Miami Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer

If you or a family member suffered spinal cord injury due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another, we can help you recover compensation through a legal claim.

How Do We Help in an SCI Caused by Accidents or Malpractice in Miami & Florida?

We gather all the supporting evidence, present the claims with the necessary information and press for fair settlements, but we will adjust our tactics to best accommodate your goals.

Sean M. Cleary
Spinal cord injuries

An estimated 17K new spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur every year, meaning that more than 240K men, women, and children in the U.S. are currently living with a chronic SCI, according to The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). The most common causes of SCI are auto accidents (38.3%), falls (31.6%), acts of violence (13.8%), followed by sporting accidents (8.2%), and medical or surgical complications (4.6%). We know that the average health care costs and living expenses that are attributable to SCIs can produce a hefty bill. That’s why attorney Sean Cleary will evaluate the expected costs of your bills and care in the future and claim for a specific amount of compensation to cover them.

Miami spinal cord injury

The spine is not built to handle the sudden impact of a car accident. While the spinal cord will act as a shock absorber for the rest of the body, it may suffer from tearing ligaments, pinching nerves and other damage that result in serious spine injuries over the course of life.

Spinal cord injuries. Car, truck, bus, and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of SCIs leading to paralysis.

Spondylolisthesis. When a vertebra shifts out of place due to a stress fracture in the bone, it may press on the nerves or on the spinal canal. While it may not be always immediately apparent, over time spondylolisthesis can result in numbness, weakness, pain, difficulty walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

Disc herniation. One or more of the spinal discs between the vertebrae can shift out of place during an accident. When the disc shifts, it can compress nearby nerves or structures, causing radiating pain or weakness, numbness or tingling.

Dislocation fracture. The most common type of back injury from a car accident happens when the vertebrae ligaments or discs that connect two vertebrae are stretched or torn, causing the bones to come out of alignment.

Whiplash. A very common injury during collisions that send the driver’s head snapping backward. This injury generally affects the cervical portion of the neck and symptoms may include pain, stiffness, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and soreness. Rest and physical therapy are two of the best ways to manage symptoms associated with whiplash.

Miami spinal cord injury

Slip and fall accidents and falls from a height account for a large percentage of SCIs. In fact, statistics show that nearly one-fourth of all such injuries can be attributed to a fall, especially among victims that are 65 years old or greater. These types of accidents can occur on the premises of a negligently maintained propriety or restaurant or even while on the job.

The duty of care of homeowners requires that they warn guests of any known dangers. This can include slick floors, aggressive pets, loose tiles or ceiling parts, or any other danger that might not be readily apparent to guests. People frequently slip and fall in retail stores, sporting and entertainment venues, restaurants, gas stations, and other locations. Managers and owners of these public venues have an even higher duty of care toward guests because they have invited the public onto their premises for the specific purpose of transacting business.

Acts of violence, including gunshot wounds and knife wounds, account for an important percentage of the SCIs that are suffered each and every year in the U.S.

Miami spinal cord injury

Some of the most worrisome cases of paralysis are those directly related to medical malpractice. Paralysis from medical malpractice is very much a reality in Florida hospitals following medical procedures and surgery. These are the most common causes of paralysis when medical malpractice is involved:

Medical errors during childbirth. Doctors are forced to act swiftly throughout labor and delivery, but mistakes can happen. Standard medical practices can place the mother and infants in jeopardy if too much force is used during delivery. This can lead to damage to the bundle of nerves known as the brachial plexus, which connects throughout the upper body and can lead to permanent damage to the newborn’s arm functionality.

Inaccurate diagnosis or failure to treat. When medical professionals fail to diagnose or treat your condition properly or to do so in a timely fashion, the condition may result in permanent spinal cord damage that is past the point of treatment.

Surgical errors during spinal cord or brain procedures. Brain, back and neck surgeries are usually among the most serious medical procedures a patient will endure. Largely, that’s because of the invasiveness involved and, accordingly, the risk of what could go wrong. The slightest misstep in neurological or orthopedic surgery could lead to paralysis as well as permanent damage to the spine and the brain.

