Spinal cord injuries very often lead to paralysis. A spinal cord injury involves damage to the nerves within the bony protection of the spinal canal. Motor-vehicle accidents are a common cause of spinal cord injuries (responsible for 42 percent of spinal cord injuries). The spinal cord itself does not have to be severed in order for loss of function to occur. The spinal cord can be bruised, stretched, or crushed. Since the spinal cord coordinates body movement and sensation. An injured spinal cord loses the ability to send and receive messages from the brain to the body’s system that controls sensory, motor, and autonomic function.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in Alberta and if there is a party at fault you may bring a lawsuit for damages. The damages include compensation which goes above and beyond reimbursement for incurred and future medical expenses and includes an amount for general damages for pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of amenities of life and loss of enjoyment of life. Since a spinal cord injury and paralysis can have permanent and life-altering effects, a damage award will also include compensation for things like ongoing health care and rehabilitation, the cost of assistive devices (like motorized wheelchairs), and modifications to the innocent victim’s home such as access ramps and stair lifts.
Spinal Cord Treatment Cost
One common issue that arises in paraplegia or quadriplegia injuries in Alberta, given the high level of government health care assistance, is that the defendant insurance company’s lawyer will argue that the government is paying for many of the current treatment costs, and will continue to do so in the future. The problem with this argument is that a spinal cord injury that results in paralysis is a lifelong injury and there’s no guarantee that the current government benefits assisting the innocent victim will be available five years from now, ten years from now, or twenty years from now.
Therefore, a spinal cord injury lawyer must strenuously argue against such a reduction on the basis that this is NOT an “exercise in how to save money” for the auto insurance company. This is because there is a wrongdoer who is responsible for the spinal cord injury and if there’s any issue at all in the long-term future about whether the spinal cord injury victim will have sufficient money for proper treatment in the future the doubt should be resolved in favour of the victim, not in favour of the wrongdoer!
In order for a trial judge to be convinced of this at trial, or the defendant insurance company at a meditation to be convinced of this, the spinal cord injury victim’s lawyer must lead evidence about the government programs and the future of the government programs and the likelihood of those programs being retained.