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New York City Back Injury Lawyers

A back injury can be life-altering for those affected. The back, which consists of sensitive structures like the spinal column and spinal cord, is vital for general mobility and an injury can cause serious complications. If the injury occurs as a result of another party’s negligent actions, the victim may be able to seek compensation for their losses.

Accident victims may have a legal right to compensation for costs such as medical bills, lost wages resulting from an inability to return to work, as well as pain and suffering. An experienced injury attorney can help a victim understand their options moving forward.

The personal injury lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy have dedicated their careers to obtaining justice for those who have suffered life-changing injuries as a result of another party’s negligent behavior. Our team understands how devastating a serious back injury can be and has developed the skills and knowledge necessary to successfully navigate even the most complicated cases. Notable case results for clients who have suffered severe back injuries include:

  • $9,263,326 jury verdict for a NYC cab passenger who suffered nerve damage to his lumbar spine when the cab he was riding in was involved in a multi-vehicle accident
  • $8,000,000 jury verdict for a musician who sustained disc herniations from levels L3-S1 after his band’s van was struck from behind by another vehicle
  • $6,500,000 jury verdict for a Local 731 union worker who suffered back injuries when he was struck in the lower back by a 2×4 beam
  • $6,400,000 settlement in a case involving an ironworker who suffered back injuries as a result of workplace fall

To receive a free case evaluation from one of Block O’Toole & Murphy’s experienced injury attorneys, please call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online. We serve all of New York, including Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island.


  1. Types of Serious Back Injuries
  2. Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in New York
  3. Filing a Back Injury Lawsuit
    1. Non-Economic Damages for a Back Injury
    2. Economic Damages for a Back Injury
  4. Consult With an Experienced Back Injury Attorney
  5. Top Results in Back Injury Cases

Types of Serious Back Injuries

A back injury is a relatively general term and can be further explained by carefully examining the anatomy of the back region. The back contains the vertebrae, intervertebral discs, the spinal column, and the spinal cord. The spinal cord, essentially, controls an individual’s ability to feel, walk, and breathe. The skeletal structure that protects the spinal cord is known as the spinal column, or spine. The health of the bones in the back is fundamental for the protection of the spinal cord. If the spinal cord becomes damaged, serious injuries can result.

The back can be injured in many ways; common causes for back injuries include auto accidentsworkplace accidents, and slip and fall accidents. The lower back (lumbar spine) is the most commonly injured part of the back.

If you believe you may have injured your back, it is in your best interest to undergo a medical examination as soon as possible. A serious back injury can have severe consequences on a person’s quality of life. Common types of back injuries include the following:

Herniated Disc

Between the vertebrae in the spine are discs that act as shock absorbers. These discs consist of a tougher exterior called the annulus fibrosis which surrounds a soft interior. A herniated disc can occur when strong force, such as an auto accident, causes the annulus fibrosis to break, allowing the interior of the disc to leak into the spinal canal. Back pain results from the contents of the disc pressing against surrounding nerves in the spinal canal.

Back Strain/ Sprain

A strain occurs when a muscle or tendon is twisted, pulled, or torn and a sprain is a stretching or tearing of ligaments. These two types of injuries are very common. Excess stress placed on the back can cause a strain which sprains are generally caused by movements that push ligaments beyond their normal range of motion.

Spinal Fracture

A spinal fracture is a condition where one or more vertebrae are dislocated or broken. This can happen anywhere along the spine. Spinal fractures generally happen as a result of a high-velocity impact, such as a fall. While minor spinal fractures can usually heal with rest, severe cases may require surgery to realign bones and prevent further damage. If left untreated, a severe spinal fracture can have long-lasting consequences including permanent spinal cord injury, nerve damage, and even paralysis.

Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)

Any damage done to the spinal cord or to the nerves in the spinal canal is considered a spinal cord injury. The most common cause of an SCI is external trauma. SCIs are very serious injuries as they can result in permanent loss of functions like mobility or sensation. The body generally experiences dysfunction below the point of injury. For example, if a spinal cord injury occurs in the neck (cervical spine), the patient may experience dysfunction from the neck down. In a complete spinal cord injury, patients completely lose function below the point of injury. Patients who sustain an incomplete spinal cord injury may have more function in one part of the body than another. Auto accidents are the leading cause of SCIs in the U.S.

In the case of a back injury, which could include fractures, herniated discs and nerve compression resulting in radiating pain into the lower extremities, the various treatments may include physical therapy, pain management, chiropractic care, trigger point injections, epidural steroid injections and nerve block injections.  This type of conservative care seeks to reduce or alleviate the symptoms associated with back pain.  If these conservative measures fail to alleviate the symptoms, sometimes spine surgery is necessitated.  The types of surgeries available to alleviate back pain include percutaneous or open decompression surgery, disc replacement surgery and fusion surgery. 

