The human spinal column is comprised of 31 vertebrae. These bones not only support an upright torso, they also serve the important function of protecting the delicate spinal cord that transmits nerve signals between the brain and other parts of the body.

Any damage to the spinal column, however slight, can affect the spinal cord and cause neurologic problems. Every year in the United States, thousands of people experience spinal cord injuries, and when they do, they may need to seek compensation from those at fault for causing injury.

Spinal cord injuries are relatively common and require expensive medical care

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year in the United States, between 12,000 and 20,000 people suffer a new spinal cord injury. Currently, more than 200,000 Americans are estimated to be living with the long-term medical consequences of a spinal cord injury.

Car accidents are by far the most common cause of spinal cord injury. A 2013 report from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center listed motor vehicle crashes as the source of 36.5 percent of spinal cord injuries since 2010. Falls were the second most common source of spinal injury, at 28.5 percent. Other common causes were violence (14.3 percent) and sports (9.2 percent).

Men are more likely than women to experience a spinal cord injury, as are younger people. The National Spinal Cord Injury Database has captured data on spinal cord injuries since 1973. Since 2010, over 80 percent of the spinal cord injuries reported to the database occurred among males; almost half occurred among people between 16 and 30 years of age.

Since the nerves contained in the spinal column control a large proportion of the body, injury to the spinal cord can affect many body systems, including the respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal, and musculoskeletal systems. Mental symptoms like depression and anxiety can also stem from a spinal cord injury.

Because spinal cord injuries can affect many important body systems, and often leave accident victims in need of special medical assistance, they can be very expensive to treat. According to the CDC, the average annual medical cost of a spinal cord injury runs between $15,000 and $30,000 per year. Of course, costs vary based on the severity of the injury, but over a lifetime, the estimated cost of a spinal cord injury ranges from $500,000 to in excess of $3 million.

Get the compensation you need by talking to a spinal cord injury lawyer

Living with a spinal cord injury is not easy. But, it is possible to overcome the challenges associated with a spinal cord injury with a little help. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, compensation may be available from any parties fully or partially responsible for causing the injury. Talk to a spinal cord injury attorney today to ensure you get the full monetary recovery to which you are entitled.