These are the five most common causes of spinal cord injuries in B.C.
1. Motor vehicle accidents
Over one-third of spinal cord injuries in B.C. are the result of a car, motorcycle, or boating accident that causes a sudden blow to the spinal cord or the surrounding tissues, including ligaments, discs and vertebrae.
If the injury spreads down the spinal cord, it can result in damage to the nervous system that interferes with motor function. Any damage to the spinal cord can result in difficulty functioning even if the spinal cord has not been severed.
2. Slip and fall accidents
Second only to vehicle accidents, a significant number of personal injury suits can be attributed to negligence and defective products. Examples of negligence include any dangerous condition involving a spill, collected water, a broken container or any other slippery substance or debris that was left unattended.
3. Defective products
Manufacturing or design flaws in a product can open up the manufacturer and others to liability for any injuries that occurred as a result of their negligence. Some examples include an item that leaked leading to a slip and fall or a defective ladder causing a fall.
4. Medical malpractice
Surgical error or other medical mistakes can also cause spinal cord injuries. On rare occasions, a patient may suffer spinal cord injuries while receiving medical care for other injuries or medical conditions.
Medical negligence which leads to spinal cord injuries may include misdiagnosing a medical condition which then results in spinal cord damage; performing a procedure on the spine, such as an epidural or spinal block, or surgery on the spine in a manner which falls below the requisite standard of care; and omitting to treat post-surgical complications efficiently and effectively.
Injuries resulting from the negligence of others such as in motor vehicle accidents, medical error or slips and falls due to unsafe premises, fall under personal injury law. However, there are other causes of spinal cord injuries, such as disease, that do not. Acquired diseases can cause tumors or cysts on the spine, or viral or bacterial infections, including polio.
Other neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis can, in some cases, cause lesions on the spinal cord that can result in paralysis, and congenital disorders, such as spina bifida, can cause the spinal cord to be malformed or exposed at birth.