Newark Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Sustaining a spinal cord injury can be a monumental life event, which leaves accident victims facing permanent damage and loss of body function. Some minor spinal cord injuries heal quickly within a few weeks or months and loss of body function returns. Yet, many spinal cord injuries also result in permanent paralysis in some or all of the body. More than 11,000 people are hospitalized each year for a spinal cord injury, which happens to be one of the most costly injuries a person can suffer.
Those who suffer spinal cord damage face obnoxious amounts of medical bills and cannot work during treatment and recovery. In fact, spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic, permanently preventing victims from ever returning to work or seeking gainful employment, especially when full body paralysis, or tetraplegia, is part of the diagnosis. Money cannot undo your injury, but it can help you get the treatment you need for your injury and alleviate some of the financial stress which accompanies a severe injury.
If you, your child, or another loved one has been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury as a result of another party’s negligence, reckless choices, or intent to harm you, New Jersey law entitles you to sue for damages in civil court.
The Newark personal injury lawyers from Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, are here to assist you during this challenging time. Contact us today at (973) 643-2707 for a free case evaluation to discuss the event which led to your spinal cord injury and devise the best strategy for moving forward.
About Jacoby & Meyers, LLP
The experienced team of personal injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, has represented injured victims, including those who have suffered spinal cord injuries, for four decades. The firm remains dedicated to providing exceptional client service, case preparation, and overall professional excellence. As skilled negotiators and litigators, the personal injury lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, have secured millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for their clients.
Some recent examples of case results include:
- $525,000 for a client who suffered harm in a motorcycle accident
- $525,000 for a pedestrian who was struck by a pizza delivery person
- $1,036,000 for birth injury
- $1,625,000 for a client who was injured in a construction accident
- $2,000,000 for a client who suffered a trip and fall accident
- $5,000,000 for a client who sustained injuries in a multi-vehicle collision
These past examples do not ensure an outcome for your spinal cord injury claim. Each case has distinctive characteristics that can increase or decrease the value of a claim. Nonetheless, the skilled spinal cord injury attorneys at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, will investigate the event that led to your spinal cord injury and uncover relevant facts to build the strongest case possible against the defense, so you have the best chance for the maximum amount of compensation for your injury.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Some spinal cord injuries occur for unknown reasons or from rare situations, but according to the National Institute of Health (NIH), almost 90 percent of spinal cord injuries are a result of four different events:
- Traffic collisions (40.4 percent) Traffic accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries for those under age 65, according to the NIH. When they occur at high speeds, a spinal cord injury has a high likelihood of being catastrophic, a permanent injury preventing a victim from returning to work.
- Falls (27.9 percent) Unintentional falls are the second most common cause of spinal cord injuries, but the leading cause of spinal cord injuries for those over age 65. Elders are prone to falls as they move around, and simple slip and fall can cause much more than a broken hip. Falls at construction sites, on stairs, escalators, or any place for that matter, might result in a spinal cord injury depending on how one’s body lands.
- Violence (15 percent) The NIH includes gunshot wounds in this category, but all different types of violence can lead to a spinal cord injury, including physical violence in domestic abuse situations.
- Sports (8 percent) Those of all ages enjoy playing sports, but some activities put athletes and occasional players at risk for serious injury. Spinal cord injuries are especially common with full contact sports such as football, hockey, and martial arts.
The Physiology of a Spinal Cord Injury
When people think of spinal cord injuries, they often visualize someone who is paraplegic or tetraplegic and likely confined to a wheelchair. Additionally, they think of the cord getting sliced or cut, but the physiology of a spinal cord injury works much differently. If you suffer a spinal cord injury, the cord swells at the site of the injury and cuts off the blood supply to its nerve tissues, which means the oxygen supply is also depleted.
This is the first event of a chain reaction that devastates the whole body, resulting in the cord tissue dying, losing its insulation, and suffering more damage because of the response of the immune system.
The body’s response to a spinal cord injury includes the following elements and reactions:
- Reduced blood flow. Once blood flow slows at the site of injury, the blood flow also slows in nearby areas and spreads throughout the body. This means the body loses its ability to self-regulate, causing blood pressure and heart rate to plummet.
- Neurotransmitters flood the body. A spinal cord injury causes the release of neurotransmitters, which are special chemicals in the body that promote communication between nerve cells. The overabundance of neurotransmitters causes nerve cells to become overexcited, which leads to their death. When neurotransmitters flood the body, they also kill the cells responsible for creating the insulation that promotes the movement of information along the spinal cord to and from the brain.
