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New York City Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

An injury to your spinal cord can result in serious, lifelong consequences such as decreased movement, full or partial paralysis and even affect body organ function. Spinal cord injuries deserve serious attention. Even if you have escaped the worst, for the time being, only thorough medical diagnosis and care give you a chance to avoid long-term ramifications from your injury.

The New York City injury lawyers at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP can help you connect with physicians who can provide an accurate picture of your current condition, your future prognosis and the care you are likely to need in the future. This information is essential to building your case and determining what kind of settlement can ensure that your future needs will be covered.

If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligence of another party, you have the right to seek compensation. You can be reimbursed for your medical expenses, lost wages or lost earning potential and pain and suffering.  If you require long-term care or therapy, a personal injury lawsuit can help cover the costs associated with treatment.

Our  NYC spinal cord accident attorneys at Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP, have helped many New Yorkers with spinal cord injuries and have secured more than one billion dollars in awards. We understand the long-term consequences our clients face after their injuries and are willing to do all we can to seek full and fair compensation. Schedule a $0 consultation with us today.

Who is Liable for My NYC Spinal Cord Injury?

Any parties responsible, or partially responsible, for causing your spinal cord injury can be held liable. Evidence will need to be shown to either prove the injury was a result of someone’s negligence and/or caused by a defective product.

Defendants typically include the person directly responsible (like the driver in a car accident), equipment manufacturers (like the producer of a faulty airbag or seatbelt), faulty equipment designers, the company that sold the defective equipment, and/or property managers.

What Types of Compensation Can I Claim After My Injury?

When filing a personal injury lawsuit for a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, your New York City spinal cord injury lawyer is seeking a monetary award meant to compensate you for the losses you have endured. This compensation is called damages, and the amount awarded is for the purpose of restoring the injured party to their condition before the accident. Here are the types of damages you can claim:

Medical Expenses

The costs associated with medical care can be quite extensive in a spinal cord injury case. In addition to the immediate treatment received when the injury occurred, there may be a need for ongoing health care and rehabilitation since reduced mobility and incontinence are often encountered.

You may also require devices to assist you in daily life (like a motorized wheelchair), and modifications to your home (like stair lifts or access ramps). Taking these future costs into account in addition to the present costs is of absolute importance when filing your claim, as medical debt can further devastate you and your family.

Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity

The wages lost while you were recovering can be claimed until you are able to return to work. Unfortunately, most victims of spinal cord injuries are unable to return full-time and must work part-time, possibly take a lower-paying job, or even not be able to return to work at all.

Therefore, the wages you have lost during recovery, as well as the wages you will lose in the future as a result of your injury, can be claimed. An experienced spinal cord injury attorney in New York City will be able to help with putting numbers to those losses.

Physical Pain and Suffering

The pain and discomfort you experienced in the accident and immediately following it may entitle you to compensation, as well as any pain that is ongoing. Long-term side effects of an SCI can include difficulty walking, inability to control bladder and bowel movements, sexual dysfunction, and in more serious cases confinement to a wheelchair or bed. All of which require doctor’s visits, physical therapy, and medications.

Emotional Distress

The impact your injury may have on you psychologically is capable of being devastating. Some of the dreams you may have had may now be unrealistic due to your physical limitations and your relationships with the people around you may change. Coming to terms with your new reality may lead to emotional distress such as fear, anxiety, and a loss of sleep.

Loss of Enjoyment

You may not be able to enjoy day-to-day activities or hobbies any longer due to your physical state.

Loss of Consortium and Companionship

This typically relates to the impact your injury has had on your relationship with your spouse. The injury can cause a loss of companionship with your spouse and maintaining a sexual relationship may no longer be an option. The impact an injury has on a parent/child relationship may also be considered in some states. In some cases, this award is given to the spouse or affected family member instead of to the plaintiff that suffered the injury.

You may be entitled to receive punitive damages if it is proven that the party which caused your injury acted in an egregious manner or exhibited gross forms of negligence.

