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Spinal Cord Injuries

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Spinal Cord Injury Claims

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is damage caused to the spinal cord that results in a loss of function such as mobility or feeling to a limb or limbs.  This loss of function may manifest as:

  • quadriplegia (loss of function below the neck); or
  • paraplegia (loss of function below the chest).

SCI may occur as a result of:

  • trauma (e.g. car accident, fall etc.);
  • secondary causes associated with complications stemming from an initial occurrence of trauma.

SCI is a subcategory of catastrophic injuries or loss, which is life altering and will require lifetime care and finances as a result of someone’s negligence. The equipment associated with an SCI is expensive and needless to say very necessary. If you have suffered a SCI, you may be entitled to receive compensation. A & E Legal can assist.

Our experienced solicitors will engage on your behalf (by submitting a claim) with the relevant person and/or their insurer for the compensation that you deserve resulting from your personal injury or loss, which should ultimately resolve by settlement or progression to a trial.

Can I claim?

Anyone who has been injured and suffered a SCI may be entitled to claim provided that the injury was caused by the intentional or negligent act or omission of another person.

 What can I claim?

You can claim for:

  • past and future lost earnings;
  • pain, suffering and loss of amenities of life;
  • past and future medical expenses;
  • hospital expenses;
  • rehabilitation expenses;
  • daily medical necessities e.g. a wheelchair
  • home care and assistance;
  • alterations and modifications to your home;
  • modifications to your motor vehicle.

Can I claim for damages if the accident/incident was partly my fault?

If you have been injured in an accident/incident caused by the negligence of another person you may have a valid claim, even if the accident was partly your own fault. Your final award (or settlement) may be reduced by the percentage that you are deemed to have been liable for your own injury.

Did you now?

If you suffer a SCI after 1 July 2016 in a car crash, you have a claim against the Insurance Commission of Western Australia under its new Catastrophic Scheme irrespective of who caused the accident. This means that the Compulsory Third Party insurance scheme will be extended to provide care and support to all people catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents irrespective of fault. In other words, as from 1 July 2016 regardless of fault, you will be entitled to make a claim for care and support on a consistent basis.

 Are there time limits to commence Court proceedings?

There are strict time limits prescribed by law for you to commence proceedings in the District Court of WA, namely:

  • 3 years from when you become aware that you have sustained a not insignificant personal injury i.e. when the accident or incident occurred; or
  • 3 years from when you first experience the first symptom, clinical sign or other manifestation of a personal injury that is not insignificant.

We do, however, recommend that you contact us immediately in order for us to assist you with your claim process.

What happens if the claim is not finalised and I have medical and other expenses in the meantime?

Even though your claim is not finalised, we will endevour to arrange an interim payment to pay for equipment, treatment, care and accommodation. This interim payment is ultimately deducted from the final settlement on the completion of your case.

Do I have to go to Court?

Most claims are settled without having to go to Court on trial. However, pre-trial conferences are held at the District Court building in a more informal basis and we will be there to represent you through this process.

How long will it take and how much does it cost?

We will attempt to get through the claim procedure as quickly as possible by seeking the relevant expert advice from your doctors and other relevant professionals to ensure that your claim is settled at the right time. We will answer all your questions about legal costs at the first free consultation with you. However, in the event of a successful resolution of your claim, the negligent party or its insurer will cover most of the costs.

Is the first consultation free?

The first consultation is free with no obligation on your part to proceed.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.