East Meadow Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious injuries an individual can suffer. Because of the spine’s importance in nearly all of the body’s functions as well as its limited ability to heal from damage, this type of injury often results in permanent disability as well as associated complications that can greatly impact an individual’s life and life expectancy.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in East Meadow that was caused by someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or intentional act, an experienced East Meadow spinal cord injury lawyer at Jacoby & Meyers LLP can help you understand your legal options to recover damages related to the impacts and expenses your injury has caused. We’ve obtained millions of dollars in damages for our clients over the years. We want to see if we can help you. Call us now for a free case evaluation.
About Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves that exists within the bony protection of the spine and acts as a messenger for the brain to all other parts of the body. Contrary to popular belief, a spinal cord injury rarely involves a cord that has been completely severed. Instead, most spinal cord injuries feature a cord that is damaged but intact.
Spinal cord injuries result in a loss of sensation and function to body functions below the site of the injury, a condition known as paralysis. There are two types of spinal cord injuries, categorized as complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries feature a total loss of sensation and function beneath the site of the injury, while incomplete spinal cord injuries occur when some of the sensation and function beneath the injury site remains.
There are four parts of the spinal cord: the cervical (neck) region, the thoracic (chest) region, the lumbar (mid-back) region, and the sacral region, which is located in the lower back. The part of the spinal cord that sustained the injury determined what body parts an accident will paralyze. For example, a person with an injury to the cervical region of the spinal cord would likely suffer tetraplegia, which affects the shoulders, arms, hands, chest, torso, hips, pelvis, legs, and feet. A person suffering an injury to the thoracic or lumbar regions could suffer paraplegia, which involves paralysis in the hips, pelvis, legs, and feet.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in East Meadow
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center notes that vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the U.S., accounting for 38.6 percent of all new spinal cord injuries. 32.2 percent of new injuries are the result of falls.
Other common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Acts of violence
- Sports-related injuries
- Medical conditions or injuries caused during surgery
The center reports that there are approximately 17,810 new spinal cord injuries in the U.S. each year. Males are the most likely sufferers of spinal cord injuries, accounting for 78 percent of new injuries. The average age at the onset of the injury is 43.
Common Spinal Cord Injury Complications
Spinal cord injuries produce many severe complications that result in the need for continued or ongoing medical treatment.
Among these complications are:
- Respiratory issues: For those who have suffered a spinal cord injury affecting the function of their chest and abdominal muscles, they will have difficulty coughing to expel phlegm from the lungs. This can cause pneumonia and other problems. Pneumonia is the most common cause of death for spinal cord injury patients who have survived the initial injury.
- Loss of bladder control: While the bladder of a person with a spinal cord injury continues to store urine from the kidneys, the injury can prevent the brain from controlling the bladder and presenting urges and sensations that inform the person when it is time to urinate. This can result in issues such as urinary tract infections.
- Loss of bowel control: The loss of bowel control after a spinal cord injury often results in constipation and potentially serious issues such as a bowel obstruction. Many patients are encouraged to increase their fiber intake and taught techniques to optimize their bowel function.
- Pressure ulcers: The lack of sensation in the skin means that spinal cord injury sufferers can’t sense whether they have come in contact with an object that is too hot or too cold. Additionally, they can’t feel when it is time to change positions, resulting in a condition known as pressure ulcers or bed sores. This condition results in open, oozing wounds on the body and leaves the individual vulnerable to infection.
- Circulation issues: The injury can result in circulation problems, including low blood pressure upon rising, the swelling of the extremities, and an increased risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a condition in which blood clots develop in the deep veins of the leg. The biggest risk posed by this condition is that a piece of the clot will break free and travel through the circulatory system to the lung, producing an often fatal condition known as pulmonary embolus.
- Muscle tone issues: Spinal cord injury patients often suffer from one of two muscle conditions. Spasticity is an uncontrolled tightening or motion of the muscles. Flaccidity features soft, limp muscles.
- Loss of sexual function: Both males and females who have suffered a spinal cord injury can have sexual issues as a result, including changes to sexual function and loss of fertility.
- Nerve pain: This is a common complication of spinal cord injuries, particularly for those with incomplete injuries who have retained some of the sensation below the site of the injury.
The Cost of Living with an East Meadow Spinal Cord Injury
Between the difficulties of paralysis and the commonly associated complications, spinal cord injuries are extremely expensive. How expensive, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation notes, depends on the severity of the injury as well as the age at which the injury occurs.
The most common spinal cord injuries are:
- Incomplete tetraplegia, which accounts for 45 percent of new cases.
