Each year, many people suffer serious injuries in accidents all across the country. Spinal cord injuries are some of the most devastating injuries in that they can lead to permanent disability and long-term medical care, paralysis or even death.

A recent study found that these injuries are on the rise among elderly adults in the United States. Lead researcher, Dr. Nitin Jain, and his team studied the data of over 63,000 men and women with acute traumatic spinal cord injury. The researchers found that the overall rate of these injuries has stayed fairly constant over the years. In 1993, the rate was 53 cases for every 1 million people. In 2012, the rate was 54 cases per million.

While the overall rate hasn’t changed much, the rate for different age groups has. For example, the rate for young men and women between the ages of 16 and 24 has dropped from 1993 to 2012. However, the rate has unfortunately increased for older adults. For men between the ages of 65 and 74, their rates increased from 84 cases per million to 131 per million during the study period.

Adults over the age of 65 suffer a majority of these spinal cord injuries as a result of falls. Many falls occur in the home as a result of loose objects, improper eyeglass prescriptions and ill-fitting shoes. From 1997 to 2000, 28 percent of spinal cord injuries were caused by falls. From 2010 to 2012, this number increased to 66 percent. Older adults also are more likely to die from spinal cord injuries than other age groups.

Of course, spinal injuries can also occur in other situations, and can be still be suffered by a person of any age. When such injuries are the result of someone else’s negligence – a car accident, for example – it may be possible to obtain compensation to help with what can be extensive recovery costs. Understanding one’s legal options is important in any situation where a serious injury, such as one to a spinal cord, is suffered at the hands of another.

Source: U.S. News, “Spinal cord injuries drop among young, but rise among older Americans,” Steven Reinberg, June 9, 2015