You may know someone with a spinal cord disability. There are several forms, including Multiple Sclerosis, Poliomyelitis and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS.
What you may not know is that many spinal cord injuries result from vehicle crashes, which cause victims to experience changes to the normal functioning of this important part of the human body.
Located inside the spinal canal, nerves that connect the brain to the rest of the body make up the spinal cord. In turn, the spinal canal is inside the spine. A spinal cord injury, or SCI, affects the motor, sensory or autonomic function of the cord. Depending on the site of the injury, the victim may experience loss of sensation, strength and other functions in the area of the body below the injury. There are two forms of SCI: complete and incomplete. The form is based on the severity of the injury. Someone with incomplete SCI may still retain some feeling and level of movement below the injury.
In our country, approximately 700,000 people have some form of spinal cord disability, but doctors believe that they will eventually be able to repair such injuries. Already, improvements in emergency care plus aggressive rehabilitation procedures help to minimize damage and restore some level of functionality to people with SCI. In exciting research at Duke University, a brain-machine interface is being developed to enable paralyzed patients to walk.
Medical treatment for a spinal cord injury can continue for years if not a lifetime, and initial costs can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Depending on the severity of an injury, medical costs thereafter may go from $14,000 to over $120,000 annually. If you should suffer SCI as the victim of a vehicle crash, explore your legal options promptly. You have a right to financial compensation to cover your medical expenses, current and future earnings, disability and more.