Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries (SCIs)
Spinal cord damage is often referred to as a catastrophic injury for good reason. With about 12,000 new cases each year, these injuries often leave victims with devastating long-term effects, such as full or partial paralysis or damage to any number of vital bodily functions.
Naturally, the best way to avoid SCI is to recognize the common ways it happens and operate with extra caution in such situations. However, it is equally important to accurately distinguish between minor injuries and possible SCI. Always err on the side of caution when deciding whether or not to seek immediate medical attention.
How Most Injuries to the Spine Happen
The first step in protecting against SCI is to understand the common situations when these injuries can occur. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following circumstances frequently cause SCI:
- Motor vehicle accidents: Although most people would expect whiplash injuries to be common in a car accident, injury attorneys see many SCIs from motorcycle accidents as well. This may be a contributing reason why accidents on the road account for more than 35 percent of new SCI cases each year.
- Falls: More than 25 percent of individuals sustain spinal cord injuries when they fall. While SCI to people over age 65 is most commonly caused by falling, many types of accidents, such as slipping or tripping on dangerous premises or construction accidents in the workplace result in SCI.
- Violent acts: The third most common cause of SCI (about 15 percent) comes from violent acts, such as gunshots or knife wounds to the spine.
- Recreation and sports: About 9 percent of SCIs occur as a result of accidents during impact sports and shallow-water diving.
When to See a Doctor
The spinal cord is the part of the central nervous system that transmits messages between the brain and most parts of the body. As such, many victims immediately experience debilitating symptoms, such as loss of sensation or movement. While these people automatically head straight for the emergency room, other victims with lesser symptoms may not immediately seek medical attention.
Minor symptoms may be the first signs of more serious problems to come. Just as important, doctors who see victims with relatively minor symptoms have a better chance of helping them achieve a better recovery by preventing additional damage.
Never assume back pain, headaches, dizziness or minor spasms will go away with time and bed rest. Anyone who has symptoms like these after an accident should see the doctor immediately.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
Naturally, the most important step after any type of accidental injury is to seek medical attention. However, many accidents might have been prevented if another party acted with due care. Victims in these situations need to retain experienced legal support as soon as possible.
From initial medical treatment to possible long-term costs of permanent damage, victims incur extensive costs, possibly for the rest of their lives. An experienced lawyer can help pursue monetary compensation from negligent parties or their insurers. Call us at 800-948-0577, or use our convenient online contact form for a free initial consultation that can help identify all available legal options.