If a traumatic accident results in the spinal cord being severed or injured, the victim’s life is altered significantly. The trauma can result in a permanent and completely disabling injury such as paraplegia or quadriplegia that restricts the victim’s mobility and leaves them wheelchair-bound. That’s why it is so important to hire a Rochester spinal cord injury lawyer when that happens.
An attorney can guide you through the aftermath of a serious injury that leaves you with a disability. At our law firm, our experienced team of lawyers uses their experience and resources available to ensure that you recover the compensation necessary to lead a comfortable and financially secure life.
Altering the past is obviously impossible, but you can trust our team to provide a personal, compassionate service devoted to the pursuit of your best interests moving forward. You can reach our injury law firm in Rochester today by calling us at (800) 555-5555 to set up your free consultation.
Table of Contents
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
It refers to when the spinal cord becomes damaged. The spinal column comprises vertebrae and if they are injured, this may lead to many long-term detriments to health. The detriments may affect the nerves that control various systems in the body such as respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal, or even musculoskeletal. Spinal cord injuries may also affect the mental health of the victim negatively and may even lead to depression as well as anxiety.
According to studies, the associated lifetime cost of care for spinal cord injuries ranges between $500,000 and $3,000,000+.
What Are Some of the Things That Cause Spinal Cord Injuries?
Injuries of the spinal cord can be the result of just about any accident if you are hit in the wrong place – even when turning a backflip or on a trampoline at your friend’s house. However, some spinal cord injuries are far more likely than others. They include:
Vehicle collisions can be devastating for all parties involved and may lead to various types of injuries, including spinal cord injuries. The high speeds involved mean that even the best protective measures are nothing but moderately effective. If the accident was caused by the other driver or drivers’ negligence, they will be liable for the medical expenses, pain, and suffering experienced by the spinal cord injury victim.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slips and falls are incredibly dangerous, particularly for seniors, and can lead to injuries of all types that often involve the spine. Depending on the cause of the slip and fall accident, it is possible for another party to be liable for the consequences. If a property owner allows the stairs in their building to fall into a state of disrepair and fails to light them adequately, for instance, they may be liable for any spinal injuries that result from such negligence.
Bicycle injuries can be very serious since the cyclist has just minimal protection while he/she is riding at relatively high speeds. A helmet doesn’t offer any support for the back and neck, which has the effect of leaving those areas susceptible to spinal cord injuries. It is possible to minimize the risk of injury by practicing responsible riding, but some accidents are the result of another party’s reckless behavior. A motorist that strikes a cyclist may be liable for the injuries and expenses resulting from the accident.
Spinal cord injuries can also occur when victims are participating in sporting activities, including high-contact sports where multiple people slam into each other frequently, along with other activities such as diving. Spinal cord injuries can actually be the result of diving into water that’s too shallow where the diver hits the bottom and this causes the spinal cord to be violently compressed. Improper training and/or supervision can also cause such injuries and the negligent parties can be the ones liable due to their lack of care.
Violent acts such as physical fights and the use of firearms can also lead to spinal cord injuries. It is much easier to identify the responsible parties for the injuries resulting from violent acts since they are not accidents but rather deliberate acts. Proving negligence and liability in such cases in a court of law is best handled by an experienced lawyer who understands the costs that can be recovered in civil lawsuits besides possible criminal charges against the party responsible.
What Are Some Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries?
Spinal cord injuries are medical emergencies that demand immediate treatment. The symptoms of spinal injuries typically vary and can include the following:
- Loss of feeling at and below the injury
- Spasticity (increased muscle tone)
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Weakness or paralysis
- Sensory changes
If the neck is where the spinal cord injury occurs, the symptoms may affect the arms, legs, and if it is higher up in the neck, the muscles used in breathing too. If the spinal cord injury occurs in the chest, the victim may have blood pressure problems, abnormal sweating, as well as trouble maintaining normal body temperature.
How Do You Diagnose Spinal Cord Injuries?
