One of the worst things you can hear after a car accident is a doctor telling you that you’re paralyzed. Paralysis happens when the connection between the brain and the nerves is cut, especially in the spinal column. It’s a catastrophic injury.
What can you expect if you’ve been paralyzed in a car accident? First, see your doctor so they can explain the details of your injury. You should then contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer to see if you can get compensation for your condition. Paralysis is expensive to care for, and you shouldn’t be forced to if someone else caused it.
Car Accidents Cause Nearly Half of Spinal Cord Injuries
The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center states that car accidents are the top cause of spinal cord injuries. The force of the impact can cause the spine to flex beyond its limits. This can cause damage to the discs and the vertebrae that could ultimately harm the spinal cord. Damage can also happen from a collision with a part of the vehicle or from debris.
The spinal cord is the central nerve running from the brain to the rest of the body. When it gets damaged, all the peripheral nerves down from the injury have trouble communicating. If it gets cut, paralysis occurs.
The best way to reduce the chance of a spinal cord injury in an accident is to wear your seatbelt. Going through a windshield and landing on hard pavement makes it much more likely you’ll hurt your spine. Yet, it’s not perfect protection. A negligent driver could still hit your vehicle hard enough to make you paralyzed.
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The Five Types of Paralysis
Paralysis is the total loss of nervous system function in a part of the body. It doesn’t only mean loss of limb control. Depending on the paralysis, you can lose control of many bodily functions, even breathing.
Doctors describe five types of paralysis in the medical literature. The kind you have depends on where your spinal cord was damaged and how hard the force is. The five types are:
- Monoplegia – paralysis in one limb
- Hemiplegia – paralysis on one side of the body
- Diplegia – paralysis across both arms or both legs
- Paraplegia – paralysis across the lower part of your body, especially involving the hips
- Quadriplegia – paralysis of most of your body
Paralysis is a permanent condition with current medical science, but swift action after your accident can minimize the effects and preserve your remaining bodily functions. You may need extensive physical therapy, surgical procedures, and counseling to deal with your new life.
Signs You May Have Spinal Cord Damage
Paralysis may not happen instantly after your crash. Your spinal cord may suffer damage and then break later. If you have any of these symptoms, we urge you to see a doctor immediately to check the condition of your spinal cord. It could save you from paralysis.
- Trouble moving
- Tingling sensations
- Loss of sensation in the extremities
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Increased reflexes or spasms
- Trouble breathing and coughing
- Changes in sexual function
The spinal cord does not heal easily, and there is no cure for paralysis. Usually, once the cord is damaged, it will stay that way. Current treatment can help prevent the problem from becoming worse, though, and you’ll need a doctor’s diagnosis to get the full value of your accident claim.
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Damages You Could Receive From a Car Accident that Causes Paralysis
The costs of paralysis treatment can easily reach millions of dollars. It’s a condition you’ll have to manage for the rest of your life. Besides the medical bills, you may have to go on disability benefits because you cannot work. This can devastate you and your family’s financial future.
Many people living with paralysis also suffer from mental illness because of the consequences of paralysis. You may be eligible to receive damages for mental anguish and diminished quality of life, among other non-economic damages.
The amount of money you need may be so great that it’s imperative to hire a personal injury lawyer to help you with your claim. An insurance company would love to get away with paying you as little as possible. If you don’t get what you’re truly owed, you could be left destitute.
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How Do I Get Compensation for Paralysis After a Car Accident?
In order to get compensation for paralysis after a car accident in Arizona, someone else must be at fault for your accident. Arizona is an at-fault state. You must prove the other driver was the one responsible for your injuries.
You and your lawyer must prove four things to the insurers or the court to win your claim. These four things are the basis for a negligence claim, which is the most common way lawyers win car accident claims:
- The at-fault party had a responsibility to keep you safe. This is automatic in car crashes
- The at-fault party did something that put you at risk for an accident
- That action caused your accident
- The accident made you paralyzed (and/or caused you additional damages)
If someone deliberately crashed their car into you or broke certain traffic laws, then the law may say that the first two things are proven automatically. You’ll still have to prove that their negligence caused your accident, but this is simple to do in a catastrophic injury case like this.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer if You’ve Been Paralyzed
After you’ve been paralyzed in a car accident, it will completely change your life. The costs for treating paralysis are incredibly expensive, and your injury may leave you unable to work. It is critical to pursue a compensation claim to cover the costs of your care, if possible.
Find out if you can get paid for your paralysis by reaching out to Zanes Law. Our lawyers are ready to help you learn your legal options. A loved one can reach out on your behalf if you cannot speak after your accident.