24 Sep

September Is National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month

Car Accidents, General, Personal Injury

spinal cord injury

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center recently estimated that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) is about 54 cases per one million individuals in the U.S., or approximately 17,730 new SCI cases each year. These don’t include anyone who suffers fatal injuries at the location of the incident causing the SCI. In addition, an estimated 291,000 individuals are currently living with an SCI. 

A spinal cord injury is one of the most life-altering injuries someone can suffer. Those who live with these injuries face many daily physical, emotional, and financial challenges. This is why the U.S. Senate passed U.S. Senate Resolution 533 in 2013, designating September as National Spinal Cord Injury Month. It’s also why Florida’s civil statutes allow those diagnosed with an SCI after an accident to pursue compensation for their damages. 

Ways You Can Observe Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month 

SCI Awareness Month provides many ways to get involved, both directly and indirectly. Here are some ideas that anyone can participate in, whether they have been personally impacted by an SCI or are just supporting family and friends who have been: 

  • Donate – Monetary donations help research, support organizations, and improve accessibility. You can organize your own fundraiser to show your support or participate in one. Starting a  Facebook fundraiser  is a great way to raise funds quickly, but this can be as simple as making an online donation to someone else’s fundraiser. 
  • Support – Spend time with loved ones, friends, and acquaintances impacted by SCI. Listen closely so you can learn from their experiences and do what you can to support their goals. 
  • Advocate – Support individuals with SCI, advocating on their behalf for their specific needs and goals. 
  • Share – Use your social media accounts to spread awareness by sharing information about fundraisers, volunteer organizations, resources, or even your own story with an SCI or about someone in your life with an SCI. Use #SCIAwarenessMonth or #SpinalCordInjury when sharing information online. 

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries 

The spinal cord consists of a bundle of nerves that allows various messages to travel between the brain and the rest of the body. The spinal column is made up of sections of vertebrae surrounding and protecting the spinal cord and allowing 31 pairs of spinal nerves to emerge from it and extend to the various parts of the body. These nerves allow the brain to communicate with the body, for instance, telling a specific body part to move. They also enable the body to communicate to the brain, such as notifying the brain that something is hot to the touch. The brain and the rest of the body rely on the spinal cord to function properly. When there is a breakdown along this essential communication highway, serious complications can arise.   

An SCI is an injury to the spinal cord that can impact motor, sensory and autonomic function with the potential to result in: 

  • Paralysis 
  • Loss of sensation  
  • Autonomic dysfunction—for example, blood pressure instability and disruptions in temperature regulation 

The nerves located above the site where the spinal cord injury occurred can keep functioning normally. However, at the level of injury, messages are often blocked. They can’t be transmitted from above that level to below the level of injury. 

Depending on what part of the spinal cord suffers an injury, the individual may suffer paralysis of the muscles, such as those used for breathing, loss of sensation below the location of the injury, as well as secondary conditions. For those living with SCI, a crucial part of their care is preventing complications and further disabilities. 

The Costs Of SCI 

One especially burdensome aspect of spinal cord injuries is their financial impact. Spinal cord injuries alone come with a price tag of approximately $40.5 billion each year in the U.S. However, the individual costs arising from an SCI will depend on its type and extent. Those living with a spinal cord injury can face a lifetime of expenses related to medical and general daily living care as well as equipment and alterations to their living spaces. This doesn’t include the emotional and mental burdens these individuals also must face. 

Paying For Spinal Cord Injuries

The good news is that if their SCI arose from an incident in which another party is at fault, they might be able to recover compensation to help pay for these expenses. However, they must generally prove that: 

  • The other party owed them a duty of care—for instance, a driver must stop at a red light 
  • The other party breached that duty of care in some way 
  • The other party’s breach of duty directly caused their injuries 
  • They suffered compensable damages because of their injuries 

Proving these points can be tricky, as can determining how much money an injured accident victim who sustained a spinal cord injury deserves in damages. It’s best for those who suffer SCIs to meet with a spinal cord injury attorney as soon as possible after their accident. An attorney can protect their rights, determine what they deserve in terms of compensation, and pursue an injury claim against the correct person or party. Victims have a much better chance at winning with the help of an experienced lawyer, like those at The Florida Law Group. Working with aggressive local personal injury attorneys can make the difference between not having the money to pay for necessary and essential care after sustaining an SCI and having peace of mind!

What If You Or Someone You Love Sustains An SCI In An Accident? 

Spinal cord injuries are catastrophic, potentially changing the course of an individual’s life drastically. Those who suffer these types of injuries need an experienced attorney on their side as soon as possible to fight for the compensation they deserve. SCI victims often deserve millions of dollars in damages due to the high cost of their medical care, lost wages, lost earning potential, and pain and suffering. However, because insurance companies are often unwilling to pay victims fairly, it takes a skilled legal team to secure full and fair financial recovery in these cases. 

For nearly forty years, the seasoned lawyers at The Florida Law Group have fought for individuals and families whose lives have been thrown off course by the negligent, careless, or intentional actions of others. Our successful legal team has recovered over $1 billion dollars in injury compensation for our clients without charging any upfront fees. Our clients don’t owe us anything until we recover money on their behalf. We’re not afraid to go to trial if that’s what it takes to get you paid!

If you are ready to learn more about how our attorneys can help you after suffering an SCI, call our law firm or reach out to us online today. We know this is a difficult time, and we are here for you.