Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer in Chicago

Tell Us Your Story

Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer In Chicago

Your spinal cord sends messages to and receives messages from the brain in the form of nerve signals. Damage to the spinal cord can significantly impact your quality of life.

If you’ve sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI), you likely already know this. An SCI can change your life in countless ways seemingly overnight. Now, you may be struggling to pay medical bills, adjust to limited mobility, and more.

If someone else caused your injury, you could be entitled to compensation for your losses. At Wallace Miller, a Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer can review your case and explain your legal options. Contact us today to learn more about how we can take the burden of managing your claim for compensation off your shoulders.

What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, an SCI is an injury involving harm to the nerves receiving and sending brain signals. A person may sustain an SCI if the spinal cord sustains direct damage. Damage to areas near the spinal cord can also result in an SCI.

An SCI may fall into one of these two categories:

  • Incomplete injury – An incomplete SCI is one in which the spinal cord may still receive and send brain signals to a limited degree.
  • Complete injury – A complete SCI results in loss of all nerve communication with the brain below the site of an injury.

Both types of SCI can significantly impact your quality of life. As you receive treatment and care, save medical records and other documentation of your treatment. You’ll need to submit documentation of your losses when filing a claim for compensation.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

SCIs have numerous potential causes. Examples include:

Some SCIs are the result of negligence. For example, you might have sustained an SCI in a motor vehicle wreck caused by a drunk driver.

Proving negligence is often critical when seeking compensation for an SCI. A spinal cord injury lawyer can investigate your case to identify the liable parties and gather evidence of their negligence.

Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury

It’s not always immediately clear when you’ve sustained an SCI. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Loss of sensation in parts of the body
  • Changes in bladder and/or bowel control
  • Sexual functioning changes
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Changes in sensitivity to heat and/or cold

See a doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms. Early treatment may play an important role in improving long-term outcomes.

Potential Consequences of Spinal Cord Injuries

An SCI can result in various long-term consequences impacting your quality of life. Examples include:

  • Paraplegia
  • Quadriplegia
  • Loss of ability to work
  • Loss of ability to engage in activities you once found enjoyable
  • Loss of sexual functioning
  • Inability to have children
  • Loss of ability to provide services to your family
  • Increased susceptibility to pneumonia and other respiratory conditions
  • Circulation issues
  • Pressure sores
  • Loss of muscle tone

It’s not uncommon for someone with an SCI to struggle with depression, mental anguish, and similar difficulties. Adjusting to life after an SCI is often a difficult process when an SCI permanently affects a person’s physical abilities.

Risk Factors for Spinal Cord Injuries

The Mayo Clinic lists these risk factors among those that might increase someone’s chances of sustaining an SCI:

  • Gender – In the U.S., nearly 80 percent of SCIs occur in males.
  • Age – Most SCIs occur in individuals over the age of 65 or between the ages of 16 and 30 years.
  • Illnesses – Certain illnesses, like osteoporosis, can increase one’s chances of sustaining an SCI.
  • Lifestyle factors – Playing contact sports, riding a motorcycle, and even drinking alcohol are just a few lifestyle factors that involve a heightened risk of sustaining an SCI.

Seeking Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries

You may seek compensation for an SCI if a negligent party caused your injuries. Doing so will typically involve filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance. If they’re not insured, or their insurer won’t offer a fair settlement, you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation in court.

Types of losses for which you could seek compensation include:

  • Economic losses – Medical bills and lost wages are common examples of economic losses. A loss is “economic” if it has a specific dollar value.
  • Non-economic losses – Pain and suffering, mental anguish, and similar intangible losses without exact monetary values are non-economic losses.

Your economic losses may be ongoing after an SCI. For instance, an SCI might leave you in need of lifelong care. It can also permanently deprive you of the ability to work and earn an income. Your lawyer can include any such losses in your settlement demand when negotiating with an insurance adjuster.

A jury might also award punitive damages in a trial. Juries do so to punish defendants and deter them from future similar acts of wrongdoing. The wrongdoing must have been willful or reckless without consideration for the safety of others for punitive damages to be available.

Important Information About Work-Related Spinal Cord Injuries in Illinois

Proving negligence isn’t always a requirement when seeking compensation for an SCI. If you work in Illinois, according to the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC), your employer probably has to buy workers’ compensation insurance.

You can file a workers’ comp claim if you sustained a work-related SCI. You’re eligible for workers’ comp benefits as long as the injury arose out of and in the course of your job for your employer.

Workers’ comp only covers economic losses like medical bills and partial wage replacement. You can’t receive compensation for non-economic losses through workers’ comp.

Workers’ comp benefits might not be sufficient to compensate you for all your losses. You may be able to seek additional compensation if someone other than your employer caused the accident that resulted in your SCI.

For example, maybe you sustained an SCI after falling from a ladder at work. The fall could have occurred because of a defect in the ladder. You may have grounds to file a claim against the manufacturer if the defect occurred in the manufacture or design of the ladder.

How a Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Can Help

lawyer and client looking each other while discussing contract at the office

Pursuing compensation for an SCI may prove challenging for someone unfamiliar with the applicable laws and legal processes. Seeking compensation without a lawyer can also involve many tasks that could distract you from your top priority right now: focusing on your health.

A Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer can handle your claim or lawsuit while you prioritize your recovery. Ways an attorney may help include:

  • Explaining your legal options during a free case review
  • Identifying liable parties
  • Gathering evidence of negligence and documentation of your losses
  • Assessing the cost of future losses and calculating the potential value of non-economic losses
  • Filling out paperwork and submitting a claim with supporting documentation
  • Handling all communication with insurers
  • Negotiating for a fair settlement

Overall, lawyers can simplify the claims process and improve your chances of receiving a fair settlement. But hiring a lawyer doesn’t guarantee you’ll win your case, and that makes some people reluctant to reach out. Injured individuals may worry that hiring a lawyer will add to their expenses at a time when bills are already mounting.

The expense of a lawyer is not something you need to worry about when hiring a Chicago spinal cord injuries attorney from Wallace Miller. Like most personal injury lawyers, we work on a contingency fee basis when we represent our clients.

A lawyer who enters into a contingency fee agreement doesn’t charge upfront fees for legal services. Their fee is a percentage of the compensation a client receives. That means your lawyer only gets paid if you get paid.

Such an agreement prevents you from taking an unreasonable financial risk by hiring an SCI attorney. It also incentivizes your lawyer to pursue the most compensation possible.

The Deadline for Taking Legal Action in a Chicago Spinal Cord Injuries Case

Illinois law establishes a two-year time limit for filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. You have two years from the date you sustained an SCI to take legal action against the party that caused it. According to the IWCC, you have three years to file a workers’ comp claim with the Commission.

Get in touch with a Chicago spinal cord injury law firm soon to avoid missing the deadlines. If you don’t file a claim in a timely manner, you will no longer be eligible for compensation.

Contact a Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

We understand that coping with an SCI requires both effort and bravery. Any additional complications to your life right now could be too great to manage on your own.

You don’t have to pursue compensation alone after sustaining an SCI. While you work on recovering from your injuries and adjusting to a new lifestyle, our team at Wallace Miller can handle your case. Learn more about how a Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer can help you by contacting us online or calling us at (312) 261-6193 for a free case review.

Tell Us Your Story