Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic injuries that can leave a victim and his or her family members devastated - emotionally and financially. A spinal cord injury occurs when the cells inside a person's spinal cord are damaged, disrupting the relay of signals from the brain to the rest of the body. The consequences of spinal cord trauma could range from chronic or debilitating pain to paralysis. Victims who have been injured as the result of someone else's negligence or wrongdoing can seek compensation for their significant losses. It is important that spinal cord injury victims and their families understand their legal rights and options in such cases.
Spinal cord injuries are often catastrophic because they have long-term or permanent consequences. With regard to injury claims, a catastrophic injury claim will likely be worth significantly more than other types of injury claims. This is because a catastrophic injury will affect the victim's quality of life as well as his or her ability to make a livelihood and provide for his or her family. In such cases, support needs to be available to cover not only the immediate medical bills, but also lost future income, the cost of medical treatment and physical therapy that will be needed years after the accident.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
There are a number of different types of spinal cord injuries. A "complete spinal cord injury" is one that results in the loss of sensation and motor ability. Whenever there is significant bruising, loss of blood or an increased amount of pressure on the spinal cord, a total loss of movement and sensation below the site of the injury can occur. An "incomplete spinal cord injury" will affect the victim's ability to feel and move but some sensation below the site of the trauma will remain.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it may result in:
- Paralysis: This refers to loss of muscle function that is often accompanied by sensory loss.
- Quadriplegia: Also known as tetraplegia, this is when trauma to the spinal cord in the neck results in partial or total loss of function in all four limbs.
- Paraplegia: This is when a spinal cord injury results in impairment of motor or sensory function of the lower half of a person's body.
- Anterior cord syndrome: A loss of sensation and movement can occur when the motor and sensory pathways in the anterior areas of the spinal cord are damaged.
- Central cord syndrome: When the center of the cervical area of the spinal cord is damaged, the signals sent from the brain to the body to control bodily movement can be affected.
- Spinal contusions: This is when the spinal cord is bruised but not severed. The amount of inflammation and bleeding will affect the severity of the symptoms.
Spinal Cord Injury Statistics
According to the Nation Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), 12,000 people suffer nonfatal spinal cord injuries each year in the United States. That means approximately 40 out of 1 million people in the United States will suffer a spinal cord injury this year. There are between 238,000 and 332,000 persons living in the United States with a spinal cord injury at any given moment.
Young adults suffer approximately half of all spinal cord injuries and over 80 percent of all spinal cord victims are men. The NSCISC reports that 36.5 percent of spinal cord injuries suffered since 2010 resulted from car accidents followed by fall-related incidents and acts of violence.
Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average annual medical cost of a spinal cord injury is between $15,000 and $30,000. The estimated lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury is at least $500,000 and could add up to more than $3 million. The NSCISC estimates that damage to the CI-C4 vertebrae can cost over $1 million in the first year and more then $100,000 each subsequent year.
Individuals who are responsible for causing a spinal cord injury can be held accountable for their wrongdoing or negligence. Spinal cord injury victims can seek compensation for damages including but not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future income
- Physical, occupational and other types of rehabilitation
- Medical equipment
- Loss of life's enjoyment
- Permanent injuries
- Pain and suffering
The experienced catastrophic injury lawyers at Bisnar Chase have represented individuals who have suffered spinal cord injuries as a result of car accidents, workplace accidents and defective automobiles. We are sensitive to our clients' needs.
We understand that you have immediate expenses and work diligently to help you get the support and guidance you need during these challenging times.
If you have suffered debilitating spinal injuries or if your family member is living with a spinal cord injury caused by someone else's negligence or wrongdoing, please contact us at 1-800-561-4887.