Philadelphia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
A spinal cord injury can be devastating for a victim and their family. If someone else’s negligence has caused you or a loved one to suffer a spinal cord injury, you have a right to hold the wrongful party accountable. Contact the Philadelphia spinal cord injury lawyers at Rosenbaum & Associates today to have your case evaluated for free by a skilled lawyer in Philadelphia.
Why Choose Our Philadelphia Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer?
- We understand the significant impact a spinal cord injury can have on your life and will fight to ensure you recover the compensation you need.
- We have recovered more than $100 million for injured clients in Pennsylvania.
- With more than 25 years of experience, we can bring a unique perspective to your case and know how to obtain the most favorable outcome.
Why You Need a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
A spinal cord injury (SCI) can affect every aspect of your life, and you may be unable to manage everyday tasks, earn an income, or care for your family. Because so much is on the line, you have to do everything possible to obtain the compensation you need to recover and remain financially secure in the future.
After an accident, the responsible parties and their insurance companies will look for any way to minimize their liability and lower their payment to you. An insurance adjuster may try to pressure you into admitting fault or accepting an unreasonably low settlement offer to resolve your claim quickly. Hiring an SCI lawyer can help ensure you are treated fairly, and you receive the compensation you need for medical treatment and future care.
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries occur when the spinal cord is damaged and can range in severity. The spinal cord is the body’s support beam, made up of a cylindrical bundle of nerve fibers and tissue and connects to almost every part of the body. The adverse effects of an SCI primarily depend on whether it is incomplete or complete and the location where the damage occurs.
- Incomplete: The victim retains some motor or sensory function below the site of the injury. (e.g., bulging or herniated disc)
- Complete: The victim loses all feeling and ability to control movement below the site of the injury.
The higher the damage on the vertebrae, the more severe the repercussions.
Leading Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
The most common causes of back and spinal cord injuries in the U.S. are:
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car and motorcycle accidents account for nearly half of all SCIs each year, making them the number one cause.
Over 15 percent of back and spinal injuries are from falls. Common fall accidents occur at places of work such as construction sites, sidewalks, or other unsafe properties.
Acts of Violence
Intentional violence is responsible for 12 percent of all SCIs (e.g., gunshot or knife wounds).
Sports and Recreational Activities
Approximately 10 percent of spinal injuries are from impact sports, such as football or hockey.
Physical Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury
A SCI can have profound and lasting physical effects on an individual’s body. The severity and extent of these effects depend on various factors, including the location and severity of the injury along the spinal cord. Here are some common symptoms that victims experience:
One of the most significant potential side effects is paralysis. Partial or complete loss of motor function and sensation can occur below the level of the injury. The terms “paraplegia” and “quadriplegia” are often used to describe paralysis in specific parts of the body.
Loss of Sensation
Reduced or complete loss of sensation below the level of the injury can happen, affecting the ability to feel touch, pressure, temperature, and pain in the affected areas.
The loss of motor function can lead to impaired mobility, making it difficult or impossible for individuals to move their limbs or control their body movements. They may require assistive devices such as wheelchairs, braces, or crutches.
Muscle Weakness and Atrophy
The lack of nerve signals reaching the muscles can result in muscle weakness and atrophy (muscle wasting), making it challenging to perform everyday tasks and maintain muscle tone.
SCIs can lead to involuntary muscle contractions and spasms, a condition known as spasticity. These spasms can be painful and affect mobility and comfort.
Loss of Bladder and Bowel Control
The loss of nerve control can impact the ability to control the bladder and bowels. Individuals may require catheters or other interventions to manage these bodily functions.
SCIs at higher levels of the spinal cord can affect the muscles responsible for breathing, potentially leading to respiratory complications and the need for assisted breathing devices.
Blood Pressure Regulation
The autonomic nervous system, responsible for regulating bodily functions like blood pressure and heart rate, can be disrupted. This can result in issues with blood pressure control.
Reduced sensation and mobility can make individuals susceptible to skin problems such as pressure sores (bedsores), which can develop if there is prolonged pressure on a specific area.
Loss of Sexual Function
Changes in sensation, mobility, and the autonomic nervous system’s regulation can impact sexual function and reproductive abilities.
Difficulty regulating body temperature due to impaired sweating and blood flow control.
Osteoporosis and Fractures
The lack of weight-bearing activity and reduced mobility can lead to decreased bone density (osteoporosis), making bones more susceptible to fractures.
What is the Cost of a Spinal Cord Injury?
