It’s hard to give an approximate number of how many spinal cord injuries occur around the world; however, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 250,000 and 500,000 people per year suffer a spinal cord injury (SCI). The majority of spinal cord injuries are due to preventable causes such as car crashes, violence, or falls.
If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury caused by another person’s neglect or harmful actions, the spinal cord injury attorneys at Gemma Law can help.
We have years of experience helping injured people throughout Rhode Island recover money for their pain and suffering. Call Gemma Law at 401-467-2300 to speak to one of our injury attorneys, or contact us online.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Damage to the spinal cord can occur from disease and degeneration, such as cancer, but the most common cause of spinal cord injuries is trauma.
Up to 90 percent of spinal cord injury cases are traumatic. In traumatic cases, the vertebrae in your spine are fractured or dislocated. Pieces of vertebrae can press down on the nerves in the spinal cord or cut the cord tissue, causing permanent damage.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury, making up nearly 39 percent of cases since 2015. Falls make up around 32 percent, while acts of violence (primarily gunshot wounds) make up 14 percent. Other causes include sports and recreation injuries or medical and surgical reasons.
Treatment of Spinal Cord Injuries
A complete spinal cord injury causes paralysis below the level of the injury. An incomplete injury allows for some movement and sensation. In either case, a spinal cord injury is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment.
Medicines, health aids to stabilize the spine, and surgery can help reduce the long-term effects of a spinal cord injury. Mobility aids, assistive devices, and rehabilitation therapy may be recommended later to help you get around.
Unfortunately, the risk of mortality increases the more serious or severe the injury is. If not treated immediately after the injury occurs, the risk of mortality can increase further.
People who suffer from spinal cord injuries are two to five times more likely to die prematurely than people who have not.
Risks and Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries
Serious secondary conditions can develop after spinal cord injuries. Deep vein thrombosis, osteoporosis, respiratory complications, and chronic pain can be debilitating and even life-threatening.
Mental health may be affected — up to 30 percent of people with spinal cord injuries show clinically significant depression symptoms, which can affect health and recovery.
The effects of a serious injury include but are not limited to, physical, emotional, and mental health. People who suffer spinal cord injuries may face social and economic consequences, as well.
Adults with spinal cord injuries may have trouble working and participating in society; the global unemployment rate for adults with SCI is more than 60 percent.
Similarly, children with spinal cord injuries are less likely than their peers to start school. Once enrolled, they’re less likely to advance. Basic mobility issues, depression, and chronic pain from the injury can negatively affect other areas in an injured person’s life.
Spinal Cord Injury Cases in Rhode Island
If your spinal cord injury is the result of a car accident, slip-and-fall, or a result of another person’s recklessness, you may be able to seek monetary compensation in a lawsuit.
A car accident attorney can help you file a personal injury lawsuit. Should you win your case, the driver responsible for causing the accident will pay for both your physical injuries and vehicle damage. Many cases settle out of court with insurance companies, but some cases do progress to trial.
Slip and fall accidents fall under a legal category known as premises liability law. If a property owner knew or should have known about dangerous conditions on their property, and they failed to do anything about it, they can be held liable for their negligence in a personal injury case.
Dangerous snow and ice, broken or uneven surfaces, poor lighting — all of these hazardous conditions can lead to a slip and fall and, in turn, a severe spinal cord injury.
In either type of lawsuit, you may be able to receive compensation for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Visits to your doctor, the hospital, or clinics
- Lost income if you’re unable to work now or in the future
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
Contact a Rhode Island Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Today
A spinal cord injury is a serious, life-changing event. Not only can it cause immediate bodily injuries, it can also take a toll on your mental and emotional health, finances, and quality of life.
Obtaining justice and monetary compensation can help you recover physically and begin moving forward again.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident or a slip and fall, and you’re suffering from a spinal cord injury, allow the spinal cord injury attorneys at Gemma Law to help.