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Back Injuries and What You and Your Attorney Should Know

By far, the most common injuries suffered by our clients are back injuries. In fact, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) estimates that lower back pain affects as much as 70% of the population of the United States, making this a highly relevant topic. As personal injury attorneys, it is vitally important for us to recognize and to fully understand the nature of various injuries, including of course, those to the spine. Injuries to the spine, generally referred to as ‘back injuries,’ encompass an enormous variety of conditions and ailments, including injuries to the neck, middle back, and lower back.

In a nutshell, the spine is divided into three parts: 1) ‘Cervical’, commonly referred to as the neck; 2) ‘Thoracic,’ which refers to the middle of your spine; and 3) ‘Lumbar,’ which refers to the lower portion of your spine ending at your coccyx, or tailbone. Within these three areas of the spine, the areas are divided further and referred to by numbers associated with specific vertebra (Cervical C1, C2; Thoracic T1, T2; Lumbar L1, L2, etc.). Because the spine is required to constantly move and bend in all directions, it cannot be one single, immobile piece of bone. Instead, the spine is comprised of individual bones similar in size and general shape to a tiny can of cat food. Between these bones (vertebra) are ‘discs,’ which I like to explain as being similar to a small balloon partially filled with fluid and surrounded by nerves. Now that you have a general picture of how the spine is constructed, it is easier to explain common forms of injuries associated with the spine.

What happens when the liquid filled ‘balloon-like’ disc is punctured? The rupturing of a disc is called a ‘herniation.’ Herniated discs are a common form of injury and can lead to a variety of immediate and future medical problems. Often, herniations are caused by a sudden trauma, or rapidly applied specific pressure to the discs or the vertebra immediately above and below that specific disc. It is important to note that when a trauma to the spine occurs, the pain is not always immediately felt. In fact, it is well-documented that pain from herniated discs may not be felt for days, weeks, and even months after the initial trauma.

Lets say, for example, that you were involved in a motor vehicle accident or a fall on a construction site and you herniated a lumbar disk. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and cannot believe your luck; you feel a little shaken, but not too bad. In the weeks following your accident, you begin to feel progressively worsening pain in your lower back. You may even feel numbness or tingling in your leg or legs (often described as the sensation of your leg ‘falling asleep’). The mechanics behind your progressively worsening condition is that once your disc is ruptured, it takes time for the fluid to leak out of your disc. Because your disc acts as a cushion between two bones (your vertebra), coupled with the fact that the disc is surrounded by nerve endings, as the fluid is depleted from your disc you will feel the bones rubbing or ‘impinging’ upon the nerves. This impingement of the nerves is what causes pain and often necessitates treatment.

An attorney who has a strong grasp of the medical issues involved with a back injury is a key to success for our clients. We have obtained a 3.5 million dollar settlement for a construction worker who was injured and had a spinal cord stimulator implanted in his spine, 1.45 million dollars for a woman who slipped and fell and required a surgical procedure known as a balloon kyphoplasty, 3.525 million dollars for a person who underwent a lumbar fusion, 3.475 million dollars for another client who had lumbar surgery, and a jury verdict of 2.1 million dollars for a person who aggravated a preexisting back injury as a result of an automobile accident.

The importance of not only understanding the current effects of your injury, but even more, understanding how that injury will affect you in the future, is a point that cannot be stressed enough. If you are represented by an attorney who does not understand the medical aspects of your injury and ensures only that you are compensated for your current condition as opposed to its long-term effects, you are not being adequately represented. It is crucial for your attorney to understand the impact and foreseeable consequences you will endure after your lawsuit is concluded.

If you or someone you love has suffered a back injury because of the negligence of another person or entity, contact the experienced attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057.

Union Pacific Ordered to Pay Injured Worker $1 Million

A worker for Union Pacific whose 20 year career with the company led to the development considerable damage to his spinal discs, eventually requiring surgery, has been awarded $1 million in damages by an Illinois jury for his injury. The injuries occurred as a result of the many long hours he had put in as a track welder, bending over in awkward positions for long periods of time. Under the Federal Employers’ Liability Act, he was able to successfully pursue compensation.

The Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA) is a critical tool for helping injured railway workers to get the compensation they need for their losses. Unlike workers’ compensation plans, it allows workers to sue their employers for negligent actions which allow injuries to occur. If you are a railroad worker who has suffered an on the job injury, contact the FELA attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, today at (212) 779-0057 to learn more about how we can help you in your pursuit of compensation.

