Brooklyn Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in Brooklyn that was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act, you may wonder how you’re going to handle all of the impacts and expenses that your injury has caused you. You may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. An experienced Brooklyn Spinal Cord Injury lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can help you to understand the legal options you have available to you with a free case evaluation.
About Spinal Cord Injuries
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation launched an Instagram campaign to help people see what life is like for individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury. As part of the campaign, a woman named Jenny shared her own feelings on the matter. Among the things she wished people would see is more than just a person who suffered a C6-7 spinal cord injury. Jenny wants to be seen as a dedicated employee, an athlete, and a writer. An advocate for others with disabilities from around the globe. Someone who, in spite of being disabled for more than 30 years, hasn’t let her disability define her.
However, although she wants to be seen as more than a disabled person, Jenny readily admits that her spinal cord injury involves issues that others don’t understand. She is unable to sweat due to her injury, leading her to overheat easily. As her body’s ability to regulate its own temperature was damaged by the injury, she gets chilled easily, as well, and it’s not unusual to see her wearing a scarf and sipping a hot cup of tea on what most would regard as a pleasant evening.
She notes that she often arrives late to gatherings because personal care takes a long time and—in many ways—she relies on others to help with even the most simple errands. She spends hours each month following up with her insurance carrier and billing companies. She relies on a personal care attendant and needs assistance being transferred into and out of bed. She can’t reach items on the top shelf at the grocery store. She had to have drastic surgery due to repeated bladder and bowel problems. She is the first to admit that, in spite of her determination, her injury has affected every part of her life.
According to the Shepherd Center, about 17,500 people in the United States suffer spinal cord injuries each year—which equals 48 new spinal cord injuries each day. The average age for a person experiencing a spinal cord injury is 42. Eight out of 10 new spinal cord injuries are experienced by a male.
The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that carries nerve impulses from the brain to the rest of the body. These nerves control both voluntary functions, such as the ability to pick up a glass or walk across the room. They also control involuntary responses, such as breathing or self-regulating one’s temperature.
Spinal cord injuries involve damage to the spinal cord, which runs from the base of the skull to the lower back, near the waist area. The major result of this type of injury is loss of function and sensation below the site of the injury. Most people who experience a spinal cord injury do not actually sever the cord but merely damage it. Likewise, a person may “break” his or her back—referring to fractured vertebrae in the spine—but not experience damage to the cord that would result in paralysis.
The spinal cord is surrounded by rings of bone called vertebrae, which make up the spinal column. These vertebrae are categorized by the area of the spine in which they occur, including:
- The cervical spine, which is the neck region. This part of the spine has eight vertebrae, which are numbered C1 – C8. When damage to the spinal cord in the cervical spine occurs, it generally results in loss of function and sensation to the arms, shoulders, hands, chest, torso, pelvis, legs, and feet. This loss of function and sensation is called tetraplegia, but is also commonly referred to as quadriplegia.
- The thoracic spine is located in the upper back, and this part of the spinal cord controls impulses to the chest and legs. Injuries to this area of the spine generally result in loss of function and sensation to the pelvis, legs, and feet. This is known as paraplegia.
- The lumbar region of the spine is located in the middle of the back. Injuries to this area generally result in some loss of function and sensation to the legs and hips.
- The sacral spine is located in the lower back, from the pelvis to the end of the spinal column. Like lumbar spinal cord injuries, those injuries that occur in the sacral region also may result in loss of function and sensation in the legs and hips.
Spinal cord injuries are defined as either complete or incomplete. Complete injuries are those that result in total loss of function and sensation below the site of the injury. Incomplete injuries are those in which some sensation and function are retained below the injury site.
In addition to a loss of sensation and motor function, spinal cord injuries often present other issues, including dysfunction of the bowel and bladder, the body’s inability to control blood pressure and body temperature, inability to sweat, difficulty breathing, coughing, and clearing the lungs, and chronic pain.
How Are Brooklyn Spinal Cord Injuries Caused?
As noted by Mayo Clinic, there are ways in which the spinal cord can become damaged. The most common causes of spinal cord injury in the United States include:
- Motor vehicle accidents, which account for nearly half of all new spinal cord injuries each year.
- Falls, which account for 31 percent of all new spinal cord injuries and are the leading cause of spinal cord injury in those over the age of 65.
- Acts of violence, which result in 13 percent of all new spinal cord injuries and often are due to gunshot wounds or knife wounds.
- Sports and recreation, which are the cause of about 10 percent of new spinal cord injuries each year, including those injured by diving into shallow water or while playing a contact sport.
Alcohol is a contributing factor in about one-quarter of all accidents resulting in spinal cord injury.
