Auto accidents account for 36 percent of new SCI cases
Part of representing injury victims is conducting a thorough analysis of their injuries. When we submit images of dismantled cars and busted limbs, or talk in detail about the drunk driver who decided to get behind the wheel of a car on his/her way home from a bar, it’s not to indulge in gruesome details but to point out the consequences of dangerous conduct. For many of our clients that have suffered because of carelessness, it’s a long road to recovery, even a life-long affliction that never goes away.
Spinal injuries are some of the worst injuries we see on a regular basis. And unlike other injuries, they’re impossibly difficult to overcome both physically and financially. We’re talking damage to generative tissue, disc fractures and limb paralysis that require long hours of rehab. That’s to say nothing of the medical bills. The average yearly health care, living expenses and estimated lifetime costs attributed to Spinal Chord Injuries (SCI), hovers around $70,000 per year. That’s taking into account several financial variables but you get the idea. What’s worse is that victims go broke on their way to a civil case, which insurance companies aim to settle for barely a fraction of what most people would consider fair compensation. That’s a different conversation altogether. It’s these types of cases that ultimately cause more frustration than anything else, the injury notwithstanding.
The Rehab Institute of Chicago sees these cases each day. Michele Lee was one of them. Michele, just 26-years-old, was in car accident that fractured one of her vertebrae, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. You can read about it on the Rehab Institute’s website. She suffered limited mobility in her hands and had trouble breathing. She eventually made her way back to China, only to be disappointed by the treatment she was receiving. Several hospital stints later, all of which turned out to be costly and ineffective, Lee wound up at RIC. Through the Institute’s Second Look program, she was able to get detailed evaluations and work her way back toward a relatively normal life here in Chicago.
Lee is just one of hundreds of thousands of people around the world dealing with chronic conditions that has turned into an epidemic. Roughly 450,000 people are living with SCI in the United States, 12,000 of which are newly classified each year. Thirty-six percent of all new cases are the result of motor vehicle accidents, says the Shepherd Center, a private medical hospital in Atlanta that specializes in SCI. Think about that for a minute: 36 percent of new cases are the result of motor vehicle accidents. That’s close to half. The World Health Organization notes that 90 percent of Spinal Chord Injuries are the result of traumatic causes like road traffic crashes, falls and violence. However you want to look at it, whether by global region or economic status, I think we can all agree the stats are not good.
What we aim to achieve through the legal system is to provide fair compensation for those accident victims who have suffered the consequences of negligent activity. It’s no coincidence that nearly half of spinal injuries are related to auto accidents, as they can be vicious and unexpected. We’ve handled many of these types of cases, and they’re not easy. They’re uncomfortable. And many times, it’s our job to recreate the events leading up to an accident, much of which is painful for client. We’re also here to understand the injuries of our clients as comprehensively as possible, something that most people wouldn’t necessarily assume a trial lawyer would be inclined to do. We take depositions, hire expert witnesses and gather as much information as possible to make the lives of our clients easier in the face of incomprehensible circumstances.
That’s always been our priority, and it always will be.