Providing You The Critical Legal Help You Need
Spinal cord injuries are devastating injuries that can forever change an individual’s life and their family’s future. This debilitating trauma often results in a loss of function, intense pain, massive amounts of stress, and skyrocketing medical expenses.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury in a Bronx accident, we understand you are going through a lot. However, we also know you need legal help from a team that you can trust; a team that can walk you through the legal complexities involved in a spinal cord injury lawsuit; a team that can go after the justice you deserve. That is why the Bronx spinal cord injury lawyers at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman are here and ready to fight on your behalf.
About Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman
If you have been seriously hurt in a Bronx accident, you should seek legal help. At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, our dedicated attorneys can meet with you one-on-one to discuss what happened and go over how we can help you. With our resources and experience, our lawyers can help ensure your claim is handled correctly, identify all sources of compensation available, and aggressively pursue maximum compensation on your behalf.
For decades, our law firm has stood up for the rights and interests of our clients, who have been injured or killed because of other people’s wrongful actions.
We have not only collected millions of dollars on behalf of injured victims in a wide variety of cases, but some of our recent awards have included the following:
- $1.58 million car accident resulting in two herniated discs impinging on the spinal cord
- $1.75 million shoulder surgery with mild TBI
- $3.2 million semi-truck accident resulting in a brain injury
- $1 million car accident
- $1 million wrongful death accident
While no result can be guaranteed, the attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman are here to help our clients every step of the way.
What Exactly Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
A spinal cord injury involves damage to any part of the spinal cord or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal. These nerves are responsible for relaying signals up and down the spinal cord. These spinal cord injuries often result from a sudden blow to the spine, laceration of the nerve fibers, compression caused by pressure to the spinal cord, or contusion, which is bruising of the spinal cord.
Spinal Cord Injuries – The Statistics
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the Spinal Cord Injury Data Sheet indicates that:
- In the United States, there are approximately 17,730 new spinal cord injuries each year.
- On average, there are between 249,000 to 363,000 individuals in the United States living with a spinal cord injury.
- The average length of stay in the hospital following a spinal cord injury is 11 days.
- The average length of rehabilitation needed following a spinal cord injury is 31 days.
Unfortunately, New York is no exception to these horrific injuries. Every year, approximately 1,100 New York residents suffer a traumatic spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries – The Different Types
When a person suffers a spinal cord injury, it can cause a permanent loss of strength, the inability to function below the injury site, and a loss of sensation. However, specific symptoms often depend on two factors: the severity of the injury to the spinal cord, and the place of the damage along your spinal cord.
The severity of the spinal cord injury is often called the “completeness” and is classified as:
- Complete: Following a spinal cord injury, if all your ability to control movement and feeling are lost below the injury site, the spinal cord injury is complete.
- Incomplete: Following a spinal cord injury, if you have some sensory or motor functions below the injury site, your spinal cord injury is incomplete. There are varying degrees of an incomplete spinal cord injury.
In addition, the spinal cord injury can also result in paralysis, which is referred to as either:
- Paraplegia: This paralysis affects a part or all of the legs, trunk, and pelvic organs.
- Tetraplegia: This paralysis is also known as quadriplegia, which means that your hands, arms, legs, trunk, and pelvic organs are affected by the spinal cord injury.
Your doctor or health care team will run numerous tests to determine the completeness and neurological level of your spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries – The Symptoms
Spinal cord injuries can result in numerous symptoms.
However, some of the more common signs include the following:
- Movement loss.
- Altered sensation, or loss of sensation, including the inability to feel cold, heat, and touch.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Loss of bowel control.
- Spasms or exaggerated reflex activities.
- Changes in sexual sensitivity, sexual function, and also fertility.
- Difficulty coughing, clearing secretions from the lungs, or even breathing.
- An intense stinging sensation or extreme pain caused by damages to the nerve fibers in the spinal cord.
Following an accident, there may also be numerous emergency symptoms of a spinal cord injury.
These can include:
- Extensive pressure in the neck, back, or head.
- Extreme back pain.
- Weakness, paralysis, or incoordination in any area of your body.
- Loss of bladder control.
- Loss of bowel control.
- Numbness, a tingling sensation, or a loss of feeling in your fingers, feet, hands, or toes.
- Oddly twisted or positioned back or neck.
- Hard time breathing following the accident.
- Hard time walking or balancing.
If an individual suffered any trauma to their neck or head following an accident, they need immediate medical evaluation for a possible spinal cord injury.
