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Primary causes of spinal cord injuries

Approximately 12,000 people suffer spinal cord injuries every year in the United States, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistics Center. While most people who suffer spinal cord injuries are male and in their young adult years, people of every age, sex and race can and do become injured.

According to the NSCISC, the most common cause of spinal cord injury is motor vehicle accident. Car and truck crashes account for 36.5 percent of spinal cord injuries, with slips and falls coming in second at 28.5 percent. Violence accounts for another 14.3 percent of these injuries, with the most common cause being gunshot wounds. Just over 9 percent of injuries were incurred while playing sports, and 11.4 percent of injuries were either from other or undetermined causes.

While recent years have shown an improvement in the length of hospital stays and rehab treatments for those with spinal cord injuries, the average hospital stay was still 11 days and the average rehab was 36 days as of 2010. These numbers are just averages; however, and some stays may be much longer if the injury is considered neurologically complete.

The expenses for the first year of treatment for someone with a spinal cord injury can easily reach into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, with the most severe injuries possibly surpassing the $1 million mark. While the yearly cost goes down for the subsequent years, the costs are still significant, and these numbers do not include monetary losses for lost wages. Monetary relief may be possible for Arizona residents, however, by seeking damages from any at-fault party through the courts.

Source: National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, "SpinalCord Injury Facts and Figures at a Glance" Aug. 25, 2014

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