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Leading Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries occur in a wide variety of ways, regularly because of the careless or negligent actions of another individual or entity. Any type of traumatic event that places significant stress on the body could lead to spinal cord trauma, but there are certain causes of these injuries that arise more often than others. If you’ve been harmed due to someone else’s negligent actions, a Houston spinal cord injury lawyer may be able to assist you with your claim.

What Does the Data Tell Us About Spinal Cord Injuries?

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) is based out of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and provides extensive data related to spinal cord injuries across the United States. The center has kept track of spinal cord injuries for decades, and states that, as of 2020, nearly 18,000 new spinal cord injuries occur each year, not including individuals who die at the location of the incident. Currently, the center says that there are approximately 300,000 individuals living with spinal cord injuries across the United States. The average age of individuals who sustain these injuries is 43.

Over the most recent five year data sampling, the most common causes of spinal cord injuries have included:

  • Vehicle accidents. The incident involving these heavier vehicles can place significant trauma on the human bodies inside the vehicle. Rapid back-and-forth movement can lead to spinal cord injuries anywhere along the neck and back.
  • Falls from varying heights. Falls are the second leading cause of spinal cord trauma and can occur in any setting, including at home, on the job, or anywhere individuals frequent. Even falls that occur on the same level (incidents that don’t involve individuals falling from one floor to another) can cause various types of spinal cord trauma, but falls from significant heights do increase the risk of a severe spinal cord injury occurring.
  • Acts of violence. Acts of violence can include incidents such as fights, stabbings, and gunshot wounds, though gunshot wounds are the most likely culprit of severe spinal cord trauma.
  • Sports accidents and injuries. Various sports are more likely to lead to traumatic injuries for those involved. This can include, but is not limited to, football, rugby, lacrosse, and cheerleading. However, any type of sport that involves physical activity or player contact could result in a spinal cord injury.
  • Medical or surgical mistakes. Medical mistakes can occur in a variety of ways, including surgical errors, failure to implement fall prevention, and misdiagnosis, which could all cause or contribute to spinal cord trauma or the worsening of an already present injury.

Costs Associated With This Type of Trauma

Spinal cord injuries can result in a complete rearrangement of a person’s life. Additionally, a spinal cord injury victim’s family will also likely have to make significant adjustments. There are usually significant costs associated with spinal cord injuries, particularly for those that result in any level of paralysis. This includes but is not limited to, major medical expenses and potentially a lifetime of lost wages.

The NSCISC states that the first year of medical care alone can cost a spinal cord injury victim and their family anywhere from approximately $375,000 to more than $1.1 million, with each subsequent year of medical care ranging anywhere from around $45,000 to nearly $200,000.

These costs only include the medical care a person will likely endure. The lost income we mentioned, the loss of a person’s ability to carry out day-to-day activities or household chores, and a loss of quality of life are not included in these figures.

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