Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys in New Jersey
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Get Legal Help for You or a Loved One After Spine Trauma
When you suffer a spinal cord injury, you may be facing a long hospital stay, extended inpatient therapy, and even more outpatient care. You might be facing a life newly defined by the effects of your injury. You might not be able to return to work, or even take care of yourself without help. These major adjustments are as emotionally draining as the injury was physically damaging. If another person or company caused your accident, then you should not be the one to pay for it.
An injury claim or lawsuit can be filed to help someone with a spinal cord injury recover money to help offset medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. The NJ personal injury attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., provide legal guidance and representation to spinal cord injury victims as well as others who have suffered catastrophic injury through no fault of their own. We understand that the lifelong challenges ahead require adequate compensation. Please call us at (609) 240-0040 for a free consultation.
Spinal Injuries from a Slip-and-Fall Accident
A slip-and-fall may sound like a minor incident, but it can be devastating. A slippery sidewalk or broken staircase can change your life if your fall results in a spinal injury. Spinal cord injuries vary by type and severity, but trauma to the spine is a common cause. Most injuries do not sever the cord completely, but a bruised spinal cord can create problems, and damage to the nerve fibers can cause paralysis. If the spinal cord injury is in the lower back, it may only affect the legs, but if the injury is high, such as in the neck, it may affect all of your limbs, as well as your torso and some basic bodily functions.
Recovering from a spinal cord injury is not only physically demanding, but emotionally and financially challenging.
When a spinal cord injury, such as quadriplegia, is caused by another person's negligence, these obstacles can be all the more difficult in knowing that the accident could have been prevented.
What Is Quadriplegia?
Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, is paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury, affecting the arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs. When the cervical region of the spinal cord is damaged, the injury can cause partial or total paralysis below the level of the injury.
With incomplete spinal cord injury, the victim has some motor or sensory function below the level of the injury, and there are varying degrees of incomplete quadriplegia, as reported by the Mayo Clinic. With complete spinal cord injury, all or almost all feeling and ability to control movement is lost below the level of the injury.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the leading causes of spinal cord injury in the U.S. are:
- Motor vehicle crashes (38%)
- Falls (30%)
- Acts of violence (14%)
- Sports (9%)
- Other (9%)
Complications of Quadriplegia
Catastrophic injuries that result in quadriplegia have life-altering consequences for the victim. The Mayo Clinic reports that severe spinal cord injury is likely to affect:
- Bladder control: The bladder continues to store urine, but the brain's control of the bladder is generally impeded when the spinal cord has been damaged. This can increase the risk of urinary tract infections and kidney infections, as well as kidney and bladder stones. Most often catheterization is required.
- Bowel control: Although the stomach and intestines continue to work, control of the bowels is altered by the loss of sensation and motor control associated with quadriplegia. A bowel management program is often initiated.
- Circulation: Spinal cord injury typically causes circulatory problems, such as low blood pressure and swelling of the extremities, and may increase the risk of blood clots, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolus, and life-threatening, sudden rises in blood pressure.
- Respiration: Individuals suffering from quadriplegia may have difficulty breathing and coughing, as the spinal cord injury affects the chest and abdominal muscles. There is frequently an increased risk of pneumonia and other lung diseases for quadriplegics.
- Skin sensation: After a severe spinal cord injury, all or part of the sensation in the skin may be lost below the level of the injury. The brain is no longer able to receive messages of extreme heat, cold, or pressure from skin contact. This leaves the patient far more susceptible to pressure sores and the potential for serious infections or amputation.
- Fitness and wellness: Muscle atrophy and weight loss often follow severe spinal cord injuries. Limited mobility may leave quadriplegia victims open to the risks of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
- Muscle tone: Quadriplegia victims may suffer spasticity - an uncontrolled motion or tightening of the muscles - or flaccidity - limp and soft muscles, lacking in tone.
- Sexual health: Fertility, sexuality, and sexual function are generally impacted by a spinal cord injury, in both men and women.
After a catastrophic spinal injury that is the result of a negligent act, it is essential that legal efforts are undertaken to recover full compensation. If you suffered a spinal cord injury from a slip-and-fall accident in New Jersey, there may be others who are responsible. If you tripped on a broken sidewalk, you may be able to seek monetary damages from local or state governments. You might be able to recover compensation from property owners if they failed to de-ice their steps or did not clean up a spill right away inside the shop. You may even have a legal claim to restitution from private homeowners or their insurance carrier if you were injured at their home.
Filing an Injury Claim in New Jersey
It's fairly common to have reservations about filing an injury claim or pursuing a lawsuit after a serious accident. There's a lot on an accident survivor's mind and in many situations, the trauma of the accident itself can leave individuals withdrawn and upset, and they have every right to feel that way. With that being said, seeking the right help - medically and legally - can make a big difference in the healing process.
Legal action for a spinal cord injury is not about getting revenge - it's about getting the proper care and obtaining justice. Accident claims and lawsuits often bring an injury victim closure, knowing that they'll be taken care of financially and that negligent parties have been held accountable.
The decision to take legal action is yours to make. Every situation is different and the best decision may be to consult with an attorney to ensure that you're aware of all of your legal rights and options.
What Compensation Can You Receive?
The medical requirements for spinal cord injury treatment and care are costly and intensive. Receiving compensation in an injury claim or lawsuit can help you pay for hospital expenses, surgery, physical therapy, and medications. Depending on the circumstances of your situation, you may require occupational therapy, counseling, and speech-language therapy.
Money obtained from negligent parties can also help offset lost earnings and benefits if you are no longer able to work. Although putting a dollar amount to pain and suffering, as well other non-economic damages like loss of consortium, can seem impossible, it may be necessary for your particular case.
A New Path
A spinal cord injury presents unique challenges in the limitations it poses to your mobility and sensory skills, but it doesn't change who you are at heart. At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., we strive to help our clients who have suffered catastrophic injury keep their dreams alive and accomplish their goals. With full compensation to get proper rehabilitation, a new path of recovery is our goal for our clients.
We understand the importance of obtaining compensation not only for your medical treatment but also for the overall care of your family. If you have questions about your spinal cord injury and whether you have a valid claim, please contact our lawyers by calling (609) 240-0040.
- Bike Accident Spinal Injuries
- Car Accident Spinal Cord Injuries
- Causes of a Spinal Cord Injury - Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
- NINDS Spinal Cord Injury Information Page
- Spinal Cord Injury - Mayo Clinic
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