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Paralysis After an Auto Accident

Disabled man in wheelchair on window background in clinic or room interior.

Paralysis caused by a car, motorcycle, or semi-truck accident is considered a catastrophic injury. A victim may have suffered temporary or permanent damage to their brain, neck, or spine. This type of injury can change almost every aspect of a person’s life.

If the paralysis was caused by the actions of another negligent driver, the victim has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party to collect damages. These damages are used to take care of medical and financial costs caused by the accident.

You may feel uncertain about what to do after a terrible wreck leaves you or a loved one paralyzed. It’s best to speak with a compassionate and skilled lawyer to get the help you need during this difficult time.

Causes of Paralysis

Paralysis is a side effect of damage to the brain or spinal cord. The more severe an accident, the more likely there will be damage to the spinal cord. If a spinal cord is bruised, partially torn, or completely severed, the result is often partial or complete temporary or permanent paralysis.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injury (38%), followed closely by falls (32%). Acts of violence, usually gunshots, account for 14% of spinal cord injuries. Other causes include sports and recreational activities and medical/surgical events.

Symptoms of Paralysis

Lack of sensation and inability to move parts of the body are well-understood symptoms of paralysis. Minor paralysis or signs that the spinal cord is damaged but not severed may include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Trouble swallowing or speaking
  • Coordination problems
  • Inability to move muscles/muscle weakness
  • Memory loss
  • Numbness or tingling in the limbs

Any of these symptoms should be taken as a sign to head to the nearest emergency room or trauma center as soon as possible. The first 72 hours are the most critical when it comes to recovering from a spinal cord injury.

Types of Paralysis

The type of paralysis victims suffer after an accident depends on the location and severity of the injury. The higher up the damage is on the spinal cord, the more widespread the paralysis. Different types of paralysis include:

  • Monoplegia: Paralysis that affects a single limb.
  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis that affects one side of the body.
  • Diplegia: Paralysis that affects the same parts of the body such as both legs or arms.
  • Paraplegia: Paralysis that affects both legs and sometimes the abdominal area.
  • Tetraplegia: Paralysis that affects all limbs, or the entire body from the neck down.

Medical Costs for Paralysis

There are significant medical costs associated with victims suffering from paralysis, especially after a wreck. A typical patient with a spinal cord injury stays in a hospital’s acute care unit for about 11 days. Rehabilitation stays last about a month.

Then there is the likelihood of re-hospitalization. Thirty percent of persons with injuries to their spinal cords are re-hospitalized one or more times a year. During their stay, patients are typically treated for genitourinary and skin diseases. Other diseases that may require treatment include those that affect the respiratory, digestive, circulatory, and musculoskeletal systems.

Average yearly expenses and estimated lifetime costs for a paralyzed victim depend on the type and level of paralysis, as well as their education level, neurological impairment, and pre-injury employment history.

In the first year alone, a paralyzing injury usually costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. This cost can exceed several million over the course of a person’s life.

The Emotional Cost of Paralysis

Learning to live with paralysis is challenging, to say the least. It can cause dramatic changes to your life and self-esteem. Many people who suffer catastrophic injuries like paralysis experience mental health issues and depression.

Talk to your healthcare provider about getting the psychosocial and emotional support you need. With rehabilitation and counseling, many people who have been paralyzed learn to adapt and even live independent lives.

Can You Sue the Driver Who Paralyzed You?

An injured victim may file a personal injury claim against the responsible driver and their insurance company. The claim indicates that you are seeking compensation for the costs associated with the accident and the resulting paralysis. The types of damages you can be compensated for include:

  • Past, present, and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and lost future earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy
  • Assistive mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and scooters
  • Orthotic/prosthetic devices
  • Adaptive equipment for your home or car
  • Voice-activated technology for things like computers and phones
  • Travel expenses related to your injury and recovery
  • Vocational training
  • PTSD
  • Pain and suffering

Contact an Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer

Insurance companies want to pay victims as little as possible, and paralysis injuries are among the most incredibly expensive to cover. The younger the victim, the more extensive and costly their medical and home care needs will be.

Whether your paralysis injury happened due to a car accident, motorcycle accident, or tractor-trailer accident, our attorneys understand and know how to negotiate a fair settlement for you. This isn’t just about your medical needs now; it’s also about your future care.

You’ll likely need follow-up care for years after the wreck. Mobility may be a permanent issue. Having a skilled lawyer by your side to investigate the accidents means you know you will be accurately compensated for everything you could possibly need.

Contact Gary Martin Hays & Associates to speak with an experienced Atlanta car accident lawyer today. Call (770) 934-8000 or message us online to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.

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