If the spinal cord is injured or severed in a traumatic accident, the life of the victim is dramatically altered. The trauma may result in a permanent and completely disabling injury such as quadriplegia or paraplegia, which restricts the victim’s mobility and leaves him/her confined to a wheelchair.
A Buffalo spinal cord injury lawyer at Cellino Law in Buffalo will guide you through the aftermath of a serious accident that leaves you disabled. We use our experience and resources to ensure that you recover the compensation needed to live a comfortable and financially secure life. It might be impossible to alter the past, but we can offer a personal, compassionate service that’s devoted to the pursuit of your best interests in the future. You can reach our Buffalo injury law firm at (800) 555-5555 for your free consultation.
Table of Contents
What’s a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury refers to when the spinal cord gets damaged. The spinal column comprises of vertebrae. If the vertebrae are injured, it can lead to numerous long-term detriments to health. The detriments can affect nerves responsible for controlling various bodily systems, such as gastrointestinal, urinary, respiratory, or even musculoskeletal. Injuries of the spinal cord can also affect a person’s mental health negatively and can lead to anxiety and depression.
Studies estimate that the lifetime cost of care associated with a spinal cord injury ranges anywhere from $500,000 to $3,000,000+.
What Are the Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries can be caused by almost any accident in case you are hit in the wrong place – even on a trampoline at your friend’s house or when turning a backflip. Still, some spinal cord injuries are more likely than others. They include:
Vehicle accidents can be devastating for all involved and may result in different types of injuries, which include spinal injuries. The high speeds involved make even the best protective measures just moderately effective. If the accident was the result of negligence on the part of other drivers, they will be liable for the pain, suffering, and medical expenses incurred by the victim of the spinal injury.
Slip-and-fall accidents are very dangerous, especially for seniors, and may lead to injuries of all kinds that often involve the spine. Depending on what the cause of the slip-and-fall was, somebody else could be liable for the consequences. If the owner of a property allows the stairs in his/her building to fall into disrepair and fails to light them properly, for instance, he/she could be liable for any spinal injuries resulting from such negligence.
Injuries on bicycles can be particularly serious because a cyclist has minimal protection while riding at relatively high speeds. A helmet offers no support for the back and neck, which leaves those areas susceptible to spinal cord injuries. You can minimize the risk of injury through responsible bicycle riding, but some accidents are caused by the reckless behavior of another party. A motorist that strikes a cyclist may be responsible for the expenses and injuries arising after the incident.
Spinal injuries often occur when victims are participating in sporting activities, which include high-contact sports where 2 or more people slam into one another frequently, as well as other activities such as diving. Spinal injuries are actually caused by diving into water that’s too shallow – the driver hits the bottom, which causes his/her spinal cord to be violently compressed. Improper supervision, training, and supervision can lead to such injuries, and the negligent parties can be the ones to pay for their lack of care.
Acts of violence such as the use of firearms and physical fights can cause spinal cord injuries too. In such situations, it is easier to identify the parties responsible for the injuries that occur: they aren’t accidents, but rather deliberate violence. However, proving liability and negligence in a court of law is ideally handled by an experienced attorney that understands the cost that may be recovered in civil lawsuits, besides potential criminal charges against the responsible party.
What Are the Symptoms of Spinal Injuries?
Spinal injuries are medical emergencies that require treatment immediately. The symptoms of spinal cord injuries usually vary and may include the following:
- Sensory changes
- Paralysis or weakness
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Spasticity (increased muscle tone)
- Loss of feeling at and below the injury
If the spinal injury occurs in the neck, the symptoms can affect the legs, arms, and if high up in the beck, the muscles used in breathing. In case the spinal injury occurs at chest level, the person may suffer from abnormal sweating, problems with blood pressure, and trouble maintaining normal body temperature.
How Do You Diagnose Spinal Injuries?
