Approximately 11,000 spinal cord injuries occur each year in Canada. Considering the life-changing effects they can have on a person and their entire family, they deserve some serious attention. There are a number of causes of spinal cord injuries and they differ in severity, though they all require intensive medical intervention.
It’s important to recognize what a spinal cord injury is before we talk about the most common causes.
What is a spinal cord injury?
Damage to any part of the spinal cord, ligaments, vertebrae, discs of the spinal column, or the nerves at the end of the spinal canal is considered a spinal cord injury.
The results of this damage are often changes in strength, sensitivity, or normal bodily function below the area that was injured. In many cases, these changes are irreversible.
Other problems that come with spinal cord injuries are the secondary issues that can arise, such as inflammation, swelling, or even bleeding around the spinal cord.
What are the most common causes?
Sometimes, what we consider “œfreak” accidents cause spinal cord injuries. While these aren’t all that common, they do happen, however, we’re going to focus on the causes that occur most often.
Here they are:
- Motor vehicle accidents. These are the most frequent causes of spinal cord injuries. Car and motorcycle accidents account for the vast majority, approximately 46%. Motorcycle riders should always wear a helmet in order to protect, not only their head but their vulnerable spine.
- Pedestrian accidents. Serious injuries can occur when a person on foot is struck by a car or other motor vehicle. Often, these injuries include broken bones and spinal cord damage.
- Serious diseases. Certain diseases, such as cancer and arthritis, can cause harm to the spinal cord. Disc degeneration in the spine can also be a culprit.
- Sports accidents. Athletes are obviously prone to injuries. In some cases, those injuries can be severe and a person will experience trauma to their spinal cord as a result. Sports related incidents account for about 9% of all spinal cord injuries.
- Falls. While slip and fall accidents are more common in those over the age of 65, anyone can experience a misstep that result in an injured spinal cord.
- Surgical complications. Sometimes, mistakes or mishaps occur during the course of surgery and the result is a serious spinal cord injury. Another surgery-related cause is post operation infection.
- Bicycle accidents. A cyclist can face injury to their spinal cord when they are struck by a vehicle or other collisions. Failure to wear a helmet increases the chances of damage to the spine.
Do you need representation?
Spinal cord injuries carry the possibility of irreversible changes to one’s life, including their livelihood. Not only are these injuries life-altering, they can also be financially disastrous due to loss of income and the amount of care, long-term and short-term, that they require.
If you or a loved one has experienced a spinal cord injury, you may need legal representation. The experienced Ottawa personal injury lawyers at Howard Yegendorf and Associates can help you discern what you may be entitled to.