What to Do After a Spinal Cord Injury Accident

Car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, responsible for 38.3% of cases. Being involved in an accident is frightening, especially when your spinal cord is injured. These steps you take after can be crucial to your health and to your case:

Protect Yourself

Stay as still as possible and call 911. To prevent further damage, do not move and do not allow others to move you unless you are in the way of danger or unless they are paramedics. It is okay to let someone take preventative measures such as holding your head to keep it still or placing heavy towels against each side of your neck.

Collect Information

Following an accident it is important for the drivers to exchange personal and car insurance information as well as take pictures and/or video of the scene, but you may be incapable of that if you are unable to move. If you have a passenger with you that isn’t injured then they can exchange the information for you as well as document the damage. If not, the police on the scene will create a report that will contain all of the information needed. If possible, get a copy of this report and bring it when you consult with a New York City spinal cord injury lawyer.

Medical Care

An ambulance will take you to a hospital for treatment immediately following an accident. After suffering a spinal cord injury, prompt treatment offers the best chance for recovering function. Another reason medical care is of absolute importance is that you may be in shock or experiencing an adrenaline rush so you may not be aware of other injuries you sustained. Continuing ongoing treatment if needed and following all of the doctor’s recommendations will contribute to getting you the compensation you deserve, whether it be by settlement or by taking your case to trial.

Documentation

Medical records are vital to your case, but the more documentation you have in addition to them will only strengthen your case. Take photos of your injuries, keep copies of all X-rays and medical reports, maintain a log of your symptoms and severity of pain, and let your doctor know when a new symptom develops.

Speak to an Experienced NYC Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

Finding a spinal cord injury lawyer in New York with extensive experience in spinal cord injury cases to advocate for you will help alleviate some of the stress you’re enduring and allow you to focus on your recovery. They will be able to guide you through the complicated legal process of obtaining compensation for the SCI you have suffered due to someone else’s negligence and/or because of a defective product.

The Short & Long Term Effects of A Spinal Cord Injury

Suffering a spinal cord injury can have a crushing impact on every aspect of a person’s life. From the unanticipated accident causing agonizing pain to the insane amount of medical bills piling up, quality of life has drastically changed and it can be incredibly overwhelming.

It is necessary to not only comprehend the short-term effects but the long-term effects that you will be facing as well. This will help you understand why you need to seek compensation for your injury.

Possible Short-Term Effects :

  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Bladder and urinary tract infections
  • Exaggerated reflex activities or spasms
  • Pain or an intense stinging sensation caused by damage to the nerve fibers
  • Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
  • Blood clots
  • Autonomic dysreflexia (can occur with injuries to Thoracic level 6 & above)
  • Pneumonia (can occur with cervical and mid-thoracic level injuries)
  • Skin ulcers & pressure sores
  • Low blood pressure (most common with quadriplegia)
  • Spasticity
  • Pain

First Year Cost of Care

The first year of treatment for a person suffering from high tetraplegia will cost around one million dollars, according to the NSCISC (National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center). A person with low tetraplegia can expect about $796,000 in medical expenses and paraplegia victims around $537,000. People that have sustained an injury at any level that caused incomplete motor function will incur an estimated $359,000 for care.

Specific Types of Spinal Cord Injuries & Their Long-Term Effects

The location of where the injury occurred plays a huge role in determining the extent of short-term effects and long-term damage. There are three main levels of injuries:

High Tetraplegia: C1-C4 Vertebrae Injury

Total body paralysis, this level of injury impairs the ability to move and feel from the neck down. You may need assistance for breathing and may experience incontinence. Dependence on others for basic life needs may be necessary.

Low Tetraplegia: C5-C8 Vertebrae Injury

May result in partial shoulder, elbow, and hand movements. May be unable to walk and need assistance with self-care. Breathing is typically unaffected.