- Immune cells invade the site of injury. Whenever the body suffers an injury, immune cells rush to the site of the injury. This also occurs after a spinal cord injury. These immune cells protect the body from infection and clean up dead cells, but they also increase inflammation in the injured area. Immune cells secrete special substances that can be toxic to nerve cells, especially those that make up the insulation around the spinal cord.
- Free radicals flow throughout the body. Free radicals are highly reactive oxygen molecules that destroy other cellular molecules. Unfortunately, healthy nerve cells get in the way of this process and also suffer damage.
- Nerves self-destruct.After a spinal cord injury, a natural self-destruction of cells occurs at the site of the injury. Scientists cannot explain exactly why, but the cells responsible for creating the insulation around the spinal cord die days and weeks after the injury. This reduces the overall strength of the spinal cord.
The above descriptions explain the initial injury, but after a severe injury, the spinal cord might continue to deteriorate for days or weeks as a result of swelling, bleeding, inflammation, and the buildup of fluid inside and around the spinal cord.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
Many assume the spinal cord is one big nerve, but it is actually several smaller nerves that lie close together in the spine. Think of an electrical cord with a bunch of different wires on the inside; the spinal cord is similar. The cord and brain are the core elements of the human body’s central nervous system.
The spinal cord carries messages from the brain throughout the rest of the body to control functions. On a rudimentary level, a spinal cord injury is a disruption of these messages. As previously mentioned, a cut or severed spinal cord is extremely rare. Most spinal cord injuries are a result of pieces of vertebrae lodged into the cord that can cause permanent damage.
Each of these types of injuries can result in temporary or permanent spinal cord damage:
- Bulged, collapsed, or ruptured discs
- Compression fractures of the vertebrae
- Spinal nerve damage
- Severed spinal cord
Long-term Impact of Spinal Cord Damage
Those who suffer a spinal cord injury can experience different effects depending on the location of the injury. Doctors and other medical practitioners and researchers divide the spinal cord into sections that match with the spinal column. Each section of the backbone protects an area of the spinal cord responsible for different functions in the body. Spinal cord injuries to the lower part of the spinal column usually aren’t as severe as those closer to the brain.
Below we detail the potential long-term impact of spinal damage in each region of the spine:
- Cervical region. This area of the spinal column includes the eight vertebrae that make up the neck bone. The spinal cord in the cervical region controls signals from the brain to the upper arms and the diaphragm. A spinal cord injury in this area can result in tetraplegia, paralysis from the neck down. Other potential complications might include a victim requiring a ventilator to breathe, loss of movement in arms and legs, loss of movement from the waist down, and reduced function in the lower arms and hands.
- Thoracic region.The mid-back section of the spine, or the thoracic region, is home to the part of the spinal cord that controls signals to the torso and areas of the arms. A spinal cord injury in the thoracic region might result in reduced movement of the trunk because of a loss of function in the stomach muscles.
- Lumbar and sacral regions. Injuries near the lower back and tailbone are not as severe, but permanent damage might occur. Injuries to the top of the lumbar region might result in problems with hips, legs, and toes, and might even cause paraplegia. Spinal cord injuries that occur at the lower part of the lumbar region or in the sacral, or tailbone, area, don’t cause paralysis.
Seeking Compensation After a Spinal Cord Injury
Those who suffer from a spinal cord injury have a long road towards recovery, likely requiring regular physical therapy and ongoing treatment. Your spinal cord injury attorney will help you identify the costly expenses that you incurred from your injury to help you receive the most compensation possible. You might recover the following damages from a settlement or verdict in your favor.
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Cost of assistive devices
- Lost wages
- Future lost wages
- Non-economic costs like loss of consortium with spouse, pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of quality of life
- Punitive damages when a spinal cord injury is a result of gross negligence or willful harm
Get the Legal Help You Need from a Newark Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Spinal cord injuries can cause victims excruciating pain, but also carry heavy emotional weight and financial burden from costly treatment that can go on indefinitely. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, we remain empathetic to the challenges and struggles you might be facing in the wake of a spinal cord injury. We are here to assist you and your family through this difficult time and advocate for you to get the compensation you deserve, so you can get the treatment you need for your spinal cord injury.
If you were diagnosed with a spinal cord injury as a result of another party’s reckless actions and you live in the Newark, New Jersey area, contact the knowledgeable and compassionate legal team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, to navigate the complexities of your claim.
We do not require upfront payment. Instead, we take personal injury cases on contingency, which means we will deduct attorney fees from any settlement or court-awarded damages you receive for your spinal cord injuries. We can guide you through the claims and lawsuit process, while you focus on healing and coping with your injury.
You can contact us online, call us at (973) 643-2707, or visit our Newark office at 50 Park Place, Suite 101, to schedule a free case evaluation and determine the best path forward for you and your family.