Spinal Cord Injuries – Common Causes
Unfortunately, any accident can end in a spinal cord injury. However, certain types of accidents can result in this devastating injury more than others.
- Car accidents: Automotive collisions are devastating for everyone involved. Due to a car’s high speeds, these accidents can result in a sudden blow to the spinal cord or surrounding areas, including the nerves, ligaments, discs, and vertebrae. Consequently, this crash can lead to broken, dislocated, or crushed vertebrae.
- Falls: Slipping and falling can result in numerous injuries. Yet, many people do not realize that this accident often involves a spinal cord injury. Depending on how someone slipped and fell, these accidents can lead to a complete or partial tear of the spinal cord—ultimately causing an individual to lose their ability to control their limbs.
- Violence: Another common cause of a spinal cord injury is an act of violence. These intentional acts can include firearm shootings, stabbings, or even physical fights. As a result, these acts can lead to crushing, severing, or tearing the spinal cord.
- Biking accidents: The Bronx is known for its biking population, with numerous cyclists filling the busy streets every day. Consequently, the Bronx has experienced its fair share of biking accidents and injuries. However, because of the little protection that covers these cyclists who are riding at reasonably high speeds. Spinal cord injuries are a fairly common injury, especially when these bicyclists are struck by cars.
Even though car accidents, slip and falls, acts of violence, and bicycle accidents are the more typical sources of spinal cord injuries. Other causes can also result in this horrific injury.
- Medical malpractice surgical errors
- Trucking accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Train accidents
- Machinery failures
- Construction site accidents
- Defective products
- Worksite accidents
- Sports accidents
As you can see, there are numerous ways a spinal cord injury can occur. After your accident, speaking with a personal injury lawyer can help you determine exactly how your injury occurred and who was at fault for the incident.
Spinal Cord Injuries – Diagnosis and Treatment
Following a spinal cord injury, it can be imperative to get to a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve a spinal cord injury victim’s chances for recovery. A doctor will often perform a thorough neurological exam testing whether you have any sensitivity to touch, your ability to move, and how your reflexes function. These tests will help determine if there is any damage to your spinal cord and where the damage may be.
Additionally, the following tests and scans may also be used as part of the diagnostic process:
- CT Scans: CT scans are a series of X-ray images taken from numerous angles to create a detailed picture of the body. These scans also use computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the blood vessels, soft tissues, and bones inside your body.
- X-ray: An X-ray is a machine that uses a type of radiation called electromagnetic waves and creates a picture of the inside of your body. They are typically used when trying to diagnose broken bones.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRIs are a medical imaging technique used in radiology to form pictures of the physiological process and your body’s anatomy. The MRI uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to generate images of your internal structures and organs.
Spinal Cord Injuries – The Damages
Spinal cord injuries are incredibly complex. Those people who have suffered a spinal cord injury not only have an immense amount of medical bills and rehabilitation expenses, but many times these costs are ongoing or lifelong.
As a result, even though the compensation amounts vary on a case-by-case basis, damages for a spinal cord injury tend to factor in:
- Medical expenses including past, present, and future bills
- Lost earning capacity
- Lost wages including past, present, and future lost wages
- Household services
- At-home care
- Rehabilitation including physical therapy as well as vocational therapy
- Medical devices such as a wheel-chair
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Punitive damages (if they are applicable)
Steps You Need to Take Following a Bronx Spinal Cord Injury Accident
Any accident scene tends to be quite chaotic. However, amongst the confusion and panic, if you have been involved in a spinal cord injury accident, you need to take some crucial steps. These actions can not only protect your overall health and safety but your individual rights as well.
These steps include:
- Call 911: Following an accident, you need to call the police. These officers can not make sure you get the emergency medical help that you may need, but they can also document their observations and findings of what happened in their police report. This report can provide you with valuable evidence if you decide to pursue a legal claim.
- Get checked out by a doctor: If you do not need emergency medical care following an accident. You still need to get checked out by a doctor as soon as possible. Spinal cord injuries are not always apparent. That is why it is essential to get looked over by a medical professional who can discover these hidden injuries and provide you with the medical attention you need.
- Gather evidence from the scene: If you can do so, try to take as many pictures and videos of the accident scene as you can. Include photos of your visible injuries, any motor vehicles if you were involved in a car crash, any dangerous conditions on the property, skid marks on the road, and even weather conditions at the time of the accident.
- Witness information: If there were any people present at the time of the accident and saw what happened, make sure to get their name and contact information. Their statements and pictures can provide you with valuable evidence that can help you prove liability and damages.