What is ‘RSD’ (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy)?

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (commonly referred to as ‘RSD’) is a condition characterized by a group of symptoms such as a ‘burning-type’ of pain, tenderness and possibly inflammation of the affected area, hot and cold sensations, discoloration, and shiny skin. RSD is often diagnosed as and used almost synonymously with ‘complex regional pain syndrome,’ ‘Subdeck’s atrophy,’ and ‘causalgia,’ making it even more confusing to legal and medical practitioners alike. Although RSD is a poorly understood condition and is frequently misdiagnosed, it is a condition that causes significant pain and discomfort. Often, it can completely disable the victim. Although there are many events that can lead one to develop RSD, (such as heart disease, degenerative cervical arthritis, stroke, shingles and breast cancer, and the list goes on) we at Hach & Rose, LLP have become quite familiar with injuries related to traumatically-induced and surgically-induced RSD.

RSD is not a condition that affects a tremendous portion of the population, but it is important to mention this condition due to the high frequency with which it is misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Hiring an attorney who does not understand the symptoms and debilitating nature of RSD will make it impossible to obtain the compensation justified when a client is diagnosed or even misdiagnosed with the condition. Hach & Rose, LLP, has a track record of multimillion dollar results for victims of RSD, a small sampling of such results include an award of over $6,000,000 – the highest verdict ever obtained for a victim of RSD in Orange County, New York. Others include a $3.2M settlement for a client suffering from RSD after falling on a construction site and a $3.5M settlement for a union construction worker injured when a piece of sheetrock fell, striking the client on the head which lead to the onset of RSD. Of course it is always most important for you to obtain the treatment you require and to educate yourself as to the details of your diagnosis.

There are many places to obtain information on RSD via the internet; a few places to start are:

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association: www.rsds.org which provides information about the disease and regular updates as to treatment options and other information about their organization dedicated solely to those afflicted with RSD.
  • To gain further knowledge of the condition, go to www.arthritis.com, and search for ‘RSD’ on that site. It will provide everything from what to expect from the disease to treatment options.
  • Further searches via the internet will help you understand the disease, its causes, treatment options, as well as support group information. Be cautious of misleading groups set up by law firms in order to obtain clients via the internet. If an attorney or someone else recommends an attorney via the internet, be careful. This is unfortunately a common practice among unscrupulous attorneys looking for possible clients. They will sometimes use a ‘go between’ that will contact you under the auspices of helping you, but their only intention is to get you to sign up with their attorney.

Our firm has become increasingly adept at and is recognized as a leader in representing clients who have been diagnosed with and are suffering from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. If you or someone you know is suffering from RSD and is in need of representation, the attorneys of Hach & Rose, LLP, are standing by and are prepared to pursue your case with the utmost skill, professionalism, and expertise. Although you do not need to be a member of a union in order for our firm to handle your injury claim, it should give you comfort to know that Hach & Rose, LLP, is the ‘go to’ law firm for unions and union members injured in a wide array of circumstances. We specialize in handling construction site accidents, yet our firm regularly obtains million and multimillion dollar results for motor vehicle accidents, premises cases, mesothelioma victims, train, plane and motorcycle accidents, and prescription drug injuries.

Contact Us

Please feel free to call one of our attorneys today should you require the services of a Hach & Rose, LLP, attorney. The call is free; the consultation is free; and the information is free. All calls are kept confidential and we never charge a fee unless you receive compensation for your injury. Call (212)779-0057 or you can email us at info@hachroselaw.com.

Bus Driver Claims He Fainted, Causing Bus to Hit another Vehicle in New York City

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that a New York City bus driver claimed that he “blacked out” while driving, which caused him to hit another vehicle, injuring three people.

Of the 18 passengers on the bus at the time of the accident, several passengers say that they realized what was happening and tried to help. Guy Praisler, a passenger on the bus, says that he ran to the front of the bus to try to “lean [the bus driver] back and steer a bit.” Other passengers say that they did not realize what was happening; they just noticed that the bus ride became “unstable” and “jerky.”

The bus ran into a parked vehicle on Madison Avenue near 80th street. Two people were taken to the hospital but authorities say that they had non-life-threatening injuries.