It is not always easy to identify spinal cord injuries. A person should be assessed after experiencing any of the injuries below:
- Penetrating injuries close to the spine
- Injuries from falls
- Pelvic fractures
- Head injuries, especially if there is trauma to the face
If a person has any of the symptoms above after sustaining the aforementioned injuries, he/she could have sustained a spinal cord injury. Emergency responders should be called whenever possible. The responders may immobilize the individual thus preventing further damage to the spinal cord and take him/her to an emergency room or trauma center.
Once the person gets there, doctors and other health care practitioners will perform a physical exam aimed at determining the exact location of the injuries. Other tests that may be conducted include:
- MRI to give health care provider a clearer “picture” of the injury
- X-Rays, or a Myelogram (Injecting dye prior to X-raying the spine)
- Electromyography (EMG): Used for checking the muscles along with the nerves that control them
- CT (CAT) Scan
The outcome may be affected by the time that lapses between injury and treatment. To reduce the long-term effects of spinal cord injuries, a quick response is incredibly important.
Treating Spinal Cord Injuries
Treatment may involve the following:
- Medication to reduce inflammation
- Traction to stabilize the spine
- Depending on the trauma that caused the spinal cord injury, surgery can involve the following:
- Removing foreign objects
- Fusing broken vertebrae
- Implanting spinal braces
- Removing tissue or fluid to lower pressure
- Removing disc or bone fragments
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center estimates that all spinal cord injuries result in initial hospital stays with the average rehabilitation period being 36 days.
Rehabilitation for spinal cord injuries may include the following:
- Occupational therapy to improve motor skills
- Vocational therapy to help people resume work duties aided by assistive devices
- Physical therapy to improve mobility, muscles, as well as communication skills
- Learning how to use assistive devices such as wheelchairs or walkers
If a patient fails to recover feeling or movement in the affected area after 6 months, the loss of function is more likely to be permanent. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, it is estimated that 30% of people with spinal cord injuries have to be re-hospitalized one or more times during any given year after the injury with the average stay being 22 days.
Types of Paralysis Injuries and the Estimated Care Costs
Victims of paralysis injuries, as well as their families, will not only need to cope with the challenges of a modified lifestyle but also will be required to pay for expensive medical treatment along with assistive care.
If the lower spine is injured, victims may suffer from paraplegia, which is a condition that involves the loss of motor function in the lower limbs. Still, paraplegics can make use of their upper body meaning that they can use a wheelchair to regain partial mobility.
Caring for a paraplegia injury in the first year may cost over $500,000 in New York as well as an additional annual expenditure of about $70,000 after the first year. The lifetime care costs for a victim that was 25 years old when the accident happened may easily exceed $2.5 million.
Quadriplegia and Tetraplegia
Paralysis of both the upper and lower body is referred to as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. It may occur in 2 different forms and the limitations in sensation and movement can vary depending on the precise location of the spinal injury.
Low tetraplegia patients may have limited upper body motor function while those with high tetraplegia may have to rely on caregivers exclusively for the rest of their lives.
The care costs for low tetraplegia can easily exceed $800,000 in the first year, while the cost can easily exceed $1 million in case of high tetraplegia. A person who was injured at age 25 can face lifetime care costs ranging between $3.5 million and $5 million.
Considering the burden of massive financial costs over the person’s lifetime, coupled with pain and suffering as well as lost wages, it is very important to hire a reputable personal injury lawyer in Rochester, NY, to represent your interests.
What Costs Are Associated With Spinal Injuries?
The costs associated with living with spinal cord injuries can be very high. About 43% of people with such injuries are considered paraplegic while about 57% are considered quadriplegic, which means that they require medical and living assistance for the rest of their lives.
The estimated lifetime costs of spinal injuries vary depending on how severe they are along with the age at which the individual suffered the injury. The lifetime cost for an individual that loses motor function due to a spinal injury at age 50 is about $450,000 on the low end. The high-end costs for a 25-year-old who suffers high quadriplegia are close to $3 million.
