Spinal Cord Injury
The spinal cord runs along your back from the skull to the tailbone. It’s made up of small bones, called vertebrae, and nerves, discs and other tissue.
The nerves in the spinal cord are responsible for communications within the body–so when a portion of the cord is damaged, a part of your body might not know how to function.
That’s why spinal cord injuries have the potential to cause paralysis. The consequences of the injury depend upon where the injury occurs on the cord. Injuries that are higher up on the spinal column cause more serious injuries than lower-level damage.
Table of Contents
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
In spinal cord injury cases, the consequences also depend on whether the injury is complete or incomplete:
- Complete injuries result in loss of all feeling/function below the injury
- Incomplete injuries cause a loss of function/feeling, but you will remain some degree of feeling or movement below the injury
The spinal cord is divided into four basic segments:
The Cervical Spine
The cervical spine (vertebrae C1-C7) is located in the neck, and controls the body from the neck down. That means it controls the body’s respiratory system. Damage to the C-spine can result in tetraplegia (paralysis from the neck down). Additional complications may include:
- Loss of bladder and bowel function
- Difficulty breathing
- Speech impediments
- Loss of muscle tone
Significant cervical spinal cord damage can leave you unable to function on your own. These injuries can be catastrophic. You might need around-the-clock care and medical devices to keep you alive.
The Thoracic Spine
The thoracic spine is located in the upper and middle section of the back (vertebrae T1-T-12). It controls the chest, abdominal and back muscles and legs. Damage to the thoracic spine can result in paralysis from the waist down in the most serious cases. Thoracic spinal cord damage can also cause problems with bladder and bowel function.
The Lumbar Spine
The lumbar spine sits beneath the thoracic spine. The region is generally responsible for carrying your body weight, and vertebrae L1-L5 tend to be a bit more sturdy. While damage to the lumbar spine is unlikely to cause paralysis, that doesn’t mean it can’t complicate your life.
Victims of lumbar spinal cord injuries might experience both reduced leg strength and difficulty controlling the bladder and bowels. Wheelchairs and special equipment may become necessary.
The Sacral Spine
The sacral spine lies at the very bottom of the spinal cord. Vertebrae S1-S5 are actually fused together in a triangle shape. Injuries to the sacral spine are relatively rare, but can lead to pain, loss of bladder and bowel function, loss of motor function and more.
How Common Are Spinal Cord Injuries in the U.S.?
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,810 Americans sustain a new spinal cord injury each year. NSCISC estimates that about 300,000 Americans are currently living with serious spinal cord injuries.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in NYC
Any type of serious accident can result in a spinal cord injury. Since 2015, NSCISC research shows that more than one-third of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. are caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Some other common causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- Car accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Fall accidents, including slip and fall accidents
- Assault and gun violence
- Construction accidents
- Truck accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
- Medical malpractice
If you suffered a spinal cord injury in New York City, speaking with an experienced lawyer is your first step toward financial recovery. To learn more about how our NYC personal injury lawyers can help, simply call our injury law firm to arrange a free initial consultation.
You Have Limited Time to Protect Your Rights
Under New York law, you have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is called the statute of limitations. Once the three-year period is up, you lose your right to get compensation from the at-fault party.
What’s the Cost of Treating a Spinal Cord Injury?
The costs of treating a serious spinal cord injury are staggering. When things like lost wages and earning capacity are excluded, the average lifetime costs for a 25-year-old with a serious spinal cord injury can average around:
- $5,100,941 for high tetraplegia (C1-C4 vertebrae)
- $3,727,066 for injuries to C5-C8 vertebrae
- $2,494,338 for paraplegia
Of course, any spinal cord injury will be expensive to treat. It’s estimated that 30% of spinal cord injury victims are back in the hospital at least once within the first year after the injury–and the average hospital stay is about 18 days.
As we all know, hospital bills in NYC aren’t cheap. Our spinal cord injury attorneys will fight to get what you need to cover your medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
What Damages Are Available to Spinal Cord Injury Victims?
The cost of treating a spinal cord injury varies from person to person. Our lawyers will work closely with you and your doctors throughout the entire legal process. We’ll learn what will be necessary to treat your injury over time.
In our damages claim, we’ll also fight to get money for the things money can’t buy. That means damages for your pain and the loss of your ability to participate in activities you enjoyed before the accident.
A fair damages award might include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Future medical bills
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Nursing care, including in-home aides
- Modifications to your home and vehicle
- Medical devices
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Diminished quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- And more
Not all spinal cord injury victims survive. If you lost a loved one, our experienced wrongful death lawyers can help you get compensation for the loss of your loved one’s company, funeral costs, financial support, and more.
Call For a Free Consultation With a New York City Personal Injury Lawyer
A spinal cord injury can throw your entire life off track.
While you struggle to recover, medical bills and other expenses can begin to pile up. If you were hurt and someone else caused the accident, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries.
Our lawyers are here to help. At Rosenbaum & Rosenbaum, P.C., our NYC personal injury attorneys have a proven track record of successfully recovering fair compensation for accident victims. With over 40 years of experience, we know what it takes to get the full amount you deserve.
If you’re interested in exploring your legal options, call to schedule a time to sit down with our attorneys today. An experienced NYC spinal cord injury can give you the strongest chance of getting the money you need to get your life back on track.