The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are close to 200,000 people in the United States currently living with spinal cord injuries. Another 12,000-20,000 people, or 40-plus cases per million, sustain spinal cord injuries each year.
If you’ve been involved in some type of personal injury accident that has caused a spinal cord injury, whether a car accident, slip-and-fall accident, work-related accident or another type of accident, you know firsthand how devastating the effects can be.
When a spinal cord injury is the result of someone else’s negligence, the victim may have a right to sue for compensation. This may include compensation for pain and suffering caused by the injury and money to help pay for the medical care (perhaps ongoing) that will be required to treat the injury and see to the injured person’s rehabilitation. If a permanent disability results, compensation may be needed for long-term care as well.
At the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we do everything we can to improve the quality of life for victims of spinal cord injuries caused by the negligence of others. We aggressively pursue the long-term compensation required for medical care and replacement of earnings, plus damages for the personal toll on the victim and the family.
Personal injury, handled personally. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries often occur as a result of traffic accidents, sports accidents, falls, work-related accidents or violence. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) lists the most common causes of spinal cord injuries as:
- Vehicle-related accidents – 36.5 percent.
- Falls – 28.5 percent.
- Acts of violence – 14.3 percent.
- Other/unknown – 11.4 percent
- Sports and recreation – 9.2 percent.
Spinal cord injuries tend to occur in these types of accidents and incidents as a result of a severe impact.
When a car accident occurs, it is not uncommon for occupants to be violently thrust forward, backward or from side to side. This rapid motion can cause injury to the vertebrae, as well as severing nerves, ligaments and tendons surrounding the spinal cord. Falls and sports activities may result in a violent impact or blow to the body that may cause fracturing, dislocation of discs, compression of vertebrae and more. Physical abuse or an assault involving a knife or gun can also cause permanent spinal cord damage, particularly when a blow or wound crushes a vertebra or severs the spinal cord.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Many spinal cord injuries lead to life-changing effects, such as an immediate change in mobility for the injured person. Even relatively “minor” injuries can cause lifelong pain and suffering, even if permanent paralysis does not result.
Spinal cord injuries may cause either complete or partial paralysis. When an individual sustains a partial or incomplete spinal cord injury, it means that not all sensation and movement is lost. There is simply a partial block in the ability of messages to be sent back and forth through the nerves in the spinal cord between the body and the brain.
Complete spinal cord injuries result in total loss of motor function and a lack of sensory function below the site of injury. It is important to note that a complete injury does not necessary mean an individual will never regain the ability to stand or walk, although such recoveries are rare.
Spinal cord injuries are also categorized by which parts of the body they affect:
- Quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia) – A cervical spinal cord injury to upper portion of the spinal cord (C1-C8) can lead to weakness or paralysis in both a person’s arms and legs. This is referred to as quadriplegia or tetraplegia, both of which loosely translate as “paralysis of four limbs.” This type of injury may also cause respiratory problems, bowel or bladder troubles, sexual dysfunction and a loss or diminished physical sensation.
- Paraplegia – When a spinal cord injury occurs at the thoracic level (T1-T12), lumbar level (L1-L5) or sacral level (S1-S5), it can lead to weakness or paralysis in the two lower limbs (legs). This is referred to as paraplegia. Some individuals may also experience a loss of physical sensation or problems with hips, bowel, bladder or sexual function. Arms, hands and upper body are not affected by this type of spinal cord injury.
Time Limits for Filing Spinal Cord Injury Claims in New York
Depending on the jurisdiction and type of accident, as well as the location of the accident, you generally have roughly 90 days to file a notice of claim in New York, and a year plus 90 days from the date the accident occurred to file a lawsuit. Therefore, it’s imperative that you contact a New York personal injury attorney if you or a loved one has experienced a spinal cord injury as soon as possible for a consultation.
What a Personal Injury Lawyer can do for You
Although insurance companies are quick to try to settle these types of cases because it costs them less money to do so, never agree to a settlement without first seeking legal counsel. Instead, hire a personal injury lawyer who can represent you and take the case to trial if needed.
At our firm, we will have one of our skilled attorneys carefully review your case free of charge. If the spinal cord injury is the result of an act of negligence, we will fight to get you compensation you deserve, based on the severity of your injury and the long-term impact on your quality of life and earning capacity.
It is imperative that you DO NOT negotiate with the insurance company by yourself. Doing so could leave you without the financial resources necessary to take care of yourself or your loved ones during the long recovery process or in the event you’re permanently disabled and are never able to return to work.
It should set your mind at ease to know that it will cost you no money up front to consult with a New York personal injury lawyer from our law firm. We realize you probably already have some significant financial burdens in your life, and the last thing you need is to worry about one more. To that end, your personal injury lawyer will charge you nothing upfront and will only collect a portion of your award or settlement if you win.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, get help now from the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP. We have collected millions for our clients and we are committed to helping pursue the same outcome for you. Contact us at 866-895-0420 so we can evaluate your situation and determine whether you may be eligible for compensation.
- CDC – Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Fact Sheet
- NSCISC – Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance
- Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation – What is my injury all about, and what is meant by complete vs. incomplete?
For a free legal consultation with a Personal Injury lawyer serving Long Island, call 516-358-6900