About one in 50 people in the United States live with some form of paralysis—a condition characterized by loss of sensation and restricted movement affecting certain areas of the body. The leading cause of paralysis in the U.S. is stroke, with the second-leading cause being injury to the spinal cord.
The causes of spinal cord injuries can vary, with accidents serving as the most common causes. According to national research on spinal cord injuries, which is a major cause of paralysis, these injuries largely result from motor vehicle crashes, falls, and violent crimes. Spinal cord injuries can have temporary or permanent effects on mobility, use of limbs, and overall livelihood.
At Florin|Roebig, our spinal cord injury lawyers are committed to seeking justice for individuals who have developed quadriplegia, paraplegia, or another form of paralysis as a result of an accident that occured at the fault of another party.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to another party’s negligence, our lawyers can review your case and help you recover compensation for physical, psychological, and other economic damages.
Defining Types Of Paralysis
According to a 2013 national survey, spinal cord injuries are the cause of about 27 percent of paralysis cases. These injuries refer to some level of damage to the spinal cord, which is an area of the body responsible for carrying messages from the brain to other systems in the body, affecting bodily movement and bodily sensations.
Depending on the level of sensation individuals have maintained from their injury, spinal cord injuries can be further classified as “complete” or “incomplete”:
- complete paralysis refers to the complete loss of sensation below the spinal cord injury
- incomplete paralysis refers to the partial loss of motor and sensory function below the injury
Symptoms of paralysis may include loss of sensation, restricted mobility, spasms, loss of bladder control, and changes in sexual function and sensitivity.
In addition to the classification of complete or incomplete, these injuries are also categorized according to which areas of the body have been affected.
The general types of paralysis include:
- Quadriplegia: Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, affects the arms, legs, trunk, hands, and pelvic organs. This type of paralysis can be further classified as complete or incomplete quadriplegia. Incomplete quadriplegia is the most common form of paralysis in the U.S.
- Paraplegia: Unlike quadriplegia, paraplegia does not affect the upper extremities. Paraplegia refers to partial or full paralysis of the legs, trunk, and pelvic organs.
- Hemiplegia: Hemiplegia is a type of paralysis that affects one side of the body. The primary cause of this is stroke.
The average age of injury for people in the U.S. is 43, with males making up the majority of new cases. Nearly 50 percent of all spinal cord injuries occur in people between the ages of 16 and 40, and require an average stay of 11 days in a hospital acute care unit.
Effects Of Paralysis Throughout The Body
Paralysis affects several systems throughout the body, involving damage to the nerves, and results in temporary or permanent changes to sensation, strength, and other bodily functions.
The extent of a spinal cord injury’s effects on physical movement and sensation largely depends on where the injury occurs along the spinal cord and the severity of the injury.
Depending on the severity of the injury, this may result in permanent and severe restrictions to mobility and loss of sensation (including ability to feel heat, coldness, or touch)—both of which can have serious implications for the types of activities or work individuals are able to engage in as part of their normal routines.
Suffering a traumatic injury may require a radical restructuring of a person’s life, requiring surgery, hospitalization, and ongoing care in the home to attend to basic needs.
Parents of children who have suffered spinal cord injuries may have to temporarily or permanently alter their own schedules in order to care for their children and cover the enormous expenses that can accumulate as a result of a life-changing injury.
What It Means To Live With Quadriplegia And Paraplegia
Spinal cord injuries occur across racial, gender, and age demographics, affecting children, teens, and adults who have been victims of violence, accidents, or other medical conditions.
Children who become paraplegic or quadriplegic may require assistance in school, and adults may suffer displacement with work, requiring job training and counseling to process their physical and psychological trauma.
There is no cure for quadriplegia or paraplegia, and these conditions may lead to lifelong disability. Although certain functions may return or digress over time, the prognosis for individuals with paralysis may often depend on the type of care received, methods of treatment, and the level of support individuals have access to in their communities and home environments.
While the direct effects of these injuries are physical, the trauma of surviving a severe accident can have emotional, mental, and psychological effects on a person’s health and wellbeing.
It’s not uncommon for people with paralysis to become depressed, have trouble sleeping, suffer strains to relationships, lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, or feel disheartened by their newfound inability to participate in beloved activities or hobbies.
How Do Spinal Cord Injuries Occur?
While there are non-accidental circumstances in which a person can suffer a spinal cord injury, a large amount of spinal cord injuries in the U.S. are accidents and acts of violence.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, most spinal cord injuries occur as a result of:
- motor vehicle accidents
- doing physical labor
- medical/surgical errors
- sports injuries
- gunshot wounds
In the immediate aftermath of an accident, individuals with spinal cord injuries require immediate medical care to assess the severity of the injury and will need to be hospitalized.
Determining the extent of a spinal cord injury, and developing a treatment plan, can take time, and may require surgery, long-term hospitalization, residential rehabilitation, and the use of medical devices or medication.
Cost Of Spinal Cord Injuries In The U.S.
