Bronx Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
Injuries to your spinal cord can result in a lifetime of pain or limitations. The spinal cord enables your brain to communicate commands to the rest of your body and to receive sensory information from your body’s extremities. When your spinal cord is damaged, the consequences can be catastrophic. You may experience significant pain or face mobility challenges.
The United States sees approximately 17,000 new spinal cord injuries (SCI) annually. That means, on average, over 1,400 people every month, or almost 50 people per day, injure their spinal cords.
Spinal cord injuries do not happen without reason. You will not sustain an SCI while doing nothing. But your chance of suffering an SCI increases dramatically when other people make poor or careless choices that place your safety at risk.
A drunk driver or reckless coworker can, in a moment, cause a spinal cord injury that affects you for the rest of your life.
When another person’s carelessness leads to you suffering an SCI, your Bronx spinal cord injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond is ready to step up on your behalf. Through experienced and effective advocacy, Mr. Diamond endeavors to protect your legal interests and fight for you in and out of court.
He will use his energy and knowledge to help you secure a compensation award to help you address your injury’s costs.
Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
As the name implies, every SCI involves some trauma inflicted on the spinal cord from an outside source. Yet there are a variety of ways to classify spinal cord injuries. When you suffer a spinal cord injury, your doctor or hospital staff may classify your SCI to better describe the nature and effect of your trauma.
Complete Versus Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries
First, a spinal cord injury can be categorized as either complete or incomplete. A complete spinal cord injury happens when the spinal cord has been completely severed in one or more locations. Because the spinal column and its vertebrae protect the spinal cord, a complete spinal cord injury suggests you suffered a severe traumatic injury.
Complete spinal cord injuries result in no function whatsoever below the location of the injury. A complete SCI may never fully heal, and the effects of such an injury are likely permanent.
An incomplete SCI, by contrast, is one wherein the spinal cord is damaged but not completely severed. The trauma inflicted on you is likely less than the amount of trauma needed for a complete SCI.
With an incomplete SCI, you may retain some functioning below the level of the injury. There is also a greater chance that your functionality will return once your injury heals.
Thoracic, Sacral, Lumbar, and Cervical Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury can also be classified according to the location of the injury. Knowing the location of the injury can inform you and your medical team what body parts are likely to be impacted.
For example, a thoracic spinal cord injury begins in the region where your top rib attaches to your spine. An injury in this area can cause paraplegia, which is the inability to use your legs. It can also impact your chest region.
The region immediately above the thoracic area is the cervical region. This area extends down your neck and upper back. A cervical SCI has the greatest chance of impacting the rest of your body, including your arms and legs. A severe cervical SCI can lead to quadriplegia, or the inability to use your arms or legs.
Below the thoracic region is the lumbar area, followed by the sacral area. These represent the lower back region and the hip region, respectively. Injuries to these areas can affect your hips and legs but will not affect parts of your body above these areas.
Compensation for All Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Whether your spinal cord injury is complete or incomplete, and wherever along your spinal cord the trauma was inflicted, you will likely incur significant costs and expenses due to your SCI. Some of these expenses will be one-time costs, while others may be expenses you will unfortunately have for the remainder of your life.
In all situations where another person’s carelessness caused your SCI, you may have the right to pursue a compensation claim against the responsible party. Let The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond review your case with you and advise you of your legal rights and how to assert them through a personal injury lawsuit.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
It takes a traumatic event to inflict damage on the spinal cord. Some of the most frequently encountered events and circumstances that can cause a sufficient amount of trauma to the spinal cord and lead to an SCI include the following:
Falls include falling from a height, such as from a ladder, and slips and falls or trips and falls you might sustain in a store or other public place. These events may be caused by another person’s negligence or reckless conduct, such as someone who pushes you or bumps you off the subway platform or a store that does not adequately clean up a spill.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), about 31 percent of all traumatic SCIs result from falls.
Auto Accidents and Truck Accidents
The NSCISC’s statistics next show that about four out of every ten traumatic spinal cord injuries result from a motor vehicle crash. This makes vehicle accidents the leading cause of traumatically inflicted spinal cord injuries in the United States.
Car wrecks happen for various reasons, but negligence or recklessness is a common theme among all of them.