If you or someone you love was injured in a bus accident caused by another party, contact the NYC personal injury lawyers of Hach & Rose, LLP, today by calling (212) 779-0057.

New York Jets Coach Responsible for Three-Car Crash

On January 14, the coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan, ran into a black Mazda, which in turn spun into a red Toyota, causing a three-car accident. This accident took place in Pennsylvania at the intersection of West 3rd and Wyandotte Street.

Ryan denied speeding, but did not similarly deny his responsibility for causing the accident. According to reports and witnesses, Ryan’s car was seen driving up the hill at a high speed, causing him to collide with the driver of the Mazda. Fortunately, none of the drivers of the vehicles were harmed in the accident. Additionally, according to the police report, Ryan only received a warning for running the red light.

Car accidents such as this are a major cause of injuries and deaths throughout the U.S. each year. If you have been injured in such an accident, call a New York City car accident lawyer of Hach & Rose, LLP, today at (212) 779-0057 to speak with a legal professional about your options and rights.

Queens Construction Crane Collapse: UPDATE

More details have emerged following yesterday’s tragic construction crane collapse in Long Island City, Queens. According to authorities, the accident occurred around 2:30 p.m. at the site of a new residential unit behind the iconic Pepsi-Cola sign in Queens.

While the exact cause of the accident has not yet been definitively determined, sources on the site claim that a cable may have snapped while moving a stack of wood on the scene, leading to the complete collapse of the crane.

Three construction workers were trapped underneath the crane following the collapse, and had to be extricated from underneath the equipment. The final injury count totaled seven workers, who were all transported to local hospitals with serious injuries.

Our thoughts go out to the families of the victims, and we wish all individuals involved a speedy recovery.

Crane Collapse Reported in Queens

A crane collapse occurred in Queens today, with a call coming in to the New York Fire Department just before 2:30 p.m.

It is unclear how many people have been injured, if any, or how severe any injuries are, although some outlets are reporting that there have been some injuries.

We will continue to follow this story as more information is released.

Numerous People Injured in Early Morning New York Ferry Crash

Early Wednesday morning, at least 50 people were injured when a ferry, operated by Seastreak, crashed into a dock. At least one of these people, all of whom were traveling from New Jersey to New York Pier 11, was injured critically.

As of midday Wednesday, the exact cause of the accident was still not known; however, the National Transportation Safety Board is currently investigating the accident and passenger Elizabeth Banta stated that, “there was a large jolt.”

Bystanders and other passengers have said that many people were seen being taken off the ferry with head wounds and bandages. Videos show many people being removed from the scene on stretchers in ambulances to be taken to nearby hospitals. Currently, it appears as if all injured passengers have been removed from the ferry, but emergency teams are still on the scene of the accident.


Michael A. Rose Featured in New York Magazine

Michael A. Rose, partner at Hach & Rose, LLP, was recently featured in New York Magazine in an ad highlighting some of the top-rated attorneys in the New York area. Michael Rose has been able to secure several multimillion dollar verdicts for his clients, including one case last year that resulted in a $13 million award for a man injured in a construction accident.

When asked to comment, Michael Rose stated, “We think this is a great reflection on the hard work our firm has done representing those who have been injured or killed in accidents.”

You can read more about this honor here.

The New York personal injury attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP, are dedicated to helping accident victims in their pursuit of compensation and justice. If you or someone you love has been injured because of another party’s negligence or recklessness, contact them today at (212) 779-0057.

Michael Rose to Present at NYSBA CLE Event

Michael A. Rose, partner at Hach & Rose, LLP, will once again be presenting at a New York State Bar Association Continuing Legal Education (CLE) event, which will take place next month on December 7 at the Affinia Manhattan Hotel. This CLE event, “Construction Site Accidents: The Law and the Trial 2012,” is part of the NYSBA’s Practical Skills series.

Mr. Rose will be one of several speakers at the event, and will be discussing a number of matters concerning construction site accidents including, (1) Social networking sites and formal and informal discovery, (2) What elements must be satisfied before a plaintiff is granted a summary judgement under Labor Law § 241(6), and (3) Issues surrounding OSHA investigations of construction site accidents. Michael Rose has participated in a number of NYSBA’s CLE events in the past and is pleased to have the opportunity to present again next month.

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