What Are Some of the Secondary Complications of Brooklyn Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries often create a lifetime of medical treatment to address the secondary complications that usually accompany the injury. Some of the complications one might face after incurring a spinal cord injury are:
- Pressure ulcers, also known as bedsores, which are the result of the body resting in one position for too long. These sores can lead to sometimes deadly infections.
- Urinary tract infections and other complications related to the loss of function of the urinary system, including kidney stones.
- Respiratory issues related to the person’s inability to cough or clear the lungs, and may include pneumonia, which is the leading cause of death for individuals who have suffered a spinal cord injury.
- Deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg. This condition is particularly serious as it can result in the clot traveling through the bloodstream and reaching the lungs—which is known as a pulmonary embolism.
- Spasticity, which is involuntary constriction of the muscles which can be extremely painful.
- Bone loss, also known as osteoporosis, which can lead to bone fractures.
How Expensive Are Spinal Cord Injuries?
The medical expenses related to treating spinal cord injuries can cost millions of dollars. Treatment often includes spinal surgery; trauma care, such as the use of a ventilator; rehabilitative services, such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health counseling to treat depression, which often is a part of living with a spinal cord injury; long-term care, such as the use of home health aides; medical equipment, such as a wheelchair; and medication, such as pain-relievers and antibiotics.
Additionally, medical treatment often requires a person to leave his or her home and region and travel to meet with doctors at other hospitals. Traveling farther increases the costs of the injury. Other expenses associated with this type of injury may include the need for home modifications such as door widening, wheelchair ramps, countertop lowering, roll-in showers, stairlifts, and door openers.
In the first year following the injury, those suffering from high tetraplegia can expect their injury to cost at least a million dollars in medical expenses. Those with low tetraplegia will incur approximately $769,000 in medical expenses the first year. The cost of medical expenses associated with an individual who is living with paraplegia as a result of his or her spinal cord injury is around $518,000 in a year’s time. Injuries that produce incomplete motor function loss are looking at first year expenses of around $347,000.
After the first year, costs tend to trend downward. However, spinal cord injuries tend to continue to be expensive throughout the sufferer’s life due to the permanence of the injury and the ongoing risk of complications.
Post-year medical expenses to treat a spinal cord injury and its related complications are estimated at:
- $184,000 per year for those with high tetraplegia
- $113,000 per year for those with low tetraplegia
- $69,000 per year for those with paraplegia
- $42,000 per year for those with incomplete motor function loss
In addition to the costs associated with treating the injury, those living with a spinal cord injury are often unable to work. In fact, a year after the injury, less than 12 percent of people will be employed. At 20 years post-injury, only 35 percent will be able to work. The loss of wages and earning potential can range in the millions of dollars for every person who has suffered a spinal cord injury, depending on how old they are at the time of their injury.
Is There Any Cure for Spinal Cord Injuries?
In the time shortly after a spinal cord injury occurs, there is often swelling present, which makes it impossible to know what the long-term prognosis for the patient will be. Once the swelling goes down, some patients may see improvement in function.
The spinal cord, however, has a limited ability to heal itself, and there is no cure for the damage once it has occurred. The majority of significant improvements to function will occur in the first six months after the injury, though small improvements may continue to be seen for several years. Rarely will a person with a spinal cord injury regain full function.
There is no cure for a spinal cord injury, but new technologies have helped spinal cord patients to function better while still living with the injury. Additionally, advances in the drugs used to treat spinal cord injuries hold great promise—for example, the use of steroids to reduce swelling and prevent some of the secondary damage that takes place immediately after the injury, and stem cell treatments, which could allow the spinal cord to regenerate new cells and may ultimately lead to a cure.
Any treatments, cures, or mobility equipment, or helpful technology, however, will cost a lot of money. If you didn’t cause the accident, you shouldn’t have to pay for these things. A spinal cord injury lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, can help you recover the compensation you need to find the most independence possible after your injury.
Have You Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury?
Facing the prospect of living with a serious and permanent injury can be a scary thing. Fortunately, those suffering a spinal cord injury in Brooklyn may be eligible for compensation through a personal injury lawsuit.
Some of the items you can seek to be compensated for include:
- Medical expenses related to the injury, including rehabilitation
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage related to loss of intimate relationship and companionship suffered by the spouse of the person with the spinal cord injury
- Loss of the enjoyment of life, related to a loss of the ability to enjoy activities and hobbies that one participated in before the injury.
Brooklyn Spinal Cord Injury FAQs
Everyone has a spinal cord; it runs down the center of our body. Our spinal cords carry messages back and forth between our brains and the rest of our bodies. The entire process relies on nerve fibers that form a network in the spine.