Why Should I Hire a Rochester Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
The harm caused by a spinal injury can go far beyond health issues. Spinal cord injuries can also lead to financial hardships such as medical bills and lost wages. That’s why it is important to make sure that you seek legal assistance from a competent personal injury lawyer from Cellino Law.
Estimates by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center put the spinal injuries that can be attributed to vehicular accidents at 36.5%. The accident lawyers at Cellino Law have extensive knowledge of New York State’s negligence laws and will pursue any violations that may have contributed to your spinal cord injury. If you or a loved one requires our legal services pertaining to such accidents, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center further reports that 28.5% of spinal cord injuries can be attributed to falls, 14.3% to violence, and 9.2% to sports. Spinal cord injuries resulting from any of these could have been the result of the negligence of another party.
Your spinal cord injury that was the result of a fall may also have been due to the failure to comply with the safety regulations or just due to insufficient maintenance.
If your fall happened on a private residence, commercial property, or public space, the personal injury attorneys at Cellino Law are willing and committed to working hard to identify any instances of negligence or legal violations.
If your spinal cord injury was the result of an act of violence, you must make sure that you seek legal assistance from a Cellino Law injury lawyer. The individual or individuals who acted violently towards you, which resulted in your injury could be liable for your injuries, which creates the possibility of an injury settlement.
Similarly, if either you or your loved one suffered a spinal cord injury while playing sports, the owner of the property where you were playing could be liable for your injuries. If the property owner may be liable for your spinal cord injury, you should contact us for our slip and fall legal services.
Spinal Cord Injury Compensation
Cellino Law works with leading professionals to prove liability against defendants while proving maximum damages during the trial. Spinal injuries are usually devastating because the victims are required to deal with prolonged medical and physical therapy, lost wages, severe conscious pain and suffering, as well as rehabilitation expenses.
How Will a Lawyer Help a Spine Injury Claim?
The trial lawyers at Cellino Law have handled hundreds of spinal cord injury cases throughout NY. Our law firm works with leading specialists, who include:
- Medical professionals to prove the spinal injury including neurosurgeons and orthopedic spinal surgeons.
- Economics professionals to prove both past and future wages, fringe benefits, union or other benefits, salary increases, retirement benefits, the value of household services, and other economic damages.
- Life Care planning professionals come up with a plan for the care of the patient for the remainder of his/her life that may include 24-hour rehabilitation, medical visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, along with other factors and considerations. A claim can be made for past and future medical and other life care planning costs the patient or their family is required to pay due to the accident.
- Vocational rehabilitation professionals to explain why the patient is unable to work in a different profession or vocation.
All the above professionals together with the victim’s family will explain the devastating impact of the spinal injury on the victim’s life.
How Do We Achieve the Highest Compensation Possible for You and Your Loved Ones?
We have come to realize that taking the case to trial as opposed to settling is the best strategic decision in the vast majority of spinal cord injury cases. That’s especially true in cases where the defendant or insurance company refuses to play fair during negotiations.
A good law firm should ideally have good negotiation as well as mediation skills, which is why the attorney you hire should not be afraid to roll up his/her sleeves and litigate in the courtroom.
Cellino Law has considerable trial experience in the successful litigation of personal injury cases, which includes back and spinal cord injuries of all types.
Contact Our Rochester Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers Today for a Free Review of Your Claim!
Our law firm has been successful in recovering millions of dollars for injury victims over the years. We are the proud recipients of some of the top verdicts and settlements in the history of New York State.
We understand that personal injuries can be life-changing events and that it can be incredibly challenging to meet even life’s basic expenses after suffering a serious or catastrophic spinal or back injury.
Our Rochester personal injury attorneys strive to make sure that our clients receive the compensation they deserve so that they can recover lost wages, pain and suffering, along with medical bills. To get your free consultation regarding your options and rights in a spinal injury case call us today at (800) 555-5555.