Jersey City Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

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Jersey City Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Spinal cord injuries can have catastrophic effects. A mild injury can cause pain, weakness, and numbness. A severe injury can produce paralysis, total loss of sensation, or even death.

Injuries to the spinal cord are rare. Only about 300,000 Americans live with spinal cord injuries, with 17,000 new cases arising each year. Over two-thirds of new cases result from trauma from falls and auto accidents.

People who suffer spinal cord injuries face lifelong medical treatment and physical therapy. Some even need caretakers to help them with necessary activities like showering, dressing, and driving.

The attorneys at Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq have decades of experience helping people with spinal cord injuries fight for the compensation they need. Our Jersey City spinal cord injury lawyers are committed to excellence and dedicated to winning cases for injured clients.

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Common Types of Spinal Cord Injuries in Jersey City

Doctors categorize spinal cord injuries using two factors — whether the injury is complete or incomplete and the level of the injury. Different combinations of these factors result in dozens of types of spinal cord injuries.

Complete or Incomplete Injury

The completeness of an injury refers to the amount of control and sensation remaining after the injury. A complete injury means no nerve signals can pass the injury site. As a result, the patient will experience permanent paralysis and total loss of sensation below the injury.

A complete injury happens when the spinal cord is severed. The spinal cord consists of 31 pairs of spinal nerves. These nerves carry signals between the brain and the body below the neck. When a traumatic injury severs them, sensory signals cannot travel from the body to the brain, and control signals cannot travel from the brain to the body.

An incomplete injury means some nerve signals can still pass the injury site. The patient may have some paralysis and loss of sensation. They may also experience symptoms of nerve damage, such as:

  • Pain radiating into the limbs
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Buzzing
  • Weakness
  • Lack of dexterity and fine motor control

An incomplete injury can happen when the spinal cord is partially severed. For example, some but not all of the spinal nerves might be severed in an incomplete injury. It can also happen when the spinal nerves are damaged but not severed.

Nerve cells communicate using a combination of electrical currents and chemical neurotransmitters. Tension nerve damage happens when nerves get stretched. Tension prevents nerves from communicating with each other correctly. As a result, the nerves drop signals or create errant signals.

Compression forces irritate nerve tissue, leading to inflammation. The inflamed nerves misfire. The resulting symptoms often affect uninjured body parts. For example, if you suffer spinal cord compression in your lower back, you might have pain and numbness in your foot even though you did not injure your feet.

Level of the Injury

The level of the injury will determine where your symptoms appear. Your spinal cord changes as it passes through your spine. At each vertebra, a pair of spinal nerves exits the spinal cord and forms branches called nerve roots.

The nerve roots branching from the spinal cord in your neck innervate the shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers. The nerve roots branching from your spinal cord below the neck innervate the chest, abdomen, hips, legs, feet, and toes.

Higher injuries affect more areas of your body because more spinal roots are affected. Lower injuries affect fewer areas because the spinal cord at lower levels connects to spinal roots for only the lower body.

Thus, quadriplegia or tetraplegia happens when an injury damages the spinal cord in the neck. This injury affects all four limbs as well as the chest, abdomen, buttocks, and hips.

An injury high enough in the neck will paralyze the muscles responsible for breathing, including the diaphragm and chest muscles. Without immediate medical attention, this injury will kill the patient.

Paraplegia happens when the traumatic incident causes a spinal injury below the neck. This injury affects only the lower limbs. It may also affect the abdomen, hips, and buttocks.

Spinal cord injuries can affect more than the muscles and sensory nerve endings. The spinal nerves innervate the muscles that move food through the intestines. A spinal cord injury can cause constipation, loss of bowel control, and other bowel issues.

The spinal nerves also innervate the urogenital system. People with spinal cord injuries may lack bladder control and experience sexual impotence.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in Jersey City

The spinal cord runs through the spinal canal. This passageway is formed by openings in the vertebrae. This structure usually protects the spinal cord while also providing flexibility to your neck and back.

Spinal cord injuries typically happen in a few ways. These include:  

Foreign Object

A foreign object can enter the spinal canal and damage the spinal cord. This injury might result from an assault in which a knife blade or bullet penetrates the spine.