Quick Questions About Spinal Cord Injuries
Is there a cure for spinal cord injuries?
- No. Unfortunately, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries. The majority of spinal cord injury survivors have slow recoveries
Do I need to prove negligence after a Brooklyn spinal cord injury?
- Yes and no. Negligence needs to be established for your case to be successful; however, your spinal cord injury lawyer will do the actual work of proving negligence for you. A qualified attorney makes this the cornerstone of their job
How do Brooklyn spinal cord injuries impact people financially?
- Reported estimates demonstrate that spinal cord injury survivors can face several millions of dollars of recovery costs
Who can sue for a Brooklyn spinal cord injury?
- Anyone who has experienced a spinal cord injury because of another person’s recklessness or negligence can bring a case
Will my Brooklyn spinal cord injury case go to court?
- Maybe. Many cases do not go to court; most attorneys work to keep their clients’ cases out of court—but going to court is not a bad thing. It just means that your case requires another level of the legal system to help sort it out
What consequences result from Brooklyn spinal cord injuries?
When the spinal cord is injured, it can cause very serious consequences. It’s easy to see how: It’s damage to the part of our body that connects our brains with the rest of us.
Nearly 20,000 Americans are diagnosed with a new spinal cord injury every single year? Spinal cord injuries have devastating impacts on the people who experience them, and numerous Brooklyn residents must live with the consequences of a spinal cord injury.
Whether the implications are long-term (like chronic health problems) or confined to the short-term (medical and legal expenses, and so on), virtually every instance of spinal cord damage has serious consequences.
- Disability: It’s true that some people injure their spinal cords and do not experience disability; however, it’s very common for someone to suffer a disability after one of these injuries. Some disabilities are associated with extensive and difficult rehabilitation. Others may leave a person unable to work or in need of long-term care
- Monetary consequences: The average hospital stay following a spinal cord injury involves 11 days in an acute care unit; most spinal cord injury survivors need rehabilitation, too—and inpatient rehabilitation for a spinal cord injury often lasts over a month
If you or someone you love have experienced a spinal cord injury, you deserve legal support. You do not need to tackle the task of finding justice yourself. The team of Brooklyn spinal cord injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help you seek compensation for your injury.
Reach out to us today to find out more about our legal representation services. We offer free initial evaluations to help potential clients determine their ideal approach after a spinal cord injury. Ask our team of lawyers anything—from how much your case may be worth to what sorts of tools we can use to help you win or settle.
What are the two types of spinal cord injuries?
- Herniated discs. Herniated discs are referred to by different names. You may have heard them referred to as ruptured, slipped, or bulged discs. The discs in our back are supposed to absorb shock and protect our spinal bones. If a disc’s nucleus gets pushed out of its outer layer, the nucleus can move into the spinal canal. Our spinal canals don’t have a lot of space, so most discs will push on nerves nearby and cause pain.
- Broken vertebrae. Too much external force on the spine can cause broken vertebrae. Vertebrae break when the force on the spine exceeds the vertebral column’s capacity to support the load. Burst fractures occur when the entire vertebral column breaks; compression fractures crush the front part of the vertebral body.
I have a spinal cord injury. What should I do?
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury (or believe you may have suffered one), get medical help as soon as possible. It will help your health and your potential future case.
The sooner you are assessed and treated, the more likely you may be to make a recovery.
- Accurate, timely medical information is beneficial to spinal cord injury claims
- Showing that you sought medical attention and having documentation of your condition will benefit your case
After you’re safe and you have seen to your physical health, you may benefit from reaching out to a Brooklyn spinal cord injury lawyer. One of these attorneys near you can help you pursue compensation and justice after someone else has caused your injury. Bringing a case is next to impossible without a lawyer to help with the legal process.
What are the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in Brooklyn?
Spinal cord injuries occur for lots of different reasons. Any time trauma damages the nerves inside of someone’s spinal cord, he or she suffers a spinal cord injury. The effects of spinal cord injuries vary depending on the circumstances.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center:
- Vehicle accidents cause the most spinal cord injuries (38 percent)
- Falls cause the second-highest number of spinal cord injuries (30.5 percent)
- Another 13.5 percent of spinal cord injuries are because of acts of violence
- 9 percent of spinal cord injuries occur during sports and other recreational activities
What are some examples of negligent and reckless acts that lead to spinal cord injuries? Deliberate, negligent, and reckless acts often result in spinal cord injuries.
Some examples of situations that lead to spinal cord injuries include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Vehicle accidents
- Slip and falls
- Sports injuries
- Workplace accidents
- Violent assaults
What are the symptoms of a spinal cord injury?