Even minor damage to the spine can cost a fortune, so recovering the amount of compensation you will need for a lifetime of care is critical. The table below shows the average yearly expenses and lifetime costs associated with a SCI based on the age when the injury occurred, courtesy of NSCISC.
|Injury Severity||Average Yearly Expenses
|Average Yearly Expenses
Each Subsequent Year
25 Years Old
50 Years Old
|High Tetraplegia (C1-C4) AIS ABC||$1,315,554||$228,450||$5,837,155||$3,208,001|
|Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) AIS ABC||$950,603||$140,144||$4,264,990||$2,623,350|
|Paraplegia AIS ABC||$641,153||$84,934||$2,854,343||$1,873,220|
|Motor functional at Any Level AIS D||$429,348||$52,150||$1,950,102||$1,376,436|
These figures are estimates based on the costs of medical care and living expenses. For instance, hospitalization(s), medical consultations, surgeries, alternative medical treatments, rehabilitation, prescription medications, medical devices, and caregiving. However, the above-listed amounts do not include other injury-related costs, such as lost wages, employee benefits, and productivity. The NSCISC states that these indirect costs can average $88,915 per year in 2022 dollars.
Who is Liable for a Spinal Cord Injury?
Liability for a SCI will depend on the circumstances that led to the injury. For example, here are several examples of potentially liable parties:
If a SCI occurs in a car accident, the liable party could be the driver who caused the collision due to negligent or reckless behavior. However, liability might also extend to the vehicle owner or even the manufacturer in cases involving defective vehicles or parts.
In cases of SCIs caused by slip and fall accidents or other incidents on someone else’s property, the property owner or manager might be liable if they failed to maintain safe conditions.
When a SCI occurs due to medical negligence, such as a surgical error or misdiagnosis, the medical professionals or healthcare facility responsible could be held accountable.
Employers and Third Parties
If a SCI occurs in the workplace, worker’s compensation benefits are available. However, in cases where third-party negligence played a role (like a contractor working on-site), the liable party might extend beyond the employer.
When a defective product is responsible for a SCI, the manufacturer, distributor, or seller of the product might be liable under product liability laws.
In cases where someone intentionally causes harm that leads to a SCI, the responsible individual could be held criminally and civilly liable.
Coach/Equipment Manufacturer/School/Athletic Department Heads
Liability for SCIs during sports or recreational activities can be complex, depending on factors such as consent, negligence, and the nature of the activity.
Types of Compensation Available in a Spinal Cord Injury Case
In a SCI case, various types of compensation, also known as damages, may be available to the injured party. For instance:
This includes compensation for current and future medical treatment related to the SCI, such as hospitalization, surgeries, medication, rehabilitation, physical therapy, medical devices, home modifications, and ongoing medical care.
Lost Wages and Loss of Earning Capacity
If the injury prevents you from working or significantly reduces your ability to earn a living, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages and potential future income.
Pain and Suffering
Compensation for the physical pain and discomfort experienced as a result of the injury.
Loss of Enjoyment of Life
Damages for the loss of ability to engage in activities and hobbies that you enjoyed before the injury due to the limitations caused by the SCI.
Compensation for emotional trauma, anxiety, depression, and any other psychological impact. This may cover therapy, counseling, and other mental health treatments.
Loss of Consortium
If the injury has affected your ability to maintain relationships or companionship with your spouse or family members, your loved ones may be entitled to compensation for the loss of consortium.
In cases of extreme negligence or intentional harm, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the responsible party and deter similar behavior in the future.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
In Pennsylvania, the time limit within which you must file a spinal cord injury claim is determined by the statute of limitations. Generally, you have two years from the date of the injury. However, there may be exceptions or specific circumstances that could alter the timeline for filing a claim. For instance, if the injury is not immediately discovered (such as in cases of medical malpractice), the statute of limitations will not begin to run until the victim becomes aware or should have known about the injury. Additionally, if the claim is against a government entity, it must be filed within six months from the date of injury.
How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Cost?
Most spinal cord injury lawyers take cases on a contingency fee basis, and here is how that type of arrangement typically works:
- No Money Upfront: With a contingency fee arrangement, you do not need to pay any upfront retainer or fees. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals who may not have the financial resources to hire an attorney at the beginning of their case.
- Payment Upon Successful Outcome: Your lawyer will only get paid if they successfully resolve your case with a settlement or favorable verdict. Then a percentage of the award is taken as the attorney’s fee. This percentage can vary based on the amount of work involved in your case, but it is typically around 33.3% and agreed upon before the representation begins.
- No Fee if No Recovery: If you do not recover compensation, you do not have to pay any lawyer fees.
Because the lawyer’s fee is tied to your case’s outcome, there is a strong incentive for them to work diligently and strategically to achieve the best possible result.
We Are Here to Help
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, contact the Philadelphia spinal cord injury attorneys at Rosenbaum & Associates. We will help you hold the at-fault party accountable and recover the compensation you deserve—call (215) 569-0200 for a free consultation today.