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Cases in New York

If you choose to pursue legal action, be aware of your state’s statute of limitations for personal injury cases.

The statute of limitations is the period of time in which you are able to file a lawsuit in court. In New York, the standard time limit is three years from the date of the accident. In the case of filing against a government entity or employee, the statute of limitations differs; such cases must be filed within 90 days from the date of the accident. If you miss the deadline to file your lawsuit and choose to file anyway, the defendant will likely file a motion to dismiss, and the court will likely dismiss your case.

Filing a Back Injury Lawsuit

Construction accidents, motor vehicle accidents, and slip and falls frequently result in serious back injuries. When a negligent party is responsible for one of these accidents occurring, the injured party is eligible to recover damages that proximally flow from the back injury that they have sustained. 

These types of damages have resulted in significant awards in the State of New York, through both settlement and jury verdicts.

Non-Economic Damages for a Back Injury

Non-economic damages include pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.  “Pain and suffering” includes the physical suffering a person endures as a result of the injury, as well as the pain and suffering incurred because of surgical procedures that are required.  Loss of enjoyment of life includes activities that the person used to participate in that they can either no longer do, or that they do with limitations.

Economic Damages for a Back Injury

The economic damages that stem from a back injury include the cost of the medical care that the injured party has undergone since the accident, as well as the anticipated lifetime medical care costs that the person can reasonably expect to incur because of their condition.

In addition, in the event the plaintiff missed time from work or will miss time from work in the future, a claim can be made to recover the amount of lost earnings, benefits and retirement benefits to date, as well as the loss of those wages, benefits and retirement income that they will reasonably be expected to suffer for the time period into the future that they are unable to return to work.

Consult With an Experienced Back Injury Attorney

When prosecuting a case involving a back injury, especially a back injury requiring surgical intervention, an attorney must understand both the nature of the injury and the type of treatment that their client has undergone so that they can properly evaluate, plead and recover compensation for the type of damages that their client is entitled to. 

It is only through such an understanding that the attorney can seek reasonable compensation for their losses.  In doing so, it is incumbent on the attorney to analyze the medical records, pharmacy records, employment records and union benefits. 

Utilizing this information, the attorney must consult with experienced experts in the field of orthopedics, physiatry, vocational rehabilitation and economics so that the extent of the damages, both economic and non-economic are fully appreciated.  Also vital in the analysis of a personal injury lawsuit involving a back injury is an understanding of the sustainable value of the case, meaning the amount of compensation awarded by juries that the appellate courts have deemed to be reasonable, rather than excessive. It is through this comprehensive approach to prosecuting the case that an injury lawyer can represent their client and maximize the recovery for the damages that have been incurred. 

The legal process can be complex so it may be in your best interest to have an experienced attorney at your side to guide you through the process.

Top Results in Back Injury Cases

At Block O’Toole & Murphy, our attorneys understand that many back injuries require costly surgical procedures and may result in lost wages if the victim cannot return to work for a certain period of time. Our back injury lawyers will work with a group of medical and economic specialists to ensure their clients receive a recovery proportional to the economic burden incurred as a result of their back injuries. For instance, we recovered a $110,174,972 verdict for a man who was tragically paralyzed when a railroad tie fell during subway maintenance and injured his thoracic spine.

Other recoveries obtained for clients who suffered back injuries include:

  • $110,174,972 verdict for a 23-year-old man who was paralyzed after being hit by a railroad tie that fell during maintenance on a Brooklyn subway
  • $11,000,000 settlement for a Brooklyn construction workers who was permanently disabled after sustaining pelvic and spinal injuries in a work-related accident
  • $9,263,326 jury verdict in a Brooklyn case for a man who suffered spinal damage in a multi-vehicle collision
  • $8,000,000 jury verdict for a musician who sustained multi-level back herniations when his vehicle was rear-ended
  • $6,400,000 settlement for an ironworker who suffered bulging discs and a broken tailbone among other injuries in an accident on a Bronx construction site
  • $6,000,000 settlement for a city bus passenger who suffered spinal injuries when the bus collided with another vehicle in a Brooklyn intersection
  • $5,500,000 settlement for a driver who suffered serious spinal injuries when his vehicle was sideswiped by a semi-truck
  • $5,160,916 verdict for a client who sustained back injuries when he was struck by a vehicle that ran a stop sign on a Queens roadway
  • $4,250,000 settlement awarded to a man who suffered serious back injuries requiring surgery in a Westchester County rear-end collision

Our lawyers are here to help. To discuss your case with one of our skilled attorneys, call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form online. We serve New York and New Jersey.

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