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Understanding spinal cord injuries

California residents may benefit from reviewing some of the information available on the Spinal Cord Injury Fact Sheet produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spinal cord injuries may be caused by suffering damage to the neck, upper and middle back, or lower back. Because the spinal cord is responsible for transmitting signals from the brain, any damage to the spine could result in significant permanent or temporary neurological damage.

According to the CDC, approximately 200,000 people with spinal cord injuries are currently living in the United States. Researchers estimate there to be 12,000 to 20,000 new cases every year. The CDC also claims that alcohol is a contributing factor in about 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Some of the long-term psychological complications that may result from these injuries include anxiety and depression. Spinal cord injuries can also adversely affect gastrointestinal, urinary, respiratory and musculoskeletal body systems.

On average, these injuries may cost patients between $15,000 and $30,000 each year. Depending on the severity of the injuries, these costs can amount to $500,000 to $3 million during a patient’s lifetime. The CDC estimates that 46 percent are caused by motor vehicle accidents and that 22 percent are caused by falls. Violent incidents causes 16 percent of the injuries and sports constitute the remaining 12 percent. Approximately 50 to 70 percent of all spinal cord injury patients are 15 to 35 years old.

People who have suffered a spinal cord injury caused by another person’s actions or inaction may be entitled to obtain restitution to help offset the damages. Plaintiffs in these cases are often entitled to recover restitution that can account for medical expenses, loss of income, ongoing healthcare and other related hardships. In order to receive an award thorough civil action, lawyers may need to prove that the defendant is liable for the ensuing damages.

Source: CDC, “Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Fact Sheet “, October 17, 2014

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