Deprivation of oxygen during a surgical procedure. Hypoxemia or deprivation of oxygen can lead to brain injury causing paralysis if the deprivation occurs for a long period. The deprivation may be a result of the selection of a wrong anesthetic agent, administering an incorrect dosage of anesthesia due to a misreading of the medical record entry error, miscalculation of the patient's size, weight, and mass. Anesthesia malpractice can occur in the operating room or in a physician or dentist's office.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) may also be an issue for people suffering from SCI during their acute hospital stay. DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein, usually in the lower leg or thigh. DVT can lead to amputation or be life-threatening if the clot breaks loose and finds its way to the lung, causing a pulmonary embolism.

In order to qualify as medical malpractice, paralysis must have been caused by medical negligence on the part of a doctor, nurse, or hospital, or by the use of a defective product. Paralysis malpractice claims generally fall into two categories: injuries caused by negligence and injuries caused by defective products. For a case to count as negligence, paralysis must have been the result of an error on the part of the medical staff that attended to you.

  • For example, a young woman was awarded compensatory damages for her spinal cord injury malpractice lawsuit. An MRI showed that she had an abnormal mass growing on her thoracic spine, but the hospital’s radiology department deemed her spine normal. As a result, doctors erroneously diagnosed her, and she was discharged after receiving the wrong type of treatment. Four years later the mass ruptured, leaving her paralyzed. She was able to recover damages on the basis that the radiology department was negligent when handling her MRI results.
  • In another example of spinal cord medical malpractice, a man went to his doctor complaining of stress, and she prescribed a mild anti-anxiety medication. After several weeks, the patient contacted his doctor complaining of tingling and numbness in his hands and feet. The doctor advised him to lower his dosage. During a new visit, the doctor noted his symptoms as being "debilitating" but at no point did she perform a physical exam, instead recommending psychological counseling to handle his anxiety. A few weeks later he called again complaining of still worsening symptoms, and he was advised that he could choose to visit the ER if he felt he needed to, though again no urgency was noted. The patient was admitted to the ER two days later, and it was discovered that he had been experiencing swelling of the cervical spinal cord. Due to the lack of action, he is now permanently disabled and brought suit against his doctor.

How Do We Handle a Spinal Cord Injury or Paralysis Case?

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Common Spinal Cord Injury Questions

What Is the Difference Between Complete Spinal Cord Injury and Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury? »

Complete spinal cord injury leads to loss of motion and sensation below the damaged location, difficulty controlling bladder and bowel movement, while incomplete spinal cord injury means there are some sensations and muscular movement below the place of the injury, as well as chronic pain.

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Can a Spinal Cord Injury Heal? »

We don’t have a cure for spinal cord damage yet. The fact is, unlike other body parts, the spinal cord cannot repair itself. However, treatments do exist. These can help reduce the pain, prevent further injury, and enable people with spinal cord injury to return to an active life.

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Is a Bad Outcome of Surgery a Malpractice Case? »

Not all bad outcomes of surgery are medical malpractice. Some are just an unfortunate course of events independent of medical care. However, it is worth investigating whether medical negligence was in any way responsible for your injury through misdiagnosis, surgical error etc.

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What Causes Spinal Cord Injury & Who Can Be Held Liable? »

Being often caused by auto accidents, medical malpractice, or the negligence of another, spinal cord injury can be caused by the negligence of one or multiple parties. A personal injury and medical malpractice attorney can best evaluate liability, so do not hesitate to contact our law office in order to have your case evaluated correctly.

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What Is the Statute of Limitations for a Spinal Cord Injury Claim in Florida? »

In Florida, the statute of limitations for a spinal cord injury claim is four years. For example, if you are injured on January 1, 2016, you must file a Florida spinal cord injury claim by January 1, 2020. Remember that you should not delay bringing a negligence claim and that you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible because these cases can rely on certain evidence that can disappear in time.

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