When a serious injury occurs that damages the spinal cord, the result can be devastating. Spinal cord injuries may be traumatic or non-traumatic. Traumatic injuries may be caused by a vehicle accident, a severe fall, a gunshot or stabbing or other mishaps. Non-traumatic injuries are those that are caused by illness or inflammation such as from arthritis, cancer, or an infection. Traumatic injuries may happen because of a hard hit to the spine. This causes the vertebrae to become dislocated, compressed, or fractured. Spinal injuries may be either complete or incomplete. The best outcomes happen when medical treatment is administered quickly. There are many things that may cause this type of injury to occur.
Reasons for Traumatic Spinal Cord Injuries
The occurrence of a traumatic spinal cord injury may be due to:
- Vehicle accidents;
- Slip and falls
- Sports-related injuries;
- Illness/disease; or
- Alcohol-related accident.
Vehicle accidents make up the majority of injuries to those under the age of 35.In fact, about 35% of new spinal cord injuries each year are due to car or motorcycle accidents. Falls account for more than 25% of injuries and are most common among those over age 65. Sports injuries make up about 9% of injuries with contact sports, such as football, being the most frequent cause.
Damage from Serious Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are serious because they affect mobility and communication with the brain. The spinal cord consists of bones called vertebrae and extends from the base of the brain to just below the waist. It is important because it is responsible for carrying messages between the brain and the body. The location of the injury plays a part in determining what is affected. For example, an injury in the lower back may impact the ability to walk, sexual function, and bowel movements. An injury to the neck may affect movements in the upper body such as the arms, and could impact the ability to breathe. Complete spinal cord injuries are those where the patient loses all function and feeling below the injury. In incomplete injuries the person has some movement or feeling below the area of injury, or partial paralysis. New treatments are always being developed to treat and care for these types of serious problems.
Injuries Due to Negligence
When someone is seriously hurt in a negligent vehicle accident, the other party may be liable for damages. Damages in these types of cases can be quite high. Sometimes the complete degree is not immediately known. Some injuries will improve over time or with treatments such as surgery, while others won’t. The medical costs and care expenses may continue over a lifetime. Additional types of damages may include lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life as well as legal expenses. Those who were harmed because of the negligence of another may be entitled to collect these damages. Contact Berman & Riedel, LLP to review your case during a consultation.