This is the next post in a series of articles discussing common issues that may arise in Fort Worth, Texas personal injury cases resulting in paralysis. The previous post discussed the possibility of pursuing multiple defendants who may bear some responsibility for the accident. Particularly in paralysis cases where a victim’s damage estimate may be large, identifying all potentially liable parties can help ensure recovery of those damages. Serious injury cases can present complicated factual and legal issues. It is important for victims and their families to understand how these complexities may impact the timing and progression of their legal actions. This article will explain why matters involving paralysis often take a significant period of time to resolve. If you have been in an accident, we recommend that you contact an attorney as soon as possible to preserve your legal rights.
When a victim is paralyzed in an accident, the ramifications on the victim’s life and the life of their family can be devastating. Personal relationships, professional matters, finances, etc. will all be impacted by the catastrophic, life-changing event. Victims are entitled to recover damages from the responsible parties. The process of establishing the liability of the defendants and estimating potential damages is often a lengthy one for a variety of reasons. Particularly in cases where the victim is paralyzed, it is common to use multiple experts to establish the liability of defendants, determine the medical prognosis, and estimate economic damages. Complex facts and legal theories, as well as medical treatments, can delay settlement negotiations and, if necessary, result in filing a lawsuit.
First, before presenting a demand letter to the defendant’s insurance company, your legal counsel will need to understand your long-term medical prognons. In cases of paralysis, this may be difficult to ascertain for a long period of time. For example, a physician may not be able to determine whether the paralysis is temporary or permanent until multiple surgeries have taken place or after a long recovery period. Doctors who are asked to provide their expert opinions regarding the possibility of recovery or ongoing treatment may require a significant amount of time before reaching any conclusions. Furthermore, other experts, such as vocational specialists or economists, may also be involved in estimating the impact on your ability to be employed in any capacity or earn wages in the future as a result of the prognosis. For instance, if a computer programmer suffers a serious spinal cord injury and loses the use of his legs permanently, his injury, while serious, may not prevent him from returning to work ultimately. He may have ongoing damages for medical treatments, therapy, etc., but may not be prevented from resuming employment. On the other hand, if the victim was a professional athlete, a vocational expert would conclude that he will never be able to continue in his original line of work. An economist would estimate potential lost income as a result of the paralysis. In addition, if the liability of one or more defendants is in question, it may be necessary to involve an accident reconstructionist as part of the investigation. Depending upon the facts surrounding the event, this may also be a time consuming process.
It is important to remember that insurance companies want to settle their cases as quickly as possible to minimize the amount of damages they may have to pay to a victim. Given the stress on a family after a paralysis accident, it may seem attractive to accept a quick offer and put the matter behind you. However, if a settlement is reached prematurely, the family may not receive the amount of compensation to which they are entitled. We recommend hiring a law firm with the resources to commit to your case for as long as necessary to obtain the best result. These recommendations apply regardless of whether the incident took place in Fort Worth, Dallas, or another Texas area.