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What types of accidents can cause spinal cord injuries?

There are approximately 86,000 Canadians living with spinal cord injuries, according to the Rick Hansen Institute, a non-profit dedicated to spinal cord injury research. About half of these people suffer their injuries as a result of trauma, while the other half are from non-traumatic causes like disease and cancer. Every year, there are an estimated 4,529 new cases of spinal cord injuries in Canada.

The Rick Hansen Institute estimates that 1,786 of these new spinal cord injuries have traumatic causes such as:

  • falls;
  • motor vehicle accidents; or
  • sports injuries.

Spinal cord injuries are projected to rise within the next 20 years in general, from an estimated 86,000 Canadians living with spinal cord injuries in 2010 to a projected 121,000 in 2030.

Spinal Cord Injuries from Car Accidents

One study published in The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery analyzed spinal cord injuries in Ontario over five years in the mid- to late-1990s. It found that nearly 43 percent of spinal injuries were caused by motor vehicle accidents, especially in the population under the age of 40.

Spinal Cord Injuries from Falls

The same study found that about 43 percent of new spinal cord injuries were caused by unintentional falls, such as falls by the elderly. These falls could be the result of poor balance as a result of aging, or could have external factors such as a slippery floor or un-cleared ice.

Spinal Cord Injuries Caused by Sports Accidents

The other major category of spinal cord injury is those caused by sports accidents. Sports that involve full contact between participants, like hockey, can lead to spinal cord or brain injuries.

Though participants in these sports assume some risk when choosing to play a potentially violent sport, athletic organizations have a responsibility to make their facilities and their facilitate their players in being as safe as possible to avoid injury.

What to Do after a Spinal Cord Injury

If you suspect you suffered a spinal cord injury – or suspect another person has suffered injury – seek medical care right away. Initial care is important to minimize damage to the spinal column.

These injuries can bring significant medical costs and require sufficient care. Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete. A complete injury means that an individual is totally paralyzed below the line of injury, while an incomplete injury means that an individual retains some function below the injury. The effects of the injury and required costs may depend on the type of injury and extent of damage.

All of the bills and losses associated with a serious injury like this add up very quickly. If your accident was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another person, you may be able to sue for damages. Further, if you or a loved one suffered the injury in a motor vehicle accident, you may be able to recover statutory accident benefits.

The lawyers at Preszler Injury Lawyers can help all types of personal injury cases, including those that involve serious injuries like spinal cord injuries, and can work to help you recover compensation. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® to set up an appointment with a lawyer in one of our six Ontario offices.

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