Spinal Cord Injuries in the U.S.

Spinal cord injuries can dramatically change the way a victim lives their life. An injury to your spinal cord can lead to paralysis – either paraplegia or quadriplegia / tetraplegia – or even death depending on where the injury is located, and how severe it is. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) operates the largest and longest run database researching injuries to spinal cords in the world, and they estimate that in the U.S., approximately 17,000 injuries to spinal cords happen every year, while another 282,000 people or so already suffer from previous injuries to their spinal cords[1]. This figure doesn’t include anyone who dies while still at the site of the accident.

Spinal Cord Injury Causes:

  • Since 2010, approximately 38% of injuries to the spinal cord in the U.S. have been caused by vehicle crashes.
  • Since 2010, approximately 30.5% of injuries to the spinal cord in the U.S. have been caused by falls.
  • Since 2010, approximately 13.5% of injuries to the spinal cord in the U.S. have been caused by violent incidents. Most of these injuries were caused by gunshot wounds.
  • Since 2010, approximately 9% of injuries to the spinal cord in the U.S. have been caused by sports injuries.
  • Since 2010, approximately 5% of injuries to the spinal cord in the U.S. have been caused by surgical and medical incidents.

Severity of the Injuries

Spinal cord injuries include paraplegia – loss of the use and / or feeling of legs, pelvis, and lower torso, and quadriplegia – loss of the use and / or feeling of all four limbs and torso.

  • Less than 1% of people whose spinal cords were injured since 2010 in the U.S. made a full recovery.
  • A little bit more than 13% of people whose spinal cords were injured since 2010 in the U.S. suffer from complete quadriplegia.
  • 20% of people whose spinal cords were injured since 2010 in the U.S. suffer from complete paraplegia.
  • A little bit more than 21% of people whose spinal cords were injured since 2010 in the U.S. suffer from incomplete paraplegia.
  • 45% of people whose spinal cords were injured since 2010 in the U.S. suffer from incomplete quadriplegia.

How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Cost?

Depending on the site of the injury, medical costs can be incredibly expensive. The following estimates from the NSCISC’s 2016 report don’t include any indirect costs such as fringe benefits, lost income, or productivity.

  • Any level of motor function (American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Impairment Scale Grade D[2]) costs an estimated $348,000 for the year following the injury, and approximately $42,000 each year after that.
  • Paraplegia (ASIA Impairment Scale Grades A, B, or C) costs an estimated $520,000 for the year following the injury, and approximately $68,000 each year after that.
  • Low quadriplegia (injury between the C5 and C8 vertebrae) costs an estimated $770,000 for the year following the injury, and approximately $113,000 each year after that.
  • High quadriplegia (injury between the C1 and C4 vertebrae) costs an estimated $1 million for the year following the injury, and approximately $185,000 each year after that.

When this kind of injury is caused by someone else’s negligence, you should seek legal guidance to assist you in filing a claim to secure the necessary compensation to cover any bills, along with additional damages that may result from your injury. The Tampa personal injury attorneys at Givens Givens Sparks, PLLC have the skills and experience necessary to represent you in court or at the negotiating table. Visit our website to request a case consultation, or call us at (813) 336-3348 to speak with an attorney.

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