This injury can also happen when you fall onto something that pierces your spine. A fall onto a protruding piece of rebar in a construction accident could damage the spinal cord.

Fractured Vertebra

A fractured vertebra can dislocate into the spinal canal. The dislocated bone fragment can compress or sever the spinal nerves. Spine fractures can happen in almost any accident that causes back or neck trauma. A pedestrian accident, for example, might produce a spinal cord injury when the car hits the victim’s back.

Disc Injury

Collagen discs sit between the vertebrae to cushion them and smooth their movement. Discs have a tough exterior and a soft interior. When a traumatic incident compresses your spine, the discs can get crushed and deformed.

Discs typically deform in two ways. A herniated disc happens when the exterior separates and allows the interior to protrude. A bulging disc occurs when the exterior weakens, allowing the disc to flatten and bulge. In either case, the protruding disc can compress the spinal cord.

This injury is common in car accidents. During a car collision, your head whips back and forth. Your head pulls on your neck and then snaps back. As your neck compresses, the discs can deform.

Abnormal Bending or Twisting

The segmented nature of the spine allows you to bend and twist your back and neck. But you can bend or twist too far, stretching your spinal cord and damaging the spinal nerves inside.

Your neck can bend or twist abnormally whenever your head or body suddenly changes speed or direction. For example, an impact on your head from a falling object can cause your neck to bend, twist, or compress unnaturally, bruising or stretching the spinal cord.

How Do You Know If You Have a Spinal Injury Claim?

You have a spinal injury claim when someone else is liable for your injuries. To prove liability, you must show that their negligent or wrongful actions caused your injury and that you suffered losses as a result.

This does not necessarily mean the other party foresaw that their actions would damage your spinal cord. Instead, it means they did something that a reasonable person would foresee as dangerous enough to cause an injury.

You must also prove that you suffered losses as a result of your injuries. In the case of a spinal cord injury, you will likely suffer both economic and non-economic losses. You will prove these losses using financial records, medical files, and witnesses to describe how your injuries affect your life.

Proving the extent of your injuries will likely require a medical diagnosis. Your medical records and the doctor’s testimony will support your claim that you suffered a spinal cord injury.

If you suffer an incomplete injury, your symptoms will depend on the type of nerve signals that are disrupted.

Motor signals travel from your brain to your muscles to control their contraction and relaxation. If you disrupt motor signals, you will experience weakness, muscle spasms, and limited motion. You may also lose your fine motor control, dexterity, and hand-eye coordination.

Sensory signals move from the nerve endings in your skin and muscles to your brain to give it information about texture, pressure, and temperature. A disruption of the sensory signals will produce pain, aching, numbness, and tingling.

Autonomic signals control your involuntary systems. An injury that interferes with these signals could cause loss of bowel or bladder control, high or low blood pressure, or an inability to sweat.

You might not immediately associate these symptoms with a spinal cord injury, but testing may reveal that these have come from damage to the spinal nerves rather than an internal injury. If you experience these symptoms after an accident, contact a spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss a possible spinal injury claim.

How Much Can You Win After a Spine Injury Accident?

New Jersey allows people injured by the negligent or otherwise wrongful actions of others to recover economic and non-economic damages. The one exception occurs under the state’s no-fault auto insurance system.

New Jersey requires vehicle owners to choose between limited tort and full tort when they buy auto insurance. When you suffer a minor injury in a motor vehicle accident with limited tort insurance, you may be limited to the benefits provided by your no-fault insurance policy.

But spinal cord injuries are not minor injuries. Nerves do not regrow or heal. Thus, spinal cord injuries will often cause permanent disabilities and sensory limitations.

Under New Jersey’s no-fault laws, accident victims can pursue economic and non-economic damages after suffering a permanent injury. The state’s definition of a permanent injury — a body part that has not and will not heal to function normally with further medical treatment — perfectly describes many spinal cord injuries.

