Santa Barbara Injury Attorney
Paralysis is typically a lifetime disability that is very costly in terms of medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life. If you or a loved one has suffered paralysis due to a car accident or other injury, Andrade Law Offices may be able to help you. Our Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys help California residents who have suffered catastrophic injuries obtain the financial compensation and ongoing medical treatment they need. Spinal cord injuries are an important focus of our personal injury practice.
A spinal cord injury (SCI) occurs when a sudden, traumatic blow fractures, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more vertebrae, damages ligaments or disks of the spinal column, or injures the spinal cord itself. Damage to vertebrae may cause inflammation that impinges on the spinal cord. Damage to the spinal cord because of a SCI can cause paralysis, which is loss of strength, sensation, or function in body parts.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), car accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injury and paralysis.
Injured in a car accident or other incident that left you or a loved one paralyzed? Call (805) 962.4944 for a free consultation. We are here to help you.
Levels & Severity of Paralysis
The UC San Diego Health System Neurological Institute says spinal cord injuries often result in severe paralysis that affects the ability to move. The Reeve-Irvine Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, says about 1.2 million Americans are paralyzed because of spinal cord injuries.
Cells in the spinal cord do not regenerate if they are damaged. A spinal cord injury can adversely impact body function, strength, and sensation, and cause loss of feeling, weakness, and paralysis. The impact of a SCI will depend on its severity and its location. SCIs are referred to as incomplete, which is a partial loss, or complete, which means the patient suffers total loss of strength and sensation. The losses a patient suffers depend on where the injury occurs on the spinal cord.
Paralysis also is referred to in terms that describe the limbs affected:
- Paraplegia describes loss of function in the two lower limbs (the legs) as well as in the pelvic organs (bladder, bowels, and reproductive organs).
- Tetraplegiaor quadriplegia refers to loss in all four limbs (arms and legs) as well as in the trunk and pelvis.
Location of Injury & Paralysis
The spine is labeled according to the 33 vertebrae that make up the spinal column in the neck (cervical - C), back (thoracic - T), lower back (lumbar - L), and tailbone (sacral - S). A spinal cord injury high in the neck or to the C1 to C3 vertebrae, is the most devastating. It will cause loss of function throughout the body, potentially necessitating the use of a ventilator to breathe.
A C5 injury would leave the patient unable to control their hands and wrists, but able to control their shoulders and biceps in most cases. With a C8 injury, a patient would likely be able to grasp and release objects and perform most activities of daily living by themselves but might need assistance with more difficult tasks.
Injuries at the upper thoracic level (T1 to T5) usually affect the trunk and legs (paraplegia) and the patient will likely require a wheelchair. A person with a lumbar injury (L1 to L5) may need a wheelchair but may also be able to walk with leg braces. A person with a sacral injury (S1 to S3) is likely to be able to walk but will have little or no voluntary control of their bowels or bladder.
Though research with stem cells and electro-neural stimulation hold promise, there is at present no cure for paralysis. Car accident victims who become paralyzed endure a lifelong disability that may leave them unable to work for a living or enjoy such basic activities such as walking, running, or sexual relations. They may require assistance with dressing, grooming, feeding, and toileting. Patients with high tetraplegia will be bed-ridden, requiring ongoing care and assistance.
The cost of living with paralysis tops $1 million over the course of the victim's lifetime with any loss of motor function, according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. For a 25-year-old with high tetraplegia, the lifetime costs of medical care alone will exceed $4 million.
Choose a Skilled Santa Barbara Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has suffered paralysis in an accident that was someone else's fault, a Santa Barbara injury lawyer at Andrade Law Offices may be able to help. We can help you recover compensation for your medical needs and associated expenses and losses, including future expenses and lost income, and your pain and suffering.