The first year of expenses for paraplegics in the U.S. is over half a million dollars on average. For quadriplegics, this total cost increases to an average of $800,000 to $1.2 million.
The primary payer for nearly half of this cost is private insurance, followed by Medicaid. However, merely having health insurance does not mean a person is protected from accumulating medical debt.
Insurance premiums, copayments, deductibles, and other factors limiting coverage, can leave many people facing exorbitant debt. This debt can be devastating for individuals and families, compounding the additional stress of learning to provide for a loved one with partial or complete paralysis.
If you or your child has suffered spinal cord injury due to a motor vehicle accident, workplace accident, or act of violence—you may be eligible to take legal action against the party at-fault to recover compensation for injury-related expenses.
Taking Legal Action For Spinal Cord Injuries
If you’ve become disabled or suffered paralysis as a result of an accident, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to recover compensation.
The basic elements of a personal injury claim for spinal cord injuries include:
- proof of duty of care: Duty of care can vary by context, depending on the nature of the accident. Examples of duty of care include a driver’s duty to follow traffic laws, the duty of employers to adhere to federal workplace safety standards, and medical standards of care.
- breach of duty of care: The plaintiff (injured victim) must be able to provide proof that this duty of care was breached. Examples of breached duty of care include: running a stop-light, preventable surgical errors, and the failure of employers to provide adequate health and safety training for employees.
- evidence of injury: Plaintiffs must be able to prove that they have sustained an injury. Evidence to support an injury may include photos and medical records.
- causal link to injury: The last essential element of all personal injury claims is proof that the breached duty of care by the defendant (liable party) was a cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
By filing a claim, you may be able to recover monetary compensation for a variety of damages, including compensation for medical expenses, physical therapy, lost wages, medication, loss of earning capacity, as well as mental anguish and pain.
Liability for spinal cord injuries depends on the nature of the injury and how the injury occurred. If you were injured in a motor vehicle accident, liability may fall upon the at-fault driver, if the accident resulted due to their own reckless or negligent behavior.
If you suffered a spinal cord injury at work, an employer may be held liable for damages if the accident occurred as a direct cause of unsafe working conditions or another example of negligence on behalf of the employer.
How A Lawyer Can Help You Seek Compensation For Paralysis
The road to recovery for spinal cord injury victims is a lifelong process that can take a strenuous toll on a person’s health and finances.
Hiring a lawyer can ease the burden of navigating the legal process alone, and can expedite the settlement process, allowing you to focus on your recovery without worrying about the cost.
At Florin|Roebig, our personal injury lawyers have extensive experience fighting on behalf of individuals who have suffered traumatic injuries and wish to seek justice for accidents that occurred due to another person’s negligent or reckless behavior.
What our spinal cord injury lawyers can do for you:
- provide a free initial case evaluation to determine your legal options
- investigate the nature of the accident
- provide an estimate for how much your settlement is worth
- consult legal and medical experts
- use our legal skills and resources to gather the evidence necessary to build a strong claim against the defendant
- communicate clearly and effectively with you throughout each step of the process
- negotiate a fair settlement that is capable of covering the extent of your losses, including a consideration of future expenses
How Long Do I Have To File A Spinal Cord Injury Claim?
The deadline for filing a spinal cord injury claim varies according to where you live in the United States. This deadline is known as the statute of limitations.
Statutes of limitations for all types of personal injury are established under state law. By contacting our law office, our lawyers can provide you with more information on your state’s personal injury laws and any additional information that pertains to your case.
List Of Top-Rated Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers
Choosing an attorney is a big decision as it can have a tremendous impact on how well your case is represented. At Florin|Roebig, we have several dedicated attorneys who will fight for you.
These experienced spinal cord injury lawyers include:
- Wil H. Florin, B.C.S.
- Tommy D. Roebig, B.C.S.
- Chase P. Florin, B.C.S.
- Neil P. O’Brien, M.B.A.
- Shaun M. Cummings
- Luca G. Esposito
- Chad K. Florin, M.B.A., LL.M.
- Nicholas S. Costantino
- Jordan A. Kolinski
- Parker Y. Florin, LL.M.
- Taylor D. Roebig
- Kavon P. Smith
- Matthew L. McMullen
- Michael A. Ossi, O.C.
- Lawrence J. Najem, O.C.
- Andrew M. Leone, O.C.
- Nollys R. Solarte, O.C.
- Brian R. Dettman, O.C.
Contact Us Today For A Free Case Evaluation
The top-rated personal injury lawyers of Florin|Roebig have a strong record of winning cases for individuals who have been temporarily or permanently disabled as a result of severe accidents.
Voted one of America’s top law firms, our lawyers have decades of combined experience to build a strong case for you or an injured loved one.
Our lawyers can commit to using the full extent of our legal skills to secure the monetary resources necessary for you to cover present and future expenses without accumulating debt—allowing you to focus on your physical and emotional recovery.
Don’t wait to begin the process of filing your spinal cord injury claim. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our top-rated lawyers and learn what we can do for you.