Paralysis is a serious condition that affects approximately 5.4 million people in the United States, a much larger number than previously thought. Several traumatic injuries can result in partial or total paralysis, and the cause of those traumatic injuries are varied.
Motor vehicle accidents, defective products, slip/falls, work injuries, medical malpractice, boating accidents, sports activities, and other personal injury accidents can result in a traumatic injury that can cause paralysis. However, motor vehicle accidents and falls are the leading causes of the following three injuries that can result in paralysis.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) result in over two million emergency room visits each year. Many of those individuals will have suffered the TBI in a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall accident. TBI can result in an injury to the brain that prevents the brain from communicating with other parts of the body. The area of the brain that is damaged and the severity of the damage determines whether the person will develop paralysis because of the brain injury. Motorcyclists are particularly at risk for TBIs because of the lack of protection for the head during a motorcycle crash.
Spinal Cord Injury (SCI)
According to research, the second leading cause of paralysis is spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Approximately 17,000 new cases of spinal cord injuries will be reported each year in the United States. Many of those SCIs will result in partial or complete paralysis. As with a brain injury, the area of the spinal cord and the severity of the injury determine the level of paralysis. The risk of complete paralysis increases as you move up the spinal column.
A neck injury can also result in paralysis. It is easy to sustain a neck injury in a motor vehicle accident or a fall. The neck is fragile, and a sharp twist or jerk to the neck can cause severe damage. Most neck injuries (i.e. whiplash) heal within a few weeks without any lasting damage. However, there are some cases of neck injuries that result in permanent disabilities, such as paralysis.
The Cost of Paralysis
The immediate cost of paralysis is the physical cost. Depending on the severity of the injury, the accident victim may need 24/7 medical and personal care. For someone with complete paralysis, the simple task of feeding himself or putting on a shirt is impossible. The loss of freedom and independence can create a huge emotional cost. The mental anguish and emotional stress associated with paralysis can be overwhelming. A victim may require years of counseling and therapy to learn how to cope with the physical disability.
Lastly, the financial cost of paralysis is staggering. The expense for full-time medical care and personal care can easily reach into the millions of dollars over a lifetime. In addition, the victim experiences a loss of income and other financial losses, such as renovating their home to accommodate their new needs. When you add these costs to the medical and personal care costs, an accident claim involving paralysis can cost millions of dollars.
While financial compensation from the at-fault party does not take away the pain and suffering, compensation can provide the care and resources needed to help the victim be comfortable. The compensation received can also help provide ways to make the person’s life easier and more enjoyable.
Call an Erie Traumatic Injury Attorney
If you have suffered an injury that resulted in paralysis, we want to help. Contact The Travis Law Firm toll-free at (800) 401-2066 to schedule a free legal consultation with one of our attorneys.