Spinal cord injuries or SCIs are some of the most devastating types of personal injury, leading frequently to life-long complications. SCIs should always be taken seriously, as even minor ones can lead to permanent damage. It is very important for victims of SCIs to understand their rights and seek compensation for their injuries, as many of them will need to depend on this compensation for a lifetime.
The ABCs of Spinal Cord Injuries
When it comes to SCIs, there are three important facts to keep in mind. These facts can be remembered by the ABC method:
- Accidents. The leading cause of SCI is a car accident, followed closely by a fall. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, about 40 percent of all SCIs occur during vehicle accidents and about 32 percent occur during falls. This means that nearly three-quarters of all SCI occur during common accidents. The remainder occurs during violent assaults such as gunshots, which account for 14 percent; sports injuries, which account for eight percent; and various other accidents, which account for six percent.
- Breathing and infection. The most common causes of death for those who survive the first 24 hours after a spinal cord injury are pneumonia and infections such as septicemia. These conditions are often caused by the victim’s drastically reduced mobility, although they may also be the result of improper post-injury care. With proper treatment, an SCI victim may live as long as an uninjured person, although of course he or she may suffer drastically reduced mobility and may need life-long interventions.
- Complete versus incomplete. Not all SCIs are the same. Some victims suffer a complete spinal cord injury, which means that they have no sensation and cannot voluntarily move anything below the level of the injury. This includes both paraplegia and quadriplegia; the location of the injury determines if the legs only or the arms are also included in the paralysis. An incomplete spinal cord injury, on the other hand, results in partial loss of use or paralysis of the affected area. In some cases, victims recover from partial SCIs, but in many cases, the damage is permanent. Incomplete SCIs can affect any area of the body and may present with a wide range of symptoms beyond partial paralysis, including loss of cognitive function, loss of organ function, and even mental and emotional disorders.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, help is available to enable you to pursue treatment and live a full, productive life. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses as well as new, increased living expenses, rehabilitation, and other costs. At Barber & Associates, we have worked for years with spinal cord injury victims and have helped many of them obtain far more money for their injuries than they were initially offered. If you have been a victim, call us today to speak to one of our professional attorneys and learn more about how we can help you recover damages for your SCI.