Spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, account for tens of thousands of accidents across the United States. More than 300,000 people are living with SCIs at any given time in this country. Spinal cord damage remains one of the leading causes of permanent disability and death among accident victims. Here are a few facts about SCIs and how they impact Americans every day.
- Not including those who die at the scene of an accident from injuries involving damage to the spinal cord, the number of new spinal cord injuries recorded in recent years averages 17,810 per year, or 54 out of every one million Americans.
- The number of individuals living with spinal cord injury may be as high as 380,000 in any given year.
- The average age of a spinal cord injury victim is 43. This figure is very different from the 1960s when SCIs first began to be calculated and recorded. At that time, the average age for a spinal cord injury was 29. Experts suggest that this age increase is due to more safety awareness among younger people, who are now more likely to wear seatbelts and to be cautious when diving–two activities that caused large numbers of SCIs in previous years.
- Males are still the vast majority of spinal cord injury victims, accounting for about 78 percent of all new SCIs. Experts attribute this gender disparity to the idea that males are more statistically likely to engage in risky behaviors such as driving without seatbelts or engaging in rough horseplay that results in accidents. It is also possible that there is a connection to the prevalence of males as perpetrators and victims of violent crimes, as a portion of SCIs occurs during criminal activity.
- The racial makeup of SCI victims continues to be skewed toward minority groups. The percentage of non-Hispanic Blacks, for instance, who are victims of SCI is about 24 percent of the victim pool; statistically, Blacks should make up about 13 percent of SCI victims. Non-Hispanic whites still make up the largest single group of SCI victims, accounting for about 59 percent of all injuries.
- The cause of SCIs is somewhat evenly divided between several categories of accidents. Vehicle crashes are still the leading cause of SCI, accounting for 39 percent of the total, but falls also make up a significant portion of these accidents, with 32 percent of all SCIs resulting from falls. Violence accounts for 14 percent of all SCIs, while sports and other causes make up the remainder of the injuries.
- SCIs are divided into four classifications based on the extent of the damage. About half of all injuries are considered incomplete tetraplegia; another 20 percent are incomplete paraplegia. Complete paraplegia accounts for about 20 percent of all SCIs, and complete tetraplegia for the remaining 12 percent. Only .7 percent of all SCI victims are considered to have no significant damage from their injuries.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, it is very important that you act quickly to protect your rights. At Barber & Associates, we work hard to ensure our clients recover as much as possible to pay for medical bills, living expenses, and pain and suffering. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can put our years of experience with SCI cases to work for you.