It is estimated that there are 285,000 people living in the United States who have suffered a spinal cord injury. Approximately 17,500 new injuries are reported every year. Those suffering from serious back injuries are often left with life-changing disabilities. California car accident victims also find themselves struggling with crippling medical expenses and other financial burdens that typically result.
Injuries involving the spinal cord are often more serious and debilitating. Depending on the location of the injury, different body systems and functions can be affected. The higher up on the spinal column the injury occurred, the more likely it is that serious consequences will result. Injuries involving the cervical section may cause quadriplegia, requiring ventilator-assisted breathing. Depending on the focal point of an injury further down the column, a patient may experience partial or total loss of use of his or her arms or legs.
In the immediate aftermath of the initial injury, victims typically experience swelling of the affected tissues, which may lead to complications such as a loss of control of bodily functions and voluntary movement. Over time, when the swelling subsides, patients may recover some of their lost functions. However, in spite of intense research efforts, there is as yet no cure for a serious spinal cord injury.
Those who survive the first critical hours after the initial injury have good odds of living a fairly normal lifespan, provided they receive optimal medical care and treatment that correlates to their level of injury. Avoiding respiratory and other infections are a key element in ensuring victims live a near-normal life span. Obtaining qualified care may be one of the biggest hurdles that patients face. When these back injuries are the result of negligence on the part of another party, victims may have a basis for pursuing just compensation through California's civil courts.