Examples of car accident causes include:
- Driving while distracted, either by a cell phone or something else
- Driving while impaired by alcohol, drugs, or prescription medications
- Disobeying speed limits or other safety rules
- Violating New York’s right-of-way laws at intersections and merge points
- Engaging in road rage or aggressive driving behaviors
A driver who carelessly or recklessly causes a crash that results in an SCI can be held responsible for the past and future costs you will face because of your SCI.
Crimes and Acts of Violence
The third-most common cause of spinal cord injuries includes acts of violence like assault. About 13.5 percent of traumatic spinal cord injuries are the result of an act of physical violence. Within this category, gunshots are a common cause of spinal cord injuries if a bullet strikes you in the back or hits your spinal column.
In most situations, an act of violence suggests reckless or intentional conduct. However, you could also receive a gunshot wound or severe blunt force trauma from carelessness. Your hunting partner, for example, may carelessly discharge their firearm and strike you in the back while the two of you are hunting.
Whether the violence happens because of intentional or careless conduct, the person who committed the act may be responsible for paying you compensation for your spinal cord injury-related expenses.
Other Traumatic Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The remaining 15 percent of spinal cord injuries caused by a traumatic event, according to the NSCISC, are caused by sports injuries (eight percent), medical or surgical errors (about four percent), and miscellaneous “other” causes (three percent).
In these situations, if your SCI comes about because another person was not acting carefully and reasonably under the circumstances, you may have a right to sue for compensation. A personal injury lawyer can evaluate your case and help you decide whether to file a lawsuit.
Typical Losses and Compensation for Spinal Cord Injuries
Through a personal injury lawsuit, your New York spinal cord injury lawyer will help you identify losses and expenses you incurred because of your spinal cord injury and pursue the responsible party for compensation.
While your case is unique and the financial toll you suffer will depend on several factors, you can reasonably expect to pay:
- Hospital bills and surgery costs
- Ongoing medical bills and treatment
- Lost pay due to missed work and reduced earning potential in the future
- Rehabilitative services and therapy
- Emotional distress and mental anguish caused by the accident and injury
Each of these expenses, and other related costs, is potentially compensable through a successful lawsuit. Enlisting the services of The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond can provide you access to the resources you need to make pursuing your claim easier and less stressful.
Frequently Asked Questions About Spinal Cord Injuries in New York
When you retain the services of the experienced spinal cord injury lawyer at The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond, you can access a reputable attorney’s wealth of knowledge and guidance.
This information resource works to help you better understand your spinal cord injury case and what to expect moving forward. Questions about your SCI lawsuit might include the following:
What is the spinal cord and what are spinal cord injuries?
The spinal cord consists of nerves and fibers that deliver the signals from your brain to the appropriate parts of your body. The spinal cord resides in the spinal canal, which is contained within the vertebrae. The vertebrae and the muscles around the spinal cord help protect it from damage, but they cannot protect it from all damage.
Doctors describe spinal cord injuries based on the point on the spine where nerve function is interrupted. Cervical injuries are classified as C1 to C8, which is the upper part of the spine. Thoracic injuries are classified as T1 through T12 and are in the middle of the spine. Lumbar injuries are classified as L1 through L5 and are in the lower, lumbar region of the spine. If an injury is “incomplete,” some signals can still get through to the body below the injury. If an injury is “complete,” no signals can get through.
What are some of the effects a Bronx spinal cord injury has on the body other than paralysis?
Because a spinal cord injury interrupts nerve signals, it affects the body’s function below the injury, and in some cases, also above the injury.
Some of the effects a victim might experience include:
- Bone loss;
- Bedsores (pressure ulcers);
- Muscle atrophy (wasting);
- Depression and/or anxiety;
- Bladder and/or bowel issues; and
- Cardiovascular issues.
Will I ever walk again after a spinal cord injury?
Whether you will walk again or not depends on the severity of the damage and the location of the damage to your spinal cord. The chances of spinal cord injury victims walking again are better than they were in years past because of advances in the medical field. Whether you walk again can also depend on how much work you are willing to do in physical therapy, based on your chances (whether large or slim) of recovering enough to regain your ability to walk.
In some cases, even someone with a slim chance of walking again can walk, though often not as easily as they did before the injury. In other cases, those whom doctors expect to walk again never can, whether because of the type and amount of therapy they participate in, or because doctors incorrectly predicted their chances of walking again.
What are the treatment options for spinal cord injuries in the Bronx?
