Spinal Cord Injuries and Paralysis
The human spinal column is a complex system. It is comprised of over 100 joints and cartilage, more than 120 muscles and it houses the spinal cord – commonly referred to as the central nervous system. It is capable of withstanding a tremendous amount of pressure and has the capability of being incredibly flexible. Yet, for all of its impressive qualities, it is still vulnerable to injury – a fact that 17,000 Americans find out through firsthand experience every year. As many as 387,000 people currently live with a serious spinal cord injury in the U.S. These injuries can severely inhibit a person’s ability to perform everyday activities, which diminishes their quality of life in very devastating ways. The New York spinal cord injury attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC have helped many clients who suffer from SCIs, and we know all too well how terrible the outcome of these injuries can be.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
Every person is vulnerable to spinal cord injuries, whether we are in our vehicles, playing sports or doing our jobs. Someone’s negligent or careless behavior can cause a spinal cord injury in many situations:
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, accounting for nearly 40 percent of SCIs every year.
- Falls – The second leading cause of spinal cord injuries is falls, slips or trips, leading to over 30 percent of SCIs.
- Workplace Accidents – A number of on-the-job incidents can cause serious spinal cord injuries, including falls among construction workers or vehicle accidents suffered by transportation workers.
- Surgeries – A surprising number of spinal cord injuries are actually caused by the surgical procedures that are supposed to fix them. This is especially true of procedures that are incredibly complex, such as spinal fusions involving multiple vertebrae.
- Acts of violence – Around 15 percent of spinal cord injuries result from violent encounters, such as gunshot and knife wounds, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC).
- Sports and recreation injuries – Athletic activities, such as impact sports (football, soccer, basketball and baseball) and diving in shallow water, cause almost 10 percent of all SCIs.
When Spinal Cord Injuries Cause Paralysis
Perhaps the most catastrophic outcome of a spinal cord injury is paralysis. There are many different forms of paralysis, including complete paraplegia (loss of function and sensation in the legs), incomplete paraplegia (paralysis from the waist down), complete tetraplegia (loss of function and sensation in the arms, legs and torso) and incomplete (diminished function) tetraplegia. All significantly impact spinal cord injury victims. The estimated lifetime costs of paraplegia for a 25-year-old person are $2,310,104, while the lifetime costs of a 50-year-old are $1,516,052. For a 25-year-old person with tetraplegia, the estimated lifetime costs are approximately $4,725,000; they are $2,600,000 for a 50-year-old tetraplegia victim. While these figures are incredibly high, it is important to realize that these costs reflect only direct costs of paralysis, such as healthcare costs and living expenses. They do not include loss of income, loss of work capacity, pain and suffering. The combination of direct and indirect costs of paralysis is almost immeasurable, due to the scope of the effects they can have on a person and their loved ones throughout the course of their lives.
Was Your Spinal Cord Injury Due to the Negligence of Someone Else?
If someone else was to blame for the terrible SCI you have suffered, whether it be another driver, employer, surgeon or negligent owner of a property on which you were injured, you should not have to shoulder the financial burden of their negligence. They can be held legally accountable through a personal injury claim. The spinal cord injury attorneys at Kaplan Lawyers PC can help you seek the compensation you deserve. We investigate your case to determine who was at fault and make sure any and all parties are held responsible for your injuries. We offer a free consultation. Time can be of the essence in these types of cases due to the statute of limitations on personal injury claims, disappearing evidence and other factors surrounding your claim. Give Kaplan Lawyers PC a call today, or fill out our online contact form to arrange for your free consultation where you can learn more about how we can help you. If necessary, we’ll come to you.