Louisville Attorneys for Total Paralysis from Spinal Cord Injury
The most devastating outcome of a spinal cord injury is paralysis. Depending on where the spinal cord is damaged, the result could be total paralysis, a life-changing event for the victim and their family. Even in the best circumstances, someone with complete paralysis will need a lifetime’s care for even the most basic functions and daily activities.
If you or a loved one were injured in an accident and suffered total paralysis because of another person’s careless or negligent actions, you deserve compensation for the spinal injury and for the care you will need going forward. At Sampson Law Firm, our Louisville spinal cord injury lawyers want to help you get that compensation and see that you receive the justice you deserve. Contact us at (502) 584-5050 for a free and confidential review of your case today.
Definition of Quadriplegia
The correct term for total paralysis is quadriplegia, also called “tetraplegia.” In this injury, the victim loses movement and feeling in both arms and both legs. All quadriplegic patients have suffered damage to the cervical section of the spine and the spinal cord of the neck. An injury in this area damages the nerves that control breathing and muscles in your chest and upper body.
- C1, C2, and C3 vertebrae are nearest to the skull (counting down from the top). Damage here is almost always fatal because this area controls respiration. If the patient survives, they will be completely paralyzed and require respiratory assistance, such as a ventilator.
- C4 damage may require respiratory assistance, but the patient may have limited range of movement in their arms, legs, and torso.
- C5 damage may cause difficulty speaking, but the patient may be able to breathe unassisted, and have some movement of their wrists, hands, and legs.
- C6 and C7 damaged patients may have lower-body paralysis and some difficulty in speaking but can breathe unassisted. They may have bladder and bowel control difficulty. They usually have arm movements but may have difficulty moving their hands.
The effects of cervical spine damage are severe, and there is no easy treatment for them. Once the spinal cord has been damaged, it does not readily repair itself. Following such an injury, the only course of treatment is supportive care.
Causes and Effects of Quadriplegia
According to a study performed by the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 38 percent of all cases of paralysis were due to car accidents and motorcycle accidents, and another 23 percent were due to falls. Males between the ages of 30-50 were most likely to suffer these injuries.
The life expectancy of patients with quadriplegia depends upon their age at the time of injury but is significantly less than that of a person who does not have quadriplegia, according to the same study. A person who is ventilator-dependent may survive only three years following their injury without heroic measures.
Quadriplegics typically suffer a wide range of other side effects due to their restricted ability to move. Some of these effects are merely painful and embarrassing, but others can lead to further illness and death.
- Pressure sores. A consequence of limited movement, pressure sores can become infected and, if not noticed by caregivers, lead to sepsis and gangrene.
- Urinary tract infections. Loss of bladder control requires the use of catheters, which must be removed correctly and cleaned regularly.
- Muscle atrophy and bone loss. Weakened muscles lead to nerve pain, similar to “phantom pain” experienced by amputees.
- Respiratory infections. These are common in patients on ventilator support and in quadriplegics who lack the upper body strength to cough.
Quadriplegics require full-time, experienced caregivers to ensure not only the best quality of life but also their survival. Failure to notice an infection or open sore can be fatal to a patient, especially when they cannot feel the infection themselves.
Compensation for Quadriplegia
If you or a loved one have been injured in an accident and suffered this kind of devastating injury, you should seek legal advice immediately. Proving a claim for quadriplegia will require more than merely proving fault. Because of the nature of the case, you will be requesting the cost of care and treatment for the rest of the victim’s life.
- Medical costs. When making a claim for medical costs, the claimant (you) must provide proof of the cost of care. In an ordinary case, this can be done by providing bills, statements from doctors, and insurance payouts. For future claims, to show how much a thing is going to cost, you will need:
- Expert testimony to explain how the condition is likely to progress.
- Therapist testimony to describe the need for accommodations to the home, medical equipment, and supportive devices.
- Cost of home care if it is not provided by the state.
- Lost income. If you want to claim future wages, you may need expert testimony from an accountant or other financial professional to explain your probable earning potential over the next several years and how it has been reduced.
- If there has been a lost job or investment opportunity, your expert needs to be able to explain why this missed opportunity is directly connected to the injury.
- Pain and suffering. You must be prepared to explain why and how this injury has impacted your life. Although we want to believe that the “differently-abled” can live the same meaningful lives as everyone else, for purposes of a legal action, it is not true.
The potential costs of living with quadriplegia are immense. If you are going into a lawsuit to fight for the compensation you will need to manage this injury, you should consult an attorney right away.
Why You Need Us
At Sampson Law Firm, we can give you the advice you need to deal with insurers and their attorneys. We have a team of skillful and compassionate lawyers who will work with you from the first day to get the compensation you need. We know that you have a lot to deal with right now, and we want to make things easier for you and your family.
Sampson Law Firm will handle the investigation, talk to witnesses, do the paperwork, and make sure everything is filed in a timely manner, so that you can focus on recovery and healing. If it’s necessary to go to court, we’ll be prepared to argue aggressively for the compensation you deserve.