Spinal cord injuries impact the bundle of nerves that run down the middle of your spine. This spinal cord carries signals from your brain to your body, and back. A spinal cord injury disrupts that signal either partially or fully. These injuries can be caused by a blow to the back that shifts or fractures your vertebrae. This shifting puts pressure on the spinal cord. It may also sever the spinal cord completely. Also, the fractured pieces of the vertebrae can also injure the cord.
The blow to the body can be caused by blunt force trauma, something hitting the spine or by shear force, a violent jerking of the body. Additionally, debris can enter the body severing the spinal cord. For example shrapnel from some form of an explosion.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
It is estimated that the annual incidence of spinal cord injuries, not including those who die at the scene of the accident, is approximately 40 cases per million population in the U. S. or about 12,000 new cases each year.
There are two types of spinal cord injuries. The types are based on the level of severity. With a complete spinal cord injury, the brain cannot send signals below the level of the cord injury resulting paralysis. With an incomplete injury, the brain can still send some signals across the injured cord allowing the person to have some movement below the injury.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Overall, more men suffer from spinal cord injuries than women. Men account for over 80% of all spinal cord injury victims, and car accidents are the most frequent cause of these injuries. Other causes include falls, with violence and sporting injuries accounting for a decreasing number of injuries. Causes of spinal cord injuries include:
- car accidents
- 18 wheeler accidents
- Falls at work
- Hospital falls
- Nursing home falls
- Motorcycle crashes
- Bus accidents
- Bicycle crashes
- People getting hit by cars
Regardless of the cause. Spinal cord injuries come at great expense.
The Cost of a Spinal Cord Injury
The cost of care and living expenses for the victim of a spinal cord injury depends on how bad the injury is. Those recovering from a severe injury will need future medical care. A person with a severe spinal cord injury may need changes to their home to make it more accessible. They will need pain and spasm management, respiratory therapy, medical equipment, and a van that can accommodate a wheelchair.
Although the amount varies by injury, it is estimated that the first year following a severe injury can cost over 1mm and lifetime costs can exceed several million dollars.
Many people who suffer a severe injury are unable to work after. In fact, one year after an SCI, only 11% have a job. As a result, either the party who caused the injury pays for the care or the taxpayers do.
Contact a Houston Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident or as a result of a work accident, contact an attorney today to learn your rights. Holding the responsible party accountable for their actions may defray the costs on an injured victim. Chelsie King Garza is available for a free consultation today.