Unfortunately, for many accident victims in San Francisco, spinal cord injuries are becoming more and more common. These injuries are truly some of the most debilitating and devastating of their kind, affecting both the victim and their loved ones on multiple levels.
According to statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 20,000 people who suffer serious spinal injuries every year. Even worse, there are about 200,000 people around the country who are currently dealing with spinal cord injuries.
In order to understand just how devastating these injuries are, it’s important to understand the main causes, costs and consequences that are generally associated with spinal cord injuries.
The Spine and Spinal Cord
Your central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. When properly functioning, these two body parts work together like a fine-tuned machine, controlling most of your body’s functions.
The spinal cord extends from the base of your brain to your waist. It is made up of thousands of tiny nerve fibers that carry messages to your brain. These nerve fibers run into nerve roots that are located between the vertebrae of your spine. From the nerve roots, there are thousands of other nerves that send messages to the rest of the body, telling it how to move and react to certain situations.
When an injury is inflicted to the spinal cord or its vertebrae, the nerve fibers in the spinal cord are damaged, leaving the brain unable to send the right messages to other parts of the body. This is what causes you to suffer neurological damage or permanent impairment.
Consequences of a Spinal Cord Injury
When you suffer an injury to the spinal cord, it can cause serious and life-altering problems. Some of the injuries result in permanent impairment or disabilities. These can include things like nerve damage in various areas of the body, complete or partial paralysis or respiratory, gastrointestinal and urinary problems. In addition to those physical problems, many people end up suffering from debilitating depression or bouts of severe anxiety.
What Commonly Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?
Although spinal cord injuries are suffered due to a multitude of reasons, the three most common causes in the United States are car accidents, falls and acts of violence. Let’s look at those in detail.
- Car accidents: Across the board, car accidents are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries. In fact, over half of all spinal cord injuries are suffered by victims of a car crash.
- Falls: Far less than car accidents, spinal cord injuries that are caused by falls make up only 20 percent of these kind of injuries. While the numbers are lower, it’s important to point out that falls are the number one cause of spinal cord injury among those people who are over the age of 65.
- Violence: Acts of violence cause 15 percent of spinal cord injuries. These can include gunshot wounds, stab wounds or a violent fall suffered during a fight.
Spinal Cord Injuries and Negligence
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, fall, act of violence or any other event that was caused by someone else’s carelessness, it’s imperative to contact a trusted San Francisco spinal cord injury attorney.
After such a horrible accident, the medical treatments that are required to treat spinal cord injuries can be extremely expensive. To make matters worse, you are likely suffering from lost wages and dealing with an excruciatingly painful recovery process. It’s important that you understand your legal rights, as you may be entitled to seek compensation under California law.
The experienced spinal cord attorneys at the law office of Nelson C. Barry are ready to discuss your case and go over your legal options with you. In fact, if you can’t make it into our office, we’ll come to your home for a consultation. Call us today at (415) 587-0550 or contact us online to schedule your free initial case evaluation.