Spinal cord injuries are some of the most serious injuries one can ever suffer, often leaving victims partially or totally disabled. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, more than 17,500 people suffer very serious spinal cord injuries every year, and millions suffer injuries to the back that impact the spinal cord.

Auto wrecks and falls cause the vast majority (nearly 70%) of spinal cord injuries.

Related Reading: Common Injuries from a Car Accident

Damage to the spinal cord can impact not only your ability to stand, walk, and perform most daily tasks, but also your sense of touch, your bladder and bowel control, your heart rate, body temperature, and even your breathing!

When a victim presents symptoms of a spinal cord injury, such as severe pain in the neck or back and weakness or loss of sensation in the arms and legs, doctors use imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays. These tests look for damage to the spinal cord, surrounding soft tissues, and blood vessels.

Are Spinal Cord Injuries Permanent?

Damage to the spinal cord is almost always permanent.

Spinal cord injuries fall into two categories: complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries cause permanent and total paralysis and loss of sensation below the injured area.

People who suffer incomplete spinal cord injuries may still have sensation and ability to move or more control over one side of the body than the other. For example, they may be able to move their right leg more than their left leg. People with incomplete spinal cord injuries may be able to restore some nerve function and reduce the severity of associated chronic health conditions with extensive treatment and physical therapy, but it’s never a guarantee.

Most times, spine injuries are the result of pressure being put on the spinal cord by a damaged disc, bone spur, or other misalignment. These injuries can be painful and disabling as well, even if the spinal cord itself is not damaged.

What Type of Treatment Do People with Spinal Cord Injuries Need?

When diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, the first form of treatment is surgery. This is to make sure no further damage occurs than what has already happened. For example, herniated disks can pinch nerves in the spine if not treated.

Most people with spinal cord injuries will need physical rehabilitation. Many need assistive devices such as walkers or wheelchairs to get around, and they may need to relearn how to perform basic tasks such as dressing themselves and performing washroom activities.

What Type of Compensation Should People with Spinal Cord Injuries Demand?

According to recent statistics, the average lifetime costs for a 25-year-old spinal cord injury victim with paraplegia is roughly $2.6 million, and that ONLY includes health care and living expenses.

Victims of spinal cord injuries should also seek compensation for their lost wages, including any work benefits such as annual raises and bonuses they would have received if they’d been able to continue working.

They should also ask for compensation for their physical pain, emotional suffering, and reduced quality of life. Many victims of serious disabling injuries suffer depression and other blows to their mental health after their accidents.

Mental health injury can also be caused by a physical injury. The victim should demand compensation for the cost of their therapy and other related mental health treatment from the at-fault party.

WATCH: Gary Bruce discusses what goes into calculating compensation for pain and suffering.

Factors that can impact how much victims may be owed in compensation after a spinal cord injury include:

  • The severity of the injury: How much bodily function did they retain? Do they need a wheelchair? Does their house and car need to be adapted for wheelchair use? Do they need an in-home caregiver?
  • How old the victim was at the time of the injury: Young people are eligible for more compensation because they have to live with their new disabilities longer than older victims.
  • Their occupation: A victim who is only partially disabled but had a very physically demanding job will need extensive job rehabilitation to learn a new trade. If they had a very high-paying job that they can’t work anymore, they need compensation to cover the loss of that income or the difference in income between the work they did before and what they can do now.
  • Their lifestyle: A spinal cord injury victim who was very physically active before their accident will suffer a reduced quality of life because they are no longer able to enjoy hobbies such as sports and exercise. If they used to do work around the house that they can’t do anymore, such as household repairs or childcare, they deserve compensation for that, too.

After a Spinal Cord Injury, Get Gary Bruce

Catastrophic injuries are always devastating, and they can upend lives in ways that are difficult or nearly impossible to recover from. Although we can’t help you get back to exactly how your life was before you suffered a permanently disabling injury, we can help you get the full compensation you deserve to make sure your life is as good as it was before the accident.

If you or someone you love suffered a spinal cord injury after a car wreck or fall that was someone else’s fault, contact us today for a free case evaluation to discuss your next steps to compensation.

All injuries to the spine can be life changing, even if surgery helps relieve the pain. If the injury was caused by or made worse by the fault of someone else, you are entitled to compensation for the change in your life.