Every year, there are tens of thousands of car accidents in and around the San Antonio area. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 239,539 people were injured in car accidents in 2021 alone—and 19,448 people who sustained serious injuries.
Even worse, Texas reported no deathless days in 2021. Many of these accidents result in devastating injuries that can completely change a person’s life as they know it. These injuries can have long-term effects on a victim, affecting not only their physical abilities but also their emotional and mental well-being. Unfortunately, one of the most common car accident injuries affects the spinal cord.
The spinal cord is an integral part of the central nervous system, and any injury to it, regardless of its severity, can cause permanent damage. The slightest injury can obstruct communication between the brain and spinal cord, resulting in lifelong effects. Regrettably, there is no cure for spinal cord injuries, and in some cases, the victim may lose the ability to walk and require the use of a wheelchair for the rest of their life. Partial or complete paralysis may also require constant medical care, making the individual dependent on others.
Car accidents are mostly to blame for spinal cord injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur through various means, with car accidents being one of the primary causes. High-speed collisions can lead to more significant impacts during a crash, especially on the spine, which can result in severe and sudden damage to the body. Even minor accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, depending on the position of the victim’s body and the force of impact. In addition to car accidents, falls from just the right height, violent acts like gunshot wounds, and sports-related injuries are also common culprits. Therefore, it is crucial to exercise caution and take preventive measures to avoid spinal cord injuries, especially in activities or situations where there is a high risk of bodily harm.
Although car accidents are a common cause of spinal cord injuries, some demographic groups are more susceptible to such injuries than others. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, there is a higher incidence of spinal cord injuries among white males around the age of 42. Moreover, this trend appears to have slightly increased over the years.
Spinal cord damage can be long-lasting
A spinal cord injury occurs when the spinal cord is hurt. The spinal cord itself is the bundle of nerves that runs from the brain down through the back. However, the severity of the injury depends on the location and extent of the damage. Following spinal cord damage, this messaging system can become impaired, leading to complications such as:
- Loss of sensation
- Loss of bowel and bladder control
- Changes in sexual function
- Stinging or pain
- Breathing difficulties
However, sometimes the damage can be much, much worse. The long-lasting effects of some spinal cord injuries can have a significant impact on a person’s physical and mental health, ultimately changing their life forever. Some long-term effects of spinal cord injuries are:
- This is one of the most common effects of a spinal cord injury. It can include permanent loss of movement that generally affects any part of the body that falls below the point of injury. Types of paralysis that can result from this type of injury include high tetraplegia, low tetraplegia, and paraplegia. High tetraplegia is considered to be the most severe since it paralyzes the body from the neck down.
- A condition characterized by weakened bones that become more vulnerable to fractures. Osteoporosis is prevalent among people with severe spinal cord injuries, with many patients developing osteoporosis within just a couple of years of their injury.
- Muscle spasticity. Muscle spasticity is characterized by spasms or twitches that happen when the muscles contract involuntarily, leading to prolonged muscle contractions and stiffness.
- A health condition characterized by the formation of a cyst or cavity in the spinal cord. It may manifest several months or years following a spinal cord injury and can lead to numbness or weakness in the body’s extremities. As a progressive disorder, it tends to deteriorate over time, and surgical intervention may be necessary to drain the cysts in more severe cases.
- Individuals who sustain spinal cord injuries may experience complications in various parts of their body, and these complications can increase the risk of infection. Spinal cord injury victims are prone to several types of infections, such as pneumonia, bladder infections, and kidney stones.
- It’s no secret that adapting to the physical changes caused by a spinal cord injury can be a daunting task that can leave injury victims feeling helpless, fatigued, and uninterested in the activities they once enjoyed. It’s also not uncommon for them to experience feelings of depression, which can persist for weeks, months, or even years after the initial injury. The emotional toll of a spinal cord injury can be just as significant as the physical toll, and it’s important for injury victims to receive the appropriate support and care to help them cope.
Living with a spine injury in San Antonio is incredibly expensive
The cost of healing or living with a spinal cord injury can be astronomical. According to one study, the first-year cost of living with a spinal cord injury can range from $32,000 to over $1 million, depending on the severity of the injury. These costs include medical bills, rehabilitation, and other expenses related to adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury. The cost of living with an injury like this each subsequent year can range from $4,000 to over $250,000.
If you have suffered a spinal cord injury, a lawyer can help you get compensation, regardless of the severity of your injury. The long-term costs associated with managing a spinal cord injury can be substantial, and the burden should not fall entirely on the victim, particularly if the injury was caused by someone else’s negligence. The Law Offices of Pat Maloney, P.C., represents clients throughout San Antonio. To schedule your free consultation, contact us today by calling our office or completing our contact form.