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Most Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted on August 8, 2022 in

Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating types of trauma that can occur to individuals. When a person sustains a spinal cord injury, they could suffer from varying levels of paralysis as well as other types of bodily function failures. Here, we want to examine the most common causes of spinal cord injuries that occur, as well as discuss the costs associated with medical treatment for these injuries.

What the Data Tells Us About Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can occur in a variety of ways. When we examine data available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that the most common causes of spinal cord injuries (along with the percentages of incident occurrences) since 2015 include the following:

Vehicle accidents – 38.6%

Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, though these injuries are more likely to occur when the incident occurs when vehicles are traveling at higher rates of speed or when larger vehicles are involved, particularly commercial trucks and buses. Included in this category are incidents involving motorcyclists, pedestrians, and bicyclists, all of which are more vulnerable to severe injuries when an accident with a larger vehicle occurs.

Falls – 32.2%

Fall injuries can occur to anyone, anywhere. These incidents can occur at private residences, when individuals go to the store or bank, and at work. Spinal cord injuries can occur as a result of slip and fall injuries, which are considered falls on the same level. However, a spinal cord injury is much more likely to occur when a person falls from one level to another.

Violence – 14%

Violent acts can certainly cause a spinal cord injury. This could include incidents such as assaults or stabbings, but the most violent act that is likely to cause a spinal cord injury includes gunshot wounds. In this category, gunshot wounds are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries.

Sports incidents – 7.8%

Many sports inherently involve individuals coming into contact with others or with the ground. However, there are certain sports that are much more likely to lead to spinal cord injuries for players, including full-contact sports such as football and rugby. However, even non-full-contact sports can still lead to significant spinal cord injuries, such as lacrosse and cheerleading.

Medical or surgical mistakes – 4.2%

Medical professionals are supposed to help heal, not harm. Unfortunately, medical mistakes do occur. Some of the most common medical errors that could lead to spinal cord trauma include surgical mistakes when the surgeon is operating on or near the spine as well as initial misdiagnosis of a spinal cord injury when a person enters the emergency room.

Working With an Attorney

The NSCISC shows that the first year of medical costs for spinal cord injury can reach as high as $1.1 million, with each subsequent year approaching approximately $200,000 worth of medical bills. However, the medical costs are only one part of the overall financial devastation that these injuries cause.

Other losses include wages the person is no longer able to earn, adjustments to vehicles or houses for mobility purposes, as well as the loss of quality of life and emotional and psychological trauma a person experiences. We strongly encourage any spinal cord injury victim and their family members to work with a Denver spinal cord injury attorney if another individual caused their injury. It is crucial to recover compensation for these losses.