Paraplegia: Thoracic or Lumbar Vertebrae Injury

All upper extremity function typically remains normal, impairment occurs only below the waist. The lower the injury on the spine, the lower the impairment. Some people may be able to walk short distances with the use of braces or a walker.

After an SCI occurs, the spinal cord typically swells which can impact every system in the body. As the swelling decreases, you may regain some functioning, but it is rare to recover all function. According to the Shepherd Center, patients with an incomplete SCI (still some function below the level of injury), functioning can be regained as late as 18 months. It is very rare to regain functioning years later.

Lifetime Costs

In the table below are the average amounts of lifetime costs based on the age when the injury occurred, courtesy of NSCISC. These figures are associated with medical care and living expenses, such as hospitalization(s), medical consultations, surgery, prescription drugs, medical devices, alternative medical treatments, and caregiving costs. Shockingly, these estimates do not include the indirect costs associated with an SCI, such as loss of fringe benefits, wages, and productivity. The center reports that these indirect costs would add around $74,500 per year in 2017 dollars.

Severity of Injury 25 Years Old 50 Years Old
High Tetraplegia (C1-C4) ASIS ABC $4,891,398 $2,688,229
Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) ASIS ABC $3,573,960 $2,198,305
Paraplegia ASIS ABC          $2,391,872 $1,569,714
Incomplete motor function (any level) ASIS D $1,634,139 $1,153,420

Because of the traumatic nature of a spinal cord injury, the physical and financial effects last a lifetime, affecting not only the injured person but their family as well. Your NYC spinal cord injury attorney will work closely with you to get to know your life and family in order to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve in order to provide the long-term help you need.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries happen most often when the neck or spine are bent or compressed. The kinds of accidents that lead to these terrible injuries most commonly include:

  • Vehicle crashes
  • Falls
  • Diving and trampoline accidents
  • Acts of violence, including gunshot or stabbing wounds
  • Sport and recreation injuries

Each of these events has the potential to cause a violent shock to the spinal cord. Bullets or knife blades can pierce the spinal cord.

Other Risk Factors

Other conditions and injury types have the potential to lead to spinal cord damage. Between the vertebrae in your spine sit rubbery cushions of tissue, or disc, that help to absorb shock. The discs have a soft inner layer and a harder outer layer.

Trauma or repeated lifting can cause a tear or weakness in the that causes fluid from the inner layer to leak into the spinal canal. This is known as a “herniated disc.” If the herniation is serious enough, there is a risk of damage to the spinal cord.

A vertebra can fracture as the result of a hard fall, a car accident or other sudden, forceful injury. This is known as a “compression fractures,” as too much pressure has been placed on the bone. Depending on how the bone breaks, it is possible that the spinal cord will be injured as well.

Top 10 Causes of SPI in the United States

America Spinal Cord Injury Top Causes

According to the 2017 annual report by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the top 5 causes of spinal cord injuries are:

  1. Car accidents
  2. Falls
  3. Gunshot wounds
  4. Motorcycle accidents
  5. Diving

New York City Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

  • 1,000 New York residents suffer traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCI) each year.
  • The average age at the time of injury is 43.
  • Car accidents are the leading cause of SCIs, responsible for 38.3% of incidents.
  • The most common effect is incomplete tetraplegia, the partial loss of use of all four limbs and torso, happening in 47.2% of cases.
  • Average hospital stay for care is 11 days and a stay for rehabilitation typically takes 34 days.
  • Less than 1% of persons experience complete recovery by the time they are discharged from the hospital.
  • 17,700 new cases of spinal cord injuries are developing annually in the United States, not including those who pass at the scene of a fatal accident.
  • 78% of new SCIs are affecting males.
  • Approximately 288,000 people are living with a spinal cord injury in the U.S.

These facts are courtesy of the New York State Department of Health Spinal Cord Injury Research Board (SCIRB) and the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.

Contact Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP Today

If you have suffered a serious SCI injury, contact our New York City spinal cord injury attorneys today for a free and confidential case evaluation.  We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is never a fee unless we win.