In September 2013, an Illinois man was standing on a ladder and cleaning his roof. According to the Daily Mail, the ladder somehow gave way, causing the man to fall and land on his head. It was not until more than nine hours later that the man’s girlfriend discovered him. The fall caused a crushed vertebrae, which resulted in the total loss of the use of his arms and legs.
As the attorneys at any Chicago personal injury law firm would know, falls are just one of the leading causes of spinal cord injuries. Car accidents are also responsible for these life-changing events.
By the numbers
The National SCI Statistical Center reports that roughly 12,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury every year. According to the organization, the following are the leading factors that cause such injuries:
- Car accidents, which account for 36.5 percent of all spinal cord injuries
- Falls, which account for 28.5 percent
- Violence, which accounts for 14.3 percent
- Sports-related injuries, which account for 9.2 percent
The proportion of incidents related to falls has actually grown, and the number of sports-related injuries has decreased over time.
Preventing spinal cord injuries
The American Spinal Injury Association offers tips for preventing spinal cord injuries. For example, anyone inside a motor vehicle should always wear a seat belt, as the leading cause of all such injuries are car accidents. Children who are younger than 12 should always be properly restrained in the back seat of a vehicle. Lastly, drivers should abide by the rules of the road, obeying speed limits and avoiding destructive behaviors such as texting while driving.
Preventable falls account for a substantial number of injuries. Anyone who works in a situation that involves heights, ladders or trenches should ensure that the proper safety gear is in place. Additionally, people should avoid working on their rooftops alone and without restraints.
When it comes to sports, the ASIA recommends wearing safety gear when possible. Swimmers, divers and those who are at a pool recreationally should make sure there is 9 feet of water before diving head-first. Further, people should avoid jumping into water that is not clear, as sandbars and other hazardous obstructions could be hidden.
Lastly, as anyone at a Chicago personal injury law firm would advise, guns should always be kept unloaded and properly secured. The National Institutes of Health warns that gunshot wounds can cause severed, sheared, crushed or torn spinal cords.
Accidents can and do happen, sometimes regardless of all the safety measures people take. Anyone who has questions about this topic should consult with an attorney at a Chicago personal injury law firm.