Spinal Cord Injury

Life can change in an instant. No one understands this more than someone who has suffered a spinal cord injury. One minute, you are active and capable of enjoying life to the fullest. The next minute, you need help just getting through the basics - putting on clothes or brushing your teeth - for the rest of your life.

No one is safe from a spinal cord injury. It can happen as a result of a motor vehicle crash, a sports injury, a work incident, even an assault. Technological advances in safety don’t always protect us, other people don’t always exercise due caution and, unfortunately, accidents happen.

The spinal cord is the core of our body’s central nervous system. It connects our brain to nerves throughout our body. The brain sends messages through the spinal cord to those nerves with instructions on what to feel, or how to move. Damage to any part of the spinal cord can cause permanent changes in strength, sensation or other body functions. When this type of injury occurs, it can often result in total or partial paralysis.

Beyond the physical tragedy of such an accident, it’s an immense and demoralizing financial burden: this injury can force a future of needing round-the-clock medical care on someone who at the same time has lost the ability to work and earn a living towards that future. Compensation for the accident may be the very thing that makes the difference between a life of hardship and one of physical and emotional support.

The Duffy Firm brings proven experience of handling of these cases with a host of benefits for you:

  • A panel of physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals who can interpret medical documentation into a strong supportive case for you.
  • Experts who can establish who is responsible.
  • An extensive case development process where we take the time to analyze, document and persuasively illustrate your personal situation.
  • The confidence in knowing that if we represent you, it is because we believe we can win. We are very selective in accepting cases, and we work on a contingency fee basis. This means if we are not successful, we receive no payment at all.
  • A special level of trust, care and compassion in understanding what you and your family are facing. We have a special bond with each and every one of our past clients, and those relationships remain strong long after the case has been won.

Here are just a few examples of significant results we have obtained for our clients:

  • A young man, traveling with his school on a field trip, suffered a paralyzing injury. The Duffy Firm filed a lawsuit against the school on his behalf and obtained a confidential settlement of $36,000,000.
  • In Rice, the Superior Court affirmed a $12,400,000 verdict (obtained in addition to a $3,500,000 settlement previously received) which, combined with interest and delay damages, totaled over $22,500,000. This affirmation was for the retrial of a 2006 case, where The Duffy Firm client Leroy Rice, a forklift operator who was crushed and partially paralyzed by pallets of frozen food when the warehouse racking he was working near collapsed upon him, was awarded a $10,600,000 verdict and $3,500,000 settlement.
  • The Duffy Firm obtained a $12,000,000 settlement for client Terry Whittlesey, a young man who, while a passenger in a car on his way to a vacation, was rear-ended by a commercial truck. The trucking company denied all fault associated with the accident and only agreed to the settlement after jury selection was completed and the trial was about to begin. The settlement, which was reported as one of the largest in Pennsylvania that year, enabled Mr. Whittlesey to move into a home specially constructed to accommodate his ongoing physical needs.
  • In Fitzpatrick v. Toll Brothers, Inc., et al, The Duffy Firm represented Vinny Fitzpatrick, a 54-year-old insulation installer who fell through a hole at a construction site. The hole had been cut in the floor of a home under construction so as to lower drywall to the basement level. There were several entities involved in the litigation, including general contractor Toll Brothers, Inc., supplier L&W Supply Corporation, installer Advanced Drywall Systems II, LLC, and handyman service provider Johnston Built, LLC. Each of the defendants claimed another was responsible for both the cause of the hazard and whose responsibility it had been to secure and mark it per OSHA guidelines. Additionally, the defendants universally claimed that our client’s injuries were minor and that he was capable of returning to work. However, the firm was able to effectively establish the severity, trauma and permanent nature of Mr. Fitzpatrick’s injuries and obtained a global settlement of $7,000,001 just two days before jury selection.
  • In a $4,000,000 confidential settlement, we prevailed on behalf of a client against an international hotel company following a slip and fall in Mexico. Our client slipped on water tracked onto a tile floor from a pool area and struck his head on the person in front of him, breaking his neck and resulting in quadriplegia injuries. We were able to establish that the parent hotel, despite its efforts to layer many subsidiaries for insulation, would “push down” policies to its sub-subsidiaries’ hotels, resulting, among other things, in the use of the wrong type of outdoor floor mats. The backing material used on those mats resulted in the mats themselves capturing water, which then caused individuals with dry shoes or feet to track that water onto a previously dry tile surface. Despite defense efforts to remove the case to federal court and then transfer it to Mexico, The Duffy Firm fought successfully to institute and keep the matter in Philadelphia.
  • Our client, a young mother in her 30's, had sought care from several successive doctors to correct lower back and related abdominal pain. After following the advice of the doctors and enduring multiple “corrective” surgeries, she received no relief whatsoever. Rib cage-related neuralgia, costochondritis, musculoskeletal pain, failed back surgery syndrome, thoracotomy syndrome, and graft site pain left her unable to return to her full-time responsibilities as a nursing supervisor. The Duffy Firm secured In a confidential $3,000,000 settlement to offset her future wage losses and medical care.
  • In, Milner, The Duffy Firm represented a man who, while on a riding lawnmower as part of his job, was struck by a vehicle that came off the roadway into the shoulder. The defense claimed that our client was the one who rode into the lane of traffic, and that his traumatic injuries were a progression of pre-existing 
    conditions. Just two days before trial, the defense settled for $1,250,000, the insurer’s full policy limit and umbrella coverage for the incident.
  • We obtained a confidential settlement against a large Philadelphia hospital and resident physician group after our client, a 51-year-old happily married and employed man with two young children and some minor health issues, underwent spinal surgery at the recommendation of the physicians. The surgery left him with complications that involved having the ability to swallow only with difficulty and being at risk for aspiration. Though he died from completely unrelated causes, The Duffy Firm was able to secure $1,000,000 in compensation for his family.

See more examples of successful verdicts and settlements obtained by The Duffy Firm >>