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Understand the consequences of a spinal injury
Christopher Reeve was best known for his role as Superman in the late 70s and 80s. However, you could argue that his real-life accomplishments were even more impressive than those of the fictional superhero he played.
In 1995, he fell from a horse and suffered a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down and unable to breathe without a ventilator. Determined to recover, he set up a foundation to promote and fund research into paralysis. While he never did walk again, the fact that he learned to move his finger and breathe without a ventilator is considered remarkable.
Thankfully spinal cord injuries are not that common, with around 18,000 per year in the US, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). The two most common causes are vehicle crashes at 39% and falls at 32%, both of which can occur in the workplace.
If you suffer a spinal injury, the chances are high that you will not work again. The statistics show that only 18% of people were able to work after one year, rising to 24% after 10 years and 32% after 40 years.
Your living costs will rise due to medical expenses and the need for help to go about your daily life. Spinal injuries also reduce life expectancy and leave you susceptible to a host of secondary medical complications such as pressure sores and respiratory infections. Reeve died nine years later due to a cardiac arrest resulting from a pressure sore complication.
If you or someone in your family has suffered a spinal injury at work, you will need help to claim workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance company may underestimate the real cost of your injury.