A car accident can cause paralysis. A forceful impact on a person’s spine, being thrown from their vehicle, or any pressure or puncturing force that compresses or crushes the spinal cord can lead to partial or total paralysis. Certain head and brain trauma can also lead to the loss of sensation or control of a limb.
Signs of Spinal Cord Injury & Paralysis
If you are involved in a car accident, you should immediately seek medical attention. If you have spinal cord damage or a traumatic brain injury, you may be in shock or have symptoms that develop later. Being checked over by medical professionals and asked probing questions can help ensure your condition or injury doesn’t worsen.
Symptoms that indicate you have spinal cord damage or paralysis are:
- Change in sexual function
- Difficulty breathing or constant coughing
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Loss of control of your bladder or bowel
- Loss of sensation or movement in your limbs or extremities
- Tingling sensation in your extremities
Types of Paralysis
The type and severity of a person’s paralysis depend on where their spinal cord sustains damage and the force of the blow. There are five types of paralysis:
- Monoplegia, which is paralysis that solely affects one limb. For instance, a person may not be able to move or feel sensations in their left leg. This type of paralysis is caused by nerve damage in the body above the paralyzed limb.
- Hemiplegia, which is paralysis of one side of the body. This type of paralysis is caused by strokes and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).
- Diplegia, which is paralysis of either both your arm or your legs. This type of paralysis is most often caused by spinal cord damage; however, some people can develop diplegia after suffering a TBI.
- Paraplegia, which is paralysis of the lower part of your body (i.e. your legs, bowels, and bladder). If a person suffers spinal cord damage, they can develop paraplegia.
- Quadriplegia, which is paralysis of most or all of your body. If your spinal cord is severed or lacerated in a car accident, you can lose control of and sensation in your body.
What Happens If You Are Paralyzed in a Car Accident?
Unfortunately, paralysis is not a curable condition. If you are paralyzed in a vehicular accident, the paralysis will likely be permanent, especially if it is caused by spinal cord damage.
Depending on the type of paralysis, you may be prescribed steroids or other medication to help reduce the nerve damage and swelling; however, your exact course of treatment will be determined by the type and severity of the injury. Possible medical next steps include;
- Physical therapy
- Surgical procedures
The medical expenses can be quite daunting. You may also have to cover the cost of installing modification and equipment into your home to accommodate you. However, if you were paralyzed in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you can pursue legal action to be compensated for your economic and noneconomic damages.
It is also important to note that you can still pursue compensation if you are partially at fault for the accident. Under California comparative negligence laws, a plaintiff can still receive damages if they are at fault, and their settlement award will be reduced by their percentage of fault. For instance, if a person is 10% at fault for the accident, their $100,000 settlement would be reduced to $90,000.
Let Us Help You Pursue Legal Action
Eliot Reiner, APLC is dedicated to helping our clients fight for their right to fair compensation. Backed by decades of legal experience, we are equipped to handle catastrophic injury cases, including cases involving paralysis caused by negligence-based accidents. If you or a loved one have been paralyzed in a car accident, our firm can guide you through the legal process, help you maximize your compensation and minimize your liability, and develop a personalized case strategy.
To schedule a case consultation, contact our firm online or via phone (916) 778-3228.