Bronx Spinal Cord Accident Lawyer
Bronx residents who suffer spinal cord injuries often face permanent disabilities (including paralysis) and need costly treatment and care for the rest of their lives. Although some spinal cord injuries do heal, the majority never recover their full bodily functions. Unfortunately, the spinal cord’s importance as part of the body’s central nervous system makes even minor injuries dangerous. The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine reports more than 250,000 people live with a disability related to a spinal cord injury in the United States, and more than 11,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries that require hospitalization each year.
A spinal cord injury is one of the most expensive injuries a person can sustain. By-and-large, patients cannot work while receiving medical treatment. Some spinal cord injuries can be so catastrophic that they rob the victim of the ability to hold down almost any kind of employment. This is often the case when a spinal cord injury causes tetraplegia, full paralysis from the neck down.
No amount of money will turn back time and give you any of your lost functions back, but seeking compensation for a spinal cord injury caused by another party can provide the funding you need to afford the treatment required for your injury.
If you or someone you love has suffered a spinal cord injury as a consequence of someone else’s wrongful actions, New York law permits you to seek compensation for damages. The Bronx personal injury lawyers from Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can help you through this difficult time. Contact our Bronx office today for a free case evaluation to discuss the events that caused your spinal cord injury and determine the best path forward for your circumstances.
About Jacoby & Meyers
The award-winning legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has more than 40 years of experience representing injured Bronx residents, including those who have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury. Our firm’s passionate commitment to client advocacy and seeking justice has led to the recovery of millions in damages for our clients through successfully-negotiated settlements and court-awarded damages.
Some recent case results include:
- $500,000 verdict for a client who suffered injuries as a result of a contractor’s unsafe renovations
- $525,000 settlement for a client who suffered a broken neck, facial fractures, and knee fractures in a motorcycle accident
- $525,000 settlement for a pedestrian multiple leg fractures after a pizza delivery van hit him
- $1,100,000 settlement for a pedestrian struck in a crosswalk
- $2,000,000 settlement for a client who suffered injuries in a trip and fall accident
- $2,533,000 verdict for injuries from a car crash caused by a driver who double-parked on a busy road
- $5,000,000 settlement for a client who sustained injuries in a multi-vehicle collision
These examples do not guarantee a specific outcome for your spinal cord injury case. Each case has unique facts and circumstances that can add to or detract from the value of a claim. Rest assured, however, that the skilled spinal cord injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have the resources and experience to investigate the circumstances that caused your spinal cord injury, and to build the strongest possible case on your behalf.
“It is a great firm and I highly recommend it to anyone with an injury case.” -Carolina V.
Most Spinal Cord Injuries Occur in Traffic Collisions
You might have suffered a spinal cord injury for an unknown cause, but it’s more likely you know exactly what led to your injury. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) say that four types of incidents cause approximately 91 percent of all spinal cord injuries.
- According to the NIH, traffic accidents cause 40.4 percent of all spinal cord injuries, making them the leading cause for those under 65. Traffic crashes that occur at high speeds release an immense amount of force upon impact, causing all types of dangerous, sometimes fatal injuries. Spinal cord injuries that occur during high speed crashes have a higher likelihood of being severe enough to cause permanent damage and paralysis.
- Unintentional falls lead to 27.9 percent of spinal cord injuries, making them the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries. Yet, falls are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries for older adults. Those over age 65 are more vulnerable to falls as they go about their daily lives. Other places people might suffer a fall include stairways, escalators, construction sites, and businesses that fail to clean up spills or to remove snow, ice, or debris from parking lots and storefronts.
- Violence, mostly gunshot wounds, leads to 15 percent of spinal cord injuries across the nation. Other types of violence can also cause spinal cord injuries, such as knife violence.
- Sports lead to 8 percent of the nation’s spinal cord injuries, with teens at especially high risk. Full contact sports such as hockey, boxing, football, rugby, and martial arts can lead to spinal cord injury. Skiing, snowboarding, climbing, skydiving, and other extreme sports can also cause spinal cord injuries.
Specific Injuries That Can Damage the Spinal Cord
You might think your spinal cord is one big nerve running down the middle of your back, but your spinal cord is actually a dense bundle of nerves. If you think of an electrical extension cord with a bunch of smaller wires on the inside or a cable for your television or computer, you can get an idea of the structure of your spinal cord.
