Being in a car accident can be one of the most nerve-racking experiences you can live through. You can find yourself suffering from many different injuries that are both physical and mental.
One of the worst physical conditions a car wreck can inflict is paralysis. A victim with paralysis finds themselves unable to move or use some of the muscles in their body. Even worse, it may end up as a lifelong condition.
A study published in the New York Times by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation reports that about 1.9% of the population has paralysis. Many of these suffered spinal injuries in a car accident resulting in paralysis. If you are suffering from paralysis due to a car accident in Jersey County, speak to an experienced car crash attorney about your legal options.
Injuries that Can Cause Paralysis
These are the most common injuries that can result in paralysis:
Traumatic Brain Injury
If you get hit on the head by a blunt and penetrating impact in a car accident, it can cause a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries account for about 25% of paralysis cases in the U.S.
Neck injuries can result in quadriplegia or complete paralysis. Victims will not be able to move any of their limbs.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Car accidents cause more spinal cord injuries than any other type of accident. The location and severity of the spinal injury can determine whether paralysis is complete or partial.
Damage to the first thoracic vertebra or cervical spine can lead to complete paralysis.
Below the first thoracic spinal levels, a catastrophic injury can lead to partial paralysis or paraplegia. A paraplegic person has full use of their hands, but they are partially or fully paralyzed in their lower body and limbs.
The Cost of Paralysis
Paralysis can significantly change your life and presents a burden on you and your family. Beyond the lack of mobility, other complications arise for the victim, like losing muscle mass, skin breakdowns, infections, and compromised heart and respiratory functions. In many cases, a person living with paralysis loses the ability to control their bladder, bowel, sexual, and temperature functions.
Secondary complications caused by paralysis can dramatically affect health and quality of life. They can also be life-threatening.
Paralysis also increases the cost of living for the victim. Treatments for paralysis, including the cost of rehabilitation and hospital stays, can be astronomical. For some types of paralyzes, the cost increase is a lifetime commitment and includes in-home nursing.
A paraplegic person will need a wheelchair, probably for life, and this will affect their ability to move around in the world.
A quadriplegic person may need specialized equipment like respirators to stay alive and will need help with basic tasks in their life.
For victims of car accidents and relatives of victims of car accidents, you can pursue an injury lawsuit against the responsible person or insurance company.
With an experienced personal injury attorney, the victim can pursue damages and recover some of their livelihood.
In cases where there is an at fault party, you can sue for:
Jersey County allows you to sue for economic damages. Also called compensatory damages, they are supposed to compensate for earnings lost, not reward the plaintiff.
Economic damage can cover:
- Lost wages
- Hospital bills
- Property damage
- The cost of rehabilitation, medication, and medical devices
A jury can award non-economic damages for intangible injuries. They are awarded to the victim if their quality of life is negatively affected because of the accident.
It is harder to measure non-economic damages than it is for economic damages.
The victim can be awarded damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of normal life
Courts award victims punitive damages to punish wrongdoers and send a warning to the rest of the community.
Punitive damages often provide the largest source of recovery for the plaintiff.
In-car accidents, you can get punitive damages from:
- Drunk driving
- Excessive speeding
- Not obeying the right of way
- Egregiously poor vehicle maintenance
Contact a Jersey County Attorney for Car Accident Paralysis Cases
If you are suffering from paralysis due to a car accident in Jersey County, you may have a claim for compensation. Call an attorney to learn about your options for recovery.