strongly consider consulting a Trenton paralysis injury lawyer to be an advocate for your case. A dedicated catastrophic injury attorney could work on your behalf to contest allegations of fault from insurance companies and civil defendants and help you pursue appropriate compensation.
How to File a Negligence Claim for a Paralysis Injury
The most likely cause of action an injured plaintiff could cite for a paralysis injury is negligence on the part of another person or entity. To prove legal negligence, a plaintiff must demonstrate the following elements in court:
- The defendant had a duty to act as a reasonable person would under the same or similar circumstances
- The defendant breached that duty of care by acting irresponsibly
- The breach directly caused the plaintiff’s spinal cord injury
- The plaintiff suffered compensable damages
To recover damages in Trenton, you must demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence was a cause in fact and proximate cause of your injury. Cause in fact requires showing that the plaintiff would not have been injured but for the defendant’s actions—in other words, the defendant’s actions alone caused the plaintiff harm.
Showing proximate cause typically requires proving the injury was a foreseeable result of the defendant’s actions. Whether or not paralysis is a foreseeable injury that could occur is usually a hotly contested issue in a paralysis negligence case. Medical testimony and evidence could play a role in determining whether this harm is considered foreseeable.
What Could a Paralysis Victim Recover For?
A plaintiff may claim two types of injuries in a civil case: compensatory damages and punitive damages. Compensatory damages are the direct damages that the plaintiff has suffered, which may be economic or non-economic in nature.
In contrast, punitive damages are the damages the court may require the defendant to pay as punishment for particularly egregious or intentional actions. A Trenton paralysis injury attorney could help you determine which particular damages you may be eligible to recover in your case.
Insurance Laws That May Impact a Paralysis Injury Lawsuit
New Jersey is one of only a handful of states that operates under a no-fault system when it comes to civil compensation. Fault states allow an individual to directly bring a lawsuit against another party for his or her injury. In contrast, a no-fault state limits the ability of individuals to file a lawsuit until they have exhausted their options to file claims with their own insurance.
This system is most relevant for injury cases stemming from motor vehicle crashes, as New Jersey drivers are required to maintain insurance that would pay for medical treatment and other out-of-pocket expenses in the event of an accident. So, injured drivers generally must file a claim with their own insurance company first in order to receive compensation.
However, there are limited circumstances where a plaintiff may bring a lawsuit directly against a negligent driver or negligent driver’s insurance company if he or she suffered significant disfigurement, scarring, permanent injury, or other significant injuries. As a qualified Trenton lawyer could affirm, paralysis injuries often meet this requirement.
How an Experienced Trenton Paralysis Injury Attorney Could Help
The expertise and advocacy that a qualified attorney could provide may be able to level the playing field against insurance companies and liable parties looking to protect their own finances. An experienced Trenton paralysis injury lawyer could be the key to putting you in the best position to recover compensation.
The statute of limitations for personal injury cases in New Jersey generally only allows two years after an accident for you to file suit, so time is often critical when trying to recover civil damages. If you have suffered from paralysis due to someone else’s actions, call today to set up a consultation and discuss your case.