The term “quadriplegia” refers to a loss of function in both arms and both legs. (“Paraplegia” is the loss of use of two extremities.) Such an injury may result from a motor vehicle collision, an encounter with a defective product, or an incident of medical malpractice, among other situations. Regardless of the cause, both the victim and his or her family will likely experience deep grief, frustration, and anxiety. If you are seeking to hold accountable someone whose careless actions caused a devastating accident, the Pembroke Pines injury lawyers at Cohn and Smith can help you assert your rights.Pursuing Compensation for Quadriplegia through a Negligence Claim
Cases arising from accidents resulting in quadriplegia usually proceed under a legal theory known as negligence. In contrast to criminal cases, the burden of proof in civil cases involving accidental injuries is a preponderance of the evidence. This means that a plaintiff can prevail if he or she can prove that, more likely than not, his or her version of the facts is accurate. This is a much more lenient burden than the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.
It is important to file a claim in a timely manner so that you preserve your rights. The Florida statute of limitations generally gives a plaintiff four years in which to file a lawsuit, and two years in wrongful death cases.
Proving negligence is a four-step process. First, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed him or her a legal duty of care. In most ordinary situations, this is equated with the degree of precaution that a reasonable person would use in the same circumstances as the defendant. However, the standard of care may be more complex in some situations involving medical malpractice or other professional negligence.
Second, there must be proof that the defendant breached the duty that was owed. This may require introducing lay testimony, such as eyewitnesses’ accounts of an automobile accident, as well as expert testimony, which may be a requirement in a medical malpractice or product liability case.
The last two steps are causation and damages. The accident must have been a direct result of the defendant’s careless or reckless actions, and quantifiable costs and losses must have ensued. These may be both economic and non-economic, including past and future medical bills, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering. Also, the spouse of a quadriplegic accident victim may be able to seek compensation for loss of spousal consortium.
Under the doctrine of pure comparative fault, a plaintiff who was partly responsible for causing an accident still may be able to receive a damages award that is proportionate to the defendant’s degree of responsibility. For example, if a jury assesses $500,000 in damages and assigns 20 percent of the fault to the plaintiff, an award of $400,000 likely will be available.Consult a Pembroke Pines Lawyer Knowledgeable in Injury Claims
People who need legal advice after a devastating accident should explore their options with the Pembroke Pines injury attorneys at Cohn & Smith. We are here to help guide you through the process of seeking fair compensation for what you have been through and for what you may face in the years to come. If you have lost a loved one in a tragic turn of events, our wrongful death lawyers can assist your family with compassion and tenacity. To schedule a free consultation, call us at (954) 431-8100 or contact us online. We also represent victims and their families in Fort Lauderdale, Davie, Hollywood, Aventura, Tamarac, Weston, Coral Springs, and communities throughout North Dade County.