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Aftermath of spinal cord injury can last a lifetime

A motor vehicle accident can happen in a fraction of a second, but its effects can haunt victims for the rest of their lives. Some of the most serious permanent injuries that can result from car, truck, bus and subway accidents are spinal cord injuries. These can render people paralyzed or otherwise disabled, requiring extensive and expensive treatment, and perhaps costing them the ability to earn a living.

According to statistics from 2012 there were about 270,000 people living with spinal cord injury in the United States. Motor vehicle crashes are the No. 1 cause of spinal cord injuries in the nation, accounting for 39 percent of all such injuries. Sporting accidents and falls are other major sources of spinal cord injuries. Other significant causes include gunshot wounds and other acts of violence.

Most spinal cord injury victims are employed at the time of their injury and most are discharged from the hospital to private residences instead of institutions.

The treatment costs of spinal cord injury are high. For a 50-year-old victim, the life time costs at any level of impairment are expected to be over $1 million. For a 25-year-old, the costs are expected to exceed $1.5 million. For victims living with significant impairment, such as paraplegia or quadriplegia, the costs are expected to be much higher.

If a spinal cord injury is the result of another party's negligence, the injured may recover compensation for treatment costs and other damages through a personal injury lawsuit. An attorney can help the injured and their families to understand their legal options for recovering the compensation they need and deserve.

Source: National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, "Spinal Cord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance," accessed on Feb. 25, 2017

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