The extent of the paralysis depends upon the severity and the location of the injury. Paralysis and loss of sensation may be partial or total, temporary or permanent. If function and mobility are not regained within several months after the injury, the loss is more likely to be permanent. Any injury that damages the spinal cord or nerve pathways in the spinal cord can cause permanent loss.
People who are weak or paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury are also at risk of developing other problems, such as bedsores, urinary tract infections, and pneumonia.
Given the serious nature of spinal cord injuries, it is important to consult an experienced paralysis accident lawyer to seek all sources of liability and compensation.
We invite you to call 1-855-508-9565 or email [email protected] to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney at GJEL if you or a loved one has been paralyzed. We provide free consultation, and we’re paid only when we win your claim. You’ll pay no fees if we don’t obtain a verdict or settlement for you.
California Personal Injury Lawyers Assisting Clients with Paralysis Injuries
Nobody expects to get hurt in an accident and to require weeks, months, and sometimes even years of medical treatment and therapies. However, a serious spinal cord injury (SCI) or traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result in different types of paralysis. According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, currently about one out of every 50 people in the country are living with paralysis, which comes out to around 5.4 million people. To put that number in perspective, according to the Foundation, “that’s the same number of people as the combined populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.”
Suffering a spinal cord injury or another type of injury that leaves you paralyzed is debilitating and devastating for anyone. After becoming paralyzed, an injury victim’s entire life changes, and she or he typically will need significant medical attention—costing a substantial amount of money—for the rest of his or her life. If another party’s careless or negligent behavior resulted in your paralysis injury, you should learn more about filing a claim for compensation by speaking with one of our California paralysis injury lawyers.
Types of Paralysis
The Mayo Clinic provides detailed information about paralysis and the types of injuries that can leave a person paralyzed. Generally speaking, there are four different types of paralysis:
- Monoplegia: this is a type of paralysis that only affects one typically smaller part of the body, such as a limb. In many cases, patients who suffer from monoplegia regain feeling in most of their body but do not have feeling that returns to one part of the body, just as an arm. While certain diseases can cause monoplegia, brain injuries and nerve damage can also result in monoplegia.
- Hemiplegia: this is a type of paralysis that often is linked to stroke or cerebral palsy. It affects only one side of a person’s body, with paralysis of the arm and the leg on that side of the body.
- Paraplegia: this is a type of paralysis that affects the entire lower body, or “all or part of the trunk, legs, and pelvic organs.” It often results from spinal cord injuries in accidents, and it leaves patients unable to walk or to use their legs or lower bodies in any capacity.
- Quadriplegia: this is a type of paralysis that is also known as tetraplegia, and it refers to paralysis below a person’s neck. In other words, it means that a person’s arms, legs, trunk, and pelvic organs are all paralyzed.
Signs of a Spinal Cord Injury That Could Result in Paralysis
It is extremely important to see a healthcare provider after you suffer an injury that could result in paralysis of any type. While many injuries that lead to paralysis immediately leave a person paralyzed, some injuries can lead to paralysis later on. There are many signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury that could result in paralysis, according to the Mayo Clinic, which includes but are not limited to the following:
- Loss of movement in part of the body;
- Loss of sensation, or altered sensation, which can include feeling heat, cold, or touch more generally;
- Loss of control of the bowel or bladder;
- Exaggerated reflexes or spasms;
- Changes in a person’s sexual function or fertility;
- Changes in a person’s sexual sensitivity;
- Pain or stinging sensation;
- Breathing problems;
- Coughing up or clearing lung secretions;
- Extreme back pain;
- The pressure in the neck, head, or back;
- Weakness or lack of coordination in any part of the body;
- Numbness in a person’s hands, fingers, feet, or toes;
- Difficulty walking or balancing; and/or
- Oddly positioned neck or back.
If you experience what the Mayo Clinic describes as a “significant trauma” to your head or your neck, you need to be evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Indeed, “paralysis may occur immediately or come on gradually as bleeding or swelling occurs in or around the spinal cord.” And the amount of time between your injury and seeking treatment can affect the possibility of your recovery.
Causes of Paralysis from Spinal Cord Injuries and Traumatic Brain Injuries
What are some of the most common causes of injuries resulting in paralysis? We have compiled some of the most frequent accidents and incidents causing paralysis from the Mayo Clinic and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation:
- Motor vehicle crashes;
- Slips and falls;
- Falls from heights;
- Sports injuries;
- Recreation injuries;
- Alcohol use;
- Acts of violence; and
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of paralyzing injuries in the United States, including automobile accidents and motorcycle accidents. To be sure, motor vehicle collisions result in about 50 percent of all new spinal cord injury cases every year, many of which result in paralysis. Falls result in about 15 percent of all SCI cases and paralysis injuries, closely followed by acts of violence, sports injuries, and recreation injuries.
Are some people more likely than others to suffer an injury that results in paralysis? Generally speaking, the following are risk factors for a serious SCI or TBI that leaves the injury victim paralyzed:
- Sex: Males account for about 80 percent of all spinal cord injuries each year.
- Age: Injury victims between the ages of 16 and 30, and over the age of 65, are most likely to get hurt in an accident and to sustain a spinal cord injury or a brain injury that results in paralysis.
- Lifestyle: If you choose to participate in sports without wearing proper safety equipment or to engage in risky recreational activities like cliff diving, you could be putting yourself at risk of a paralyzing injury.
Damages After Suffering a Paralysis Injury
If another party’s negligence caused the accident in which you became paralyzed, you could be eligible to receive financial compensation. A damages award for paralysis victims typically consists of two types of compensatory damages:
- Economic damages, which cover direct financial losses like medical costs and lost wages; and
- Non-economic damages, which cover more subjective losses like the loss of enjoyment of life or the pain and suffering resulting from the injury that led to your paralysis.
Contact an Experienced California Personal Injury Attorney
The aggressive California personal injury attorneys at our firm can analyze the facts of your case today and can help you to begin the process of filing a claim for your paralysis injury. Contact GJEL Accident Attorneys for more information about how we can assist with your case.