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Auto Accidents Are the Most Common Cause of Spinal Cord Injuries

Automobile and motorcycle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. A spinal injury from an auto accident can occur from a sudden, traumatic blow to the spine that fractures, dislocates, crushes or compresses the vertebrae. A spinal injury can lead to inflammation and fluid in the spinal region that can cause additional damage.

Trauma from the accident can damage the nerve fibers that affect a person's ability to move or function below the level of the injury. A complete spinal cord injury can result in permanent impairment of certain nervous system functions. An incomplete spinal cord injury means that the victim has retained some degree of functionality below the injury level and can often make a full recovery.

The symptoms of spinal cord injury include the following:

• A loss of pain sensation or a feeling of pain in an injury-free part of the body

• Numbness and loss of sensation in the limbs and extremities

• Loss of muscle control including bowel or bladder difficulties

• Muscle spasms

• Infection

• Sexual dysfunction

Spinal-cord injury victims need to receive treatment such as corticosteroids soon after the injury to reduce the swelling in the spinal region. Surgery may be necessary to remove any bony fragments, fluid or tissue that is compressing the spinal cord, or to fuse the fractured vertebrae. Traction and immobilization may reduce dislocation. Extensive rehabilitation is often necessary after such a traumatic injury.

There has been research into ways to stimulate activity or growth in damaged nerve cells, such as transplanting new nerve tissue and genes into the spinal cord. This includes stem cell research and medicines used in treatment of multiple sclerosis.

The average initial hospital costs following a spinal injury are around $140,000. The average first-year expenses for all types of spinal injuries are $198,000. These costs will vary depending upon the geographical area where treatment and care is rendered.

In Michigan, a victim of an auto accident who has suffered a spinal cord injury can benefit from that state's generous no-fault law, which provides an injured person with the reasonable and necessary expenses for the victim's care, recovery and rehabilitation. These include medical expenses, in-home nursing care, accommodations that may include a specially designed residence, room and board expenses incurred for taking care of the injured party, rehabilitation, medical mileage reimbursement, special transportation and guardian expenses. Michigan does not impose a limit on the amount of the expenses.

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  • $4,391,000: Judgment entered on Oakland County jury verdict, 2008. A Michigan man suffered traumatic brain injuries in a motor vehicle accident, which caused a permanent seizure disorder. View More results
  • $2,536,454: Verdict for no-fault benefits for client severely injured in motor vehicle accident. 2012.
    View More results
  • $2,360,000: Jury verdict for serious electric shock injuries sustained by client in a construction accident in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
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  • $1,400,000: Verdict for no-fault benefits due to a traumatically brain injured client, in this Washtenaw County action against Allstate Insurance Company. View More results
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