Giroux Trial Attorneys, P.C.

Spinal Cord Injury

When One Accident Changes Your Life

When a single accident changes the course of your life, the personal injury attorneys at Giroux Trial Attorneys, Southfield know the devastation that such an injury can cause. That’s why we’ve spent decades fighting for families just like yours.

The spinal cord is the bundle of nerves carrying information from the brain to the rest of the body, protected by vertebrae that make up the spinal column. Spinal cord injuries result from either direct trauma to the nerves or from damage to the tissue, vessels, and bones surrounding the spinal cord.

There are two kinds of spinal cord injury: incomplete and complete. In an incomplete injury, the spinal cord is only partially severed, allowing the person to retain some level of functioning below the injury. In a complete injury, the spinal cord is fully severed, removing all ability to feel and voluntarily move below the injury site.

Spinal cord injuries can be caused by:

Spinal cord injury may result in:

  • Paraparesis, or partial paralysis of the lower limbs
  • Paraplegia, or complete paralysis of the lower limbs
  • Quadriparesis, or partial paralysis of all four limbs
  • Quadriplegia, or complete paralysis of all four limbs

However, while these are the most commonly listed consequences of a spinal cord injury, the effects can actually be much more far-reaching, and include secondary effects such as:

  • Autonomic dysreflexia (a dangerous complication combining high blood pressure and low heartrate which can lead to seizures, strokes, or cardiac arrest)
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Chronic nerve pain
  • Skin breakdown and pressure sores
  • Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot forming in veins deep within the body)

These complications are on top of the debilitating emotional toll of a sudden loss of independence and difficulty performing tasks that were once simple, as well as the lifetime financial burden of medical bills and lost wages.

We know that no financial compensation can make up for what you’ve lost. But we also know that no family should be trapped by the overwhelming financial and emotional toll that such an injury can cause. We’ve won millions for families just like yours in Michigan and across the country, so that you can move forward in recovery without fear.

Q: What are my civil rights?

Generally speaking, your civil rights are those enumerated under the US Constitution and legislative acts. Civil rights are typically those considered to be related to an individual’s political and social freedom and equality.  These rights range from your right to free speech to your right to an attorney.

Q: What rights do I have if I’ve been arrested?

The most important rights to consider if you’ve been arrested or picked up by police are the right to an attorney, the right to avoid self-incrimination, and the right not to be unlawfully detained. You can always refuse to answer questions and request an attorney. If you have not been formally placed under arrest, you have the right to leave police custody. If you’ve been placed under arrest, the police have a certain amount of time they can hold you without formally filing charges. Even after you have been formally charged, you have the right to request a non-punitive bail, which can be granted or denied at the judge’s discretion.

Q: What is the statute of limitations for a civil rights claim?

Depending on the claims alleged, civil rights violations have varying statutes of limitations under state law. Federal courts typically apply the laws of the forum state in assessing the applicable statute of limitations. If you believe your rights have been violated, you should speak to a lawyer immediately.

Q: What are common types of civil rights claims?

Technically, a civil rights claim can be any act that in some way has infringed upon an individual’s autonomy.  The most common types of civil rights claims involve abuse by government actors, such as police brutality or misconduct, or agencies, wrongful termination, and employment discrimination.

Q: I believe my rights have been violated by the government or one of its officers. Do I have a claim?

Government actors and officers are protected by governmental and qualified immunity that bars claims. However, if it can be proven that the government or its officer acted with gross indifference or acted in a way that serves as an exception to their governmental immunity, you can pursue a claim.

Q: What is a 1983 complaint?

The most common type of civil rights claim is a federal 1983 claim. 1983 claims are those raised under 42 USC 1983, which governs the actions of governmental agents, like police officers. 1983 claims are often asserted when an individual has been assaulted by a police officer, a government funded institution commits a tort, or an individual suffers an injury or death while incarcerated.

Q: Can I file a civil rights claim on behalf of a family member or friend?

You can only file a civil rights claim on behalf of someone other than yourself if one of the following exceptions applies: wrongful death cases, an incapacitated plaintiff, a minor plaintiff, or a class action case.

Q: What is the difference between a civil and a criminal violation of civil rights?

A criminal civil rights violation involves the use or threat of force. A civil violation of civil rights involves no violence, only discriminatory behavior. Criminal violations carry incarceration penalties, while civil violations carry monetary penalties.

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