Paralysis is when an injured person cannot move a part of his or her body due to significant nerve damage. When the injury occurs as the result of a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident, the injured body part is most often the spinal cord. Significant damage to the spinal cord–including a compression, fracture, or dislocation of the vertebrae–often leads to paralysis of the body below the point of injury.
Some Common Causes of Paralysis
Severe nerve damage or traumatic spinal cord injury
A traumatic brain injury, often resulting from a blunt force
There are some precautions one can take to limit the potential for an injury which could lead to paralysis. Observing proper driving safety is essential: use of seatbelts and airbags, and wearing a helmet while on a bicycle or motorcycle can all help your chances of avoiding paralysis injuries in the event of an accident.
What Damages Are Injured Parties Entitled to?
Someone who has suffered a paralysis injury due to someone else’s negligence is entitled to significant compensation, for many reasons, including the following:
Pain and suffering / significant reduction of quality of life
Cost of present and future medical care
Specialized vehicles for transportation of wheelchairs
Necessary additions to household; for example, a wheelchair ramp.
Types of Paralysis Related to Accident Injuries
Paraplegia affects both legs and results from damage inflicted on the lower half of the spinal cord.
Quadriplegia affects both arms and both legs. It occurs when injury is inflicted on the upper half of the spinal cord, particularly between the shoulders
Methods of Treating Paralysis
Immediately following an injury which may have caused paralysis, it is vital that the injured person move as little as possible as this can cause the injury to worsen. It is best to keep still until medical personnel reach the scene of the accident.
If and when paralysis does occur, the most effective treatment is regular physical therapy. Though not always effective, physical therapy has been known to help patients regain feeling and movement in the injured body parts. It is important to keep in mind that even though people have made recoveries through extensive medical treatment, a paralysis injury can be permanent in many cases.
Other Kinds Spinal Cord Injuries
Of course, not all spinal cord injuries lead to paralysis. There are two general types of spinal cord injury: Complete and incomplete. An injury resulting in paralysis is often considered a complete injury. Incomplete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, may leave the victim with only partial paralysis, or no paralysis at all. But even so, an incomplete spinal cord injury can be debilitating and may require extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
The following are some examples of spinal cord injuries which do not always lead to full paralysis:
Myelomalacia: Is defined as a softening of the spinal cord following a trauma. Though it can lead to paralysis, this is not always the case. Other symptoms of Myelomalacia are sudden jerks of limbs and/or loss of motor functions in limbs.
For more information on injuries associated with automobile accidents, check out our articles on whiplash injuries,amputation injuries, and leg fractures. And for more information on circumstances which can lead to paralysis injuries, read our articles on drunk driving, bicycle accidents, and motorcycle accidents. All this and more can be found in the personal injury law articles section of our website.
Stuart A. Carpey, who has been practicing as an attorney since 1987, focuses his practice on complex civil litigation which includes representing injured individuals in a vast array of personal injury cases.