The Facts about Spinal Injuries and Car Accidents
Spinal Injuries: More Common Than You Think
A spinal cord injury ranks among the most serious and potentially devastating injuries a person can suffer. Since the spinal cord contains the major bundle of nerves that carries impulses between the brain and the rest of the body, trauma to the spinal cord can result in a loss of feeling or mobility in various regions of the body—up to and including total paralysis below the point of the injury.
A spinal cord injury (SCI), which is sometimes simply referred to as a “spinal injury,” is distinct from a vertebral injury, which is an injury to the vertebrae or bones in your spine. Both of these types of injuries could result from the same event; for example, an accident that fractures your vertebrae could cause spinal cord damage at the same time.
Spinal cord injuries are, unfortunately, more common than most people realize: between 240,000 and 337,000 people are currently living with SCI in the United States. The effect of these injuries on the people who live with them is frequently life-altering: 52% of individuals with a spinal cord injury are considered paraplegic and 47% quadriplegic.
Although health and mobility are obviously the foremost concerns related to a spinal injury, the financial effects of such an injury can be catastrophic too. The average first-year expenses for a spinal cord injury total $198,000, and the average lifetime cost for a 25-year-old SCI victim can soar into the millions depending on the severity of the injury.
Vehicle Accidents: The Number One Cause of SCI
Out of all the potential events that can cause a spinal cord injury, motor vehicle accidents are by far the most common; in fact, vehicle accidents cause more SCIs than violence, sports, and
medical complications combined and account for about 36.5 percent of all SCIs in total. These statistics should send a clear message to drivers: avoiding a car crash is the best way to prevent a spinal cord injury.
Below are some important statistics to keep in mind about car crashes and the major factors that tend to cause them:
- 2.3 million people are injured each year in car wrecks in the U.S., and there are about 30,000 fatal crashes nationwide each year.
- Texas led the nation in traffic fatalities in 2014 with 3,534—a figure that averages out to one person being killed every 2 hours and 29 minutes during the year.
- Almost one-third of all fatal crashes result from speeding.
- In 45 percent of vehicle deaths, the victim was unrestrained by a seat belt.
- Texting makes a motor vehicle crash up to 23 times more likely.
- The rate of alcohol impairment as a factor in fatal crashes is four times higher at night.
What Should I Do if I Believe Someone Else Has a Spinal Cord Injury?
A potential spinal cord injury is always a frightening event, but if you remain calm, you can take the following steps to help a possible victim at the scene of an accident:
- Call 911 immediately to request emergency assistance.
- Never move the person or reposition them in any way unless immediate danger makes it absolutely necessary.
- Encourage the person to stay still and wait for medical attention, even if they believe they are capable of moving or getting up.
- If the person isn’t breathing, perform CPR, but do not tilt the person’s head back; instead, move their jaw forward.
Call Hossley & Embry if You’ve Been Injured
If you or someone you know has suffered a spinal injury, please give Hossley & Embry a call at (866) 522-9265 or send us an email at email@example.com. You can also fill out the contact form on our website and we will get in touch with you promptly. We offer free consultations, and we have the resources available (including charter aircraft) to travel throughout Texas and the United States on short notice to investigate your potential claim.
Injury prevention and control: Motor vehicle safety. (2015, December 14). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/
O’Connell, K. (2015, December 14). Spinal cord injury. Healthline. Retrieved from http://www.healthline.com/health/spinal-injury#Overview1
Spinal cord injury. (2015, March). American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Retrieved from http://www.aans.org/patient%20information/conditions%20and%20treatments/spinal%20cord%20injury.aspx
Spinal cord injury facts and statistics. (n.d.). Sci-Info-Pages. Retrieved from http://www.sci-info-pages.com/facts.html
Texas Department of Transportation. (2015, May 20). Texas motor vehicle traffic crash highlights: Calendar year 2014. Texas Department of Transportation. Retrieved from http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot/trf/crash-statistics/2014/01.pdf