There aren’t many events in life that can be defined as ‘life-changing,’ but a spinal cord injury is certainly one of them. These injuries can happen to anyone at almost any time, and can have lasting, traumatic impacts on the injury victim and their friends, family, employer, and community, in addition to putting significant strain on the healthcare system.
Whether acquired through a slip-and-fall incident, on the sports field, as a result of hospital negligence, or in an automotive accident, spinal cord injury victims often require extensive care and the aid of a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer. Let’s learn a little bit more about this serious form of injury.
Symptoms and classifications
Spinal injuries may result in restricted mobility and agility, and lingering chronic pain. An individual’s ability to control their extremities will depend on the severity of their injury and its location along the spinal cord.
The extent of a spinal cord injury is sometimes classified by its “completeness.” Complete paralysis occurs when an individual loses all or almost all sensation and mobility below the point of their injury. Incomplete paralysis, of which there are varying degrees, occurs in individuals who retain the ability to move and feel below the affected area.
Spinal injuries may also be defined as ‘tetraplegia’ or ‘quadriplegia,’ wherein the victim’s arms, hands, trunk, legs, and pelvic organs are all affected; or ‘paraplegia’ which generally affects only the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.
The circumstances surrounding an injury will determine whether the injury victim should enlist the help of a standard personal injury lawyer or a medical malpractice lawyer. Some medical procedures can lead to spinal injury, as can instances of medical negligence that lead to falls.
Facts and statistics
In order to understand the severity and prevalence of spinal cord injuries, consider a few of the following figures:
- Each year, around 600 new spinal injuries occur in Ontario (more than one each day), and around 1,500 occur in Canada. Ontario has a slightly higher spinal injury disability rate than the national average, at 15.5 per cent.
- There are an estimated 33,140 individuals living with spinal injuries in Ontario, which makes up a significant portion of the roughly 86,000 spinal injury survivors nationwide.
- Given the appropriate support, and with the help of a personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer, it is possible for accident victims to adjust to their injury and regain independence. However, this process takes an average of 2 to 3 years, and requires intensive physical and psycho-social support and rehabilitation.
- As a result, traumatic spinal cord injuries cost the country $3.6-billion annually, with approximately $1.8-billion coming in direct healthcare costs.
- About 90 per cent of our knowledge on spinal cord injuries has been developed over the past two decades, during which time we have seen major advances. With luck and dedication, continuing research will yield new results and continue to improve the lives of spinal injury survivors over the next 20 years!
If you or a member of your family has suffered a spinal cord injury, consider contacting a Neinstein Personal Injury Lawyers personal injury or medical malpractice lawyer today. We have decades of experiencing representing Ontario’s injured citizens and ensuring they have access to the resources they need for the best possible recovery.