If you are concerned that you or someone around you may have experienced a spinal cord injury, you should look for injury symptoms.
Spinal cord damage often causes:
- Balance problems
- Difficulty walking
- Problems breathing, talking, etc. (respiratory problems)
- Visible kinks in the back or neck
- Loss of sensation in the extremities (toes, hands, feet)
- Limitation or loss of bladder or bowel function
What should I do if someone experiences a spinal cord injury in Brooklyn?
- Call 911: Most spinal cord injuries constitute an emergency. Call 911; you need qualified medical professionals on-site to address the injury
- Keep the victim stationary: Moving after a spinal cord injury can cause additional damage. It’s normal for someone to try to move after they are hurt, but help them stay still. Pay special attention to keeping their neck still
- Perform modified CPR if necessary: If a spinal cord injury victim is not breathing, you can perform modified CPR; gently lower their jaw and pump their chest at roughly 100 beats per minute
- Never remove gear: Spinal cord injuries are especially common on construction sites and in other settings where people may be wearing gear; never remove protective gear in these circumstances. It’s very easy to jar and further injure the spine this way
- Roll (if the victim is choking on vomit or blood): Ideally, you should work with another person if you need to roll a spinal cord injury victim. Move the injured person onto their side and keep their back, neck, and head aligned during the process
You could help save someone’s life or mitigate the impact of their injury if you respond to a spinal cord injury appropriately. Ask the emergency operator for help over the phone if you don’t know what to do.
What are the levels of spinal cord injuries?
Doctors categorize spinal cord injuries by level. Location determines the injury level, so a C1 injury represents an injury to the first cervical vertebra (which is the first vertebra in the neck). The higher the vertebra’s number, the lower it’s located in the back.
Who can be held liable for a spinal cord injury in Brooklyn?
If someone is negligent or reckless and causes a spinal cord injury, that person can be held liable. Just about anyone can cause a spinal cord injury—so almost anyone can owe liability for one.
With that said, some examples of parties who may be found liable for spinal cord injuries include:
- Construction site managers
- Business owners
- Product manufacturers
- Vehicle drivers
What compensation is available after a spinal cord injury in Brooklyn?
- Medical expenses. Compensation for medical expenses following a spinal cord injury may include past, present, and projected medical costs associated with the injury. Hospital stays, emergency transport, X-rays, rehabilitation, and more are all eligible for compensation.
- Lost income. A spinal cord injury will cause just about everyone to miss time from work; and when you miss work, you lose income. You deserve to recover the wages you lost due to your injury—and a spinal cord injury attorney can help.
- Diminished earning capacity. Many spinal cord injuries don’t just cause someone to miss time from work—they actually change a person’s ability to earn money. If you can’t earn the same income as before your spinal cord injury, specific compensation may help you. Ask your lawyer about compensation for diminished earning capacity.
- Loss of enjoyment of life. Your spinal cord injury could cause you to lose the enjoyment of life. When this happens, it has devastating consequences on the injured person. U.S. courts can and do offer damages for loss of enjoyment of life; you deserve to have your position recognized and compensated.
- Pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are common after spinal cord injuries. It’s rare that someone experiences damage to their spinal cord without exceptional pain and suffering. You can pursue additional compensation to account for pain and suffering in court.
- Mental anguish. Oftentimes, damage to the spinal cord causes long-lasting problems; but even if you’ve avoided disability, you can still experience a significant amount of mental anguish after your injury occurs. Damages for mental anguish to help ease some of the burdens of these feelings.
You may also be eligible to recover expenses not listed here. We always recommend asking your attorney for more information and insight.
Are There Resources For Brooklyn Spinal Cord Injury Survivors?
Yes. Spinal cord injury survivors have resources to help them.
Try looking here:
- Disability.gov: U.S. government website; information pertaining to disability services and programs
- The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation: A foundation centered around finding a cure to spinal cord injury; grants, advocacy, and information are all available
Do I need a lawyer to file a spinal cord injury claim in Brooklyn?
Yes. The average person is unlikely to succeed in this endeavor alone, particularly as they struggle to adapt to life in a wheelchair. It’s always best to work with a qualified Brooklyn spinal cord injury lawyer who understands the legal system and can help you as your case progresses. Your attorney will represent your best interests in court and help answer questions that you have about your case.
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP: Your Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers in Brooklyn
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in Brooklyn, you are not alone—and you don’t deserve to suffer in silence. We recommend reaching out to our team of empathetic and qualified personal injury lawyers for legal help. You don’t need to work independently when it comes time to pursue justice after your injuries.
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