Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
The spinal cord is such a delicate network of nerves that is so critical for communication throughout the body that any spinal cord injury can be life-changing. Spinal cord injuries occur each year because of motor vehicle accidents, falls, recreational activities, and other accidents, causing permanent changes in a person’s strength, movement, sensation, and bodily functions.
If you need a New York spinal cord injury lawyer to help assess whether you or a loved one is eligible for compensation, the Marcowitz Law Firm can help. We’ve handled thousands of personal injury cases, including spinal cord injuries, helping families recover financial damages that can pay for immediate and long-term medical expenses, among other needs.
Call us or contact us online now for a free consultation to discuss your situation and your best legal options for recovering compensation.
How a Lawyer Can Help After an Accident Involving a Spinal Cord Injury
A lawyer can help you or your family after a spinal cord injury (SCI) in a variety of ways, depending on how your injury occurred. According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States, accounting for almost half of these new injuries each year. Such collisions involve not just cars, trucks, or motorcycles but also bicyclists, pedestrians, and public transportation.
Other causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Falls – These are responsible for more than 15 percent of spinal cord injuries overall, and they’re the most common cause of such injuries in people over age 65.
- Construction site accidents – These can range from falls from scaffolding and other heights, as well as incidents involving equipment, among other causes.
- Acts of violence – About 12 percent of spinal cord injuries annually result from violent acts such as shootings or stabbings.
- Athletic and recreational activities – Activities such as diving into shallow water and impact sports cause about 10 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year.
New York State allows a person to file a claim for negligence within three years of the date of an incident causing injury. You also can file a claim for strict liability within that time frame if an injury occurred because of a dangerous or defective product.
To prove your right to compensation, you must establish that you were injured as a result of an accident that was someone else’s fault. You must prove that your injury occurred as a result of another person’s negligence or recklessness, and that you suffered compensable damages, such as lost wages and medical expenses.
Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury Accident in New York
The amount of compensation will vary because of the complex circumstances involved with spinal cord injuries. However, because spinal cord injuries tend to result in some form of paralysis, these injuries can impact other parts of the body, such as the respiratory system, the circulatory system, and bowel and bladder control.
That’s why in addition to damages for lost past and potential future earnings, compensation for a spinal cord injury also tends to include medical and rehabilitative expenses, such as:
- Hospital and surgical bills
- Ongoing prescription costs, such as medication for depression, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, and bowel and bladder issues
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs
- Modifications to homes and vehicles to make them more accessible
- Attendant care
Compensation also may include any repair and replacement of property damage and pain and suffering related to the changes in your previous way of life.
Symptoms of SCI
The symptoms of a spinal cord injury depend on both the injury’s severity and its location along the spinal cord. In medical terms, a spinal cord injury is considered complete if a person loses all feeling or sensation and ability to control movement, or motor function, below the injury site. An incomplete injury means that the person still retains some motor or sensory function below the injury site.
Paralysis among people with spinal cord injuries varies. People with paraplegia note paralysis in all or part of the lower trunk, legs, and pelvic organs. Those with tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, also have paralysis in their arms and hands.
Symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- Lost or altered sensation, such as the ability to feel touch, heat, or cold
- Loss of movement, including incoordination, weakness, or paralysis in any part of the body
- Difficulty with balance or walking
- An oddly positioned or twisted back or neck
- Exaggerated reflexes or spasms
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
- Changes in sexual sensitivity, sexual function, and fertility
- Intense pain, numbness, or a stinging sensation, especially in the hands, fingers, feet, or toes
- Difficulty breathing or clearing secretions from the lungs
Treatment for SCI
To diagnose a spinal cord injury often requires tests such as X-rays of the spinal column, a computerized tomography (CT) scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which can identify herniated disks, blood clots, and other masses in the spinal cord.
Because of where the injury falls along the spine, emergency and ongoing treatment varies among patients. Often, the initial emergency treatment focuses on immobilizing the neck to prevent further damage, maintaining the ability to breathe, and avoiding complications such as deep vein blood clots in the extremities, or stool or urine retention.
There is no way to reverse damage to the spinal cord, but there are treatments that enable people with spinal cord injuries to lead more active and productive lives. These may include:
- Medication to assist with bowel or bladder issues, clotting, or other bodily functions
- Physical and rehabilitative therapy to maintain and improve existing muscles, develop fine motor skills, and learn adaptive techniques for daily tasks
- Equipment to increase a person’s independence and quality of life, such as electric or lightweight wheelchairs and computer adaptations such as key guards or voice recognition
At the Marcowitz Law Firm, we strive to handle each family’s circumstances with compassion, particularly during what can be a physically and emotionally devastating time. If you or a loved one would like to talk further about how we can assist with a case involving a spinal cord injury, please call us or contact us now for a free consultation.