North Carolina Jury Awards Over $800,000 in Damages for Spinal Cord Injury

An Ashe County, North Carolina jury recently awarded a man nearly $817,000 in damages in a spinal cord injury lawsuit. A few years ago, the plaintiff underwent neck surgery and developed weakness and pain after the surgery. Plaintiff fell at home and was taken to Ashe County Memorial Hospital. While at the hospital, he was not given an MRI to rule out spinal compression and as such his condition worsened. The plaintiff was relocated to Watauga Medical Center and was subsequently operated on. By the time plaintiff received his surgery he had already suffered permanent spinal cord damages that resulted in him being unable to work. As this medical malpractice case shows, a spinal cord injury can cause devastating, long-term consequences.

Contact Our Law Firm as Soon as Possible

At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, our lawyers understand the devastating consequences of spinal cord injuries. That is why we fight so hard for our clients to receive the compensation they deserve. We offer our potential clients a free case evaluation. Contact our Charlotte spinal cord injury law firm today to schedule your case evaluation and learn how we can fight for your right to compensation for your spinal cord injury.

Medical Malpractice Caused the Plaintiff Excruciating Spinal Cord Injuries

The plaintiff in the spinal cord injury lawsuit mentioned above suffered serious complications from spinal cord surgery. After his surgery, the man experienced excruciating pain that remained untreated, even after the man called the surgeon's office multiple times. The plaintiff even went to the emergency room and stayed there for seven hours before being transferred to a local medical center.

During that entire process, the surgeon who conducted his surgery failed to contact him or try to help him. The plaintiff successfully alleged that the lack of diagnosis and treatment of his condition led to a spinal epidural hematoma. With this medical condition, the spinal cord becomes compressed. In his case, the spinal epidural hematoma caused him permanent nerve and spinal cord damage. As a result of his injuries, the man was not able to return to work and is now permanently disabled.

Damages Available in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit

At the end of the two-week-long trial, the jury awarded the plaintiff a total of $816,988 in damages. He received $416,988 in economic damages as well as $400,000 in non-economic damages. This jury award was the largest damages verdict in Ashe County's history.

Recovering Economic Damages in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit

If you have suffered from a serious spinal cord injury, you are probably wondering what damages you will be able to recover. North Carolina juries divide up the jury award into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages are damages that are easy to quantify, such as medical expenses and lost income. Economic damages include the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses related to the spinal cord injury
  • The cost of mobility aids such as wheelchairs
  • Home and vehicle modifications that need to be made
  • Lost income and lost benefits from employment
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • The cost of home health care for those that need it
  • Any other quantifiable expenses caused by the spinal cord injury
Recovering Economic Damages and Punitive Damages in a Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit

Successful plaintiffs are also entitled to non-economic damages. Non-economic damages are not as easy to quantify as economic damages, but they are just as important. Non-economic damages include payment for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and loss of consortium. In some rare cases, plaintiffs might be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages do not reimburse the plaintiff for his or her losses. Instead, they punish the defendant for committing gross negligence, fraud, or for causing the spinal cord injuries with malice. Punitive damages are designed as a deterrent to future bad actors.

How to Prove Damages for a Charlotte Spinal Cord Injury

Proving the damages caused by your spinal cord injury is one of the most important aspects of filing a personal injury lawsuit. The first step in proving damages is to gather all important documents and make a detailed record. When determining the number of damages requested, it is important to locate the following types of evidence:

  • Medical records
  • Hospital bills
  • Physical therapy bills
  • Bills from contractors for home health aids
  • Invoices from home health care services
  • Pay stubs
  • Receipts and invoices from home or vehicle modifications

Proving the amount of future medical expenses can be more complicated. At Arnold & Smith, PLLC, we use our network of experts to help determine future costs. We rely on expert testimony from financial, medical, and vocational experts to prove the future damages our clients will experience. Contact our Charlotte spinal cord injury law firm today to schedule your case evaluation today.

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