Auto Accidents and Paralysis

Jan 23, 2017 @ 09:00 AM — by Kerry Steigerwalt

Two cars crashed into each otherAutomobile accidents happen every day across the country. While some may walk away without injury, others are not always so lucky and may suffer a serious spinal cord injury and paralysis. Those who are injured in car accidents are encouraged to speak to an injury attorney because they may be entitled to legal compensation for medical costs and other damages. To find out if you have grounds for legal action, contact San Diego, CA injury lawyer Kerry Steigerwalt.

What Is Paralysis?

Paralysis is a condition in which a person loses the ability to control one or more groups of muscles, along with a loss of feeling or sensation. Paralysis may occur when the spinal cord is damaged. This is because the nerves within the spinal column control muscle function and the body's ability to move and feel.

Nerves within the cervical spine of the neck control the upper portion of the body, and nerves within the lumbar spine in the lower back control the lower portion. Injury to the nerves within the cervical spine can cause upper and lower body paralysis, whereas an injury to the nerves within the lumbar spine can cause paralysis isolated to the lower body.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for paralysis. Once a spinal nerve is damaged to the point of causing paralysis, the most common course of treatment is to rehabilitate the victim to restore as much independence as possible.

Types of Paralysis

There are different types of paralysis, any of which may occur as a result of a car accident. The different types of paralysis include:

  • Monoplegia: With monoplegia, only one limb is paralyzed. 
  • Hemiplegia: Hemiplegia refers to the paralysis of the arm and leg on one side of the body.
  • Paraplegia: With paraplegia, both legs are paralyzed. In some cases, the pelvis may also be paralyzed.
  • Tetraplegia or Quadriplegia: Tetraplegia, more commonly known as quadriplegia, involves the paralysis of both arms and legs.

The Symptoms of Paralysis

Most people are aware of the main symptom of paralysis: loss of limb function; but there are other symptoms that can be just as life altering. These include:

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Exaggerated reflexes or spasms
  • Respiratory issues, including coughing and difficulty breathing
  • Changes in sexual function
  • Tingling sensation or loss of sensation in the arms, hands, legs, or feet

How Do Auto Accidents Cause Paralysis?

Automobile accidents can cause paralysis through injury to the spinal cord, specifically by forcing the spinal cord to move beyond its normal parameters. The spinal cord may also be damaged if a victim's head collides with something in the vehicle, the neck is broken, or the person is thrown from the vehicle.

Seek Legal Help  

If you or a loved one have become paralyzed due to an auto accident caused by another driver, vehicle defect, or hazardous road conditions, there may be grounds for a lawsuit to recover damages for injuries, lost wages, medical costs, and pain and suffering. Seeking the help of an injury attorney can ensure the responsible party is held liable so that you or your loved one can move forward in recovery. Contact injury lawyer Kerry Steigerwalt to learn more about your legal options.

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