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Spinal Cord Injury Statistics

Our Alabama spinal cord injury attorneys know that a spinal cord injury (SCI) can result in paralysis or loss of function in one or more limbs or larger portions of the body. A spinal cord injury victim may lose the ability to walk, work, perform manual tasks or take care of their daily needs. Even mild spinal cord damage can cause chronic pain that reduces the victim’s quality of life.

Since 1973, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) in Alabama, has collected data from 28 federally funded medical programs to develop and maintain the National Spinal Cord Injury Database (NSCID). As of 2016, the database estimated that approximately 282,000 people in the United States live with an SCI. Each year there are approximately 17,000 new SCI cases.

Top Causes of Spinal Injuries

According to this database, since 2005, the causes of spinal cord injury in the U.S. have been:

  • Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents – 38 percent
  • Falls – 30.5 percent
  • Violence (i.e. assault, shooting, etc.) – 13.5 percent
  • Sports injuries – 9.0 percent
  • Medical / surgical incidents – 5.0 percent
  • Other / unknown – 4. 0 percent

Types of Paralysis from Spinal Cord Injuries

According to the same database, the rates of the various levels of SCI in the U.S. are:

  • 45.0 percent incomplete tetraplegia (quadriplegia), or partial loss of function in all four limbs and perhaps the torso (including the diaphragm)
  • 20.0 percent complete paraplegia, or loss of function in two limbs
  • 21.3 percent incomplete paraplegia, or loss of some function in two limbs
  • 13.3 percent complete tetraplegia, or loss of function in all four limbs and the torso.

Less than 1 percent of people who suffer a SCI experience complete neurologic recovery by the time they are discharged from the hospital, according to the NSCID.

Where People with Spinal Cord Injuries Live

Out of those who suffer spinal cord injury, 89.3 percent who survive live in private, non-institutional residences (in most cases, the same home lived in before their injury). Among other survivors:

  • 6.6 percent live in nursing homes.
  • 4.1 percent live in hospitals, group homes or other living situations.

Age at the Time of Injury

Since 2005, the average age at which an American suffers a spinal cord injury is 41. This figure is newly adjusted because the median age of the general population of the U.S. has increased by approximately nine years since the mid-1970s.
From 1973 to 1979, the average age at which a person suffered SCI was 28.7, and most injuries occurred between the ages of 16 and 30.

Costs of Care

Caring for a person with severe SCI is costly. The NSCID calculated estimates for the average lifetime costs for victims of various levels of SCI:

  • High tetraplegia (injury to C1 – C4 vertebrae) – $4.7 million for an injury suffered at age 25; $2.59 million for an injury at age 50
  • Low tetraplegia (injury to C5 – C8 vertebrae) – $3.5 million if injured at age 25; $2.1 million at age 50
  • Paraplegia – $2.3 million at age 25; $1.5 million if injured at age 50
  • Incomplete motor function at any level – $1.6 million if injured at 25; $1.1 million if hurt at age 50.

Contact our Alabama Spinal Cord Injury Attorneys Today

A severe spinal cord injury is a life-changing incident for the injured person and those around the SCI victim. Many SCI victims require medical care for the rest of their lives. When someone suffers a spinal cord injury in a car accident, a slip-and-fall incident, an assault, or in an improperly supervised sports event, they or their family members have a right to seek compensation from those responsible for their losses and the expenses ahead.

If you or a family member has suffered a spinal cord injury in an accident in Alabama that was not your or your loved one’s fault, the spinal cord injury attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. can help you determine your legal options. Call us today at 205-933-1500 or use our online form for a free evaluation of your case. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a serious accident in Birmingham, Mobile, Huntsville, or Montgomery and are suffering from a spinal cord injury, call an experienced catastrophic injury lawyer from Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. today.