What Factors Can Help in Proving Fault in Spinal Cord Injury Claims?

Individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries usually have a very challenging time coping with the consequences of such injuries. But those who have SCI aren't the only ones affected. Families and loved ones also have to deal with the situation. Since SCI is often a debilitating and life-altering condition, those affected by it and their families can seek assistance from personal injury attorneys if they believe that their injuries were due to the negligence of others.

What is spinal cord injury or SCI?
It's important to learn what SCI is in order to understand how this condition can change a person who sustains this kind of injury and how this also impacts the family and loved ones of that individual. SCI is a condition that results from trauma to the spinal cord. It is not obtained from pre-existing conditions or illnesses. The severity of the symptoms of SCI depends on where the spinal cord was injured. To illustrate, someone who sustains injuries in the spine near the lower lumbar or sacral areas could suffer from loss of leg control or incontinence. Those who sustain cervical or neck injuries could get paralyzed from the neck down or they could die after requiring mechanical ventilators just to breathe.

What situations can cause trauma to the spinal cord?
As mentioned, SCI results from trauma and not from underlying illnesses. The most common causes of SCI include:

- Slips and falls
- Violence
- Sports
- Vehicular accidents

Because these kinds of situations occur when there is negligence, SCI cases are often classified as personal injury.

How to prove fault in SCI claims?

When the negligence of any individual, group or agency causes another person or a group to sustain injuries, whether such injuries are physical, mental or emotional, then those who were negligent are liable. However, proving liability can be a challenging task. So, here are a few considerations on how to approach the situation when filing a SCI claim.

1. Prove negligence

To prove negligence, it's important to establish that the defendant knew of the danger but failed to act accordingly in order to prevent it. An example is when a driver runs a red light and gets into a road accident that maims a bystander. Another is when the management of an office fails to repair handrails, which then causes an employee to fall or slip.

2. Ascertain if there was contributory negligence

It is important to determine if a victim also contributed to his accident. This is known as contributory negligence. When a victim played a part in his accident, this could affect how much compensation he will be awarded. This is usually determined by assessing how much of the accident was because of the victim's negligence. An example of a situation wherein there's contributory negligence is when a person fails to use his safety belt or when he drives over the speed limit.

3. Establish intentional wrong

There is intentional wrong or willful wrong when a person knows that what he is doing is wrong and will cause harm to others but he still continues with it. In other words, he commits a wrong intentionally.

4. See if the doctrine of strict liability applies

When it comes to the doctrine of strict liability, it usually concerns manufactured products. Here, negligence can be due to faults in the design of an item which makes it unsafe to use. Negligence can also occur during the manufacturing process wherein a product may have been designed properly but the assembly or manufacturing procedures were faulty; thus, resulting in items that are also flawed. In such cases, a victim should prove that he got his injuries because he used a faulty or defective product and that he was ignorant of the detrimental defects of the item.


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