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Understanding spinal cord injuries

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The Causes, Costs and Consequences of an SCI

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Understanding spinal cord injuries

  1. 1. UNDERSTANDING SPINAL CORD INJURIES The Causes, Costs and Consequences of an SCI www.wnwlaw.com
  2. 2. THE SPINE: A MARVEL OF THE HUMAN ANATOMY The spinal cord is a complex system of nerves, bones, joints and discs. Think of the spinal cord as the central roadway of the human anatomy, on which messages from the brain travel to the rest of the body. These messages enable movement and physical sensations. The spinal cord is remarkably strong. However, if the spinal cord is damaged, it can lead to several serious physical limitations. www.wnwlaw.com
  3. 3. CONSEQUENCES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES Spinal cord damage can be painful and restrict some of the body’s most routine functions. A spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in:  Brain damage  Breathing difficulties  Loss of bladder function  Loss of sexual function  Numbness  Spasms  Paralysis www.wnwlaw.com
  4. 4. HOW SPINAL CORD INJURIES HAPPEN Spinal cord injuries can occur in several different settings. They typically happen when the impact of a collision causes a break in the vertebrae (the bones) of the spinal cord. That collision can be the result of a vehicle crash or a slip and fall accident, to name just a couple of examples. In some cases, it is a prolonged exposure to repetitive actions that prompt a spinal cord injury, as is often the case in jobs that require heavy lifting. www.wnwlaw.com
  5. 5. SPINAL CORD INJURIES IN VEHICLE CRASHES The sheer force of a collision between two vehicles or a vehicle with a stationary object can lead to a break or several breaks of the spinal cord. In serious crashes, the body can be thrown into contorted, unnatural positions, furthering the risk of suffering a spinal cord injury. www.wnwlaw.com
  6. 6. WORKPLACE SPINAL CORD INJURIES Workers in all types of jobs can suffer an on-the-job spinal cord injury, but they are especially common in jobs that involve heavy machinery or require a worker to do their job from great heights. For example, construction workers might suffer a spinal cord injury after falling from a rooftop or from scaffolding. Workers can also suffer repetitive stress injuries that happen over the course of years, often from constant heavy lifting or repeatedly bending over. www.wnwlaw.com
  7. 7. TYPES OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES Spinal cord injuries are often classified by location of the break, disc injury or nerve damage. The four areas of the spine are: Cervical spine (at the top) Thoracic spine (in the center) Lumbar (near the bottom) Sacral (at the very bottom) www.wnwlaw.com
  8. 8. WHEN SCI LEADS TO PARALYSIS A break in the spinal cord can have devastating consequences, the most severe being paralysis. Different types of paralysis include:  Incomplete Tetraplegia: partial loss of control and sensation in all four limbs and the torso. These cases make up 45 percent of all neurological damage in spinal cord injuries.  Incomplete Paraplegia: partial loss of control and sensation in the lower extremities. These cases make up 21 percent of all neurological damage in spinal cord injuries.  Complete Paraplegia: total loss of control and sensation in the lower extremities. These cases make up 20 percent of all neurological damage in spinal cord injuries.  Complete Tetraplegia: total loss of control and sensation in all four limbs and the torso. These cases make up 14 percent of neurological damage in spinal cord injuries. www.wnwlaw.com
  9. 9. COST OF SPINAL CORD INJURIES AND PARALYSIS Paralysis is an extremely costly medical condition. Note that the following estimates from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center do not include indirect costs, such as lost income or loss of productivity.  The average lifetime costs of a 50-year-old with tetraplegia range from $2,125,674 to $2,599,411.  The average lifetime costs of a 25-year-old with tetraplegia range from $3,455,879 to $4,729,788.  The average lifetime costs of a 50-year-old with paraplegia are $1,517,851 and total $2,312,846 for a 25-year-old with paraplegia.  Even the loss of any motor function from a spinal cord injury can cost a 25-year-old victim over $1.5 million. www.wnwlaw.com
  10. 10. WHO IS RESPONSIBLE? Every case of spinal cord injury is different; however, many of these injuries are due to the negligence of another person or persons. For example, a vehicle accident SCI could be the fault of a careless driver. A workplace SCI could be the fault of an employer who put their workers in a dangerous situation. Determining who is responsible for an injury is very important, because the injured person might be entitled to compensation to help cover the tremendous costs of their injury. www.wnwlaw.com
  11. 11. The spinal cord injury attorneys at Wapner Newman Wigrizer Brecher & Miller have years of experience helping clients get the compensation they deserve. We understand that your spinal cord injury will burden you with incredibly high lifetime expenses. We also believe that you shouldn’t have to pay the price for someone else’s mistakes. If you’d like to learn more about your legal options, contact Wapner Newman Wigrizer Brecher & Miller to schedule a free consultation. www.wnwlaw.com IF YOU NEED HELP…

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