More than 11,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury each year in the United States, with many experiencing severe chronic pain, paralysis and death.
The cause is generally trauma, a sudden blow or impact to the spine that fractures or dislocates vertebrae. The largest number of spinal cord injuries occur in auto accidents, which account for roughly 47 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Falls (23 percent), violence (14 percent) and sports (9 percent) also account for a large number of spinal cord injuries, according to one study.
In many cases, the injury is the fault of another, whether the driver of a car or truck, a defective product or a neglected or hazardous property. When such a problem exists, the victim of a spinal cord injury may have a legal claim.
You Need an Experienced Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
Kline & Specter, with more than 50 attorneys (five of whom are also highly regarded doctors), has broad expertise and experience in pursuing such claims. Our law firm, based in Philadelphia and serving the Pennsylvania - New Jersey - Delaware region, has produced incredible results in a large number of personal injury cases. (See our Major Victories.)
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal cord injury, you may want to contact a spinal cord lawyer for a free evaluation of your case.
The law firm has had success with several spinal cord injury cases, including winning a $30 million settlement in a case in which a girl sustained severe and permanent injuries from a rear seat lap belt in a motor vehicle accident. Another case resulted in a substantial confidential settlement for a young man who was left confined to a wheelchair in another lap belt injury suffered in an auto accident.
Injury to the spinal cord, which consists of a bundle of nerves that runs from the base of the brain and down the back, can result in loss of sensation and movement, including paralysis of all four limbs, or quadriplegia, and paralysis of the lower half of the body, paraplegia. Victims tend to have shorter lifespans.
Other health problems include bladder and bowel complications, inability to regulate blood pressure, reduced control of body temperature, chronic pain and increased susceptibility to respiratory disease.
Most spinal cord injury victims are men, nearly 80 percent, and generally are younger, with an average age of about 37. However, studies show that more women have experienced spine injuries in recent years and victims have included more older people injured in falls.
Questions about spinal cord injury claims
- What is the spinal cord?
- What is a spinal cord injury?
- What types of spinal cord injuries are there?
- What other symptoms are there in spinal cord injuries?
- How many people suffer spinal cord injuries?
- What are the causes of spinal cord injuries?
- Who is most susceptible to a spinal cord injury?
What is the spinal cord?
The spinal cord is made up of a bundle of nerves that run from the base of the brain down the middle of the back to a point just above the waist. It is made up of nerve cells (neurons) and long nerve fibers (axons) that relay information from the rest of the body to the brain and vice-versa. The spinal cord is protected by 33 vertebrae, ring-shaped bones that protect the spinal cord from injury.
What is a spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord that often results in paralysis, a loss of function or mobility. Damage to the vertebrae, the bones protecting the spinal cord, can occur without there being a spinal cord injury. Nor does the spinal cord have to be severed for there to be a spinal cord injury.
What types of spinal cord injuries are there?
There are basically two types of spinal cord injuries – complete and partial. In complete spinal cord injuries, there is a loss of function below the point of injury, with both sides of the body usually affected. This can result in paralysis of all four limbs, quadriplegia, or the lower half of the body, known as paraplegia. Victims with partial spinal cord injuries may be able to move one limb or part of the body more than the other or have more feeling on one side of his or her body.
What other symptoms are there in spinal cord injuries?
People with spinal cord injuries may also suffer bowel or bladder complications, or experience problems breathing and require a respirator or other breathing apparatus. Other complications include low blood pressure, inability to regulate blood pressure, reduced control of body temperature, and chronic pain. SCI sufferers are also more apt to contract respiratory disease.
How many people suffer spinal cord injuries?
It is estimated that about 250,000 people in the United States currently suffer from spinal cord injuries, or SCI. There are about 11,000 new cases each year in the United States.
What are the causes of spinal cord injuries?
The largest number of spinal cord injuries occur in auto accidents, or nearly 48 percent, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center in Birmingham, Alabama. Other surveys place the percentage slightly lower, but car and truck accidents remain the leading cause. Falls account for about 23 percent of the injuries, more commonly among older people. Violent incidents (shootings, assaults, etc.) account for about 14 percent and sports injuries, mostly diving accidents, nearly 9 percent.
Who is most susceptible to a spinal cord injury?
Men suffer about 80 percent of all spinal cord injuries, with the average victim being about 38 years old. But there has been an increase in recent years in both the age of sufferers and the number of women experiencing spinal cord injuries.