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A violent car crash can render an individual paralyzed, either for the short term or permanently. Paralysis is the loss of muscle function in some or all limbs of the human body. Not all types of paralysis are permanent, but if a person suffers from chronic head or neck injury, they can become permanently paralyzed. Paralysis affects the quality of life, mental health, and financial well-being of the individual, which is why pursuing litigation to seek compensation is mandatory. Contact us at Mountain States Injury Law to learn more.

Man in the wheelchair

What Causes Paralysis After a Car Accident?

Serious car accidents can injure the brain or spinal cord. Traumatic brain injury, or TBI is, caused when the skull is fractured or punctured by colliding with a surface during an accident. Traumatic brain injury can disrupt communication between the nerve cells and disable the performance of the upper muscles of the body, such as the facial muscles.

The spinal cord can also get damaged in a severe auto accident. The nerves in the spinal cord could get damaged or severed. This makes the spinal cord incapable of sending messages to the rest of the body.

  • The most common types of paralysis caused by spinal cords are the following:
  • Monoplegia (paralysis of a single limb)
  • Diplegia (paralysis of two limbs)
  • Triplegia (paralysis of three limbs of the body)
  • Tetraplegia (paralysis of all four limbs)
  • Paraplegia (paralysis of legs)
  • Hemiplegia (either side of the body is completely paralyzed)

If an accident injury severely impacts the limbs, the individual might require amputation. However, in some cases, the impact of the collision damages the nerve cells, causing paralysis in certain limbs. If the paralysis is reversible, the person may undergo various forms of therapy to regain muscle function.

Locked-in syndrome is also a type of paralysis that can be caused by a violent car accident. A person diagnosed with the locked-in syndrome would be unable to move any muscle except for the eye muscles. This condition is extremely rare, but it can happen if the impact of the car accident impacts the pons within the brain. The person with locked-in syndrome would also be unable to talk. Various forms of therapy may be carried out to help the brain regain control over the movement of the body.

The Lifetime Cost of Paralysis

The most common type of car accident injury that results in paralysis is a spinal cord injury. These types of injuries can lead to permanent or temporary paralysis. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the first year of treatment for tetraplegia, which is paralysis of all four limbs of the body, can cost around $1.1 million. Paralysis treatment, such as psycho-, physical, or occupational therapy, can take years. By the time the therapy or treatment, such as orthotic devices or medications, is completed, the costs can reach $202,000.

However, there may be a difference between lifetime costs for high or low tetraplegia. A person with high tetraplegia would have treatment costs of up to $184,891 every subsequent year, while a person with low tetraplegia could be charged $113,423, and the initial year of treatment would cost around $769,400.

For instance, if a person was paralyzed at a young age, the lifetime costs of paralysis would be approximately $5 million. People who suffer from paraplegia can require significant medical attention and expect a lifetime cost of $2.5 million. This number is assuming the victim is paralyzed in their mid-twenties. The initial year treatment costs would be approximately $567,000.

Paraplegia can be permanent, but physical therapy is still required by people with paraplegia to reduce muscle deterioration, pain, and help strengthen muscles. The cost of medical care for paraplegia would be more than $68,000 for every subsequent year of treatment. Any other type of incomplete motor function caused by a car accident would have lifetime costs of approximately $347,484.

Women in the wheelchair talking with lawyer

Complications Associated With Paralysis

The following complications can arise from paralysis:

  • Paralysis causes immobility in certain parts of the body, which can result in pressure sores. Applying too much pressure on a significant portion of the body without movement can cause the skin to break down. The person may get an infection due to pressure sores.
  • Bone density and muscle mass can decrease due to less body movement. There may be variations or reductions in muscle tone.
  • It is not uncommon for people with paralysis to have difficulty coping with paralysis in the first few years. Many people can fall victim to depression or anxiety after being paralyzed.
  • Limbs can swell due to paralysis. Immobility reduces blood circulation, which makes it difficult for the blood to reach the heart.
  • Poor posture is another complication that follows paralysis. Lack of movement and abnormal muscle tone can make it difficult for the individual to sit upright.
  • Paralysis in any limb or either side of the body can make it harder for the person to maintain their balance. The center of gravity of an individual is altered when any part of their body is paralyzed. The individual may have trouble walking, sitting, or standing.
  • Sometimes paralysis can affect motor control over bowel functions. Lack of motor control can result in involuntary bowel movements, also known as bowel dysfunction.
  • Respiratory problems are common in people who are paralyzed. Lack of oxygen reaching the muscles can impact health. Paralysis can take a toll on a person’s breathing muscles.

Seek Compensation For Your Suffering By Hiring an Attorney

Seeking proper medical attention should be your top priority after being involved in an accident. Medical treatment for paralysis is very prolonged, which can make it difficult for you to focus on filing a claim or a lawsuit against the liable party. The medical bills can pile up after car accidents that result in traumatic injuries. So the first thing you should do is hire an attorney from Mountain States Injury Law to represent your case in court or help you settle with the opposing party.

Our experienced attorneys know how to calculate the compensation you deserve after your life-altering injuries. Your attorney can help you prove liability and gather evidence to support your claim.

Negotiations with insurance companies can be troublesome because the insurance company of the defendant will try their best to dispute your claim or blame you for the accident. The legal support of an experienced personal injury attorney from Mountain States Injury Law can protect your rights. Contact us so you can get the compensation you deserve for your damages.

Dale G. Casares

Colorado, Idaho, and Montana
Personal Injury Attorney

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