Coping with the Physical and Emotional Toll of Devastating Injuries
Spinal-cord injuries can cause an auto accident victim to suffer lifelong changes in muscle strength, feeling, and other bodily functions below the location of the injury.
Paralysis caused by an automobile accident typically occurs when a nerve in the spinal cord is severely damaged. According to a Loyola University study, the most common cause of spinal cord injuries is car crashes, which are responsible for 46 percent of all such injuries annually in the United States.
Two Kinds of Paralysis
Paralysis is damage to the nervous system that causes loss of involuntary muscle function in one or more areas of the body.
The nervous system has two parts: the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord; and the peripheral nervous system, which consists of the nerves outside the central nervous system. The neurons in the peripheral nervous system control muscle movement and send signals to the central nervous system.
Paralysis occurs when the transmission of nerve signals is interrupted by damage to the nerves, spinal cord, or brain. The greater the loss of muscle function, the more severe the paralysis.
There are four basic types.
- Monoplegia affects a single area, like a limb.
- Hemiplegia affects an arm and leg on the same side of the body.
- Paraplegia, or lower body paralysis, affects both legs and sometimes the hips and organs of the lower abdomen.
- Quadriplegia affects both arms and legs and sometimes the muscles in the trunk, the functions of internal organs, or both.
Partial paralysis (paresis) results in severe muscle weakness and impairment of movement, but permits a small degree of control over the affected muscles. Complete paralysis occurs when one cannot move the affected body part at all.
Treatments for Paralysis
A victim of paralysis feels the effects physically, emotionally, and socially. There is no cure, but some people recover partially or completely, depending on the cause and type of injury. Although many never regain full mobility in the affected area, treatments like physical and occupational therapy, medication, and surgery can help improve quality of life.
Devices like braces, wheelchairs, scooters, walkers, and adaptive equipment for driving a car help paralyzed individuals become more mobile. Emotional and social support also play a critical role in treatment.
Compensation for Victims of Paralysis
A person who is paralyzed because of a driver’s negligence may be able to recover compensation that goes well beyond reimbursement for accident-related medical expenses and pain and suffering. His compensation may also pay for ongoing medical care and rehabilitation; crutches, motorized wheelchairs, and spinal orthotics; and even modifications of his home like grab bars, access ramps, and stairlifts.
Because cases of paralytic injury typically involve complicated legal and medical issues, victims thinking about filing a lawsuit should consult with a Colorado attorney who is experienced with such cases.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Colorado personal injury attorney Dan Rosen at (303) 454-8000 or (800) ROSEN-911 to schedule your free initial consultation to discuss the details of your case.