Spinal Cord Injuries From Construction Accidents in New York, NY

construction worker holding his back in pain

It’s no secret that construction work in Brooklyn is physically demanding. Thousands of able-bodied men and women head to busy construction sites in New York City every day, doing dangerous jobs that often require bending, lifting, climbing, operating heavy equipment and excavating. Sadly, some of them leave with spinal cord injuries.

Workplace accidents – particularly those involving construction workers – are among the leading causes of spinal cord injuries today, according to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Recent estimates from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) suggest that as many as 316,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury, and a staggering 12,000 new cases occur each year.

A spinal cord injury is serious and can cause permanent paralysis, quadriplegia/tetraplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia and other life-threatening complications. That’s not to mention the lifetime expenses incurred by people with spinal cord injuries – an estimated $7.6 million for those with the worst injuries! That figure does not include indirect costs such as lost wages, benefits or productivity.

Spinal Cord Injury at a Brooklyn Construction Site?

If you or a loved one sustained a spinal cord injury in a New York construction accident and someone other than an employer was to blame, you could be entitled to receive damages if the third party falls outside of the workers’ compensation system.

The Brooklyn, NY, construction accident lawyers at David Resnick & Associates, PC, are skilled at evaluating construction accident claims and can help you determine whether the negligence of a third party caused or contributed to your injuries. We also can help if you were a non-employee who was injured while visiting a construction site. Call our firm today at 877-815-6053 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.

We serve construction accident victims in Brooklyn and all of New York City, including Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn, and Long Island.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves stemming from the brain and extending throughout the body’s vertebral column. The spinal cord controls motor and sensory functions and is responsible for transmitting nerve impulses to and from the brain. Damage to the spinal cord interrupts these vital signals, causing temporary or permanent problems below the level of the injury.

The spinal column is composed of 31 bones, called vertebrae, and is divided into regions:

  • Cervical (C1-C7): These are the neck bones and control function to the neck, arms, and hands.
  • Thoracic (T1-T12): These vertebrae are located in the upper back and relay signals to the torso and part of the arms.
  • Lumbar (L1-L5): Located in the middle back, lumbar vertebrae send impulses to the hips and legs.
  • Sacral (S1-S5): These are located in the mid-to-lower back and control signals to the groin, toes, and parts of the legs.

Results of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries happen when there is acute trauma that bruises, partially tears, crushes or severs the spinal cord. In a construction setting, common causes of spinal cord injuries are falls, trench cave-ins, falling debris, electrocution, defective machinery, crush accidents, crane and scaffolding accidents, and construction vehicle accidents.

Doctors classify spinal cord injuries according to their severity and what parts of the body are affected. Depending on where the injury occurred, people who suffer spinal cord injuries may have varying degrees of impairment.

Spinal cord injuries can be:

  • Incomplete: In an incomplete spinal cord injury, the person maintains some level of sensory or motor function below the level of the injury.
  • Complete: People with complete spinal cord injuries are unable to send or receive any nerve impulses below the level of the injury and often have the worst chances for recovery.

Spinal cord injuries can result in these types of paralysis:

  • Quadriplegia / tetraplegia: Quadriplegia, also called tetraplegia, occurs when the cervical region of the spinal cord is damaged. It is characterized by paralysis of the arms and the legs. Nerve damage also impacts the torso and can cause loss of bowel and bladder control as well as other involuntary functions. Since 2005, over 50 percent of spinal injury patients discharged from U.S. hospitals have left with incomplete or complete tetraplegia, according to NSCISC.
  • Paraplegia: Paraplegia results from damage to the thoracic area. It results in a loss of movement or sensation in the legs and possibly the trunk of the body, but not the arms.
  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis on just one side of the body is called hemiplegia. It is also sometimes referred to as Brown-Séquard syndrome and is caused by an incomplete lesion on the spinal cord, which typically results from trauma.

Secondary Problems

Unfortunately, spinal cord injuries also cause other physical complications, many of which can be fatal.

  • Autonomic dysreflexia: This dangerous condition occurs when there is an irritation, pain or stimulus to the nervous system below the level of the injury. Because the irritated area can no longer signal the brain, it causes a reflex reaction that can damage vascular and organ systems and can lead to seizures, strokes and possibly death.
  • Blood clots;
  • Respiratory problems;
  • Bowel and bladder dysfunction;
  • Sexual dysfunction;
  • Irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure;
  • Inability to regulate body temperature;
  • Pressure sores;
  • Chronic pain;
  • Spasms;
  • Pneumonia.

Don’t Wait – Contact Our Construction Accident Attorneys about Your Spinal Cord Injury Today

If you survived a devastating spinal cord injury in a Brooklyn or New York City construction accident, it may be difficult for you to determine if someone else’s negligence caused your injuries. Surprisingly, your employer may not be at fault. Talking with an experienced construction accident attorney in the Brooklyn, like the ones at David Resnick & Associates, PC, can help you determine liability and recover compensation that will help lessen your burdens during this difficult time.

Call our Brooklyn and New York City construction accident attorneys today at 877-815-6053 or use our online contact form for a free evaluation of your case.  We also accept cases from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island.