Spinal cord injuries take a huge physical, emotional, and financial toll on those who suffer them, and often times, spinal cord injuries leave people with partial or full paralysis – a lifelong disability. After a spinal cord injury, life as you knew it may never be the same.
Spinal cord injuries are usually catastrophic, and whether these serious personal injuries result from a fall from a work site, a car accident, or some other devastating accident, lives are often changed forever by spinal cord injuries. Many people who suffer spinal cord injuries end up paralyzed to some degree and may require assistance with activities of daily living for the rest of their lives. They may require around-the-clock care, and their homes may need to be modified to be wheelchair accessible. All of the care associated with spinal cord injuries is costly, and when you require that level of care for many years or decades, the cost of care can be mind boggling.
Some spinal cord injury victims may recuperate in time and be able to walk again, but that may not happen for months or years after the accident that caused the injury. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury at work or in a car accident, you may have a valid personal injury claim; spinal cord injury cases are some of the most complex of all personal injury claims because of the astounding amount of expenses associated with these injuries.
What is a Spinal Cord Injury and What Causes It?
Spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord, the bundle of nerves housed within the spinal column. The role of the spinal cord is to carry messages from the brain to the body; injury to the spinal cord may result in full or partial loss of motor control and sensation.
Spinal cord injuries may leave people paralyzed in the lower parts of the body (paraplegic) or in all four extremities (quadriplegic). Because the spinal cord is responsible for bodily functions like breathing, body temperature, bladder, and sexual function, accident victims can suffer a variety of permanent and serious health problems. With the physical challenges of a spinal cord injury often comes emotional and psychological problems because their lives have been changed so dramatically.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Almost 11,000 people in the United States sustain a traumatic spinal cord injury each year, and more than 200,000 people live with paralysis caused by SCI.” There are five forms of spinal cord injury:
- Compression: Caused by pressure on the spinal cord
- Contusion: Bruising of the spinal cord
- Laceration: Typically results in permanent damage leading to paralysis, loss of voluntary movement, loss of sensation, inability to control autonomic activity, pain, and problems with bodily functions.
- Central Cord Syndrome
- Complete severing of the spinal cord
Some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Surgical mistakes
- Defective products
Some of the costs associated with spinal cord injuries are:
- Medical bills including diagnostic testing, surgery, rehabilitation, assistive devices, physical therapy, hospitalization, personal care assistance, and medications
- Lost wages (present and future)
- Transportation to appointments and errands
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash, a workplace accident, or from a medical mistake, you may have a valid legal claim and will need a personal injury attorney to navigate the legal process of collecting compensation for your losses.