Life Expectancy For Someone With a Spinal Cord Injury
How Spinal Cord Injuries Impact the Longevity of Your Life
Spinal cord injuries are very serious given that, just like the brain, it cannot regrow new cells in order to recover. This means that victims of spinal cord injuries are often left to deal with lifelong disabilities, including paralysis from the neck down or paralysis from the waist down.
A recent estimate stated that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury is 54 cases per one million people in the United States. A total of 17,730 new cases are reported each year.
According to data quoted by Statista, the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. between 2015 and 2019 were vehicular accidents at 38.6 percent. The most common causes of a spinal cord injury are falls (22 percent) and intoxication (25 percent). Violence (16 percent) and sports (12 percent) are other factors that can also trigger a spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injuries occur when there is damage done to an individual’s spinal cord or nerves that are located at the end of the spinal canal. These injuries are catastrophic and can easily result in permanent changes in an individual’s strength, tactile sensation, and other bodily functions.
Sometimes a spinal cord is severed completely or to the point that it completely cuts off all sensation to the nerves below that area of a victim’s body. Moreover, these types of injuries are particularly delicate because they can also affect other parts of the body.
To determine an individual’s life expectancy after a spinal cord injury, the age, level of severity, and location of the injury are examined. According to data compiled by the Loyola University Health System and quoted by Science Daily, the life expectancy of an individual who suffered a spinal cord injury could be1.5 years for a ventilator-dependent patient who is over 60 years old, while 52.6 years for a patient who is 20 years old with good motor function.
On the other hand, about 10 to 20 percent of patients who suffered a spinal cord injury were not able to survive to reach acute hospitalization. 3 percent of patients passed away during acute hospitalization. The main factors that contributed to death were pneumonia, septicemia, embolism, and pulmonary.
The University of Alabama at Birmingham created a life expectancy calculator for people with spinal cord injuries. This calculator uses standard statistical procedures that are based on the annual age-specific probabilities of dying and risk factors.
More than 81 percent of patients who live past the first 24 hours were still alive a decade later. Mortality rates are usually higher within the first year of the spinal cord injury than in the years following after.
According to the University of Washington, in 1940, the average life expectancy of an individual with a spinal cord injury was 18 months. In 1998, the life expectancy for tetraplegia was 70 percent, paraplegia was 86 percent, and significant motor preservation was 92 percent.
Even though people with a spinal cord injury are living longer nowadays compared to 80 years ago, they are still likely to experience several chronic health conditions that increase with aging. According to a report published in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports, spinal cord patients are at a high risk of acquiring serious health conditions, which include the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Blood clots
- Bladder problems
- Bowel and sexual dysfunction
- Chronic pain
- Gastrointestinal issues
About 80 percent of spinal cord injuries mostly occur in males who are 15 to 35 years old. The estimated cost for a first year spinal cord treatment is set between $320,000 and $985,000. However, treatment can also cost up to $5 million for the individual’s lifetime.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If your spinal cord injury was caused by the negligence of another, you may be entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit against the liable party. Lawsuits for spinal cord injuries typically fall into two categories: negligence and faulty or defective products.
Moreover, California is a comparative negligence state, which means that a spinal cord injury victim may still recover some damages even if he or she is found partially liable for the accident. An injury victim’s available damages will of course be reduced by his or her degree of fault.
Many spinal cord injury victims will require treatment, costly surgeries, and prescription medications. A spinal cord injury victim may be able to recover damages for their medical bills, including:
- Clinical visits
- Hospital visits
- Mobility devices
- Physical therapy
- Home health care
- Rehab center visits
- Fertility treatment
A spinal cord injury victim is likely to miss work for a significant amount of time while recuperating. In order to compensate a victim for the loss of income they would have reasonably expected to earn, they will likely recover the following damages for lost wages:
- Lost tips
- Lost wages/salary
- Lost bonuses
A permanent injury may prevent someone from ever working again. A permanently disabled spinal cord injury victim sue may also pursue damages for the following loss of future earnings:
- Loss of anticipated tips
- Loss of anticipated bonuses
- Loss of anticipated salary/wages
- Loss of anticipated opportunities for advancement
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
Needless to say, a spinal cord injury is physically, emotionally, and financially devastating. A spinal cord injury attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more.
Call us today at (888) 915-7572 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring and compassionate legal team.