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New York Paralysis Injury Attorneys

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Paralysis is often the devastating result of spinal cord injuries (SCIs). According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, there are approximately 300,000 people living with SCIs in the United States. Falls and vehicle crashes top out as the most common causes of SCIs. If you or someone you know has had a life-altering accident that resulted in paralysis, you may be able to hold the negligent party responsible with the help of an experienced paralysis and spinal cord injury lawyer.

Need to Know:

  • Spinal cord injuries are the second most common cause of paralysis
  • There is no cure for paralysis – patients usually need lifelong treatments
  • Medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages could be included in paralysis accident compensation

When an accident leads to paraplegia or quadriplegia, it is devastating for both the accident victim and their loved ones, as the injured individual has to adapt to living a completely different life. The New York paralysis lawyers at Block O’Toole & Murphy can help you obtain compensation if you have been injured because of someone else’s negligent actions. Call 212-736-5300 or fill out our contact form to speak to an expert personal injury attorney today.

In This Article:

Causes of Paralysis

Paralysis is a condition that occurs when an individual loses muscle function in some or all areas of their body. Typically, nerves send messages to muscles that tell them to move. But if nerves are injured, the muscles don’t receive those signals, leading to an inability to move them. It can be temporary or permanent and often results from spinal cord injuries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 5.4 million people have some form of paralysis. Common causes of paralysis can include:

  • Stroke
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Error during surgery
  • Construction accidents
  • Work accidents
  • Car or truck accidents
  • Bike or motorcycle accidents
  • Physical assault or acts of violence
  • Defective product accidents
  • Sports-related accidents
  • Birth injury

Types of Paralysis

The location and severity of the damage to the spine, neck, and brain will impact the location and severity of the resulting paralysis. Below are common types of paralysis, categorized by which parts of the body are affected:.


Monoplegia refers to the loss of movement and/or feeling in one arm or leg.


Hemiplegia refers to the loss of movement and/or feeling in one arm and one leg on the same side of the body.


Paraplegia refers to the loss of movement and/or feeling in both legs and sometimes the torso.

Quadriplegia or Tetraplegia

Quadriplegia refers to the loss of movement and/or feeling in all limbs. People with quadriplegia may be unable to move from the neck down.

All types of paralysis can be partial or complete. Partial paralysis means an individual may have some control over muscles in the affected areas, while complete paralysis means they will have no control. Additionally, depending on the severity of the paralysis, the affected muscles could be paralyzed temporarily or permanently.

Treatment for Paralysis

Unfortunately, there is no treatment that will cure or reverse paralysis. But there are various forms of treatment that focus on helping the injured person move forward and adapt to live a full life. Some of these options include:


Rehabilitation is an important part of treatment for individuals with paralysis. It typically includes both physical and occupational therapy. Physical therapy helps the patient perform exercises that will strengthen their muscles, while occupational therapy helps the patient develop their fine motor skills. Both of these therapies help the patient work towards the goal of moving independently and completing daily tasks, such as eating, getting in and out of bed, and personal hygiene.

Adaptive or Assistive Equipment

Depending on the severity of an individual’s paralysis, they may need to use adaptive or assistive equipment to help them move around independently and perform daily functions. These devices may include wheelchairs, neural prosthetics, electronic stimulators, and/or walking devices. 


Many people who become paralyzed as the result of an accident may have trouble accepting that their life has been irrevocably changed, especially in the immediate aftermath. Many paralysis patients can also experience depression or anxiety because of this. Counseling can help a patient cope with the mental and emotional burden of paralysis to help increase their quality of life.      .

New York Negligence Laws for Paralysis Cases

While New York does not have any specific laws related to paralysis, there are general negligence laws that apply in most injury cases and could potentially apply if you were paralyzed as a result of someone else’s reckless or negligent actions. In negligence cases, four elements must be proven by the injured party (the plaintiff) in order for the negligent party (the defendant) to be found liable. These four elements are:

Duty of Care

This refers to the relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff. The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant owed them a duty of care (essentially, to make sure they were not harmed). In the case of a paralysis accident, that duty of care could be anything from a doctor’s responsibility to ensure a surgery is performed correctly to a construction site supervisor making sure his workers are able to perform their jobs in a safe environment.

Breach of Duty of Care

The plaintiff has to prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. To continue with one of the examples above, the construction site supervisor would have breached his duty of care toward his workers if he did not make sure they had the proper safety equipment that is legally required before working from great heights. 


Once the previous two elements have been established, the plaintiff needs to show that the defendant’s breach of care directly caused the accident. Essentially, if not for the defendant’s actions, the accident would not have occurred. For example, if the construction site supervisor had provided safety equipment, the worker would not have fallen.


Finally, the plaintiff must show that there were damages (or injuries) that resulted from the accident. For example, the worker sustained a spinal cord injury and became paralyzed as a result of his fall on the construction site.

If you have experienced a paraplegic or quadriplegic accident as the result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Call 212-736-5300 to schedule a FREE consultation today with one of our expert paralysis injury lawyers.

New York State Workers’ Compensation Law

If a victim experiences paralysis related to a work injury, they may be covered by The Workers’ Compensation Law. This law provides benefits to workers who are injured on the job. These workers’ compensation benefits can include medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits.

Workers’ compensation can be a complicated process, especially for an injured individual and their family. A New York worker’s compensation attorney can help navigate the necessary paperwork and minor details to help secure benefits owed to a paralysis victim.

Case Study: $110 Million For Cyclist Who Became Paralyzed From the Waist Down

In this landmark case, our client, a 23-year-old man, decided to bike on an errand from Bed Stuy to Bushwick in Brooklyn. He was biking along a street that had overhead train tracks, and on the day the accident occurred, construction work was being performed on the tracks above our client. Our client arrived at the stretch of road where the work was occurring and asked a worker if it was okay for him to bike underneath; the worker said yes.

However, as our client biked underneath the work site, he was struck by a railroad tie that workers above had thrown down into the “drop zone.” The drop zone is supposed to be a designated space that is left clear so that no one is injured by falling debris, and typically it is barricaded off so that no one can pass under it while work is happening. However, in this case there was no such barricade, and our client was also told it was safe to ride through the area.

Tragically, our client’s thoracic spine was severely injured because of this accident, leaving him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Partners Daniel O’Toole and Scott Occhiogrosso handled this case, resulting in a $110,174,972.38 verdict for our client for his pain and suffering and past and future medical expenses. This verdict is believed to be the largest non-medical malpractice jury verdict in the history of New York.

Experienced Injury Lawyers Fighting for Paralysis Accident Victims

The accident lawyers at Block O’Toole and Murphy understand how devastating it can be when someone else’s negligence results in a life-changing accident and are ready to help you get the full amount of compensation for which you are entitled.

Notable verdicts and settlements in paralysis injury cases include:

  • $53,500,000 Jury Verdict for a construction worker who suffered paraplegia after he fell 10-12 feet while trying to hoist an AC unit to the roof of a building
  • $9,792,412 Award for a man whose left arm and foot became paralyzed after he suffered an inter-operative stroke during brain surgery
  • $6,250,000 Settlement for a worker who fell nine feet in a construction accident after a joist gave way, resulting in paralysis of all four limbs (quadriplegia)
  • $4,000,000 Settlement for a child who was injured at birth after the doctors involved in his delivery used improper techniques
  • $1,950,000 Settlement for a 27-year-old man who suffered a stroke during ophthalmic surgery because of the surgeon’s negligent actions

We have years of experience litigating cases for paralysis accident victims in New York. Call 212-736-5300 to speak to an experienced paralysis accident lawyer today. We serve New York and New Jersey.

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