NYC Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
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Spinal cord injuries can happen in almost any type of accident. A car accident could result in a hyperextended spine or severed spinal cord. A fall in a workplace or a construction accident in the crowded streets of New York City could fracture a vertebra or damage a disc, causing pressure on your spinal cord.
After a spinal cord injury, you could require extensive medical care, physical therapy, medication, and even help with your daily tasks. You will probably need time off from work to recover from your injuries. Financial pressures can mount as you balance your loss of income with your medical bills and living expenses.
Patients undergoing treatment for a spinal cord injury in New York City have access to some of the best care available in the United States. Manhattan is home to world-class treatment facilities including the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center and Mt. Sinai Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center. Unfortunately, such care can be expensive.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries happen when something—such as disease or trauma—disrupts the nerves in your spinal cord. This disruption could cause the spinal cord to misfire or stop carrying nerve signals.
When a spinal cord injury includes severed nerves, you will experience paralysis.
A compressed nerve will become irritated and inflamed. Inflammation disrupts the nerve’s ability to carry signals and can cause the nerve to misfire.
Nerve roots branch from your spinal cord at fixed locations. The location of a spinal cord injury determines its severity. An injury in the neck or cervical spine will affect the entire body. An injury in the thoracic or lumbar spine will affect the abdomen, hips and legs.
Diseases such as multiple sclerosis, cancer, and spinal meningitis can damage the spinal cord. A severed nerve cannot carry a nerve signal.
Some accidents involve such powerful forces that the vertebrae or discs pinch or sever the spinal cord. In New York City, spinal cord injury accidents can happen in a number of ways. Traffic collisions are common on New York’s notoriously chaotic streets, and it has among the highest number of construction accidents — another common cause of NYC spinal cord injuries — of any city in the country.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents can impose significant force on your spinal column. When you collide with a vehicle or stationary object, your body wants to keep moving in the same direction and speed as before the collision. Your spine will bend and twist to keep your body together.
As it moves, your spine hyperextends. The vertebrae and discs separate. When you come to a stop, your spine compresses, and the vertebrae and discs crash against each other. This hyperextension and compression can cause spine injuries that, in turn, cause spinal cord injuries.
Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, particularly the parts that run through Bed-Stuy, East New York, and Cypress Hills, is a hotspot for both automobile and pedestrian collisions, accidents that commonly lead to spinal cord injuries.
Medical malpractice happens when a healthcare provider fails to provide reasonable care under the circumstances. Medical errors can lead to misdiagnoses, where a doctor fails to diagnose you with diseases, conditions, or other causes of spinal cord injuries. As a result, you might not receive the medical care you need to prevent a spinal cord injury.
Medical malpractice can also happen when a doctor commits a treatment error. An anesthesiologist could damage your spinal cord while administering drugs into the spine for an epidural.
Falls are one of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries. Like car accidents, a fall can damage your spine and injure your spinal cord. The impact of the fall can drive bone fragments into your spinal canal and sever your spinal cord.
The abundance of multi-story buildings in New York City create an especially serious risk of falls. Premier real estate companies including Corcoran, Douglas Elliman, and Compass, sell luxury high-rise apartment buildings, such as Manhattan House on the Upper East Side, throughout the city.
Improperly maintained fire escapes can cause fall hazards, as can rooftops that often don’t feature safety railings. Every year, falls from locations like these lead to spinal cord injuries in New York City and can cause serious suffering.
Symptoms Based on the Type of Spinal Cord Injury
Complete Spinal Cord Injury
A complete spinal cord injury happens when the spinal cord gets fully severed in an accident. With no nerve connections, you will lose all nerve signals between the brain and the body below the injury. This will result in paralysis.
Two common types of complete spinal cord injuries include quadriplegia and paraplegia. Quadriplegia happens when you suffer a spinal cord injury in the cervical spine running through your neck. As a result, you will experience paralysis from the neck down. Doctors also refer to quadriplegia as “tetraplegia.”
Paraplegia happens when you suffer a spinal cord injury in your thoracic or lumbar spine. In paraplegia, you will experience paralysis below the injury in your abdomen, hips, and legs.
Confronting paralysis can be difficult and requires enormous adjustments to lifestyle. People experiencing this major life change do not need to navigate it alone. NYC Spinal, the New York City chapter of the United Spinal Association, can help you discover resources to help with mobility and transportation and can connect you with supportive peer mentors.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury
In an incomplete spinal cord injury, some but not all of the connections between your brain and body get severed. Again, the location of your injury will determine your symptoms. An incomplete spinal cord injury in your cervical spine may affect your shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. An incomplete spinal cord injury in your thoracic or lumbar spine might affect only your hips, legs, feet, or toes.