Researchers, including those at SCIProgress.com, are continuously looking for new treatments for spinal cord injuries. The treatments you receive will depend on the type of spinal cord injury you sustained, and might include surgery, medications, and immobilization during the recovery process. Researchers are also working with IV steroids and epidural stimulation as experimental treatment options.
What is the difference between total paralysis and partial paralysis?
Total paralysis means that you lose control over both sides of your body, while partial paralysis is losing control over one side of your body. For example, if the injury is low on your spine and you have control and use of one leg but not the other, you have partial paralysis.
How much does it cost to live with a spinal cord injury in the Bronx?
A spinal cord injury could cost the injured person millions of dollars in medical expenses, therapy expenses, in-home assistance or assisted living, modifications to vehicles and homes, medical equipment that needs to be replaced over time, medication, and clothing that wears out faster when it rubs on medical equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, and other aids.
What damages can I seek after a spinal cord injury in the Bronx?
The amount and type of damages you can seek after an accident that injures your spinal cord depends on the nature of the accident and your prognosis. If you are eligible to seek damages, you can often seek to recover both economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages. Special damages, also referred to as economic damages, can include:
- Past medical expenses incurred because of the accident and before a settlement or a trial award.
- Future medical expenses you will likely continue to incur after the settlement or trial award.
- Past lost wages incurred because of the accident and before a settlement or a trial award.
- Future lost wages you are likely to incur after the settlement or a trial award. Future lost wages can include partial future lost wages if you can still work, but not at the same salary rate as you did before the accident.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property.
- Burial, funeral, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one in an accident or if the accident-related injury caused your loved one’s death sometime after the accident.
Non-economic damages. General damages, also known as non-economic damages, can include:
- Pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress, which is often included with pain and suffering, but in some cases is calculated separately from physical pain and suffering.
- Loss of use of a body part or bodily function.
- Loss of quality of life, companionship, and/or consortium.
- Excessive scarring and/or disfigurement.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident, contact the Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond for a free case evaluation.
Will I Have to Go to Court to Get Compensation?
No, in most cases. You, the party who caused your injury, and any insurance company involved, may agree to a settlement to resolve your case. With a settlement agreement, you will receive a specific and agreed-upon amount of compensation without ever having to set foot in a courtroom.
Only in cases where no settlement is reached and your case must proceed to trial would you need to appear in court.
What Do I Need to Prove to Prevail in My Lawsuit or Settlement?
To receive compensation for your spinal cord injury, evidence and witness testimony must show that the other party caused your SCI through careless or reckless conduct.
It is not enough to show simply that the person did something negligent; instead, you must also prove it is more likely than not true that such conduct caused the incident that injured you.
How Much Is My Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit Worth?
Determining the compensation value you could receive requires carefully analyzing your past and future expenses. A skilled Bronx spinal cord injury lawyer can usually analyze your situation quickly and gather receipts, invoices, bills, and prognosis reports to develop a compensation figure that adequately and fairly compensates you.
Complete spinal cord injuries that result in paraplegia or quadriplegia and SCIs that occur in a younger individual who loses a greater earning potential are all circumstances that suggest you will need a larger amount of damages to compensate your expenses.
Time Limitations on Filing an SCI Lawsuit
New York’s three-year statute of limitations applies to all spinal cord injury cases resulting from negligence. Whether your SCI results from a car crash, a violent act, or a fall, the law gives you three years from the date of your injury to initiate a lawsuit against the responsible party.
The statute of limitations prevents you from recovering any compensation if you file a lawsuit beyond this three-year window.
There are certain circumstances in which the three-year period is extended without affecting your legal rights. This circumstance may happen if you were unconscious for some time or if signs and symptoms of your SCI did not immediately set in after the accident.
Speak with a spinal cord injury lawyer, even if more than three years passed since your SCI.
The Diamond Difference for Spinal Cord Injury Victims
Mr. Diamond is a Bronx spinal cord injury lawyer with significant experience representing New York residents with varying types and severity of spinal cord injuries. A reputable New York personal injury lawyer can guide you through all stages of the recovery process, from your initial injury to settlement or trial.
When you hire The Law Offices of Ivan M. Diamond, you will receive exceptional legal advice, representation, and advocacy at all times during your representation. Contact the personal injury Lawyers in Bronx today at (718) 588-2000 or email us through our contact page, and see the difference an experienced lawyer can make in your case.
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