Long-Term Effects of Spinal Cord Injuries

Posted On December 16, 2022 / By Manning Law / Spinal Cord Injury

Damage to the spinal cord can affect every other part of the body. In the worst-case scenarios, a spinal cord injury can result in permanent paralysis, or the loss of feeling and the ability to move in the affected area. Spinal cord injuries can occur in many different preventable accidents in Colorado. If you have been diagnosed with a spinal cord injury after an accident, you may be eligible for a personal injury settlement with the help of an Aurora personal injury attorney to recover financial compensation for the long-term costs.

Long-Term Physical Disability After a Spinal Cord Injury

A spinal cord injury can refer to vertebrae fractures, a severed spine, a crushed spine, nerve damage, disk rupture or herniation, and various other damage to the spinal cord. The injury itself can cause a wide range of physical health problems and permanent disabilities, including paralysis. In addition, many spinal cord injuries come with secondary medical complications. These can include:

  • Tetraplegia (paralysis from the neck down)
  • Paraplegia (paralysis below the waist)
  • Chronic pain
  • Nerve damage
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cysts forming on the spinal cord
  • Infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Respiratory problems 
  • Pneumonia
  • Heart problems

These complications can require ongoing medical care and related costs. They can also decrease the patient’s quality and enjoyment of life, such as by causing constant pain and discomfort. Some long-term effects can lead to increased mortality. They can be life-threatening, such as blood clots or cardiovascular diseases. A spinal cord injury affects much more than just the victim’s spinal cord.

Lack of Independent Mobility From Serious Spinal Injuries

Being diagnosed with a debilitating spine injury can interfere with a victim’s independence and enjoyment of life. A victim with high tetraplegia, for example, may be unable to do most things alone, such as get dressed, eat and bathe. The patient may need live-in or around-the-clock care from a family member or nursing aide. It may no longer be possible for the victim to engage in favorite hobbies and activities, drive, work, play with his or her children, or live independently. These effects can have devastating social and mental health consequences.

Economic Consequences As a Victim of Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries can have major economic consequences for a victim and his or her family. The medical costs alone can reach the millions. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center states that the average lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury that results in high tetraplegia at 25 years old is $5,162,152. In addition, a serious spinal cord injury can interfere with a victim’s ability to work and earn a living wage due to a long-term disability. Even if the patient can return to work in a limited capacity, this will reduce his or her income.

Mental Health Difficulties  

A spinal cord injury can have a significant impact on a victim’s mental health. Suffering such a serious, painful and debilitating injury is distressing. It can result in depression, chronic anxiety, reduced enjoyment or quality of life, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological harm, low self-esteem, inconvenience, lack of interest in favorite activities, withdrawal from others, isolation, emotional distress, and significant mental anguish. In the worst cases, a victim may suffer from suicidal thoughts or self-harm while struggling with depression. Seeking professional help for the mental health effects of a spinal cord injury is important.

What Compensation Is Available for the Long-Term Effects of a Spinal Cord Injury?

If a person’s negligence caused a victim’s spinal cord injury in Colorado, the victim may be eligible for financial compensation for a variety of past and future losses. This can include required medical care, future foreseeable health care costs, lost wages, lost capacity to earn in the future, and pain and suffering. Although no amount of money can make up for a serious spinal cord injury, a successful settlement or judgment award can help a victim move forward. Contact an Aurora spinal injury lawyer for more information about a potential lawsuit.