Spinal and Paralysis Injuries in Car Accidents

A car accident that causes injuries to the spine – including the vertebrae, ligaments or discs of the spinal column, or to the spinal cord itself – can result in paralysis that affects muscles and nerves below the injury site. The spinal cord links the brain to the rest of the body’s central nervous system. A spinal cord injury (SCI) can cause loss of movement, sensation and control of bodily functions, such as breathing or bowel movements.

About 373,000 people in the United States are living with a spinal cord injury, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). Since 2010, 36.5 percent of newly reported SCI cases were the result of motor vehicle crashes, making car, truck and motorcycle accidents the leading cause of spinal and paralysis injuries, ahead of falls and physical assault.

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The lifetime costs of living with a spinal cord injury can top $1 million for a 50-year-old with incomplete motor function at any level and exceed $4.6 million for a 25-year-old with high tetraplegia (also called “high quadriplegia,” which is paralysis affecting the arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs), based on NSCISC estimates. Nearly half of all SCIs occur between the ages of 16 and 30, the organization says.

Individuals and families in South Carolina who are dealing with the expenses of a spinal injury and paralysis suffered in a car accident should seek legal assistance in obtaining financial help. Joye Law Firm represents South Carolina residents who are facing these kinds of burdens after car accidents that were caused by someone else’s negligence, carelessness or recklessness, or by a defect in the vehicle.

Call Joye Law Firm at (877) 936-9707 or use this online contact form. The call is free and confidential.

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The Cost of Spine Injuries and Paralysis

Injuries to the spine that result in paralysis involve damage to the spinal cord or nerves at the end of the spinal canal. They cause permanent changes in strength, sensation and other body functions below the site of the injury.

Spinal cord injuries are described as “complete” when almost all feeling (sensory function) and ability to control movement (motor function) are lost below the injury site, the Mayo Clinic explains. If there is some motor or sensory function below the affected area, the paralysis is called “incomplete.”

Paralysis is also described as:

  • Paraplegia, which affects all or part of the trunk, legs and pelvic organs, or
  • Tetraplegia or quadriplegia, which affects the arms, hands, trunk, legs and pelvic organs.

Further, a spinal injury is identified by the vertebra affected, which indicates what portion of the body has suffered the loss of function. For example, a C4 injury is damage at or around the fourth vertebra in the neck, which is a very high injury, affecting most of the body.

The average yearly health care and living expenses and the estimated lifetime costs that are directly attributable to SCI vary greatly according to the severity of injury, the NSCISC says. Because of the numerous variables, its figures do not include any indirect costs, such as lost wages, fringe benefits and productivity that many spinal cord injury victims suffer.

The NSCISC estimates the yearly costs of living with SCI as:

  • High tetraplegia / quadriplegia (C1 – C4): $1.04 million in the first year, $181,328 in each subsequent year.
  • Low tetraplegia / quadriplegia (C5 – C8): $754,524 in the first year, $111,237 in subsequent years.
  • Paraplegia: $508,904 in the first year, $67,415 in subsequent years.
  • Incomplete motor function at any level: $340,787 in the first year, $41,393 in subsequent years.

The lifetime cost of living with a spinal cord injury of any kind easily tops $1 million for even a patient who is 50 years old at the time of injury, the NSCISC says. For a 25-year-old with a high tetraplegia (C1 – C4) injury, the estimated lifetime cost is $4,633,137.

The costs of a spinal cord injury can be devastating to almost any individual or family. If a spinal cord injury and paralysis was sustained in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, it is essential that the injured victim obtains all appropriate insurance, disability benefits and other available compensation to assist them with the expense of their recovery and ongoing life with a disability.

Contact Our South Carolina Spinal Injury Lawyers

Joye Law Firm works to help South Carolina residents get the medical treatment and compensation they need and deserve after they have suffered spinal cord injuries or paralysis in a car, truck or motorcycle accident.

Our South Carolina spinal cord injury attorneys can work with accident reconstruction engineers and medical experts to document how a car accident caused our clients’ spinal injuries and what their recovery needs and prospects are so that we can demonstrate the compensation they deserve. We can also work with doctors, hospitals and insurance companies to make sure an injured victim’s medical care is not interrupted as we seek a complete and proper monetary settlement for them.

If you or loved one has suffered spinal injuries or paralysis in a South Carolina car accident, Joye Law Firm can provide you with a free consultation about your rights and legal options. Call Joye Law Firm at (877) 936-9707 or complete our online form today.

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