Tennessee Paraplegia and Quadriplegia Injury Attorney
In December 2015, a Memphis television station reported the story of a man who was paralyzed in a hit-and-run crash. The driver who caused the crash didn’t have insurance, and the victim’s family set up an online fundraising account to raise money for a home wheelchair ramp, a van to transport the wheelchair, and bathroom accessibility modifications.
A car crash that causes partial or total paralysis – paraplegia or quadriplegia – can be emotionally and financially devastating for families. Depending on the extent of a person’s injuries, he or she may need round-the-clock care and medical machinery that assists with basic bodily functions. Injuries that occur toward the top of the spine can result in medical costs totaling $1.64 million in the first year alone.
Tennessee Spinal Injury Lawyer
Families of loved ones paralyzed in a vehicle accident often struggle with medical debt, but a pursuing a personal injury case may offer some relief. Even if the party directly responsible for the crash was uninsured, there may be other insured parties that are liable – for example, Tennessee’s Dram Shop Law allows a party to pursue a liability claim against a business that served alcohol to a visibly intoxicated person, if that person caused a crash after leaving the premises.
If a member of your immediate family has been paralyzed in a car accident, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you cover medical costs.
Call John R. Colvin today to request your free consultation: 1-844-683-6229.
About Spinal Injuries
The spine contains 33 small bones called vertebrae, and the eight bones at the top of the spine – the cervical vertebrae – house the nerves that control most bodily functions. An injury to the cervical spine can cause total paralysis and leave a person completely dependent on others for care. A person with a cervical spine injury may need a respirator, to assist with breathing, and a feeding tube.
Injuries to lower levels of the spine tend to be less severe. Damage to a lower vertebra may interfere with one’s ability to walk, but a person may still have full use of his arms and hands, and breathing and digestive functions may be unaffected.
Paralysis that affects all limbs equally is known as quadriplegia, or tetraplegia. Quadriplegia may be complete – meaning there is no sensation, movement, or function below the point where the injury occurred –or it may be incomplete, which means a person may have some sensation and limited movement of limbs.
Paraplegia is paralysis in the lower half of the body, and it may also be complete or incomplete.
Prognosis for Recovery
With rehabilitative care, some patients are able to recover from their spinal cord injuries to some degree. But cervical vertebrae injuries usually result in lifelong disability.
Paraplegia and quadriplegia put people at risk for developing secondary health problems, including:
- Spasticity – Damaged nerves can cause stiff muscles, or uncontrollable muscle spasms.
- Blood clots – Cervical vertebrae injuries may interfere with the body’s natural blood circulation, resulting in potentially deadly blood clots.
- Blood pressure irregularity – Blood pressure may be low, high, or increase rapidly and unpredictably.
- Infections – Pneumonia and bladder infections are commonly associated with paralysis.
- Sepsis – Sepsis is a serious and potentially fatal condition in which a body essentially overreacts to an infection and begins shutting down internal organs.
- Depression – Patients with paraplegia and quadriplegia often experience depression.
- Pain – Damaged nerves may cause relentless pain.
Secondary conditions are part of the reason lifetime medical costs for paralysis patients are so high. About 30 percent of patients with spinal cord injuries will require hospitalization at least once a year after their initial injury, with an average stay of 22 days. And only about a third of spinal cord injury patients will be able to return to work.
The Costs of Modifications
Many people are able to return to their homes after rehabilitative care, but when they are unable to walk or don’t have full use of their arms or hands, home and vehicle mobility modifications are usually necessary.
A home may need to be outfitted with a wheelchair ramp and may require major renovations – such as widening doorways and making bathrooms fully accessible. A person who uses a wheelchair will also need a way to transport that wheelchair, and converting a van to be wheelchair accessible can cost upwards of $20,000.
Vehicle accidents are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries, and many crashes occur because of a driver’s negligence. People who drive while texting, distracted, or intoxicated – or who ignore the laws intended to keep motorists safe – cause many of the most serious and deadly accidents.
If a driver caused a crash that paralyzed someone in your family, we want to help you hold that driver accountable. The law office of John R. Colvin has helped plenty of Tennessee Valley families move on with their lives after an accident. Contact us today to find out what we can do for you, using our online form, or by calling 1-844-683-6229.