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The costs of spinal cord injury

People in Pennsylvania who suffer from spinal cord injuries may experience a number of different effects throughout their lives. Each year in the United States, there are about 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injury. Most of those new cases are men, and most happen because of an accident in a vehicle.

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center has compiled information about the lifetime effects of spinal cord injuries. About 12 percent of injured people are employed a year after the injury. After 20 years, that number rises to about 33 percent. In any given year, around 30 percent of injured people are hospitalized for an average of 22 days. The main causes are diseases of the genitourinary system and skin. Other common causes are digestive, respiratory, musculoskeletal and circulatory diseases.

The costs of spinal cord injuries to individuals varies a great deal. Employment history prior to injury, education and neurological impairment are all factors. Losses in wages, productivity and fringe benefits are considered indirect costs and are estimated at just over $72,000 annually. Depending on the severity of the injury, expenses in the first year are estimated to be between $347,896 and $1,065,980. Life expectancy rates have not changed since the 1980s. They are well below those of people without spinal cord injuries and are most common in the first year after injury.

As these figures indicate, spinal cord injuries can be devastating and may change every aspect of a person's life. An individual who has suffered a spinal cord injury may want to consult an attorney if another person is responsible for the accident. For example, this could be a driver in a motor vehicle accident, the manufacturer of a faulty piece of equipment or the owner of an unsafe property. Compensation from a lawsuit may help offset some of the expenses of the injury.

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