What Happens If You’re Paralyzed in a Car Accident?
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of paralysis in the U.S. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, approximately 1.7 percent of the population suffers from some form of paralysis, and about 1.4 million people are paralyzed due to spinal cord injuries. Motor vehicle accidents account for the largest percentage of spinal cord injuries, and many victims are young at the time of the crash. This predominately male group may require special and intensive care for decades.
Paralysis is a catastrophic, life-changing injury not only for the victim but for his or her entire family. If the accident occurred because of the recklessness, negligence, or intentional acts of another party, the victim may file a personal injury lawsuit within two years of the car wreck.
A Los Angeles personal injury lawyer at Ellis Injury Law can help you receive the maximum compensation for your injuries. Our quarter-century record of obtaining more than $350 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients speaks for itself.
Types of Paralysis
Paralysis resulting from car accidents occurs when the person receives an injury to the spinal cord or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Damage to the spinal cord, including nerve severance or pinching, will cause either paraplegia or quadriplegia. The former is the loss of use and sensation in the lower half of the body, including the ability to walk. The latter involves the loss of use and sensation in all four limbs and often means the individual must spend much of their lives in a nursing facility.
A severe blow to the head in a motor vehicle accident can also cause paralysis from a TBI. In such cases, the brain can no longer communicate with some muscles, and paralysis in those muscles occurs.
Although some people with paralysis may recover some ability to move, for most the condition is permanent. New therapies and technological innovations, however, are making it likelier that certain patients will improve over time, but for most patients, any recovery is currently minimal to nonexistent.
Those with paralysis experience many other issues relating to their condition. This may include bowel and bladder problems, sexual dysfunction, respiratory difficulties, and depression.
A personal injury lawyer will utilize medical experts to testify as to the long-term prognosis and needs of the client, as well as call upon the expertise of life care planners and other professionals to determine a fair settlement amount. While most cases are settled,
Car Accident Paralysis Damages
Those paralyzed in car accidents not only suffer a profound physical disability, but their emotional anguish and pain and suffering is intense. Some people, especially those with paraplegia, may eventually find employment, but others will never work again or may not work in the field in which they were employed prior to the car crash. Economic damages may include:
- Medical expenses, current, and future
- Rehabilitation therapies
- Cost of special equipment and assistive devices
- Modifications of home and vehicles
- Home nursing or attendant care
- Occupational therapy
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
Non-economic damages may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Spousal loss of consortium
California does not place a cap on damages for non-medical malpractice personal injury cases.
When the actions of the responsible party were particularly egregious, the jury may award punitive damages, meant to punish those liable and make an example of them. While punitive damages are not generally awarded in personal injury cases, a jury may make such a decision based on the circumstances surrounding the actions of the defendant when lifelong paralysis occurs.
Unfortunately, many paralysis victims succumb to their injuries. If that happens, the family may file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible for the accident. The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is typically two years from the death date, not the date of the motor vehicle accident.
Contact a Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one were paralyzed in a car accident because of the reckless actions of another driver, you need the services of a compassionate Los Angeles car accident lawyer at Ellis Injury Law. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. After evaluating your case, we will let you know your options. If we do not obtain a settlement or verdict, there is no fee. While most cases are settled, we do hesitate to take a paralysis claim to trial. Reach out to one of our Los Angeles lawyers today.