The spinal cord, along with your brain and 31 branches of nerves from the cord, make up your central nervous system. Your brain sends signals to those branches through your spinal cord. A spinal cord injury interrupts or blocks these messages, causing different types of functional limitation or loss. A completely severed spinal cord is highly unlikely; most injuries occur because of a spine injury. When the vertebrae or cartilage that make up the spine are damaged in an accident, pieces can break off and cause a spinal cord injury when they get embedded into the cord.
The following examples of specific injuries can damage the spinal cord result in a range of functional loss that might be temporary or permanent.
- Compression fractures along the spine
- Ruptures, collapsed, and herniated discs
- Spinal nerve damage
- Cut or partially severed spinal cord
Spinal Cord Injuries Damage Victims for Life
The long-term impact varies greatly for those who suffer spinal cord injuries. The biggest distinction that medical professionals make among spinal cord injuries is between complete versus incomplete injuries. Doctors have found that those with incomplete issues are far more likely to recover partially or fully from their injury, while those with complete injuries have permanent damage and, typically, little hope of regaining lost function.
To make a proper diagnosis and offer a diagnosis, doctors divide areas of the spinal cord to correlate with sections of the spinal cord. Each section of the spinal cord is responsible for different body functions. The general rule is that injuries closer to the brain are more severe, in that they cause more loss of function, than those that occur on the lower part of the spinal column. The potential long-term effects of spinal cord damage in each region of the spinal column are:
The cervical region of the spinal cord is protected by the eight vertebrae of the neck. This area of the controls signals to the diaphragm and upper extremities from the brain. Spinal cord injuries in the cervical region are the most dangerous and often result in catastrophic injuries. Victims might experience tetraplegia, sometimes still referred to as quadriplegia, which is total paralysis from the neck down. Other complications with spinal cord injuries in the cervical region include a victim requiring machines to breathe, loss of movement in extremities, and reduced function in the hands.
The thoracic region of the spinal cord lies in the upper and middle back. In this region, the spinal cord controls messages from the brain to the trunk of the body and to parts of the arms. Those who suffer a spinal cord injury in the thoracic region of their spine might face reduced movement in their torso because their stomach muscles don’t function the same as they did before the injury.
Lumbar and Sacral Regions
The lumbar and sacral regions of the spine start in the middle of the back and extend down to the tailbone. Damage this low in the spinal column isn’t typically catastrophic, but spinal injury victims might still face permanent damage. A spinal cord injury in the lumbar region can create a loss of function or struggles with hips, legs, and feet, and might even cause paralysis from the waist down. Injuries that occur in the sacral region and the lower portion of the lumbar region typically do not cause paralysis.
Recovering Losses After a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries are among the most costly of all injuries. Victims not only have ongoing medical expenses, but cannot work, and might never be able to work again. The financial burden of a spinal cord injury can devastate households and lead to bankruptcy, foreclosure, vehicle repossessions, the accumulation of large amounts of credit card debt, and difficulties meeting daily needs and paying monthly bills.
If you choose to file a personal injury suit against the party responsible for your spinal cord injury, you might receive compensation for the following expenses and losses related to your injury in a settlement or as a result of court-awarded damages.
- Medical treatment costs including ambulance and emergency services, emergency department visit, hospitalization, diagnostic imaging, surgery, repeated doctor visits, and medications
- Future medical expenses that include ongoing treatment for permanent damage and can also include long-term healthcare costs for spinal injury victims who need around-the-clock care in a nursing care facility
- Rehabilitation costs that include ongoing physical therapy to help victims regain lost function and avoid muscle atrophy, but can also include occupational therapy to help a spinal cord injury victim learn new ways to do things as a result of their permanent injury
- Assistive devices that can include wheelchairs and canes, but might also include special internal or external technology to help with communication, pain, and a variety of other things
- Lost wages for time away from work due to a spinal cord injury and treatment
- Future lost wages, sometimes called lost earning capacity, when a spinal cord injury causes permanent damage preventing victims from returning to their job
- Home modification expenses to make a living space more accessible for a spinal cord injury victim, including installing wheelchair ramps, installing handrails, and building a main floor addition
- Service costs to replace chores and activities the victim was responsible for before the injury, such as a cleaning service, lawn service, snow removal service, or a handyman
- Physical pain and suffering from the injury
- Emotional pain and suffering from the injury
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium with a spouse
- Exemplary damages when intentional harm or gross negligence led to a spinal cord injury
Our Bronx Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Answer Your Questions
Suffering a spinal cord injury causes not only extreme physical pain but may also alter the victim’s life and the lives of his or her family members forever. Your injury or your loved one’s injury may require life-long medical care. If this is the case, not only will that place an extra burden on your family, but also it creates the potential for financial hardship.
