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Austin Personal Injury Blog

Saturday, May 27, 2017

What are the Top 5 Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries?

An off-duty Waco Fire Department officer suffered burns and a spinal cord injury on May 10, 2017 after an unfortunate accident. Garth Goodwin, 46, was conducting routine maintenance of a billboard near McGregor when he came into contact with power lines. He was electrocuted before falling 10 feet to the ground.

Goodwin lay helpless on the ground for at least an hour, unable to move, before someone heard his phone ring and found him below the billboard. He was immediately rushed to a nearby medical center for immediate medical care before being airlifted to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas for surgery. The veteran firefighter faces a long journey to recovery.

The physical and psychosocial effects of spinal cord injuries can be devastating. As a matter of fact, very few people ever recover their complete neurologic functioning after a spinal cord injury. In addition, many people who suffer these injuries have to endure a lifetime of medical costs posing a huge burden to their families. If you have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of an accident, consult a Texas spinal cord injury lawyer to discuss your legal options.

Top Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries in the United States

A 2015 study by the US National Institute of Health tracked reported spinal cord injuries between 2005 and 2011. The data revealed that the most common causes of spinal cord injuries were:

  1. Automobile crashes (31.5 percent)

    Automobile accidents are still one of the leading causes of death and injury in the United States. In 2015, 35,092 people died from road accidents across the country. Slightly over 10 percent of the deaths occurred in Texas (3,516). For those lucky enough to escape death, injuries such as spinal cord injuries are likely, especially for adults below age 45. In the period under review, automobile accidents were the number one cause of spinal cord injuries for adults between 18 and 45 years. 

  2. Falls (25.3 percent)

    Although second overall, falls were the leading cause of spinal cord injuries for adults over 45. For people aged 76 years and older, falls were to blame for 75 percent of reported spinal cord injuries. 

    To be clear, young adults do sustain spinal cord injuries from falls. A person can miss a step in a staircase and fall badly, or suffer a seizure or faint, leading to a catastrophic fall.

  3. Gunshot wounds (10.4 percent)

    Bullets can completely rupture spinal cord tissue causing permanent disability. Even a simple bullet graze can compress the spine, causing severe neurologic damage.

  4. Motorcycle crashes (6.8 percent)

    Motorcycle riders are not as protected as passengers in a vehicle. Because of this, even small motorcycle accidents can cause severe injuries.

  5. Diving and sports-related accidents (7.4 percent)

    A diver who goes head first into shallow water or is obstructed by an object can suffer severe spinal cord injuries. Similarly, athletes in high contact sports such as football, basketball and lacrosse can suffer severe spinal cord injuries when they are tackled.

  6. Medical or surgical complications (4.3 percent)

Medical errors during surgery are common, even leading to 440,000 deaths a year. When they do not cause death, they can cause severe physical injuries, sometimes to the spinal cord.

Many spinal cord injuries can be prevented if proper care and caution is taken on the roads, at work, on sports fields and on surgical tables. When negligence leads to a spinal cord injury, an injured victim can claim damages from the negligent party.

If you or someone you know has suffered spinal cord injury as a result of an automobile accident, motorcycle accident, fall, medical operation or high-impact sport, schedule a consult with a Texas spinal cord injury lawyer to determine whether damages can be sought from the party at fault.


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