South Carolina Paralyzing Accidents Attorneys
Paralysis and other spinal cord injuries have a much bigger impact on people than many others. When an accident results in paralysis – whether partial or total, temporary or permanent – the medical bills and rehabilitation expenses persist for a longer period. There are other associated costs that could ripple for a lifetime. Most of all, the day-to-day life of the injured person and their family is dramatically changed and constricted.
This is why when the paralyzing accident is due to someone else’s negligence, the injured or their family must fight for their much-needed compensation.
Accidents That Can Cause Paralysis
Some common accidents that can result in paralyzing injuries include car crashes, truck wrecks, and motorcycle or bicycle accidents. In fact, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries (SCI), according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC).
This is unfortunately not surprising. Aside from the fact that traffic accidents are all too common, they also put the human body in considerable danger with factors such as speed and momentum, rollover risk, and ejection risk (being thrown out of the vehicle due to the force of the collision). These can easily increase the severity of bodily injuries, damaging important organs such as the spinal cord.
It’s not only motor vehicle accidents that can lead to these devastating injuries. Falls are the second most common cause of spinal cord injuries. What many people overlook is that tripping, slipping, and falling aren’t always innocent slip-ups – they can result from other people’s negligence, too.
There is a legal concept called premises liability, which holds property owners accountable for the safety of their premises. If a property owner neglected an unsafe condition on their premises, and somebody was seriously injured because of it, that property owner may be considered liable. In other words, if you or someone in your family sustained a paralyzing injury on someone else’s property, you may look into the possibility of a premises liability case.
Other common causes of paralyzing injuries are acts of violence, sports or recreation accidents, and medical or surgical errors.
Medical malpractice is a particularly heartbreaking cause of paralysis. People trust their doctors to improve their health, but some physicians and healthcare professionals end up creating bigger health problems instead. For instance, a surgeon may make a mistake during an operation that damages the patient’s spinal cord or spinal column. Even a physician’s diagnosis can do more harm than good if it wrongly recommends a surgical procedure involving the spinal cord.
If you believe that a medical professional or a healthcare provider is responsible for your or your loved one’s paralysis, it’s wise to talk to a lawyer about it. In fact, if you believe that any other party’s negligence led to the paralysis, seek legal advice as you could be entitled to compensation.
Types Of Paralysis And Spinal Cord Injuries
Broadly, spinal cord injuries are categorized as incomplete and complete. An incomplete or partial spinal cord injury means that the cord is only partly severed, so an injured person may still retain some bodily function. By contrast, complete or total spinal cord injury means that the cord is fully severed, so a patient’s bodily function is mostly or completely eliminated.
Incomplete spinal cord injury can be further categorized according to its nature. One type is called anterior cord syndrome, where the patient may retain some sensation but has very limited movement. Another is central cord syndrome, which involves the loss of fine motor skills, movement of the arms and or legs, and functions of the bladder, bowel, and sexual organs. Still another kind of partial paralysis is the Brown-Sequard Syndrome, where paralysis is more pronounced on either the left or right side of the body.
Whether incomplete or complete, a spinal cord injury can also be categorized based on which parts of the body it affects. The most severe cases are those where all limbs are paralyzed to a certain degree and the patient experiences difficulty in basic bodily functions such as respiration and bowel control. This type of paralysis is known as quadriplegia or tetraplegia. There is also a paralysis called paraplegia, which affects the lower half of the body, particularly the legs. Another type of paralysis is triplegia, affecting one arm and both legs.
The True Cost Of Paralysis
Unlike many other accident injuries, spinal cord injuries entail so much more than upfront accident expenses. The cost of advanced treatments and procedures, on top of the cost of rehabilitation and long-term care, are only some of the burdens that the injured and their family would have to face.
Here are tragic numbers from the NSCISC: On average, a person with high tetraplegia would have to spend $1,065,980 in the first year alone. For every year after that, the average cost would be $185,111. All in all, the lifetime costs for someone with this type of paralysis could be anywhere between $2.5 million to upwards of $4.7 million.
For paraplegia patients, the estimated expenses in the first year is $519,520, and for each subsequent year, $68,821. Their average lifetime costs could reach over $2.3 million.
For patients with any level of incomplete motor function, the first year of injury could cost $347,896, and each year after that could cost $42,256. The average lifetime expenses could exceed $1.5 million.
These costs do not even include indirect losses such as lost income and lost benefits. What’s even more distressing is that all these only comprise the financial impact of paralysis. There are other aspects to this condition that could be considered a loss.
Another aspect is the overall health and life expectancy of those who have spinal cord injuries. The NSCISC states that persons with SCI have significantly lower life expectancies than those who do not. There are diseases that are associated with bodily paralysis, such as pneumonia, septicemia (blood poisoning), heart disease, and urinary diseases. The NCSISC also names suicide among paralyzed patients as a factor in their mortality rates.
The social and psychological impacts of paralyzing injuries are also profound. With the great limitations that these injuries create on the patient’s abilities, it’s crucial for people giving care to ensure that the patient maintains a healthy social and psychological outlook. There are also ripples to this that affect the patient’s loved ones, especially those who had previously relied on the patient for emotional or financial support.
Getting Compensated For Paralyzing Injuries
The economic and non-economic losses can be truly substantial for those with spinal cord injuries as well as their families. Thankfully, the law provides avenues to claim compensation for these losses.
Please don’t hesitate to talk to us at Kassel McVey if you are in South Carolina. Our attorneys are ready to help you at any point of your paralysis claim, or even if you simply want answers to your legal questions. Don’t worry about additional expenses, as we won’t charge you lawyer fees unless and until we obtain your compensation for you. Your initial consultation is also completely free. Talk to us today at (803) 256-4242.
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Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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