The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles reported 110,525 injuries in auto accidents in 2014. Unfortunately, for some of those auto accident victims, the injuries affected the spinal cord. According to the Mayo Clinic, auto and motorcycle accidents cause more new spinal cord injuries each year than any other cause. In excess of 35 percent of all spinal injuries result from motor vehicle accidents.
Spinal cord injuries occur when any part of the spine, including vertebrae, discs, and nerves, are damaged in any way. The injury may occur due to the force of the collision; due to a motorcycle rider being thrown from the bike or a motorist being thrown from a car; or due to something puncturing the spinal cord, such as vehicle parts or items in the car.
Damage to the spine or nerves can result in complete or partial paralysis. A victim may experience loss of movement and muscle control; loss of feeling; and loss of bodily functions. While patients may experience full or partial recovery from some injuries, such as swelling of the spine, most spinal injuries are permanent and incurable.
Costs of treating a patient with incurable spinal cord injury are substantial. Christopher Reeve Foundation indicates costs can reach $1,064,716 for the first year of treatment for a patient with high tetraplegia. This is the most severe type of spinal cord injury, resulting from damage in the vertebrae near the neck (C1-C7 vertebrae). Ongoing yearly costs after the initial year are close to $200,000 annually.
Victims may be able to receive compensation to cover these costs, and other losses, from a driver whose negligence was the cause of the motor vehicle accident that resulted in spinal cord damage. A substantial amount of money is at stake, so victims who suffer a spinal injury due to a motor vehicle accident should consult with an experienced Charlotte car accident lawyer.