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Spinal cord injuries change lives, families, and sometimes even entire communities. When you lose the ability to fully control your own body, you’ll need to lean on others for support. The people who once relied on you may not find themselves floundering as they struggle to support you.

There’s no shame in this need for support, but it does have practical ramifications. You’ll need assistance accessing medical care, addressing insurance issues, and advocating for your rights at work, school, and in your community. A spinal cord injury lawyer is your best ally in this struggle. Here’s why you need to consider hiring one.

Money: The Only Way Our System Offers Justice

Many spinal cord injury survivors want an apology, an admission of fault, or an improvement in treatment quality. Unfortunately, the only way our judicial system offers justice is through money. We can’t compel the person who hurt you to apologize, and can’t make a doctor admit that his negligence caused your injuries. We can only seek money.

In a limited number of circumstances, it may be possible to seek other legal actions -- such as an injunction against certain behavior, or a requirement that an employer or school cease discriminatory policies. But if you want anything beyond these meager concessions, you’ll need to sue for money.

It’s not greedy to seek financial compensation for your injuries. This is the only compensation available, and hearing from a judge or jury that you didn’t deserve to be hurt can even aid your healing process. The amount which you can seek is primarily governed by the extent to which you were harmed; most costly injuries typically earn higher settlements and jury awards. A spinal cord injury attorney is the most knowledgeable source of information about the compensation to which you are entitled. Don’t go it alone, and don’t allow yourself to be bullied.

Ensuring Adequate Medical Care

Like it or not, medicine is a profitable business. That means that if you don’t have money or adequate insurance, you could be stuck receiving substandard medical care. Suing for your injuries allows you to recover the funds you need to pay for costly medical and rehabilitative services. A lawyer who specializes in SCI may also be able to refer you to a physician who is highly qualified to treat your injuries.

Holding Negligent People Accountable

Whether it’s medical malpractice, an injury at a local water park, or violence at the hands of a loved one or stranger, being injured due to someone else’s negligence or malice can be enraging. When such an injury undermines your quality of life, you may feel hopeless, helpless, and deeply frustrated.

Seeking justice for your injuries won’t just help you recover the funds you need to live a normal life. It’s also a way of regaining a sense of efficacy. When someone hurts you, they deserve to be held accountable. A spinal cord injury lawyer ensures that the process is fair and efficient.

Protecting Your Family

Unless you spontaneously experience a full recovery, you probably won’t be able to do all of the things you once did with ease -- playing with your baby, working to support your family, or coaching your child’s softball team, for example. A spinal cord injury lawsuit allows you to protect your family by:

  • Investing in their future with the money you recover.
  • Paying for in-home caregivers so that your family can enjoy your relationship, not spend your time together on caretaking.
  • Ensuring you can afford high-quality medical care, potentially increasing your chances of recovery.
  • Allowing you to pay for services that support your family, such as grocery shopping, childcare, and family therapy.

Recovering Lost Wages

A spinal cord injury almost inevitably means lost wages. Even if you are eventually able to return to your job, you’ll likely have to take several months off to recover. You're entitled to compensation for these lost wages. And if your injury has permanently reduced or eliminated your ability to earn a living, a spinal cord injury lawsuit can recover funds to cover this reduction in earning capacity.

Protecting You Against Discrimination

Spinal cord injuries are hard enough on their own. But life in a wheelchair may also mean that people treat you differently. They may stare, ignore you, or even refuse to hire you. Discrimination at work and school is illegal. The only way to enforce your rights, though, is to sue. A spinal cord injury lawyer can counsel you about your disability rights, send letters on your behalf, and file a lawsuit to protect you from discrimination.

Connecting You With Advocacy

Spinal cord injury lawyers do more than just file lawsuits. They’re also part of a community of spinal cord injury experts. An SCI lawyer who specializes in spinal injuries likely has connections throughout the SCI community. Your lawyer can refer you to expert doctors, connect you to other SCI survivors, recommend support groups, and educate you about what you can expect from life after a spinal cord injury.

Protecting Your Community

Though you might be the only person directly affected by your spinal cord injury, it likely has ramifications for your family and community -- particularly if you were injured by someone else’s negligence. Suing a responsible party can prevent them from hurting someone else. A lawyer can help you assess whether someone else is responsible for your injuries. And that responsibility might not always be clear. For example, you might think your doctor did all they could, when in reality their negligence led to, or worsened, your injury.

What about if no one is at fault for your injury? Hiring a lawyer can still protect your community. By standing up for your rights, including the right to be free from SCI discrimination, you indirectly protect the rights of other SCI survivors. Even simply being educated about your rights can empower you for years to come. Your knowledge makes you an ambassador to other survivors of catastrophic injuries, educating and empowering them.

Renewing a Sense of Efficacy and Control

A catastrophic injury can rob you of your sense of control. When you rely on others for your care, that sense of efficacy can be eroded even further. Hiring a lawyer offers you a way to regain control. You’ll gain access to justice, have a clearer understanding of your rights, and begin putting the pieces of your life back together.

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