Spinal cord injuries can be caused by a wide variety of accidents, leaving victims unable to live a normal life. If you or a loved one has suffered one of these injuries, you may be faced with medical bills, an inability to work, and other problems. Once you’ve addressed the medical issues surrounding your spinal cord injury, it’s time to consider taking legal action.
The New York personal injury attorneys of Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. are ready to go to work for you. To get started on your legal claim, or to simply ask questions about your rights, speak with our team.
Why Do Spinal Cord Injuries Happen?
Nearly 18,000 Americans suffer a spinal cord injury every year, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. These are some of the most common reasons:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sports and recreational injuries
- Construction site accidents
- Acts of violence
- Defective products
Negligence is often to blame. For instance, a swimming pool may not have a lifeguard, allowing a child to dive in the shallow end and damage his or her spinal cord. Assault and other violent crimes often happen because of negligent security. And, of course, many of the accidents listed above are often due to negligence.
Types Of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can be caused by either direct blow to the spinal cord itself or damage to the tissue and bones (vertebrae) surrounding it. These injuries are generally grouped into one of two categories:
- Incomplete: The spinal cord is still able to transmit some messages to or from the brain. The victim retains some sensory perception and may still have control of the muscles below the level of the injury.
- Complete: This means there is no nerve communication. All feeling and power to control movement are lost below the level of the injury.
There are two types of paralysis that the victim may experience, depending on the level of injury. They are:
- Tetraplegia (quadriplegia): This means paralysis in all four limbs and most of the body, often resulting from a spinal cord injury in the neck area.
- Paraplegia: A type of paralysis affecting the legs and lower body.
Signs And Symptoms
If you or someone you love has been in an accident, it’s imperative that you seek immediate medical attention. Failure to do so could unnecessarily aggravate your injuries and make recovery more difficult or impossible. The following are common symptoms of spinal cord injuries:
- Numbness, tingling, or a loss of or changes in sensation in the extremities
- Immediate or gradually developing paralysis
- Pain or pressure in back, head, or neck
- Loss of or difficulty with movement, including walking
- Unnatural positions of the head or spine
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Trouble breathing
- Sexual dysfunction
Common Damages In Cases
The personal, emotional, and financial costs of spinal cord injuries can be staggering. These catastrophic injuries can suddenly and irreversibly change the course of one’s life. Our attorneys regularly work with spinal cord injury victims, and we see such common damages as:
- Personal Injury: Recovering compensation for your physical injuries and changes in your life is of paramount importance. We know you need the resources to resume your activities to the extent you can.
- Pain and suffering: The spinal cord accident victim could be faced with the prospect of painful recovery. Injuries can cause immense suffering for the indefinite future. Chronic pain can further reduce the victim’s quality of life and lead to secondary issues such as depression.
- Medical bills: As you can imagine, this category of costs is one of the most significant. Bills may be incurred for immediate treatment of the injury, along with long-term costs like physical therapy, rehabilitation, nursing care, adaptive medical treatment, and much more.
- Lost wages: You will miss work while being treated for the accident (e.g. car accident) that caused the spinal cord injury. And you will continue missing work for follow-up appointments, treatments, and other medical events.
- Lost future income: You may have had a promising career that has now been cut short or drastically altered because of your spinal cord injury. This is especially true for athletes or anyone who does physical labor, but lost future income can affect anyone in any profession.
- Reduced quality of life: Spinal cord injury victims are faced with the sudden realization that their lives have dramatically changed. Even simple tasks that most people take for granted can be impossible or exceedingly difficult. The victim also may not be able to participate in activities he or she once enjoyed. All of this can lead to a decreased quality of life.
Seeking Compensation For Spinal Cord Injuries
An attorney can assist you in proving that the party who caused your spinal cord injury was negligent. Negligence refers to a failure to act with the level of care that a reasonably prudent person would. For instance, driving while impaired is considered negligence and could be the basis of a spinal cord injury lawsuit.
Insurance companies are notorious for trying to pressure victims into accepting unreasonably low settlement offers. Because of the immense physical injuries, loss of function of body parts, loss of enjoyment of life, medical costs and other damages associated with spinal cord injuries, insurers are more prone to making insufficient settlement offers or even denying claims altogether.
We do not advise speaking with the insurance company, as it does not care about your best interests . Let us handle communications with the insurer. If possible, we will negotiate your case and attempt to settle it out of court. However, we understand how to value these cases and we know when an insurance company is not negotiating in good faith. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, we will take your case to trial. In most cases such as these, a trial is necessary in order to obtain the substantial damages our client is entitled to, and we have the resources, experience and ability to do so.
Contact Our New York Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
No one should have their life turned upside down because someone’s negligence caused a spinal cord injury. We bring considerable legal experience to the table for every client we represent, and we’d be honored to serve you. Contact Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. today.
Miller, Montiel, & Strano, P.C. help clients with their spinal cord injury claims throughout New York including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens, and Brooklyn.