The Unique Challenges of Spinal Cord Injury Cases

Updated on June 11, 2021

Spinal cord injury cases are unique. There are many nuances that can make these types of cases difficult to prosecute and very different from other types of injury cases. These nuances can create a variety of challenges for defendants and plaintiffs.

For a spinal injury, finding a skilled spinal cord injury lawyer should be your priority. 

The Differences Between Spinal Cord Injury Cases and Other Cases

Spinal cord injury cases differ from other types of injury cases because there are so many potential complications. 

There are many subtle ways in which an injury can occur to the spinal cord. Unlike a fractured arm or a crushed knee, the injury may not be immediately clear and therefore requires a neuroimaging examination of the patient to confirm the diagnosis. Only a competent neurosurgeon who has conducted an exhaustive neuropathological examination of the injury will recognize the injury and be able to detect the path to the injury. 

A neuropathologist will examine all the tissues and organs of the body. Neuropathology is the scientific study of disease in tissues and organs. With spinal cord injury, this exam includes the lumbar and sacral spine.

The Unique Challenges Spinal Cord Injury Cases Pose

In spinal cord injury cases, it’s not just about medical expenses and pain and suffering. Damages can include compensation for lost wages, the cost of a caregiver, and more. Since a spinal cord injury can have permanent and life-altering effects, a damages award can also include compensation for things like ongoing health care and rehabilitation, the cost of assistive devices (like motorized wheelchairs), and modifications to the injury victim’s home.

It’s common in spinal cord injury cases for a defendant to argue that the injured person is to blame for the accident. The argument is that the injured person is at fault because they didn’t take necessary precautions and therefore contributed to the injury. 

For example, since alcohol is a factor in many spinal cord injuries (about 1 in 4 cases according to the Mayo Clinic), a defendant might argue that the injured person’s intoxication was the main cause of the accident and the resulting injuries.

Some of the most common defenses used in personal injury cases are contributory negligence and comparative negligence. Contributory negligence is a legal term that describes the victim’s carelessness contributed to the injury, while comparative negligence is a law that takes into account the responsibility of the defendant.

The Unique Challenges for Defendants

Foremost, if a plaintiff is at-fault for a spinal cord injury, he or she will probably be seeking to settle, either in court or through a confidential out-of-court settlement. A criminal trial presents a defendant with a dilemma. The trial will require his or her medical records, MRI’s, X-rays, and other evidence. 

The defendant must also deal with a criminal jury. When potential jurors become aware of a plaintiff’s claim that the defendant caused the injury, a number of jurors may not serve on the jury. Furthermore, a jury will also question the motives of the defendant as well. Lastly, for many patients, the defendant may not want to talk about his or her case in court. A defendant may have already been involved in a court case with another patient.

The Unique Challenges for Plaintiffs

One of  the biggest challenges for victims of spinal cord injuries is getting the proper medical care. Finding a pain management specialist who is willing to work with these kinds of victims can be especially difficult. Finding long-term rehab near to home is often a challenge.  

The Issue of Negligence

Negligence is a legal theory that’s used in most spinal cord injury lawsuits because it covers injuries that are the direct result of someone else’s carelessness. Negligence usually means that the defendant did not live up to the standard of care expected.

If your spine injury is due to the negligence of another, a skilled spinal cord injury knows what to look for when examining the scene of the accident. The defendant will have to be at fault, meaning they are legally responsible for your injuries.

If you’re injured by a defective or dangerous product, you can find some peace of mind knowing that you can hold the company accountable for your pain and suffering. On the other hand, the plaintiff bears the burden of proof that the product was used properly. 


Spinal cord injury lawsuits are a whole different ballgame than typical injury cases. They typically involve more complex legal and medical issues, so if you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit you should definitely speak with a lawyer who specializes in spinal cord injury litigation.

If you or someone you love has been in an accident and suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to file a lawsuit and get the compensation you deserve.  A qualified and skilled spinal cord injury lawyer will do what it takes to ensure that happens. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.