It is not always easy to identify spinal cord injuries. A person should be assessed after he/she experiences any of the injuries below:
- Head injuries, particularly if there’s trauma to the face
- Pelvic fractures
- Injuries from falls
- Penetrating injuries close to the spine
If an individual experiences any of the above symptoms after suffering one of these injuries, he/she might have sustained a spinal cord injury. Whenever possible, emergency responders should be called. They may immobilize the person to prevent further damage to the spinal cord and take the individual either to a trauma center or emergency room.
Once the individual gets there, doctors and other health care providers will conduct a physical examination to determine where the injury is located. Additional tests might include:
- CT (CAT) Scan
- Electromyography (EMG): It is used to check muscles as well as nerves that control them
- X-Rays, or a Myelogram (Injecting dye before the spine is X-rayed)
- MRI to give health care providers a better “picture” of the injury
How Do You Treat Spinal Injuries?
The outcome can be affected by the time between the injury and treatment. To lessen the long-term effects of spinal cord injuries, a quick response is of utmost importance.
Treatment may include the following:
- Traction for stabilizing the spine
- Medications for reducing inflammation
Depending on the type of trauma that caused spine injury, surgery might involve the following:
- Removal of bone or disc fragments
- Removal of tissue or fluid to reduce pressure
- Implantation of spinal braces
- The fusing of broken vertebrae
- Removal of foreign objects
Estimates by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center put the average number of initial hospital stays for spinal injuries at all. The average number of rehabilitation stays is 36 days.
Rehabilitation for spinal injuries might include the following:
- Learning how to use assistive devices, such as walkers or wheelchairs
- Physical therapy for muscles, mobility, and communication skills
- Vocational therapy to help people resume work duties aided by assistive devices
- Occupational therapy for improving motor skills
If a patient does not recover feeling or movement in the area affected after 6 months, the loss of function is more likely to be permanent. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center also estimates that 30 percent of the people with spinal injuries will be re-hospitalized one or more times during any given year after the injury, with 22 days being the average stay.
Types of Paralysis Injuries & the Estimated Cost of Care
Victims of paralysis injuries along with their families, in Buffalo, New York, or even beyond, not only have to cope with the challenges of a modified lifestyle but also have to pay for costly medical treatment as well as assistive care.
Victims whose lower spine is injured may suffer from paraplegia. It is a condition that involves loss of motor function in the lower limbs. Paraplegics, however, can still make use of the upper body, which means that it is possible to use a wheelchair for partial mobility.
Caring for paraplegia injury in the first year may cost in upwards of $500,000 in New York, with a further ongoing annual expenditure of about $70,000 after the first year. The lifetime care for a victim that was 25 years old when the accident occurred may easily exceed $2.5 million.
Quadriplegia and Tetraplegia
Quadriplegia or tetraplegia refers to paralysis of both the upper and lower body. Tetraplegia can occur in 2 different forms and the limitations in movement and sensation may vary depending on where the spinal injury is precisely located.
Low tetraplegia patients have a limited motor function in the upper body, while the ones with high tetraplegia may need to rely exclusively on caregivers for the remainder of their lives.
The costs of care for low tetraplegia can easily go beyond $800,000 in the first year, while the cost can easily go beyond $1 million in case of high tetraplegia patients.
A person that was injured at the age of 25 may be facing lifetime care costs that range between $3.5 million and $5 million.
If you consider the burden of high financial costs over an individual’s lifetime, coupled with the lost wages, and pain and suffering, it is important to hire a reputable personal injury attorney in Buffalo, New York to help.
What Are the Costs Associated with Spinal Injuries?
The costs associated with living with spinal injuries can be incredibly high. About 43 percent of the people with such injuries are considered paraplegic while about 57 percent are considered quadriplegic. It means that they will require medical and living assistance for the remainder of their lives.
Estimated lifetime costs of spinal injuries vary depending on the severity of the injuries as well as the age at which the person suffered the injury. On the low end, the lifetime cost is about $450,000 for a person that loses motor function due to a spinal cord injury at age 50. The high-end costs are close to $3 million for a 25-year-old that suffers high quadriplegia.
How Can A Buffalo Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Help?
