According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, some 282,000 people in the US live with the enduring effects of a spinal cord injury. To help spread awareness of the risks and potentially devastating results, the US Senate designated September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month in 2011, spurred by a resolution sponsored by Florida Senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson.
Statistics show that upward of 17,000 new spinal cord injury (SCI) cases are reported each year
– and that figure doesn’t include the scores of victims who suffer a SCI and die at the scene of an accident. For those who do survive, the effects can be life-altering. For instance, research shows that SCI paralyzes some in the US every 48 minutes.
According to 2014 figures, the five leading causes of SCI are:
- Automobile accidents: Car crashes are the leading cause of SCI, accounting for 7,205 (29.3%) male injuries and 2,402 (48.3%) female injuries in 2014.
- Falls: The second-leading SCI cause is particularly prevalent among elders. Falls account for 5,406 (22%) male injuries and 1,262 (21.5%) female injuries.
- Gunshot wounds: Far more common than most would suspect, gun-related SCI injuries numbered 4,163 (16.9%) in males and 572 (9.1%) in female victims in 2014.
- Diving injuries: The fourth-leading cause of SCI is a popular pastime, particularly in hot-weather, coastal areas like Florida and the eastern coast of Georgia. Throughout 2014, 1,718 (7%) male and 122 (2.1%) female divers suffered SCI.
- Motorcycle accidents: Though motorcyclists account for only a small percentage of motorists on the road at any given moment, the lack of external protection means that even minor motorcycle collisions can be devastating or even deadly. In 2014, 1,695 (6.9%) men and 145 (2.5%) women sustained SCI while driving or riding on motorcycles.
Rounding out the top 10 causes of SCI are falling objects; medical and surgical complications; pedestrian accidents; bicycle accidents; and person-to person contact, including violent assaults or unintentional collisions. Of course, sports injuries also are a major contributor to SCI, particularly in youth and teens playing on school and community teams.
If you or your dependents suffer a spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence or deliberate act, you may be entitled to compensation. Call 800-251-1111 to speak with a personal injury attorney with Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell.