It’s no surprise that the implications of paralysis from an accident are serious, but data compiled by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) reveal how severe the consequences can be for a victim. According to 2018 statistics, 99.2% of individuals who suffer a spinal cord injury endure paralysis in varying degrees. Of these victims, approximately 40% will experience paraplegia, which is the paralysis of the lower body and legs. The most common cause of paralysis is a car accident spine injury, though it can result from many other careless, reckless acts. When your life is turned upside down from such a catastrophic injury, retaining an experienced Atlanta paralysis lawyer is critical.
At Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC, our Atlanta serious injuries attorneys are dedicated to serving clients like you who become paralyzed after an accident that wasn’t your fault. You’re devastated physically, financially, and emotionally by a paralysis injury, but you may be entitled to recover compensation for your losses. Please contact our firm at (404) 419-6674 or use our online contact form to schedule a free consultation with a paralysis lawyer.
Overview of the Spinal Cord and Paralysis
To understand the critical nature of paralysis, it’s important to first understand how the spinal cord works and how an injury affects the human body. Johns Hopkins Medicine describes the four main areas of the spine:
- Cervical: There are seven vertebrae of the neck which serve to support the head and allow movement of the skull;
- Thoracic: The 12 vertebrae of the upper back are dedicated to providing stability;
- Lumbar: Below the thoracic spine are the five vertebrae of the lower back, which provide flexibility; and,
- Sacral: The coccyx, or tailbone, is at the end of the spinal column falling between the hip bones.
In general, trauma results in more extensive paralysis when it affects the higher parts of the spinal cord. For instance, an injury to the cervical spine or upper vertebrae of the thoracic spine could lead a victim to be paralyzed from the neck down.
Beyond the section of the spine, spinal cord injury paralysis is also a factor of different types of trauma.
Complete Spinal Cord Injury: This type of trauma results in no feeling, movement, or control below the affected section of the spine. At the thoracic or cervical spine, a complete spinal cord injury is likely to cause tetraplegia. It’s otherwise known as quadriplegia because is results in loss of use of all four limbs, plus the torso.
If the trauma affects the lower thoracic, lumbar, or sacral spine, a complete spinal cord injury may result in paraplegia. The victim may be paralyzed from the waist down, but may still have full sensation and control over arm movements.
Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: Though you may have some mobility and sensation below the affected region of the spine, an incomplete injury can still involve some form of paralysis. It can also lead to triplegia, where you lose function in one arm and both legs.
Common Causes of Paralyzing Injuries
There are many circumstances that could result in paralysis, some of which occur through careless acts and others because of intentional misconduct. A paralysis attorney can tell you more about your legal remedies, but you may be entitled to compensation for injuries related to:
- Car, truck, motorcycle, and other motor vehicle collisions;
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents;
- Slip and fall accidents and other incidents that occur because a property owner fails to maintain the premises in a safe condition;
- Workplace accidents, which may trigger workers’ compensation laws;
- Medical malpractice and mistakes, including paralysis as the result of a birth injury; or,
- Defective, dangerous products that can cause paralysis after a manufacturer allows the item to enter the stream of commerce.
Your Rights in a Paralysis Claim
While the causes of paralyzing injury may vary, many of them occur because another person engaged in careless or reckless acts. In the practice of law, this conduct is termed negligence. Georgia law provides you with rights if you can prove:
- That the responsible party had a legal duty to exercise reasonable caution;
- The person or entity failed in this duty through risky or unsafe actions;
- The breach of duty was a direct cause of the accident that led to your paralysis; and,
- You suffered losses because of your injuries.
In most situations, you’ll initiate a claim for damages by filing a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company. There can be challenges with this process because insurers are businesses first and foremost. They don’t turn a profit by paying out large sums to victims of paralysis, so a claims adjuster may try to find reasons to lower your compensation amount. At times, the insurance company may even deny your claim on the grounds that you were partly to blame.
Claims adjusters don’t attempt unscrupulous tactics with attorneys who know the law. You’re in a better position to get the compensation you deserve when you retain a paralysis lawyer to advocate for your interests. If you can’t reach an agreement with the insurance company, your attorney will take the matter to court to ensure you receive fair compensation.
Damages for Victims of Paralysis Injuries
Tetraplegia, paraplegia, and other forms of paralysis are life-changing in terms of the losses you sustain. Hospitalization costs can skyrocket, as the average length of hospitalization in an acute care center is 11 days according to NSCISC. For the most serious forms of paralysis, you can expect to spend $1.1 million in medical costs and living expenses during the first year after you’re hurt. Unfortunately, paralysis can also affect life expectancy as well. Victims who suffer serious paralysis at age 40 only live another 13.3 years on average, based upon NSCISC analysis.
A paralysis lawyer can assist with recovering compensation for these losses and many more. You may be able to obtain monetary damages for:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages, both present and future;
- The costs of assistive devices;
- Expenses related to in-home care;
- Losses due to diminished quality of life; and,
- Many other types of losses, depending upon your circumstances.
Speak with a Skilled Atlanta Paralysis Attorney About Your Rights
If you or a loved one was paralyzed in a car accident or other incident involving negligence, please contact Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC right away. You can call our firm at (404) 419-6674, or use our online contact form to schedule a no-cost case assessment with one of our Atlanta serious injuries attorneys. We’re happy to review your circumstances and explain your legal options for recovering compensation for your losses.