The spinal cord is the body’s connection between the brain and nerves throughout the body. The spinal column’s vertebrae protect the fragile spinal cord. An injury that damages the spinal cord, the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column can cause varying levels of paralysis.
If a spinal cord injury is the result of another person’s careless conduct, the injured person or a family member should seek experienced legal assistance right away. There may be compensation for current medical expenses and future living expenses at stake.
The personal injury attorneys of Glover Law Firm have dealt with the special challenges that spinal cord injury victims and their families face in Elizabeth City, the Outer Banks and other areas throughout Northeastern North Carolina.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Their Costs
The Mayo Clinic says a traumatic spinal cord injury may stem from a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses one or more vertebrae. It is likely to cause permanent loss of strength, sensation and other body functions below the point of injury.
Spinal cord injuries include:
- Herniated disks (slipped or ruptured disks) – Trauma to the cushioning disks between vertebrae makes them swell and irritate the spinal cord or adjacent nerves. This causes pain, numbness or weakness in the arms or legs.
- Paralysis – This is a loss of sensation or function (ability to move or use) in affected parts of the body. Paralysis occurs below the point of a spinal cord injury (SCI). “Incomplete” SCI means there is some function. “Complete” SCI indicates no function or sensation.
In addition to loss of sensation or function, SCI victims may experience chronic pain, bowel and bladder dysfunction, sexual dysfunction, inability to effectively regulate blood pressure and difficulty breathing, the Mayo Clinic says. Coping with all of the changes and the pain caused by an SCI makes some patients fall into clinical depression.
Beyond the personal costs of a debilitating SCI, the financial costs can be extensive.
An SCI that causes “incomplete motor function at any level,” is likely to result in lifetime medical and living costs of $1.07 million for a 50-year-old patient or $1.5 million for a 25-year-old patient, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) says.
For a tetraplegia patient, the expected lifetime costs range from $2.49 million for a 50-year-old patient to $4.5 million for a 25-year-old patient. These figures do not include indirect costs, such as lost wages, fringe benefits or productivity.
Nearly half of all spinal cord injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30.
The NSCISC says there are about 12,000 new cases of spinal cord injury every year, not counting immediately fatal injuries. About 273,000 Americans were living with SCI in 2013, the NSCISC estimates.
The NSCISC says that, since 2010, the leading causes of SCI have been car, truck and motorcycle accidents as well as falls.
Contact a Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Serving Elizabeth City and the Outer Banks
A spinal cord injury victim who has been injured because of another party’s negligence or recklessness deserves assistance with the costs of his or her injury and the resulting lifetime disability.
Glover Law Firm, spinal cord injury lawyers help SCI victims in the Outer Banks and Elizabeth City areas of North Carolina to recover compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages, physical pain and emotional suffering and other losses.
For a free consultation about your or your family member’s spinal cord injury and a potential legal claim, contact us today.