With that in mind, you can likely seek both economic and non-economic damages after suffering a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s actions. Economic damages cover the costs and financial losses you incurred. Some examples of economic losses include:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Income lost because of missed workdays
  • Diminishment in future earnings from long-term or permanent disabilities
  • Out-of-pocket expenses for medical equipment and caretakers

Non-economic damages compensate you for all the ways your spinal cord injury diminished your quality of life. Some examples of non-economic losses include:

  • Disability
  • Physical pain
  • Inconvenience
  • Mental suffering

To pursue these damages, we must prove liability. Under New Jersey law, we have a few ways to pursue damages for your spinal cord injury:


Most personal injury cases rest on negligence. This theory is used in many claims for car accidents, slip and fall accidents, bus accidents, and other incidents arising from unintentional acts.

To prove negligence, your Jersey City spinal cord injury lawyer must prove that the other party breached a duty of care owed to you and, as a result, caused you to suffer damages.

For example, drivers owe cyclists a duty to drive with reasonable care. They breach this duty when they break traffic laws or drive carelessly. If their carelessness injures a cyclist, they are liable for the damages that result from the injuries.

Importantly, when you rely on negligence law, you do not need to prove the other party intended to harm you. You do not even need to prove they were aware of their carelessness. You just need to show that they knew or should have known that their actions were unreasonably dangerous under the circumstances.

Intentional Harm

Intentional harm can cause spinal cord injuries. An assault involving a gun, knife, or even fists can damage the spinal cord. To prove liability for an intentional act, we must prove the other party intended to make harmful contact with you. We do not need to prove they intended to injure you.

For example, suppose that you are in a restaurant and two other customers start to fight. You stand up to leave, and one of them pushes you. You fall through a window and suffer a spinal cord injury when a piece of glass lodges in your spine. Your assailant might claim they did not intend to injure you. But it doesn’t matter because the shove was intentional.

Strict Liability

Strict liability applies to inherently risky activities like sending products into the stream of commerce. Manufacturers are strictly liable for defective products that injure people. To prove liability, we must show that the product had a defect in its design, manufacture, or warnings and instructions. We must also show that the defect caused your injury.

Suppose that you injured your spinal cord when the scaffolding at work collapsed, causing you to fall 20 feet. We could prove your case by showing that the fasteners holding the braces together had manufacturing defects that caused them to crack in cold weather.

This legal theory is called strict liability because we do not need to prove anything about the manufacturer’s knowledge. The manufacturing company will be liable for any injuries caused by its defective products as long as the defect existed when it left the factory. This liability exists even if the manufacturer did not know about the defect until after the product injured you.

Why Hire GGL?

Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq was founded in 1991 to help accident victims in Jersey City and throughout New Jersey. Many of our clients have suffered catastrophic injuries, and we are dedicated to making a significant difference in their lives. When you hire our firm, we will prepare your case thoroughly.

You may need a lot of help after a spinal cord injury. You might suffer from paralysis. You might be bedridden. You may even need a respirator to breathe. You will rely on family members, friends, and paid caretakers to help you get through the day. You might spend significant amounts of money and face a life of dependence on others.

We understand the needs you will have after a spinal cord injury and will fight for the compensation to meet them. Our attorneys have recovered millions of dollars in injury compensation for accident victims who have suffered all kinds of injuries. Contact us online or at 1-800-923-3456 for a free consultation with a Jersey City spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss the injury you or a loved one suffered.

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Jersey City Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Address: 3000 John F. Kennedy Blvd. Suite 311 Jersey City, NJ 07306
Phone: (201) 695-1000

Open 24/7 365

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Recent GGL Wins

Medical Malpractice

A 30-year-old pregnant woman went into labor. The doctor failed to take proper steps in the baby’s delivery, making the mother wait in the hallway for ten hours while the baby’s heart rate began to drop. The baby was delivered via C-Section; he was blue from lack of oxygen resulting in Cerebral Palsy.

$14 Million


Construction Accident

Mediation award resulting from an industrial explosion causing disfiguring burns and severe orthopedic injuries.

$7,8 Million


Auto Accident

31-year-old man who was cut off by another car causing his car to flip over. He sustained head injuries, facial injuries, and half of his pinky finger was amputated.

$3 Million