Doctor examining x-ray of spine

Common Accidents that Lead to Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is responsible for various motor functions that affect how we walk, move, and go about our daily lives. As such, even a mild spinal cord injury can cause devastating and life-changing physical conditions.

Often, spinal cord injuries result from serious incidents, such as car crashes and workplace accidents. Damage to the spinal cord can cause a wide range of symptoms, from chronic pain to paralysis. If you sustained a spinal cord injury in Long Island, you might be eligible to file a personal injury claim to hold the responsible party accountable.

Spinal Cord Injuries Explained

According to figures from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are roughly 17,700 new cases of spinal cord injuries each year across the United States.

Spinal cord injuries (SCI) can be classified into two categories, depending on the severity of damage to the spinal cord: complete and incomplete. 

Complete spinal cord injuries most often result in a total loss of function below the point of injury, while incomplete injuries allow for some degree of movement and sensation.

Diagnosing a spinal cord injury can be complex and typically involves a thorough physical examination and a series of imaging tests like MRIs and CT scans.

Some of the most common examples of spinal cord injuries include:


This type of spinal cord injury affects the lower part of the body, including the legs and trunk. Paraplegia is often associated with paralysis of the legs and may require years of physical therapy.

Tetraplegia and Quadriplegia 

These injuries affect mobility across the entire body below the neck, including the arms, trunk, and legs. Symptoms may include: 

  • Complete paralysis
  • Loss of sensation
  • Bowel issues 
  • Incontinence

A person affected by these symptoms will likely require significant, long-term care, for which compensation may be available.

Herniated Discs

Herniated discs occur when one of the discs along the vertebra ruptures or protrudes out of place. While these are not life-threatening, they can cause significant physical discomfort and leave you unable to work, go to school, or live your everyday life. 

Spinal Cord Contusion

A contusion is a bruise on the spinal cord, which can result in inflammation and damage to the nerves. Symptoms may include pain, numbness, and loss of sensation. Depending on the severity, these injuries may require specialized treatment for months and even years.

What causes a spinal cord injury?

Car accidents are by far the most common culprit for spinal cord injuries. The high impact and force involved in a car crash can cause the spine to compress, fracture, or dislocate. 

Injuries sustained in contact sports like football, rugby, and hockey can also affect the spinal cord and lead to severe complications. 

In addition, acts of violence, such as gunshots, fights, and stabbings, can also cause significant injuries to the spinal cord.

Filing a Personal Injury Claim in New York

For inquiries in New York, the statute of limitations for most negligence-based SCI claims is three years from the date of the accident causing injury.

The most fundamental aspect of a spinal cord injury claim involves proving the other party was at fault for your injury. Presenting evidence, such as medical records, police reports, and witness statements, is critical in supporting your claim.

You will also need to calculate the damages you have suffered due to the injury, including lost wages, hospital bills, physical therapy, and permanent disability. An attorney may choose to negotiate the terms of a settlement with the opposing party or proceed straight to a jury trial.

A Nassau County Personal Injury Attorney Can Help

Working with a dedicated spinal cord injury attorney can help you fight for the compensation you deserve. Kohan Law Group represents spinal cord injury victims across Nassau County, Long Island. Call us today for a case review and consultation.