The Quadriplegia Legal NY Resource Center is sponsored by Banville Law, a personal injury law firm based in New York City. This site was created to help victims suffering from spinal injuries learn more about their legal rights.
If you or a family member are facing the devastating effects of a severe spinal cord injury, the future may seem hopeless. Quadriplegia is widely considered one of life’s most horrifying challenges. The basic tasks of daily life may become a constant struggle, and emotional problems, like depression, are commonplace. Tragically, recovery, in the truest sense of the word, is usually a foregone conclusion. Treating quadriplegia and paraplegia is largely a matter of learning to live within the constraints of your disability. To date, there is only one spinal cord injury quadriplegic on record to have recovered full mobility. You can learn more about Patrick Rummerfield, and his inspiring story, at his website.
Even so, physical therapy and cutting-edge treatment methods offer hope for those dealing with quadriplegia. In most cases, there are instrumental approaches that can allow people facing severe disabilities a degree of independence and freedom that would not otherwise be possible. Unfortunately, these treatments are generally expensive, and many cannot bear the expense on their own. But there is still a place for optimism. If your accident was caused by another’s negligence, you can seek justice in a personal injury lawsuit. In many cases, you can be compensated for your long-term medical expenses, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering.
Directly below your head lie seven cervical vertebrae. These are the building blocks of your spine, and messages from the brain must pass through the nerves that line these vertebrae to reach the rest of your body. Vertebrae C1 through C8 (in this instance, “C” stands for “Cervical”) connect your skull to the rest of your spine. When these eight vertebrae are damaged, quadriplegia is a devastating, and common, result.
Quadriplegia is defined as paralysis, either partial or total, of all four limbs and the torso. This loss almost always encompasses both sensory and motor function, feeling, and control. In England and elsewhere, quadriplegia is commonly referred to as “tetraplegia.” Another condition, paraplegia, causes paralysis only in the legs and lower extremities. Monoplegia affects one limb discretely.
If you are facing a life without the use of your arms and legs, you may feel alone and isolated. But quadriplegia is surprisingly common. According to a recent study, there are currently 250,000 Americans living with serious spinal cord injuries today. Every year, around 11,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries. Stunningly, 82% of those suffering from quadriplegia and paraplegia are male. You can find more quadriplegia statistics here.
But more importantly, people with debilitating disabilities learn to live with their conditions every day. There are numerous examples of people with quadriplegia who have found new sources of joy, and reclaimed old ones they feared lost forever.
Although strokes and certain diseases, like polio and muscular dystrophy, can cause partial or total paralysis, the vast majority of quadriplegia cases are caused by catastrophic, traumatic accidents.
Auto accidents result in 55% of all disabling spinal cord injuries. In particular, danger are those who drive SUVs and trucks, vehicles with a high likelihood of rollover accidents. In many cases, passengers and drivers are crushed within their cars, damaging the spine.
Are you suffering from quadriplegia or paraplegia after a car accident? If your injuries were caused by the negligence of another driver or the weaknesses of a defective vehicle, you may be entitled to significant compensation through a personal injury lawsuit in New York.
Construction is widely considered one of America’s most dangerous industries. Heavy machinery accidents and falls from scaffolding account for many spinal cord injuries each year.
Because construction work is inherently dangerous, workers are afforded legal protections that other citizens are not. Engineers, architects, independent contractors, and subcontractors are held to rigorous safety protocols. In the event that your spinal cord injury was caused by a contractor’s negligence, you may be able to secure compensation in a court of law.
Although the danger of concussions in organized sports has become widely known, spinal cord injuries are still not discussed as much as they should be. But every year, athletes suffer devastating cervical injuries playing the sports they love. According to Medscape, “well more than half of the catastrophic injuries in sports are cervical spine injuries.”
Contact sports, like football, hockey, and rugby, see the most accidents resulting in quadriplegia and paraplegia. Wrestlers, divers, and equestrians are also at significant risk. It’s important to remember that, even if you signed a liability waiver before participating in a sport, you may still have a viable lawsuit. If the organization’s actions can be found grossly negligent, you can still be compensated.
Serious slip and fall accidents can result in considerable disability, including quadriplegia. In New York City, property owners can be held responsible for the dangerous condition of their businesses and residences under a legal doctrine known as “premises liability.”
In essence, businesses and homeowners “invite” us onto their properties. In exchange for our patronage, they implicitly agree to keep us safe, by cleaning up spills, fixing broken staircases, and filling cracks in the floor. When they fail to do so, and injuries result, property owners can be held accountable by an experienced personal injury lawyer.
People suffering from quadriplegia commonly experience the following symptoms:
The level of disability caused by quadriplegia and paraplegia differs from case to case. For example, some quadriplegics lose the ability to move their hands but remain able to control their arm movements. For that reason, treating the effects of a spinal cord injury will be different for every victim.
In most cases, a physiotherapist will work closely on developing strength in limbs and increasing range of motion. Because most quadriplegics will be confined to wheelchairs, learning how to accomplish the “activities of daily living,” like dressing and feeding oneself, is extremely important. Occupational therapists work to reclaim a sense of independence that was stolen by a devastating spinal cord injury.
Dealing with quadriplegia or paraplegia is hard enough, without even considering the rising costs of medical care. The attorneys at Banville Law know full well the hardships you face. Just like physio- and occupational therapists, we want to help you recover. We want you to regain a measure of independence, a freedom that many accident victims never expect to get back. But if negligence was at the root of your devastating accident, you may deserve compensation. And we can help.
While no amount of money can help you fully recover, fair compensation can go a long way in covering your long-term medical expenses, and make up for the loss of earning potential you may be facing. We understand that the very idea of hiring a lawyer can be daunting; that’s why our attorneys always offer their services on a contingency-fee-basis. You pay us nothing unless we win your case. Banville Law maintains its main office in Manhattan, yet we handle spinal cord injury cases through New York City. Remember, a spinal cord injury lawyer is always here to help.
Read more on personal injury cases: New York Lead Paint Poisoning Lawsuits For Children