The harm that a spinal cord injury causes can go far beyond health issues. Spinal injuries can also lead to financial hardships such as lost wages and medical bills. That’s why you must ensure that you seek legal aid from a personal injury attorney from Cellino Law.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that about 36.5 percent of spinal injuries can be attributed to vehicular collisions. The accident attorneys at Cellino Law have extensive knowledge of the traffic laws in New York State and will pursue any violations of the traffic law that may have led to your spinal injury. Cellino Law’s practice areas also include motorcycle accidents and auto accidents. If you or your loved one requires our motorcycle accidents, auto accidents, or spinal cord injury legal services.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center also reports that 28.5 percent of spinal injuries can be attributed to falls, 9.2 percent to sports, and 14.3 percent to violence. Spinal injuries from any of these could have been the result of another party’s negligence.
Your spinal cord injury caused by a fall may also have been due to a lack of compliance with the safety regulations or simply due to insufficient maintenance.
If your fall happened on a public space, commercial property, or private residence, the injury lawyers at Cellino law are willing and dedicated to working hard to identify any legal violations or negligence. Slip and fall accidents is another practice area for Cellino Law attorneys.
If your spinal injury was due to an act of violence, you must ensure that you seek legal help from a Cellino Law injury attorney. The person or persons that acted violently towards you resulting in your injury could be liable for the injuries, and this creates the possibility of an injury settlement.
Similarly, if you or a loved one suffered a spinal injury while playing sports, the owner of the property where you or your loved one were playing may be liable for your injuries. If a property owner may be liable for your spinal injury, you need to get in touch with us for our slip and fall legal services.
Compensation For Spinal Cord Injuries
Cellino Law will work with leading experts to prove liability against defendants while proving maximum damages during trial. Spinal cord injuries tend to be devastating since the victims must deal with prolonged physical and medical therapy, along with lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, as well as severe conscious pain and suffering.
Types of Compensation You Can Receive in Spinal Injury Cases
- Lost earnings
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Future medical expenses including physical therapy, surgery, as well as related medical costs
- Other types of recovery depending on the specific facts of the case.
What Trial Experience Do You Have with Spinal Injury Cases?
Cellino Law’s trial lawyers have handled hundreds of spinal cord injury matters throughout New York.
Our law firm works with leading experts including:
- Medical doctors to prove the spinal cord injury including orthopedic spinal surgeons and neurosurgeons.
- Economics specialists for proving both past and future lost wages, union or other benefits, fringe benefits, retirement benefits, salary increases, the value of household services, as well as other economic damages.
- Vocational rehabilitation experts for explaining why the patient is unable to work in a different vocation or profession.
- Lifecare planning professionals that come up with a plan for the care of the patient for the rest of his/her life, which might include physical therapy, 24-hour rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical visits, future surgery, as well as other considerations and factors. A claim can be made for both past and future medical and other life care planning costs that the patient or his/her family are required to pay due to the accident.
All the experts listed above together with the family of our client will explain the devastating impact of the spinal cord injury on his/her life.
How Do We Achieve the Highest Possible Compensation for You and Your Family?
We have come to realize that in most serious spinal injury cases, taking the case to trial as opposed to settling is the best strategic decision. That’s particularly true in cases where the defendant or the insurance provider is not playing fair during negotiations.
A good law firm needs to have solid mediation and negotiation skills, which is why the injury lawyer you hire shouldn’t be afraid to roll up their sleeves and litigate in the courtroom.
Cellino Law has substantial trial experience in the successful litigation of personal injury cases, which includes spinal cord and back injuries of all kinds.
Contact Cellino Law Today for a Free Case-Review
Our law firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars for injury victims over the years. We are proud recipients of some of the top settlements and verdicts in the history of New York State.
We understand that a personal injury can be a life-changing event and that it can be challenging to meet life’s basic expenses after a catastrophic or serious back or spinal injury.
Our Buffalo personal injury lawyers strive to ensure that our clients get the compensation that they are entitled to so that they may recover medical bills, pain and suffering, as well as lost wages. To get a free consultation regarding your rights and options in a spinal cord injury case call us now at (800) 555-5555.