Spinal cord injuries, if not deadly, are costly for a victim. They may result in paralysis, which may make you unable to work. They may also result in expensive medical bills. If you believe someone else is responsible for your spinal cord injury, you’re not alone. Our experienced lawyers at Pacific West Injury Law will help you every step of the way so you can receive the compensation you deserve after a spinal cord injury.
Is a Spinal Injury Lawsuit Necessary?
Before pursuing court action, it’s important to know which situations call for lawsuits, and which ones will allow you to pursue compensation through other means.
When a spinal cord injury takes place in someone’s place of work in Nevada, the way to receive compensation is through worker’s compensation, not a civil case. According to the State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry, you must fill out a C-4 form and send it to the insurance company used for employee compensation. If the claim is denied, it can be appealed at a later date.
Contract workers are not covered by worker’s compensation, and because of this, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit if you were injured in your place of work. This is because contract workers are considered self-employed individuals rather than traditional employees. Worker’s compensation insurance excludes the self-employed.
Other Causes of Injury You Can Sue for
There are a few examples of other causes of spinal injuries that may result in a civil lawsuit against a liable party. These include the following:
- Vehicle accidents
- Domestic violence
- Medical malpractice
- Gunshot wounds
Establishing a Case for a Spinal Injury Lawsuit
A case basis is established based on whether the plaintiff can reasonably prove a party’s fault in an incident. This can either be the result of negligence or criminal intent.
In the case of negligence, three factors must be proven according to the State Bar of Nevada. The first of these is proving the defendant had a responsibility to the person who was injured. In the case of medical malpractice, for example, a surgeon has a responsibility to their patient to properly carry out the surgery.
The second of these is proving that the defendant’s actions were the cause of the injury and that their actions were not typical. For example, if a drunk driver causes a vehicle accident and injures someone, this is cause for pursuing a spinal cord injury lawsuit. Driving on the road drunk is both atypical and illegal, making them the clear responsible party if another is injured.
Finally, the third factor is that the injury is severe enough to warrant a lawsuit. Minor injuries such as bumps and bruises do not warrant a civil lawsuit. However, in the case of a spinal injury, this would cause significant pain and suffering to the injured individual. They have a right, in that case, to receive compensation.
Establishing intent is similar to negligence in that the injured party must prove the following:
- The severity of the injury
- The party who caused the injury
However, in this case, the injury is not a result of negligence. Instead, it was a willful act. Cases of domestic violence, for example, would fall under this category. The party (in this case, the one inflicting violence) intended to cause the plaintiff harm. As a result, they are responsible, and the plaintiff is entitled to receive compensation.
Who is Liable in a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
Nevada law has a few protections for certain individuals in an incident so they are not liable. For example, a gun manufacturer cannot be held responsible if a criminal uses a gun. The only case they would be responsible for is if their guns were faulty in some way, causing injury. Similarly, someone owning the property where an accident took place is not responsible for an injury. This would only be the case if the property itself lead to the injury.
Instead, the only party who is liable in an injury lawsuit is the one who caused the incident, either through negligence or intent to harm. Unless this can be clearly established, the party cannot be held liable for a spinal injury.
Can There Be a Criminal and a Civil Case Against the Same Party?
If an intentional act caused the spinal injury in question, there is a basis for both a civil and a criminal case against a party. If malicious intent is established and the criminal case is won, this can be used as evidence in a civil case. According to the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) §41.133, “If an offender has been convicted of the crime which resulted in the injury to the victim, the judgment of conviction is conclusive evidence of all facts necessary to impose civil liability for the injury.”
As for whether going after a civil case is necessary after a criminal case has been established, the answer is most often yes. Criminal cases are focused on bringing criminals to justice. While some compensation may go to the victim, this is ultimately not the role of criminal cases.
Instead, civil cases fill the role of providing victim compensation. Some forms of compensation may include paying for:
- Medical expenses already incurred
- Future medical expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Lost wages as a result of the injury
Nevada’s Statute of Limitations for Reporting Spinal Injuries
When it comes to filing a report for a spinal injury, it’s often better to do this sooner rather than later. While some statutes of limitations on cases do not expire, personal injury lawsuits must be filed within two years of when the injury took place. Otherwise, you won’t receive compensation for your injury.
Should I Get a Lawyer for My Spinal Injury Case?
While you can represent yourself in many civil cases in Nevada, it’s generally recommended you use a lawyer. After all, the greatest risk when pursuing a civil case is losing. Losing would prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve if someone else is responsible for your injury.
Personal injury lawyers are experienced in these types of cases and would ensure you have the best chance of winning.
Can Pacific West Injury Law Help with My Spinal Cord Injury Case?
If you’re the victim of a spinal cord injury, you’ll need the best legal experts you can to win the case and receive payment for your medical expenses and more. We’re available 24/7. Contact us today for a free case review.