Traumatic spinal cord injury is a serious public health issue. These injuries can lead to various degrees of neurological deficits and paralysis, depending on the severity of the injury.
Motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic spinal fractures in the nation, with a recent estimate indicating that there are about 17,500 new cases of spinal cord injury every year.
Those who suffer a spinal cord injury or are paralyzed after a car accident should consult an experienced Florida car accident attorney to explore recovering compensation for their injuries.
Causes and Symptoms of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injury refers to damage that happens to the spinal cord. This damage can stem from trauma or disease.
A spinal cord injury can occur after a sudden and traumatic blow to your spine that fractures, dislocates, or crushes your vertebrae. The damage and severity of a spinal cord injury can increase over the span of days or weeks.
Can You Be Temporarily Paralyzed?
The severity of spinal cord trauma is typically referred to as the “completeness” of the injury. A complete injury refers to situations where you have lost all ability to control movement below the injury.
An incomplete injury refers to when you retain some sensory or motor function below the injury site. As a victim, you might experience permanent or temporary paralysis after a car accident.
Types of Paralysis
In addition, the medical community refers to paralysis from a spinal cord injury as either tetraplegia or paraplegia.
Tetraplegia is sometimes known as quadriplegia. It refers to situations where your arms, hands, legs, and pelvis are all paralyzed by the injury.
This paralysis impacts your trunk, legs, and pelvic organs but leaves the upper parts of your body more intact than tetraplegia.
Some common symptoms of spinal cord injury and paralysis include:
- Loss of movement,
- Loss of sensation,
- Loss of bladder or bowel control,
- Changes in sexual function, and
- Difficulty breathing.
Clearly, suffering any of these injuries can dramatically alter your life.
Risk Factors for Paralysis After a Spinal Cord Injury
While spinal cord injuries usually result from an accident and can happen to anyone, certain demographic factors can place certain individuals at a higher risk of having a spinal cord injury.
Some factors that can make one more at risk for a spinal injury include the following:
- Being male,
- Being between the ages of 16 and 30,
- Being 65 years old or older,
- Using alcohol,
- Engaging in risky behavior, and
- Having certain diseases.
Car accident victims who experience suspected spinal cord injuries must seek medical treatment.
These injuries can develop some time after the initial accident, and timely medical treatment is crucial to reduce the likelihood of severe and life-long disability.
Damages After Car Accident Paralysis
Under Florida law, those who experience paralysis from a car accident might be able to recover compensation from the negligent party.
However, these cases require a significant amount of evidentiary support, and the victim must abide by the state’s strict substantive and procedural rules.
Establishing a legal claim for paralysis from a car accident requires you to meet the elements of a negligence lawsuit. A critical aspect of these negligence claims involves establishing the type and extent of damages you can collect.
Typically, a Florida car accident victim can recover damages for the following:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses,
- Lost wages,
- Physical rehabilitation,
- Medical devices,
- Vocational training, and
- Pain and suffering.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, spinal cord injuries involving paralysis can cost a patient over $550,000 in the first year and over $70,000 each year after the accident.
Moreover, insurance companies often limit the amount they pay out, leaving accident victims with exorbitant costs.
Thus, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney to discuss the best way to recover compensation if you have suffered such injuries.
Was Your Life Turned Upside Down Following a Serious Car Accident?
If you or a loved one suffers from car accident paralysis, the dedicated Florida personal injury lawyers at Barrett Nonni Homola & Ferraro are here to help.
We have more than 40 years of experience pursuing fair compensation awards on behalf of victims who were paralyzed in a car accident, and we know what it takes to hold negligent drivers accountable.
We offer free, no-obligation consultations to all prospective clients. Furthermore, we will not bill you for our services unless and until we recover compensation on your behalf.