Causes of Spinal Injury
A spine injury is typically the result of trauma that damages the spinal cord, vertebrae, spinal disks, or adjacent soft tissue. Trauma to disks or other soft tissue can cause them to swell and thereby irritate the spinal cord. Disease and birth defects can also injure the spine. There are approximately 12,500 new cases of spinal cord injury each year in the U.S., according to the National SCI Statistical Center.
The New York personal injury lawyers of Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., work with spinal cord injury victims and their families to ensure that they are financially secure as they work to recover from their accident. If a spine injury is the result of an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, violent actions or a medical error, the victim may seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses. A settlement or court award may include compensation for long-term treatment and care expenses if the injured person has been disabled.
Our legal team will make sure your interests are protected and that you are fairly compensated.
How Traumatic Spine and Spinal Cord Injuries Occur
Traumatic spine injuries are caused by a blow that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more vertebrae in the spinal column, or damages the spinal cord itself. Bleeding, swelling, inflammation and fluid accumulation around the spinal column can make an injury and its effect on the spinal cord worse.
Typical causes of spinal cord injury:
- Motor vehicle accidents. Car, truck, motorcycle and other motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spine injuries, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. The violence of being slammed into the structure of a vehicle, the road, ground or other objects in a collision can snap vertebrae and tear the spinal cord. This includes accidents involving large trucks and other pieces of heavy equipment at construction sites.
- Falls. Falls, including slip-and-fall accidents, are the second-leading cause of spinal cord injuries, and the leading cause in people over 65 years old. A recent study says that because our country’s population has aged, falls are now the leading cause of spinal cord injury. Falls are also among the most frequent workplace accidents and a particular concern in the construction industry where workers perform job duties at heights and on ladders and scaffolding.
- Birth injuries. A baby can suffer injuries during birth if it assumes an unnatural position and forceps or other medical instruments are used with excessive force to assist in the delivery. Hyperextension of the head in breech delivery or transverse presentation, pressure on the infant’s trunk during breech delivery, stress applied to the child’s spinal axis as its body is rotated, or pressure on the spinal cord via the brachial plexus nerves in cases of shoulder dystocia can all damage the spine and spinal cord.
- Diving accidents. Swimmers who dive into water that is too shallow or contains hard debris (stumps, roots, etc.) run a risk of hitting their head with enough force to snap a cervical vertebrae or tear their spinal cord. During drought conditions, those who swim in natural bodies of water run an increased risk of spine injuries from diving in too-shallow water.
- Trampoline accidents. Young or inexperienced gymnasts under supervision or otherwise using a trampoline recreationally can easily land wrong and wrench their neck or back and damage their spine or adjacent soft tissue. Fractures are the most common “backyard trampoline” accident, with about 2,900 spinal fractures occurring from 2002 to 2011, according to a 2014 study in the Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics.
- Other sports and recreation accidents. Sports of all kinds account for about 9 percent of spinal cord injuries, according to the NSCISC. In addition to diving and trampoline accidents, sports with a high risk of spine injury include football; wrestling; horseback riding; winter sports like sledding, snow tubing, ice hockey, snow-boarding, and snow skiing; surfing, including body surfing; and gymnastics other than trampoline.
- Violence (assault). Acts of violence, primarily gunshot wounds, cause about 15 percent of spinal cord injuries, according to the NSCISC. Assault with a blunt object and falls after being pushed during an assault, or a penetrating wound from a stabbing or other type of impalement can also lead to a spinal injury.
Those who cause accidents or contribute to them through disregard for safety can be held liable for the harm they cause. This includes adults who supervise children in organized sports or other kinds of recreational play, or who leave attractive nuisances such as swimming pools and trampolines unsecured. Workers injured in occupational accidents deserve full workers’ compensation benefits.
In cases of criminal assault, the perpetrator may be held liable through civil legal action, i.e., a lawsuit, in addition to the penalties of criminal law. In cases of assault at public establishments, such as hotels, apartment complexes or shopping centers, a property owner who was negligent in providing appropriate security may be liable for the harm done to a patron or customer.
Contact Our Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys
Regardless of the cause of your or your loved one’s spinal cord injury, we may be able to help you obtain compensation for an accidental or workplace injury, or an assault. Hecht Kleeger & Damashek, P.C., has more than 75 years of collective experience providing high-quality legal representation to the victims of accidents that cause spine injuries. We will work diligently to ensure you obtain a financial settlement that allows you to build a new life with a disability free of any worry about money.
Contact our office for a free legal consultation today if you or a family member has suffered a significant spine injury. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in order to provide you with the legal assistance you need in your case.