Serious traumatic spinal cord injuries are becoming more common throughout the United States, recent research shows, and car accidents remain one of the leading causes of these potentially catastrophic injuries.
Car accidents cause one in three spinal cord injuries
For the study, researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine analyzed the records of 43,137 adults who were treated for spinal cord injuries in hospital emergency rooms across the country between 2007 and 2009. During the three-year study period, the researchers observed an increase in the number of people treated for spinal cord injuries, particularly among older adults. More than one-third of the injuries in the study were caused by motor vehicle accidents.
Spinal cord injuries carry a hefty price tag
The spinal cord, normally protected by the bones that make up the spine, is a delicate bundle of nerve fibers that enables communication between the brain and the other parts of the body. By carrying signals back and forth in this way, the spinal cord plays a vital role in most bodily functions, including breathing, movement and excretory control. When the spinal cord is damaged due to a car accident or other type of trauma, it can have a severe impact on nearly every aspect of life.
Depending on a variety of circumstances, including the age of the individual and the severity of his or her injury, the estimated cost of caring for someone affected by a serious spinal cord injury can exceed millions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. Although advancements in medical technology and rehabilitative therapies have helped to improve outcomes and life expectancies for those affected by spinal cord injuries, they have also contributed to a higher cost of care for these individuals – a trend that is likely to continue in the years to come.
Compensation may be available
In North Carolina, people who have suffered a spinal cord injury due to the negligence or recklessness of another person have a right to pursue compensation through the legal system for their lost wages, medical care and other expenses. If you or a family member has suffered a serious injury in a vehicle crash or other type of accident in North Carolina, talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer to learn more about your rights and legal options.