Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) can lead to a lifetime of pain, suffering, and impaired mobility. Learning to live with a spine injury involves extensive medical care and in-home aids—and can be expensive. If your injury was sustained in a manner that wasn’t your fault and you think legal recourse may be an option, we encourage you to get in touch with Wishart Brain & Spine Law today. We can pair you with a qualified Vancouver spinal cord injury lawyer who will be happy to speak to you about your options.
The spinal cord is a fragile bundle of nerves running from the base of the spine all the way up to the brain. It’s protected inside the spinal column. If an individual becomes injured or has a disease that damages the spinal column and cord, there is usually no way to repair damage to the spinal cord once it’s impaired. Since the spinal cord is responsible for sending brain signals throughout the entire body, most injuries result in loss of function and/or sensation.
Most spinal cord injuries are permanent or have an extremely low chance of recovery. Research is constantly being conducted on how to improve recovery options, but it will likely be many years before any reliable cures are discovered. Lifelong rehabilitation and extensive home, life, and mobility assistance are often the only options.
Many spinal cord injuries result in paraplegia, which is complete or partial loss of sensation and function in the legs and bottom half of the body. Quadriplegia, often referred to as tetraplegia, can also result. This causes complete or partial less of sensation and function in all four limbs of the body—from the neck downward.
What effects a spinal cord injury has on an individual’s body is determined by the extent and severity of the damage to the nerves. A spinal injury is usually considered “complete” if there’s complete loss of voluntary function, movement, and sensation. If the patient still has some limited mobility, function, or sensation, the injury is generally referred to as “incomplete”.
How Many People Live with a Spinal Cord Injury in Canada?
Spinal cord injuries are more common than many believe. According to the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, it’s estimated that over 85,000 people in Canada currently suffer from a spinal cord injury. It’s estimated that there are 12,000 people with spinal cord injuries in British Columbia alone. Approximately every year, 4,500 new cases are discovered throughout Canada. Organizations like the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, founded by Rick Hansen, play a crucial role in funding and developing new technology to aid those who have suffered from these types of injuries.
SCI cases are expected to increase over the next 20 years. Canada’s aging population is one reason for the expected jump. Falls, in addition to motor vehicle accidents, are the two leading causes of spinal cord injuries. As our elderly population continues to climb, it’s expected that more seniors will experience falling accidents and suffer from spinal injuries as a result.
It’s estimated that the national economic burden of traumatic spinal cord injuries is more than $3 billion in Canada. $1.8 billion is associated with direct health care costs alone.
What Causes Most Spinal Injuries?
The spinal cord and column can be injured in many different types of accidents and impairments, but most debilitating injuries are caused by the following events:
- Car accidents – 35% of all SCIs—the overwhelming majority—are caused by motor vehicle accidents like car accidents, truck accidents, or pedestrian accidents.
- Falls – 17% of all SCIs are caused by falling accidents, often referred to as slip-and-fall accidents.
- Sports injuries
- Other acts of violent trauma
- Acquired diseases that can cause spinal tumours, cysts, or infections which lead to deterioration – Some examples include polio and multiple sclerosis.
- Congenital disorders that cause the spinal cord to be malformed – Spina bifida is one example.
Spinal Cord Injury Symptoms
When a person experiences an injury which damages the spinal cord, symptoms are not always noticed immediately. After being involved in a major car accident, for example, a victim may experience pain in a delayed manner or not at all if the spine was damaged on impact. It’s crucial for a victim of such an accident to receive medical attention right away and not be moved until help arrives. The spinal cord is extremely fragile. Any movement could worsen the severity of an SCI.
The most common reported spinal cord injury symptoms include the following but are not limited to:
- Partial or full paralysis that may present suddenly or gradually
- Numbness or tingling
- Nerve pain
- Chronic pain—especially in the neck and back
- Difficulty with bladder or bowel function
- Difficulty breathing
Get Help from a Trusted Vancouver Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer
If you or someone you love has suffered from a spinal cord injury and the victim was not responsible for the accident or incident which caused harm, you may find solace in the fact that legal assistance might be available to you and your family. With the help of the Vancouver, BC spinal cord injury lawyers at Wishart Brain & Spine Law, you may receive assistance in getting the medical care and home aids you need to make rehabilitation and living easier and more comfortable.
Our law firm has access to legal and medical resources you may not be able to find elsewhere in Canada. We can help you and your family gain access to some of the top SCI scientific advancements, medical treatments, and care options. Our attorneys can potentially help you receive funding for these treatments and options.
To learn more, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.