Accidents resulting in paralysis and permanent disability can be devastating. Treatment of these injuries is difficult and costly, as treatment generally requires long-term medical care. People suffering from spinal cord injuries are often unable to care for themselves. They need help with routine daily tasks that many of us take for granted.
Recently, California Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a Bay Area lawmaker's bill to fund research for spinal cord injuries through traffic tickets. The bill would have added a $1 fee to the cost of traffic tickets. The money would have gone to the Roman Reed Spinal Injury Research Fund. This fund was created in 2000 and is run by the Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California, Irvine.
The program has been hit hard by budget cuts and is currently out of money. In his veto, the governor wrote that while the research is worthwhile, the funding method was inappropriate. According to the governor, fines for traffic tickets should be based on reasonable punishment instead of paying for general fund activities. It's reported that eight other states use a similar method to fund spinal cord research.
The fight over funding for research distracts from the serious nature and life-long consequences of spinal cord injuries. In situations where a victim's injuries were caused by another person's negligence or misconduct, the victim may be entitled to file a claim. A claim for negligence holds the careless party legally liable for resulting harm from their careless acts. Recovery of medical expenses, lost income, ongoing care and related expenses may be possible.
Despite the veto, research for California paraplegics and quadriplegics continues. Many victims of spinal cord injuries go on to live long, full lives. However, the road to recovery is generally long and expensive. A personal injury lawsuit may allow the victim of a paralysis-causing accident an opportunity to recover damages.
Source: Mercury News, "Political Blotter: Jerry Brown vetoes bill to hike traffic tickets for spinal cord research," Josh Richman, Sept. 17, 2012