Over 10,000 people across the United States suffer from spinal cord injuries each year including our own citizens in New York. One of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries in the United States are automobile accidents. However, violence-related accidents are steadily increasing across the country as a major contributor.
A spinal cord injury, or SCI, is a term used to describe any damage to the spinal cord that impacts a person’s function or mobility. Spinal cord injuries can often be the result of trauma and can have temporary or permanent effects on an individual depending on its cause. Spinal cord injuries can have effects expanding far beyond the physical and even impact a person’s ability to control their bladder or bowel. Additionally, SCIs can result in a permanent or temporary loss of sensation or movement.
Types and Impacts of Spinal Cord Injuries on New York Victims
There are two types of spinal cord injuries: complete and incomplete.
A complete injury is one that results in a total loss of sensation and voluntary motor movement on either or both sides of the body. This typically occurs at the level of the body below the site of the injury.
An incomplete injury occurs when a person still has some feeling or partial movement in the affected area.
When a spinal cord injury occurs, it is typically defined by referencing the area of the spine that is affected. For example, an injury to the nerve located at the fifth cervical vertebra is referred to as a C-5 injury and injuries to the area below the neck is the thoracic vertebrae are defined as T-1, and so on. Other areas of the spinal cord are covered by the sacral and lumbar vertebrae.
If an individual suffers a spinal cord injury to the neck area, it often leads to paralysis of all limbs, leaving a person in a quadriplegic state. Injuries to the thoracic area of the spine can leave a person in a paraplegic state where they have paralysis in the lower limbs of the body.
What Does a Spinal Cord Injury Involve?
Injuries to the spinal cord typically result in swelling along the spinal cord which can impact how to body functions. As the swelling goes down, the injured party may be able to regain function within a few months to years after the injury. Unfortunately, it is rare for all functions to return to their prior state.
Some individuals are able to undergo surgeries and other treatment options to stabilize broken vertebrae which can help the patient maintain the injury by preventing movement and reducing swelling. Sadly, there is no cure for a spinal cord injury, but stem cell research has shown some significant advantages for future use.
The Two Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are two types of spinal cord injuries that are increasingly common; traumatic brain injuries and cerebral palsy. Both can have a lasting impact on individuals that suffer from them.
Serious Consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as TBI, occurs when the brain is subjected to a sudden force or trauma within the skull. The brain can be driven into the side of the skull by a sudden blow or whiplash, causing it to swell and bruise. In some cases, the impact can cause blood vessels in the brain to bleed.
When the incident results in a cracked or broken skull, it is considered a penetrating head injury. When a person does not have visible damage to the skull, it is more difficult to diagnose the problem. Blows, impact, or back-and-forth shaking can cause this type of close-head injury. Babies and small children can suffer from this type of injury when subjected to ‘shaken baby syndrome,’ which occurs when a young baby or toddler is aggressively shaken.
TBIs can cause serious, life-threatening events to occur and can result in irreversible brain damage that is permanent. TBIs can also lead to seizures, memory loss, paralysis, blindness, impaired communication skills, and several other disabilities.
Cerebral Palsy: A Debilitating Condition
Over 400 children are affected by cerebral palsy each year, making it the most common motor disability in children.
Cerebral palsy describes the loss or deficiency of motor control often accompanied by involuntary movements called spasms which are caused by brain damage. This condition is both permanent and irreversible, leaving a crippling effect on the central nervous system.
In some cases, cerebral palsy is caused by hospital or physician neglect that took place at some point between the time of birth and being discharged from the hospital. One of the most common instances of neglect causing cerebral palsy is when a nurse does not react appropriately to abnormalities in the fetus’s heart rate. A nurse’s failure to call an obstetrician to make sure the baby is doing well could result in oxygen deprivation to the brain. This act of negligence may be grounds for parents to sue for damages.
Legal Cases for Spinal Cord Injury, TBI, and Cerebral Palsy
When an individual suffers any of these conditions in New York, they often experience drastic and ongoing physical pain. They experience a great sense of loss and are often forced to live a limited quality of life. In addition to enduring both physical and mental suffering, they often face costly expenses for therapy and specialized care that can last the duration of their lives.
Pursuing a successful liability case is often the only way to help individuals ease the financial and emotional burdens they are forced to deal with in these devastating conditions.
If you or a loved one is suffering from any of these a spinal injury, TBI, or cerebral palsy, it is in your best interest to contact a reputable lawyer as soon as possible to help you with your claim. A spinal cord injury lawyer likes those at New York Lawyer can help you collect evidence to support your claim and maximize the compensation you receive.
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury, contact Silbowitz, Garafola, Silbowitz, Schatz & Frederick, LLP at (212)-354-6800 to see what legal options are available for you.