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Understanding Spinal Injury Lawsuits

No one ever expects to suffer a spinal injury from a fall, car accident, or other traumatic event.  The medical costs of such an injury can shatter a life and family.  A trusted attorney can obtain compensation for current and all future care.

The spinal cord consists of the nerves within the spinal column/backbone. These nerves communicate messages from the brain to the body. When there is damage to the spinal cord, there may be a full or partial loss of motor control and sensation. Victims of this type of injury can be paralyzed from the waist down (paraplegic) or be paralyzed at a higher point in the spine so that there is no sensation or use of arms and legs–four limbs (quadriplegic).  A spinal cord injury can also affect breathing, temperature regulation, bladder regulation, and sexual function. A variety of permanent and life threatening problems develop from this devastating type of injury.

Causes and Claims

  • Personal injury: traumatic event or blow to the spine from a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, gun shot wounds, and recreational sports accidents can result in a spinal cord injury.  
  • Medical malpractice: surgical error that was caused by a deviation in the standard of care.
  • Product liability: defective products, such as faulty seat belts or airbags, can result in spinal cord injuries.


The injured party will bring a personal injury lawsuit based upon the legal theory of negligence.  In other words, a person’s injury would not have occurred “but for” the negligence caused by the defendant who is at fault.  There are four basic parts to proving a negligence case:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach of duty
  3. Causation
  4. Proximate Cause  

Defenses Used to Deflect Liability

  • Contributory negligence
  • Comparative negligence
  • Assumption of Risk

One strategy used to counter a claim for a spinal injury is to blame the victim.  This is called contributory and comparative negligence.  The defendants will claim that they are not legally at fault and therefore should not be liable to compensate plaintiffs for injuries.  Instead, defendants will point the finger at the victim to claim that his/her own carelessness “contributed” to the injury.  Comparative negligence involves the weighing of the degree of carelessness to find the level of fault for the injury.

Assumption of Risk is another common defense raised when the victim has engaged in an inherently dangerous activity, such as skiing or horseback riding, and knowingly “takes on” or “assumes” the risk.  The argument will be that you are not entitled to compensation because you are the party at fault and no liability will attach to the defendant for his/her actions or inaction.  The actions of the parties will be applied against the standard of the reasonable person. The Court will evaluate if you have behaved reasonably under the circumstances and are entitled to be made whole by compensation (compensatory damages). Sometimes, a court decision will award punitive damages, which are punishment damages, and meant to deter unwanted behavior in society.

There is too much at stake for current and future damages to go it alone.  You need an experienced advocate to overcome the lifelong complications caused from a spinal cord injury.

Contact a Brick Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Spinal Cord Injury Case in New Jersey

Were you or a loved one injured in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Drazin and Warshaw, P.C. represent clients injured in Brick, Lakewood Township, Lacey Township, Beach Haven, Stafford Township and throughout Ocean County, Monmouth County and Middlesex County, New Jersey. Call (732) 576-8860 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 25 Reckless Place, Red Bank, NJ 07701 as well as offices in Hazlet and Brick.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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