The idea of a spinal cord injury is scary. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are about 17,730 new spinal cord injury victims every year, with varying degrees of disability as a result.

It’s smart to know the symptoms of a spinal cord injury so that you can seek appropriate help immediately if you or your loved one are ever hurt. After an accident, you should suspect a spinal cord injury whenever:

  • You experience weakness, difficulty controlling your extremities or the inability to move part of your body.
  • Your fingers, toes, hands or feet feel numb, are hard to move or tingle.
  • You lose control of your bowels or bladder.
  • You are unable to stand, sit up, walk or balance properly.
  • You are having trouble breathing.
  • You have extreme pain in your neck, head or back.

Any kind of damage to your head, neck or spine should prompt you to seek immediate medical treatment — but let the emergency medical technicians get you to the hospital. It could be dangerous to move on your own without proper stabilization. Contrary to popular belief, damage to your spinal cord may not be obvious at the time of the accident. Once swelling sets in, your spinal cord can be damaged even further — and rapid treatment is the best preventative.

Depending on the location and severity of a spinal cord injury, victims can expect to incur lifetime costs related to their living expenses and medical treatment — up to approximately $2.75 million. That’s why it’s so important to seek experienced legal advice when your spinal cord injury was caused by another person’s negligent or reckless actions.