After your injury, we know you face some confusion about what comes next. We have created this guide to help you better understand why your injury occurred and what steps you can take to make a full and complete recovery.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in the Bronx, you should determine your eligibility to recover compensation from the individual or company that caused your injury. To find out for sure, speak with an experienced Bronx spinal cord injury lawyer today.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury occurs when someone suffers damage to any part of the spinal cord. The spinal cord carries information and messages from your brain to other parts of your body. For example, if you touch a hot stove with your hand, your brain sends a message through your spinal cord telling your muscles to lift your hand to prevent you from burning your hand on the hot stove. Spinal cord damage can delay and potentially even entirely block these messages from getting through, which could result in an inability for you to move or care for yourself.
Medical professionals break spinal cord injuries down into two categories: (1) complete and (2) incomplete injuries. Complete injuries occur when there is no feeling or movement below the site of the injury, often described as paralysis. Incomplete injuries, however, mean that a victim retains some feeling or movement but has still suffered some damage.
Suffering a spinal cord injury may mean that you can no longer care for yourself in the way you could before your accident. This may ultimately result in you losing some function of your limbs and requiring constant medical attention. Long-term, constant medical care is expensive. However, it’s important to remember that you did not cause your injury, so you should not have to pay the resulting medical bills. The burden of paying your medical expenses should rest with the party that caused your injuries. Working with a trusted Bronx spinal cord injury attorney will give you the leg up you need to help maximize your compensation.
What causes a spinal cord injury?
Unsurprisingly, the leading cause of spinal cord injuries is car accidents. This happens because of the force applied to the body during a car accident. Even slow or seemingly minor car accidents can cause spinal cord injuries. When your neck snaps backward, causing whiplash, that can result in more serious spinal cord injuries. If your car is struck from the side, your spinal cord contorts as your body moves rapidly. These types of injuries are serious and require immediate medical attention.
Car accidents are not the only causes of spinal cord injuries. Other causes include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Diving accidents
- Medical malpractice
While many other things cause spinal cord injuries, the aforementioned list includes the most common. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to hold that person accountable, so you do not have to pay out of pocket for your own medical bills. Speak with a spinal cord injury lawyer in the Bronx today to get the guidance you need to maximize your recovery.
What are common signs of a spinal cord injury?
Generally, spinal cord injuries cause immediate and serious injuries, so you will know right away that you’re injured. However, some injuries may not present themselves immediately or may start out as seemingly minor but gradually increase in severity.
If you or a loved one has recently sustained an injury in an accident, look for these common signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury:
- Severe and sudden back, neck, or head pain
- Loss of control of bodily functions
- Loss of control of any extremities
- Numbness or tingling in your hands or feet
- Labored breathing
- Difficulty walking
- Lack of strength
- Muscle spasms
If you notice any of these symptoms following an accident of any kind, you should see your doctor immediately. If you notice these symptoms in a loved one, take them to the emergency room right away. These signs may indicate a serious spinal cord injury and, left untreated, could result in lifelong disability or even death.
How do doctors diagnose spinal cord injuries?
Spinal cord injuries, while severe and needing immediate medical attention, are not always readily visible, particularly in the immediate aftermath of an accident. Sometimes, accident victims may need to undergo testing to determine whether they have suffered any spinal cord injury, and if so, what type.
The tests that an injured individual may face after a serious accident include:
- CT scan
These tests provide doctors with a more accurate understanding of a patient’s injuries, which is important to understand, because different types of spinal cord injuries require different types of treatment. However, every treatment will begin with understanding your injuries, what may have caused them, and how to proceed. You should also expect to spend at least the first night in the hospital under constant surveillance to make sure you remain still and that your injury does not become substantially worse.
These tests and constant medical surveillance is expensive, but you should not worry about the cost of this treatment. You did not cause the injury, so you should not bear any responsibility for the costs to get better. Working with a Bronx personal injury lawyer can give you the peace of mind you need, knowing that your case is being handled with your best interests at heart.
How do you treat spinal cord injuries?
Today’s medical advancements mean that even the most serious injuries and ailments will likely receive some positive treatment. However, with a serious injury, such as one to your spinal cord, you may not return to your life the way it was before your injury.