In some cases, you can recover some nerve functions through neuroplastic changes. In this process, the brain remaps functions to the nerves that did not suffer any damage. Depending on the severity of your incomplete spinal cord injury, you might recover some nerve functions through neuroplasticity.
Spinal Cord Compression Injury
Spinal cord compression happens when your injury damages but does not sever the spinal cord. A compressed spinal cord can produce a range of symptoms. Some symptoms of a compressed nerve include:
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness or tingling
- Loss of dexterity and coordination
Doctors can sometimes relieve the pressure on your spinal cord by removing a disc or fusing vertebrae to stabilize your spine.
Getting Compensation for Your Spinal Cord Injury
When you suffer a spinal cord injury as a result of another’s actions, you can pursue injury compensation. You should contact a law firm that focuses on personal injury law to discuss your injury claim and the compensation you can seek.
To get compensation, you must prove that the other party intentionally or negligently caused your injury. After you prove the at-fault party’s liability for your injury, you and your personal injury lawyer can recover damages. Your compensation could cover your economic and non-economic losses.
Economic losses cover all of the ways your spinal cord injury affects you financially. These losses can include out-of-pocket expenses like medical expenses. They also include lost income while you recover from your injuries and diminished earning capacity from permanent disabilities.
Diminished earning capacity could make up a substantial part of your settlement or verdict. A catastrophic injury like paralysis will last for the rest of your life and may prevent you from ever working again. As a result, you can seek fair compensation for the money you would have earned over the rest of your working life.
Non-economic losses compensate you for all of the ways your injuries diminished your quality of life. These losses include:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of function
- Reduced enjoyment of life
Your spinal cord injury could cause symptoms ranging from paralysis to pain to loss of bowel and bladder control. The reduction in your quality of life resulting from these symptoms justifies fair compensation from the at-fault party.
Filing A Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit In NYC
Most spinal cord injuries qualify as “catastrophic” by law. These are injuries that result in permanent consequences, such as loss of movement or ability to work. Catastrophic injuries have long-term effects that interfere with the rest of the victim’s life. They are often highly disruptive to the individual and his or her family. People living with SCIs commonly require permanent live-in care or medical supervision, as well as a lifetime of medical costs, rehabilitation, and home or vehicle modifications.
The expenses that go along with a spine injury can be massive, making it all the more important to retain a New York City personal injury attorney who can help maximize the amount of your claim. Catastrophic injuries are so extensive that the civil courts of NYC deal with them differently than other damages. If the plaintiff has evidence, such as medical records or testimony from a physician, that his or her SCI will result in long-term health effects, the courts will order compensation that should last a lifetime.
Did you know?
If there is more than one defendant responsible for causing the harm, such as a negligent driver and the manufacturer of a defective seatbelt, both may owe the victim compensation.
If the plaintiff is a percentage at fault for his or her injuries, the courts may award partial compensation based on the state’s pure comparative negligence laws. The amount of compensation will be reduced by the plaintiff’s percentage of fault. For instance, the plaintiff would receive $800,000 of a million-dollar settlement if the courts find him/her 20% at fault for the incident. For more information regarding lawsuits in New York City, reach out to a dedicated New York City spinal cord injury lawyer.
Get Legal Help From Meirowitz & Wasserberg, LLP
Spinal cord injuries are incredibly serious. They deserve attention from experienced personal injury lawyers in NYC. Samuel Meirowitz and Daniel Wasserberg have decades of combined experience representing catastrophic injury claims. They banded together after working as neighbor litigators in a prominent New York plaintiff’s firm. Since the creation of their partnership, they’ve helped hundreds of clients recover from serious injuries, including those with lifelong ramifications on the victim and his/her family.
Whether your spinal cord injury occurred in the workplace or in a car accident, we have the resources to go after the responsible party with the full power of the law. If your case has to go to trial to recover just compensation, our New York City spinal cord injury lawyers welcome the challenge. Our reputation for excellence will work in your favor in and out of the courtroom. We want to strive for maximum compensation for your medical costs, lost enjoyment of life, lost employment opportunities, and your myriad of other losses due to your spine injury. For more information, schedule a free consultation online.
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