Finally, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury due to an accident, you need to contact a Bronx spinal cord injury attorney as quickly as possible. These lawyers can promptly get to work investigating your case and gathering critical evidence required to prove your claim.
Bronx Spinal Cord Injury FAQs
As a spinal cord injury victim, it can be difficult finding all the essential and relevant information regarding your condition and the legal help you need. Many times you may rely on friends and family or random Google searches. However, this information is not always accurate and can cause you to miss critical steps that you need to take.
For these reasons, the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman have prepared a selection of frequently asked questions regarding spinal cord injuries and spinal cord injury claims. We hope that with this information, we can provide you some answers and a basic understanding of what you have to do to get the justice you deserve.
1. When does a Bronx spinal cord injury become a legal matter?
Many times spinal cord injuries are not a result of an innocent accident. Even if no one purposely caused this injury or intended it to happen, these spinal cord injuries still result, and many times they are due to someone failing to meet their legal duty of care. When a person or corporation does not act responsibly, they can be held accountable for another person’s spinal cord injuries.
2. Who is liable for my Bronx spinal cord injury?
If you were hurt in an accident that resulted in a spinal cord injury, then any party responsible or partially responsible for causing your spinal cord injury can be held liable. However, you need to bring evidence that can show that your spinal cord injury resulted from another person’s negligence or through strict liability.
Typically, these at-fault parties can include:
- The individual directly responsible for your injury, such as the at-fault driver in a motor vehicle accident
- Designers or manufacturers of faulty equipment or products
- Companies who sold the defective goods or equipment
- Property owners or property managers
Speaking with a spinal cord injury lawyer following your accident can help you figure out who was responsible for your accident and hold all those at-fault liable for your injuries.
3. If I do not feel that my injury is significant, do I still need to see a doctor?
Regardless if you believe that your symptoms are not serious following an accident, you still need to see a medical professional and get examined. In many cases, a spinal cord injury does not present itself right away. As a result, it can be imperative to get checked out by a doctor who can figure out if you have a spinal cord injury, even if it is not yet apparent. Additionally, your doctor can write down their findings in their medical report. This report can help you prove damages when pursuing a claim, especially if the other side tries to argue you received these injuries from a superseding event.
4. If a negligent party in the Bronx caused my spinal cord injury, what do I need to prove?
Generally, before you can collect damages for your spinal cord injury, you need to prove that the other party was negligent and caused your spinal cord injury.
To do this, your attorney needs to show:
- The at-fault party or the defendant owed you a duty of due care
- The at-fault party breached this duty
- This breach, either because of an act or omission, resulted in an accident and caused your spinal cord injury
- You suffered losses and damages as a result of the accident
Luckily, when you work with the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman, you do not have to worry about these legal complexities. Instead, you can leave this hard work to our spinal cord injury lawyers. Our attorneys can take care of proving all these elements of negligence while you focus on what matters most: your recovery.
5. How long do I have to file a spinal cord injury claim in the Bronx?
In New York, the statute of limitations for most spinal cord injury cases is three years from the accident date. However, if your case involves medical malpractice, this deadline decreases to two years and six months from the date of the malpractice or at the end of your treatment. That is why it is important to speak with an attorney promptly following your accident. These lawyers can not only review your claims and determine if they are viable, but they can figure out exactly how much time you have to file.
Additionally, it is not a good idea to wait too long to pursue a spinal cord injury claim.
The longer you wait, there is a better chance that:
- Critical evidence will disappear, and memories of the accident will fade. Yet, the faster you bring your claim, the sooner your lawyer can start gathering essential evidence needed to prove liability, and can speak with relevant witness statements that could collaborate what happened.
- You can miss out on building a strong medical and legal foundation from the get-go.
- Depending on the defendant, the statute of limitations may be shorter. As a result, you do not want to risk running out of time to file a case. The faster you contact an experienced spinal cord injury lawyer, the better your chance of filing all the appropriate documents and motions accurately, and on-time, is.
6. If I receive a settlement offer should I accept it, or should I head to trial with my Bronx spinal cord case?
Following a spinal cord injury accident, you may receive a settlement offer. However, before you accept this offer, you should speak with a lawyer. It is important to realize that spinal cord injuries can result in numerous medical expenses and ongoing medical care. That is why you need to verify that the settlement offer you received will cover your current bills and future care and treatments.
Unfortunately, many times the first settlement amount will not cover all of these costs. If this is the case, it may be in your best interest to decline the offer and have your attorney pursue negotiations to get you a settlement amount that is fair to you. If the other side is unwilling to negotiate, your lawyer can take your case to trial and fight for maximum compensation on your behalf.