In fact, you may face:
- Long hospital stays
- Multiple surgeries
- In-facility rehabilitation
- In-home care
- Inability to return to work in the same capacity or at all
When faced with all of this, it’s easy to wonder how you will treat your injuries. Even with our modern medicine, reversing spinal cord damage is impossible. To combat this, after your injury, you may face intense rehabilitation where you have to re-teach yourself how to conduct normal tasks, like walking and eating.
Serious spinal cord injuries usually involve years of rehabilitation and can last a lifetime. It is extremely difficult to predict with acute accuracy exactly how long your specific treatment will last, which is why it’s important to work with a skilled spinal cord injury attorney in the Bronx who can advocate for you and help you maximize your recovery.
How much will my recovery cost?
Part of the uncertainty that surrounds spinal cord injuries is the cost of recovery. As we all know, medical expenses are extremely high. In fact, two-thirds of all bankruptcy filings result from medical bills, and when your injuries are as severe as a spinal cord injury, your medical expenses could potentially last the rest of your life.
Depending on the severity of your spinal cord injury, your medical bills could easily reach into the millions of dollars. That does not take into account your pain and suffering, for which you deserve compensation, as well. By working with a Bronx spinal cord injury attorney, you can seek compensation for your injuries so that you do not have to pay out of pocket for your medical bills.
Your attorney may try to secure you compensation for the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost wages
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Present and future medical bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home renovation costs
While nobody can predict the exact cost of your future medical expenses, we have the experience that you need to help you create an accurate estimate. You obviously know your current medical bills, because you have probably seen them coming in the mail. However, your future expenses are often many times more than what you can already account for, and that’s why you need to understand what comes next.
Together, we can create an accurate estimate of your future medical needs to determine how much money you should seek in your claim. The last thing we want is to see you have to pay out of pocket for medical expenses related to your spinal cord injury, an injury that you did not cause. Let us help you recover compensation for the full cost of your injuries.
How long do I have to file a claim?
You only have a certain amount of time to file a personal injury claim in New York. Depending on the type of accident that caused your spinal cord injury, the amount of time you have to file a claim will vary. For example, if you suffered your injuries in a car accident, you generally have three years to file a claim, but if your injuries result from medical malpractice, you may only have two-and-a-half years to file.
This might sound like a long time, but think of everything you have to endure during this time. You will undoubtedly spend a long time in the hospital. You may spend time in a rehabilitation facility. You may also lose the ability to work. The time will fly by as you focus on your physical and mental recovery.
That’s why you need to work with a Bronx spinal cord injury lawyer whom you trust. While you work hard to quite literally get back on your feet, we will be working hard to hold the negligent party liable for your injuries and resulting expenses.
Should I settle?
We do not recommend that you settle without first having our Bronx spinal cord injury lawyers review your settlement offer. The insurance company representing the at-fault party does not share your interests. You want to get better as quickly as possible and not spend any of your own money on your medical bills. Unfortunately, the insurance company wants to maintain its bottom line and pay out as little compensation as possible. Insurance companies do this by preying on victims, knowing that they are likely out of work and worried about how to pay their mounting bills. In these cases, insurance companies offer victims quick settlement offers, hoping that they do not think about how much their recovery will actually cost in the long term.
Insurance companies’ aggressive defensive tactics make it extremely important to work with a trusted Bronx attorney who can review your settlement offer. We have seen too many injured individuals without legal representation accept low-ball settlement offers without legal representation, and they usually end up worse off, as they end up having to pay out of pocket for many of the expenses that the negligent party should have paid. We can review your settlement offer and negotiate with the insurance company to maximize your compensation.
Do I really need a lawyer?
Spinal cord injury cases are complex. It’s not as simple as showing up and saying that someone else injured you and magically receiving a large deposit in your bank account. Spinal cord injury cases often require testimony from expert witnesses, medical professionals, and accident re-creation experts, and your attorney may need to review extensive medical records and argue your case at trial. While most personal injury cases settle out of court, you want to be prepared for the possibility of going to trial, and the best way to do that is by working early on with a trusted Bronx attorney.
This is not the type of case you want to handle on your own. You need someone with experience battling large insurance companies and helping victims like you seek justice. Contact us today to get the legal help you need.
Get the Legal Help You Need From a Bronx Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury because of another party’s negligence and you live in the Bronx, contact the compassionate and skilled spinal cord injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, to help you with your injury claim. We advocate for clients through the lawsuit process, giving them the space and time they need to focus on rehabilitation and adjusting to a spinal cord injury.
You can contact us online, call us at (718) 294-0813, or visit our Bronx office at 656 East Fordham Road to schedule a free case evaluation and learn about the best way forward after suffering a spinal cord injury.