Residents of Albany and the rest of Southwest Georgia probably know just from experience that spinal cord injuries are both life-altering and long-term.
The worst spinal cord injuries will leave the victim permanently disabled from the neck down. The victim will likely need constant medical care for the rest of her life. Other spinal cord injuries may cause partial paralysis or other significant mobility problems. Only a handful of people will escape without a permanent injury.
The type and extent of the injury, as well as the age of the victim, will determine how much a victim will pay out of pocket.
For example, one non-profit organization estimates that a 25-year-old victim with paralysis from the neck down will spend approximately $4.7 million in medical and other costs over his life.
At the other end of the spectrum, someone who suffers some but not total loss of mobility at age 45 will spend about $1.1 million, which is still a hefty sum. These figures do not include lost wages and non-economic damages like loss of quality of life.
Many spinal cord injuries are preventable
Motor vehicle accidents account for most new spinal injuries according to a medical journal. Among all cases, 38% of spinal cord injuries are because of a traffic accident. Among these, many no doubt happen because of the negligence of another driver.
Interestingly, falls make up 30% of all new injuries. These falls sometimes happen in hospitals or other medical facilities. Additionally, 5% of all new injuries occur after a surgical or other medical complication.
While some of these injuries would be hard to avoid, medical malpractice can in some cases cause a spinal cord injury.
Victims of spinal cord injuries and their families bear a hefty financial and emotional burden. They should evaluate their legal options carefully because they may be entitled to compensation.