7. In the Bronx, can I recover punitive damages for my spinal cord injury?
Unlike other damages, punitive damages are not meant to compensate the victim. Rather they are there to punish the defendant. As a result, to recover punitive damages in New York, you need to show that the defendant acted with a complete disregard for the victim’s safety and health. It is not enough to show that the defendant was careless with their actions.
Following your accident, your spinal cord injury attorney can review your case and see if there is clear evidence indicating that the defendant acted with wanton and willful negligence. If there is such evidence, then they could pursue punitive damages on your behalf.
8. Does the individual who caused my spinal cord injury have any defenses?
Yes. Even if you do not believe you caused the accident, the defendant or insurance company may try to claim that you were also responsible for your injuries. In many cases, they will try tactics to get you to admit blame. That is why you must be careful what you say, especially to the insurance adjusters.
Additionally, the defense may argue you have assumed the risk for your injury. For example, if you were injured due to a sporting activity, the other side may assert that you took this risk and try to reduce your damages.
Reviewing your case with an experienced spinal cord injury attorney can help you overcome these possible defenses and figure out the best course of action for your case.
9. How are spinal cord injuries classified in the Bronx?
A spinal cord injury is classified depending on where the damage to the vertebrae occurs.
These different classifications include:
- Cervical: This cervical area is found in the neck and contains seven cervical vertebrae and eight cervical nerves. Typically, cervical spinal cord injuries result in a loss of function in the arms, legs, and chest. These injuries can affect bowel and bladder control, as well as causing breathing issues.
- Thoracic: The chest area contains 12 thoracic vertebrae and thoracic nerves. Thoracic spinal cord injuries tend to affect the legs and chest and cause breathing, bladder, and bowel control issues.
- Lumbar: This is the area between the pelvis and the chest, and contains five lumbar vertebrae and five lumbar nerves. If you suffer a lumbar spinal cord injury, it usually affects the legs and the hips and can also cause bladder and bowel control issues.
- Sacral: The sacral area contains five sacral vertebrae and five sacral nerves, reaching from the end of the spine to the pelvis. Sacral spinal cord injuries often affect the legs and the hips but can also impair bladder and bowel control.
No two people are the same. As a result, how a spinal cord injury affects you will differ from other individuals.
10. Does a spinal cord injury mean I will be paralyzed?
Each section of the spine controls a different part of your body. As a result, if you injure any of these areas, it can lead to considerable damages and leave you partially paralyzed.
If you suffer a “complete” spinal cord injury, your likelihood of paralysis is the highest—as this injury means that the nerves’ signals are not received past the point of injury. Where this injury happens along your spinal cord will determine which parts of the body will be affected. That is why it is so critical to see a doctor as soon as possible following your injury. They can figure out what type of spinal cord injury you suffered and get you the medical help you need.
11. Is there a cure for spinal cord injuries?
Unfortunately, as of today, there is no cure for a spinal cord injury. There are many medical treatments to help relieve pain, stress to the injury site, and spasms. But none of these treatments can completely heal a spinal cord. However, research is continually progressing into nerve regeneration, decompression surgery, and nerve cell transplantation.
How the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman Can Help Me With My Bronx Spinal Cord Injury Lawsuit
Spinal cord injury lawsuits are complicated and extremely detail-oriented. As a spinal cord injury victim, you need to retain lawyers who have the experience handling these complex cases, navigating insurance companies and their settlement tactics, and providing the information you need throughout the process.
When you retain the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman to fight on your side, we can provide these services and so much more.
Our knowledgeable attorneys can:
- Perform a thorough investigation of your case, including reviewing medical records, gathering critical evidence and photos, and interviewing relevant witnesses to help show liability and damages.
- Work with the experts, including surgeons, specialists, rehabilitation experts, and pain management doctors who can assess your spinal cord injuries and help show fault and the extent of your damages.
- Work with economists and financial planners who can calculate the value of your lost income and future lost wages.
- Handle communications and negotiations with the other side, ensuring that your case is treated with fairness and respect.
- Figure out whether workers’ compensation covers you if you were involved in a workplace accident.
- Take your case to trial and fight for maximum compensation.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury, you need the legal help of a knowledgeable and skilled Bronx spinal cord injury attorney. Contact the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA and Sibley Dolman today, or reach us by phone at 833-552-7274, and let us fight for the justice you deserve.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1250 Waters Place, Tower 1, Suite 502
Bronx, NY 10461
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