The world was stunned when actor Christopher Reeve was paralyzed in an equestrian accident in 1995. If “Superman” could suffer a spinal cord injury and end up a quadriplegic —anyone could.
Reeve died in 2004 at age 52 of complications from an infected bedsore, the Today show reported. Experts at the time agreed that Reeve would have likely lived much longer had the spinal cord injury never happened.
About 17,000 spinal cord injuries occur every year in the United States according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.
A spinal cord injury is not an ailment one can easily recover from, and most people are left with permanent damage that alters their lives forever. Less than 1 percent leave the hospital after making a full recovery, completely back to who they were before the injury, the NSCISC reports.
The NSCISC studies show that incomplete tetraplegia, or partial damage to the spinal cord, is the most frequent type of injury. In that case, the person is left with some motor and sensory function, but are unable to move. The other types are incomplete paraplegia, complete paraplegia and complete tetraplegia.
The four types of spinal cord injuries are all devastating to the patient and his or her families.
Even more heartbreaking is how spinal cord injuries happen. Some are flukes, like the accident with the horse that paralyzed Reeve. But most, at least 30 percent, are caused by vehicle crashes, meaning someone’s negligence caused the injury. The other causes can point to a person at fault as well, especially gunshot wounds. Even sports and falls can ultimately be the result of someone else’s negligence.
The yearly combined lifetime health care costs and living expenses for a person with a spinal cord injury can reach as high as $3 million or $4 million, depending on how how he or she was when injured, the NSCISC says. Those figures don’t include the wages that were lost because the patient was unable to the job he or she had before the injury. Indirect costs, like wages and benefits, average another $72,000 a year in 2015 dollars, the group reported.
A spinal cord injury usually cuts a person’s life short, like it did Reeve’s. Pneumonia and SEpticemia are the most common causes of death for a person who has been dealing with a spinal cord injury, though other complications are possible.
If you or your family member were injured or killed by someone’s negligent act, the attorneys at The Fighting for People Injury Law Group of PollackSteinberg, LLP can help. We will investigate your accident and help you get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other costs and damages.
To schedule your free consultation, contact our office today by calling 800-549-4LAW.