According to a study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, 1 in 50 people are living with paralysis in the United States. That’s roughly 6 million people, or the populations of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., combined.
Though paralysis can be the result of a birth defect, it’s most often caused by an injury to the spinal cord. Depending on the nature of the injury, a person suffering from paralysis might be able to file a lawsuit to recover their considerable medical bills.
When most people think of paralysis, they picture a person in a wheelchair who has no control over their limbs. However, there are different degrees of paralysis. The condition can be:
In addition, there are several types of paralysis, including:
What makes your muscles move?
Simply put, trigger signals that are relayed from your brain.
When any part of this relay system (made up of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and the junction between the nerve and the muscle) is damaged, the signal gets lost and some form of paralysis results.
There are a number of ways in which this relay system can be damaged. The 3 leading causes are:
Some other causes include:
When it comes to spinal cord injuries and head injuries, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center found that most occur as a result of the following:
If you suffer from paralysis, you may be able to recover damages. Your legal recourse depends on the nature of your injury.
If your paralysis was caused by another person’s carelessness, you can attempt to recover damages by filing a negligence lawsuit.
To recover damages in a negligence lawsuit, you must prove 3 elements:
Most negligence cases involving paralysis are the result of a car accident. However, negligence cases involving paralysis also stem from:
If you suffered paralysis as a result of a workplace accident, you may be able to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that pays medical expenses and lost wages to employees who are injured while doing their job.
Most injuries are covered so long as the injury occurred during the course of employment. Unlike negligence claims, there’s no need to show that anyone did anything wrong in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
An intentional tort lawsuit is similar to a negligence lawsuit. The main difference is that an intentional tort occurs when someone intentionally tries to harm you.
For example, you may have been shot by a burglar. In order to recover damages in an intentional tort lawsuit, your attorney will need to prove that the defendant acted intentionally.
In addition to the usual damages available in negligence cases, you may be able to recover punitive damages.
Paralysis is one of the most costly injuries a person can suffer. In addition to extensive medical expenses, people who suffer paralysis often need lifetime care.
In most states, there are 3 basic types of damages available in a personal injury lawsuit involving paralysis:
Keep in mind that paralysis often leads to further complications and damages may also be available for these complications. The most common complications include:
Sometimes, you’re partially at fault for your accident. For example, you may have been running through a store when you slipped and fell on a spilled drink. Each state typically deals with shared fault in 1 of 4 ways:
Paralysis is a serious and life-changing injury. Medical treatment can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and it might not be clear how much medical treatment will be needed in the future. What’s more, insurance companies aren’t likely to offer this money up without a fight. Attorneys can take on insurance companies and those responsible for your injury.
There are a number of resources available to people living with paralysis, including: