prevalence of spinal cord injuries

Catastrophic injuries, such as injuries to the spinal cord, are quite devastating. While most people assume such a serious injury must be the result of extreme circumstances, the truth is that even something as simple as a sports injury can lead to severe damage. Tragically, spinal cord injuries are actually on the rise in the United States. One demographic at particularly high risk is elderly populations.

DID YOU KNOW: Experts estimate that there are 17,500 new spinal cord injuries (SCI) each year in the U.S., not including individuals who died at the time of their injuries.

In 2017, somewhere between 245,000 and 353,000 Americans were estimated to be living with a spinal cord injury. Along with the devastating physical effects of a spinal cord injury, those who survive often struggle with significant financial hardships. Not only does a spinal injury take away the ability for most people to make an income, it also carries with it a variety of new and often hefty expenses. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the victims of an accident to seek strong legal representation with lowercase.

understanding injuries in the spine

Before jumping into the process of filing a claim, there are some facts about SCI. One thing to consider about a spinal cord injury is the extent of the damage. There are two categories each injury will fall under:

  • Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

With a complete spinal cord injuries, all sensation and movement below the site of the injury is eliminated. However, the complete nature of the injury does not necessarily mean that the victim does not have the capacity to recover.

Thankfully, less than 30% of spinal cord injuries are actually complete tetraplegia and paraplegia.

  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injuries

In simple terms, an incomplete spinal cord injury occurs whenever a survivor still has some feeling below the site of the injury. These cases typically recover quicker and better than complete injuries. The single most common form of spinal cord injury is an incomplete tetraplegia.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that classifying an injury as incomplete does not determine the severity of the damage. Each incomplete spinal injury manifests in a different way, with different possible health complications.

how do spinal cord injuries happen?

As with almost any injury, there are a range of causes for a serious spinal injury. Of course, they typically result from a traumatic injury or blow to the spine. That part only makes sense. But what puts a person at risk?

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, some of the most common causes of spinal cord injury include:

Another way spinal cord injuries occur is due to errors during risky surgical procedures. In some cases, the injury could have been avoidable. Therefore, the error may even amount to the level of medical negligence.

In many of these scenarios, a victim might suffer a severe injury due to the actions of another party. Not all accidents are avoidable, however those who are put in harm’s way due to the negligent or irresponsible actions of another individual should not have to suffer. There are a lot of ways a spinal cord injury can happen, but if they can be prevented, they should be. Sometimes, when they are not it means someone should be held accountable.

building a lawsuit for a spinal injury

The first step to building a lawsuit for a spinal cord injury to establishing liability. In order to file a lawsuit, there has to be evidence suggesting someone is responsible for your injuries. However, it may not always be easy to tell who is liable in these cases. When building a lawsuit, ask yourself-  did the other party:

Act negligently?

As with most personal injury cases, most spinal cord injury lawsuits are based on a legal theory called negligence. Under these circumstances, the victim must prove that the other party, legally known as the defendant, is legally liable. In some situations, the question may depend on if the party owes a “duty of care” to the victim. Without proving negligence, a victim can also try to show that the other party intentionally acted to harm them.

Make defective products?

In some cases, defective products turn liability from an individual to a company. For example, if a defective or dangerous product causes injuries, like a faulty seat-belts in a car accident, the victim may be entitled to compensation from the companies that designed, manufactured, and sold the product.

Make existing injuries worse?

Another possible lawsuit for spinal injuries is if no one is liable for the original injury, but someone made the injury worse. For example, if you retain an injury, but a physician fails to provide proper treatment and the damage is compounded, you may have means to sue for medical malpractice.

In fact, your claim may include a combination of these examples. A lot of lawsuits concerning spinal cord injuries involve multiple parties. Victims can file claims against all of the parties who contribute to an injury. However, the difficulty comes in proving that another party is liable. Having a personal injury lawyer with experience with claims concerning spinal cord injuries can make all the difference.

medical cost of spinal cord injuries

There are a lot of expenses that result from spinal cord injuries. Primarily, most people are confronted with staggering medical expenses. Sometimes, spinal cord injuries can lead to bills in excess of a million dollars. Needless to say, most people are not financially equipped to overcome these costs on their own.

Of course, the exact medical costs are primarily dependent on the severity of the injuries. Additionally, the price for specific medical services can vary drastically. Some of the most common sources of expense include:

  • Spinal surgery
  • Trauma care
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Long-term care
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs
  • Medication

According to the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation, people with high tetraplegia can expect to pay about a million dollars for care in the first year. And although costs tend to reduce after the first year, medical bills can still reach tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

compensation for personal injury damages

With lawsuits for spinal cord injuries, monetary awards should at least compensate the victims for the losses caused by the accident and injury. Not only should damages include the medical costs for recovery, they should also include the losses suffered by the victim as a result of their injury.

Of course, money cannot take away the pain you and your family must endure because of an accident. A spinal cord injury can be a traumatic experience, especially when it results from a catastrophic and horrifying accident. The emotional, mental and professional losses should also be considered when filing a claim. A personal injury lawyer should also fight for damages that include:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost wages and earning potential
  • Court costs, such as the cost of hiring an expert witness

Furthermore, a spinal cord injury can have permanent and life-altering effects. Therefore, compensation for future long-term medical expenses should count towards the claim.

let lowercase fight for you

Trying to successfully navigate issues of liability and litigation can be extremely overwhelming for someone who has suffered such a disastrous injury. The recovery process can be strenuous and extensive, and you should not have to worry about fighting with lawyers and insurance companies for the compensation you deserve.

That is why we at lowercase want to help fight to protect your rights to compensation. Our team of skilled and dedicated personal injury lawyers are here to guide you every step of the way and make sure that you can focus on recovering.

call us today

A lowercase attorney is ready to examine your claim and help you find the best course of action to help you or your loved one. Call us today at 833-LOW-FEE5 (833-569-3335).

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