Spinal cord injuries are a common problem throughout the United States with an estimated 250,000 – 320,000 individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury. There are an approximate 15,000 new spinal injury cases each year across the United States and there are approximately 100 new spinal cord injury reports filed every year in Arkansas.
These injuries are often one of the most traumatic injuries that a person can sustain and still live through. Similar to traumatic brain injuries, any injury to the spinal cord can result in severe and long-lasting injuries that a person may never truly recover from.
Types of Spinal Cord Accidents
When a person sustains a spinal cord injury there can be many bodily functions that can be affected by the injury. The three main causes of spinal cord injuries are traumatic injuries, birth defects, and disease processes. The reason why many spinal cord injury victims approach an attorney is because they have been involved in a traumatic injury. The spinal cord injury statistical center has provided data which demonstrates the most common types of spinal cord injury accidents.
- Vehicular accidents – Vehicular accidents accounted for approximately 39 percent of all spinal cord injuries and represents the number one cause of spinal cord injuries. Among the vehicles that have been associated with a higher percentage of spinal cord injuries are cars including jeeps, trucks, dune buggies and buses. Motorcycles represented the next largest category of vehicles which saw a spinal cord injury.
- Falls – When a person slips and falls there is the chance that they could severely injure their spine. While vehicular accidents represented the single largest source of spinal cord injuries, falls accounted for a hefty chunk of the injuries with a total of 29 percent of all spinal cord injuries coming from a fall. Among the reasons why a person may sustain a spinal cord injury from a fall were stairs, ladders, and slipping tripping and tumbling from the shower or empty bathtub.
- Violence – While it is not something that anyone wants to think about, the world can be a dangerous place. Acts of violence accounted for approximately 14 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Among the most prevalent acts of violence which lead to spinal cord injuries include gunshot wounds and person-to-person contact.
- Sports – The dangers on the field are becoming more and more pronounced and prevalent and many recreational activities have been the fourth leading cause of spinal cord injuries throughout the country. Diving into a pool is one of the leading activities that can lead to a spinal cord injury. However, other activities such as football, gymnastics, and horseback riding all have strong correlations with spinal cord injuries.
While a spinal cord injury is very likely to occur during any one of the above-mentioned activities, medical and surgical complications, workplace machinery accidents, and even pedestrian injuries all have been documented as causing spinal cord injuries.
Spinal Anatomy and Role in the Body
The spinal cord or backbone is a complex structure made up of 33 individual bones which house a delicate series of nerves and tissue. The spinal cord is characterized as a long tube like structure that connects the central nervous system with the peripheral nervous system.
The spinal cord connects at the base of the skull to the brain stem and runs down almost the entirety of the spinal column. The spinal cord is divided into four different regions: the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions. The spinal column is important to the body because in addition to providing physical support to the body it carries sensory information to the rest of the body.
Any traumatic injury to the spine can result in severe and debilitating injuries. Generally, traumatic injuries fall into one of two distinct categories complete and incomplete. Complete spinal cord injuries generally result in complete paralysis of all body parts below the source of the injury. A complete injury is described as permanent loss of motor and nerve function including loss of sensation and movement in the legs, bowel, bladder and sexual regions.
Incomplete spinal cord injuries are more common than the complete spinal cord injuries. While these injuries are still devastating they are generally less severe than a complete injury. Incomplete injuries are often characterized by some degree of remaining sensation and ability to move below the point of injury. However, while this may suggest that there is the chance for recovery often incomplete spinal cord injuries result in dramatically reduced ability to move and to feel sensation below the point of injury.
Problems from Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are particularly troublesome because of the wide array of functions that can be affected from them. Perhaps the hallmark of a spinal cord injury is paralysis below the point of injury. However, complete paralysis is not the only problem that can result from a spinal cord injury. Some other notable biological problems associated with spinal cord injuries are:
- Loss of bowel control
- Loss of bladder control
- Difficulty walking
- Lack of movement and sensation below the point of injury
- Loss of sexual function
- Difficulty walking
- Loss of organ functions
Often spinal cord injuries require expensive and continuing medical care and treatment. When a person has sustained a spinal cord injury they may be able to file a personal injury case, or in the event that a loved one has passed away as a result of a spinal cord injury, a family member may be able to file a wrongful death action on their behalf.
Put Rogers Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer Ken Kieklak to Work for You
For nearly 20 years, Ken Kieklak, Attorney at Law has provided respected and trusted legal advice to people throughout the state of Arkansas. Whether you are seeking Social Security representation, a personal injury litigator, or help with a wrongful death claim, Ken is eager to get to know you and understand your situation. For your free and confidential legal consultation call us at (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.