If you have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury as a result of trauma sustained in a crash, fall, or other accident, it will be important for you to speak with a personal injury lawyer about your legal rights. Medical treatment for spinal cord injuries can be lengthy and extremely expensive, and your treatment expenses could represent just a fraction of the total cost of your injury.
Spinal Cord Injury Facts
1. Prevalence and Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), approximately 17,700 U.S. residents are diagnosed with spinal cord injuries each year (excluding cases involving fatal injuries). The NSCISC reports that:
- More than a third (38.3 percent) of spinal cord injuries result from vehicle crashes
- Just under one-third (31.6 percent) result from falls.
- The remaining third or so of spinal cord injury diagnoses are attributable to violence (13.8 percent), sports injuries (8.2 percent), medical negligence (4.6 percent), and other factors (3.5 percent)
With car accidents as the leading cause of trauma to the spinal cord, lawyers at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC have seen spinal cord injuries in many cases. We know the toll it takes on victims and their families, and we know how to pursue justice on their behalf.
2. Medical Treatment Needs and Impact on Ability to Work
On average, the NSCISC reports that a person diagnosed with a spinal cord injury will spend 11 days in the hospital and 34 days in rehabilitation. Of course, for individuals diagnosed with permanent spinal cord injuries, the recovery process can be a lifelong endeavor.
The NSCISC’s data also show that many individuals who suffer spinal cord injuries are never able to return to work. One year after injury, the NSCISC reports that just 12.4 percent of spinal cord injury victims are employed. At 10 years post-injury, this jumps to 26.9 percent, but at 20 years post-injury, the figure increases only slightly to 33.2 percent.
3. Financial Costs Associated with Spinal Cord Injuries
Just how expensive are spinal cord injuries? According to the NSCISC, “the estimated lifetime costs that are directly attributable to SCI vary greatly based on education, neurological impairment, and pre-injury employment history.”
With this in mind, the average financial costs associated with spinal cord injuries (not including loss of income) are:
- High Tetraplegia (C1-C4) – $1.1 million for the first year and $191,436 for each subsequent year
- Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) – $796,583 for the first year and $117,437 for each subsequent year
- Paraplegia – $537,271 for the first year and $71,172 for each subsequent year
- Motor Function at Any Level – $359,783 for the first year and $43,700 for each subsequent year
Fighting for Just Compensation After a Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury
Given the extraordinary costs of suffering a traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), accident victims who have been diagnosed with tetraplegia (also known as quadriplegia), paraplegia, and other forms of SCI need to take appropriate legal action. If someone else is to blame for your injury, you may be entitled to full compensation, and an experienced personal injury lawyer will be able to help you recover.
In order to protect your legal rights, if you have suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident, in a fall, as a result of medical malpractice, or under any other circumstances, you should:
- Collect Your Medical Records – You don’t have to worry about collecting everything, but take the time to make a file with all of the medical records you have that pertain to your spinal cord injury.
- Take Notes – Write down as many details as you can remember about the accident and record any pertinent details related to the day-to-day effects of your injury. Prepare a list of questions you want to ask your personal injury lawyer as well.
- Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer – In order to determine if you have a claim for financial compensation, you will need to speak with a personal injury lawyer. You should contact a local attorney who has specific experience handling spinal cord injury claims.
- Avoid Speaking with Insurance Adjusters Directly – At this point, you should avoid speaking with any insurance adjusters. If any adjusters try to contact you, take down their contact information, tell them that you are seeking legal counsel, and let them know that your lawyer will be in touch shortly.
- Not Wait Any Longer Than Necessary – We know that it can be difficult to face reality, but you need to seek help, and you need to do so as soon as possible. At O’Connor & Partners, PLLC, we are more than happy to assist you. We encourage you to contact us today so that we can begin working on your claim.
Get Started with a Free Initial Consultation at O’Connor & Partners, PLLC
If you would like more information about your legal rights after suffering a spinal cord injury in New York, we want you to contact us. We are here to help, and we are committed to securing just compensation for our clients.
To speak with a lawyer at our offices in Kingston, Newburgh, or Poughkeepsie, call 845-303-8777 or tell us how we can reach you. Someone from our firm will be in touch with you soon.