According to Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, there are approximately 600 spinal cord injuries every year in Ontario (1,500 per year throughout Canada). Spinal cord injuries can result in life-altering disabilities, including partial and complete paralysis. The annual cost of care for spinal cord injuries in Canada in approximately $1.8 billion per year.
Because spinal cord injuries can result from a variety of causes, including motor vehicle accidents, falls, sports, recreational activities, violence, bicycle accidents, defective products, and pedestrian accidents, it is always best to be checked by a physician as soon as possible after any accident or fall. A medical professional can perform diagnostic tests to determine if you have suffered a spinal cord injury and provide the medical treatment you need to reduce the risk of permanent disability.
You cannot predict what another driver might do or if a place of business might have an unsafe condition that can cause an accident. However, there are some steps you can take to reduce your risk for a spinal cord injury.
Tips for Reducing Your Risk for a Spinal Cord Injury
- Use a safety belt each time you are in a vehicle. Seat belts have been shown to reduce the risk of severe injury or death in motor vehicle accidents. Children should be secured in a child safety seat or child restraint system approved for the child’s height, weight, and age.
- Check water depth before diving. Diving in shallow water or in an above ground pool can cause serious injuries or death, including spinal cord injuries.
- When playing sports or enjoying recreationalactivities, wear the recommended safety gear (e. helmets, gloves, etc.) and avoid leading with your head. Review all safety tips for the particular sport or recreational activity and follow safety protocol at all times. Extreme sports such as bungee jumping and sky-diving can increase your risk of an injury. Contact sports also increase the risk for a spinal cord injury as do recreational activities that have an increased risk of falls (i.e. bicycling, horseback riding, skiing, etc.).
- Drive safely! Do not speed or drive recklessly. Also, do not drive while distracted, intoxicated, under the influence of drugs, drowsy, or fatigued.
- Prevent falls by using rubber-footed step stools, preferably with a grab bar, to reach objects in high places. Use handrails and place nonslip mats in the shower, bathroom, and building entrances. To protect children, use safety gates to prevent them from falling down steps or stairs.
- Avoid clutter in your home and at work. Clutter can increase your risk of falls.
- Keep firearms in a locked case with the ammunition in a different location.
- Replace worn carpet, repair broken steps and handrails, and have adequate lighting at home and work to avoid falls.
- Supervise children when they are using playground equipment, especially climbing equipment.
- Add padding, supports, and guards to trampolines to help decrease the risk of a fall. Only allow one person to jump on the trampoline at a time.
Signs and Symptoms of a Spinal Cord Injury
Even though a spinal cord injury can result in paralysis, paralysis is not always an indication of a spinal cord injury. If you experience any of the following symptoms, or any unexplained symptoms, after an accident, you need to seek immediate medical attention:
- Loss of sensation or movement in your arms, legs, hands, or feet
- Loss of ability to feel heat or cold
- Weakness, numbness, or tingling
- Problems with balance or walking
- Difficulty breathing
- Pressure or pain in the neck or back
- Loss of normal bladder control or bowel control (e. bladder spasms, constipation, urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence, etc.)
For more information about spinal cord injuries, you can visit the Spinal Cord Injury Ontario website.
Call an Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer for a Free Case Evaluation
If your injury is the result of an accident, fall, or other negligent act by another party, the team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond want to help. Spinal cord injuries can result in significant medical costs and other financial losses, in addition to chronic pain, emotional stress, and permanent disability. You might be entitled to recover compensation from the party who caused your injury.
Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now. We offer free consultations and case evaluations.