- Incomplete paraplegia, which accounts for 21 percent of new cases.
- Complete paraplegia, which is the result of 20 percent of new cases.
- Complete tetraplegia, which is the result of 14 percent of new cases.
The average cost of living with a spinal cord injury—not including indirect costs such as wage loss—is as follows:
- High tetraplegia: A 25-year-old with this type of injury can expect to pay more than $4.7 million through the course of his or her life. A 50-year-old can expect lifetime costs of nearly $2.6 million. More than $1 million of those costs are likely to be incurred in the first year.
- Low tetraplegia: 25-year-olds suffering from low tetraplegia can expect lifetime costs of more than $3.4 million, while 50-year-olds will likely have lifetime costs of around $2.1 million. Around $770,000 worth of costs will be incurred in the first year.
- Paraplegia: For 25-year-olds suffering from paraplegia, the anticipated lifetime costs are in the range of $2.3 million, and the lifetime costs for 50-year-olds with paraplegia is expected to be around $1.5 million. About a half-million dollars of the costs will be incurred in the first year of treatment.
- Incomplete loss of motor function: The costs of this level of injury will be more than $1 million throughout the individual’s lifetime, regardless of age. This level of injury results in first-year costs of around $337,000.
Recovering Damages Resulting From Your East Meadow Spinal Cord Injury
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentional actions, New York law allows you to recover damages related to the expenses and life impacts that your injury has left you with. An East Meadow spinal cord injury lawsuit in civil court can produce evidence to prove who caused your injury and document the damages you incurred. The state allows you to recover two types of damages, economic and non-economic.
Economic damages refer to the out-of-pocket expenses that the injured person has experienced as a result of the injury, including:
- Past, current, and estimated future medical expenses. This includes emergency treatment at the scene or in the emergency department; transportation by air or ambulance from the scene of the injury to the hospital; diagnostic testing; surgical and physician services; prescription medication; hospitalization; physical therapy and rehabilitation, and mobility devices such as wheelchairs or crutches.
- Lost income, due to being too injured to work or missing work to attend injury-related medical appointments.
- Loss of future earning capacity if the injury results in permanent deficits that render the person unable to work.
- The cost of hiring someone to perform household or personal care services that the injured person can no longer perform on his or her own.
- The cost of repairing or replacing property that was damaged in the accident that caused the injury, if applicable. An example of this would be the repair or replacement of the claimant’s vehicle that was damaged in a car accident.
Non-economic damages are the many profound impacts on a person’s daily life that have been incurred as a result of the injury. Examples of non-economic damages include:
- Physical pain and suffering.
- Emotional distress.
- Permanent disability.
- Loss of the enjoyment of life.
- Loss of consortium, which is a damage recovered by the injured person’s spouse for the loss of physical intimacy and companionship that was created by the injury.
Generally, spinal cord injury lawsuits in New York must be filed within three years of the date on which the injury occurred. to obtain a successful outcome to your case, you must prove another person or entity’s liability.
Liability is established when:
- The at-fault party owed you a duty of care. The duty of care that was owed depends on the activity that resulted in your injury as well as the at-fault party’s role in that activity. For example, in a car accident case, the at-fault driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely and legally. In a premises liability case, the at-fault party’s duty of care was to ensure that there were no unsafe property conditions that could injure guests.
- There was a breach in the duty of care. The breach refers to the behavior of the defendant that was contrary to the duty of care that he or she owed to you.
- This breach caused the accident, which resulted in your injury and subsequent expenses and impacts on you.
How Our East Meadow Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Can Help You
Spinal cord injuries are extremely complex to live with and to treat. Unfortunately, the legal process of recovering damages related to your spinal cord injury is also complex.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP can help those with spinal cord injuries that others caused, by providing:
Guidance as to your legal options.
- A thorough evaluation of the case to determine all liable parties and all sources of insurance that can be accessed for compensation.
- A determination of the value of the case.
- Timely filing of court-required paperwork in the proper jurisdiction.
- Skilled negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance adjuster in an attempt to obtain a fair settlement on the injured person’s behalf.
- Compiling and organizing evidence that can be used to prove the case.
- Litigation, including the delivery of opening and closing statements, the presentation of evidence, and the examination of witnesses.
- Assistance with collecting the award or settlement.
Let us help you further understand the legal process of an East Meadow spinal cord injury lawsuit while providing answers to your legal questions. For a free case evaluation, contact an experienced East Meadow spinal cord injury associate at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP online or through a live webchat, or by calling (877) 565-2993.
East Meadow Office
90 Merrick Avenue, Suite 601
East Meadow, NY 11554
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