Are you looking for a Paraplegia injury attorney in Chicago, IL? While accidents are the most common cause of paraplegia, a condition that results from either trauma to the spinal cord or to the brain, there are a wide range of things that can cause the condition.
Top Causes of Paraplegia
Almost 13,000 new spinal cord injuries occur each year in the United States, where more than a quarter of a million people are currently living with such injuries.
For President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, it was a bout of polio (although experts now believe his symptoms were more in line with Guillain–Barré syndrome) at the age of 39 during a Canadian vacation that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair as a paraplegic, although he tried hard to hide that during his years in the White House.
Because paraplegia is most often associated with accidents, young men between the ages of 15 and 35 are statistically most often impacted, usually because there are more likely to participate in activities that are at a higher risk for paraplegia.
According to statistics, car accidents account for 30 percent of all cases of paraplegia, although sports accidents, falls, diving accidents and blast injuries associated with military service that can cause either trauma to the spinal cord or brain also account for men experiencing almost 80 percent of all paraplegia injuries.
Accidents Linked to Paraplegia
While car accidents are the most common cause of paraplegia, other accidents can also cause irreparable damage to the spinal cord.
- Acts of violence. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, approximately 15 percent of spinal cord injuries are the result of violence, most often gunshot injuries or knife wounds. Illinois-born James Brady, who served as White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, was confined to a wheelchair after suffering a gunshot wound in the 1981 assassination attempt on Reagan by John Hinkley Jr.
- Athletic injuries. Sports and recreation injuries account for about nine percent of all spinal cord injuries. High-impact sports such as football, diving into shallow water, skiing accidents and other sports injuries can all lead to injuries associated with paraplegia.
- Falls. Falls can result in back injuries leading to paraplegia. According to Duke University Medical Center, one common cause of spinal cord injuries are falls from deer stands, a common risk during hunting season in Illinois.
- Head injuries. Head injuries are most often associated with quadriplegia, because they can lead to a broken neck, injuring the spine at its highest point, but head injuries can also lead to a loss of oxygen that can cause varying degrees of mobility issues, including paraplegia.
Conditions That Can Cause Paraplegia
While injuries are the most common cause of paraplegia, they are not the only way people end up suffering from the incurable condition.
Some conditions that can also lead to paraplegia include:
- Arachnoiditis, an inflammation of the membranes that protect the nerves of the spinal cord. Inflammation can occur due to infection, complications from spinal surgery or spinal injections, and can lead to damage to the spinal cord nerves severe enough to cause paraplegia.
- Surgical accidents. In addition to inflammation caused by complications associated with surgery, surgical accidents can lead to the severing of nerves or severe injury to the spinal cord.
- Tumors. Myeloma (a cancer of the white blood cells), neurofibromatosis (a genetic disorder the can cause tumors to form anywhere in the nervous system, including on the spinal cord or its nerves) and neurofibrosarcoma (a condition that can cause tumors to form on the coating of nerve fibers) can all cause enough damage to the spinal cord that paraplegia results.
- Degenerative bone diseases. Arthritis and osteoporosis can both weaken the bones of the spine, leading to fractures that can cause paraplegia.
- Stroke. Strokes occur when the brain fails to receive enough oxygen, and they can result in permanent disability, including paralysis.
- Spinal compression. Spinal cord compression is caused when pressure is put on the spinal cord, either due to ruptured discs, conditions such as spinal stenosis, which causes the space around the spinal cord to narrow, putting pressure on the spinal cord and its nerves, or spinal trauma. All can lead to paraplegia if not surgically repaired.
- Multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerosis is a disorder of the nervous system that causes mobility issues and can ultimately lead to paralysis. It generally occurs between the ages of 20 and 40, making it a particularly devastating disease, according to University of Illinois researcher Robert Motl. “MS is a disease that stops people from moving,” said Motl, who in 2008 was investigating ways that exercise could help maintain mobility longer for those diagnosed with MS.
According to statistics, alcohol use plays a role in 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries, especially so car accidents and falls.
Paraplegia Attorney in Chicago and Illinois
Did you or a loved one suffer an injury due to someone else’s negligence that resulted in Paraplegia? Did the injury occur in Chicago or another part of Illinois? If so, you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injury. Get in touch with our team today and see how we can help.