A spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis can affect nearly every aspect of life. The spine acts as a superhighway for nerve impulses traveling from the brain to all the muscles. When a sudden fall, an act of violence, automobile accident, or medical mishap damages this part of the body, the results are devastating and often permanent. Paralyzing accidents that happen through little to no fault of the victim can be pursued in civil court with the help of a catastrophic injury lawyer at Ellis Injury Law Firm. For more than 20 years, we’ve fought hard for maximum compensation on behalf of clients just like you who suffered serious harm that could have been prevented.
Types of paralysis
Paralysis can be classified as:
- Complete – causing the inability of any muscle movement and/or sensation.
- Partial or incomplete – retaining some feeling or control in the affected muscles.
- Localized – paralysis in one particular region of the face, hands, feet, or vocal cords.
- Generalized – widespread loss of control, grouped depending on the location of the brain or spinal cord injury.
- Diplegia – paralysis in the same area on both sides, whether the arms, legs, or face.
- Hemiplegia – paralysis of one side of the body, often an arm and a leg, sometimes extending into the torso.
- Palsy – complete or partial loss of muscle function,
- Paraplegia – paralysis from the waist down.
- Quadriplegia – paralysis of all four limbs, often causing the dysfunction of multiple organs.
- Locked-in Syndrome – the most severe form of paralysis, where only the eyes are able to move.
- Stiff – the muscles become rigid and immobile.
- Spastic – the muscles can move, but only in tight, jerky, uncontrollable ways.
- Floppy or flaccid – the muscles sag and eventually shrink.
Seeking immediate medical attention is necessary following a paralyzing injury. It takes a few days to a few weeks for the swelling to start subsiding to the point that a person regains some functioning. With some incomplete injuries, a person may regain function as late as 18 months after the accident. Only a small fraction of paralyzed people recover all functioning.
How paralysis affects your life
The spinal cord controls every movement in the body, as well as lung and digestive tract functioning. A spinal cord injury can cause partial or total loss of muscle control and movement, known as paralysis. You may lose feeling and reflex below the point of injury. In many cases, living with paralysis means loss of muscle mass, skin breakdowns, infections, compromised cardiovascular health, depressed respiratory function, the inability to control bowel and bladder, difficulty regulating temperature, diminished sexual function, and decreased quality of life.
While many paralysis survivors live 10 or more years after their accidents, research reveals a higher risk for:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Life-threatening blood clots
- Respiratory illnesses like pneumonia
- Pressure ulcers
- Constipation and gastrointestinal issues
- Chronic bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction
Up to 94 percent of patients suffer chronic pain. The pain typically occurs within the first year of injury but may decrease in frequency and intensity over time. Patients are affected emotionally and suffer disturbances of the activities involved in everyday living.
When are others liable for causing paralysis?
Most commonly, a motorist’s auto insurance provider is sued for causing paralysis due to reckless or negligent driving that led to an accident. These cases are easiest to win when a traffic citation has been issued by the police officer on the scene, but it’s not necessary. Other methods of investigation might include consultations with accident reconstruction, eyewitness testimony, surveillance recordings, subpoenaed documents, driver admissions under oath, and medical expert testimony.
In other cases, a medical center may be sued for medical malpractice during a botched surgery for failing to adhere to widely accepted medical standards. Your legal team will consult with outside experts to build a case for what “should have happened” and steps a reasonable professional with the same experience, skill level, and education would have taken to prevent the paralyzing injury.
Premises liability lawsuits can be filed when a fall occurs on someone else’s property. If you were a welcome guest, it is a property owner’s duty to keep the premises free from known hazards. We’ll seek to prove that the owner knew or should have known about a dangerous condition on the property, but failed to take reasonable corrective action. Homeowner’s insurance or business liability insurance can help cover the cost of these lawsuits.
In rare instances, a civil lawyer may pursue a personal injury lawsuit against an individual who intentionally committed an act of violence. Attempted vehicular manslaughter, stabbings, shootings, and severe beatings can all cause paralysis. Individuals often don’t have enough money to cover the cost of a lawsuit, though, so it may be in your best interest to pursue criminal charges against the individual who maliciously targeted you.
Should you call a Los Angeles accident lawyer?
A personal injury lawsuit may be the last thought on your mind during the immediate aftermath of serious paralysis injury. However, the cost of medical care is exorbitant. It costs an estimated $320,000 to $985,000 to treat paralysis in the first year and up to $5 million over the course of a patient’s lifetime. The risk of mortality is highest within the first 12 months.
Beyond that, treatment typically requires a lifetime of medical care, physical therapy, and mobility assistance. Your choice of care can greatly affect the outcome of your rehabilitation. Sometimes a loved one must stop working to provide the necessary round-the-clock care or a home care nurse must be hired. When you consider the financial toll of extensive care along with the unexpected inability to earn present or future income, this toll can completely devastate the family’s financial reserves.
Contacting a Los Angeles accident lawyer allows you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery, while we pursue compensation that can pay for the best possible future.
Get a free consultation from Ellis Injury Law
Our accident lawyers offer a FREE, no-obligation consultation to explore your legal options. Even if you’re not 100% sure what happened before the accident, we can take a closer look at potential liability issues at no upfront cost to you. Should you decide to pursue a lawsuit, we only charge a legal fee after we recover compensation on your behalf, so there is nothing to lose. Our team has recovered over $350 million for personal injury clients in the L.A. area. If you’re too hurt to come into our office, we can do a consult by phone or come to you. Call today to learn how we may be able to help.