Paralysis: Understanding Common Causes & Damages

Paralysis is fundamentally caused by some form of damage to the nerves that activate the muscles of the body. Paralysis can be caused by a medical condition, an injury to the brain or spine or an incident that deprives the brain of oxygen for an extended period of time. Accidents at construction sites, motor vehicle collisions, boating incidents, motorcycle accidents and swimming pool mishaps can all lead to the kind of injuries that cause paralysis as can certain instances of medical malpractice.

If you or loved one has been the victim of an accident causing paralysis it is of paramount importance that you contact a paralysis injury attorney for consultation regarding the particulars of your situation. There is no need for you to feel alone as you battle with insurance companies to recover benefits for all you have lost.

Types of Paralysis

Depending on the location and extent of the nerves damaged, there are four basic categories of paralysis: quadriplegia, paraplegia, hemiplegia, diplegia and monoplegia.

Quadriplegia is the most extensive form of paralysis, and is categorized as such when all four limbs as well as the trunk of the body are afflicted by paralysis. Because the internal organs are located within the trunk certain functions such as digestion and elimination may be affected and in certain cases the function of the lungs and heart are damaged as well. Quadriplegia typically occurs when there is damage to the upper spinal cord at the level of the shoulder or higher.

Paraplegia refers to paralysis of both legs and the trunk. Paraplegics are able to use their arms and hands to some degree, although lower organ function may not be possible. Paraplegia most frequently results from trauma and injury to the lower spinal cord.

Hemiplegia is paralysis affecting only one side of the body. This form of paralysis is most often caused by damage to the brain from a stroke or other source. The opposite side of the body from the side of the brain affected is paralyzed. For example, a stroke on the right side of the brain may cause hemiplegia on the left side of the body.

Diplegia is a form of paralysis that happens bilaterally in the same area of the body. For instance if both sides of the face are paralyzed or both legs are unable to move, the paralysis would be classified as Diplegia. Diplegia is typically caused by cerebral palsy or another form of damage to the brain.

Monoplegia refers to paralysis that only occurs in one lamb. Monoplegia normally is caused by injury to the peripheral or central nervous system that is remote enough to affect and damaged only selected nerves.

Accidental Causes of Paralysis

Many kinds of accidents can cause the physical trauma that results in paralysis and in many cases causes of the accident can be traced back to an individual source, whether the responsible party is one person, multiple people or a business. The most common accidental sources of paralysis are:

  • Motor vehicle accidents including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycling accidents and pedestrian accidents
  • Construction site accidents
  • Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents
  • Accidents involving defective equipment
  • Boating accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Sports-related accidents
  • Medical malpractice such as surgical mistakes, faulty medical devices, and operating without adequate experience

If your or your loved one’s paralysis resulted from any of the situations listed above or another accident not listed, it is essential to contact a law firm containing experienced paralysis attorneys to help you cope with insurance negotiations and take a claim to court against those responsible if necessary.

Paralysis Treatment Options

In some cases, surgeries on the spine and the brain may alleviate or reverse paralysis but typically, after the initial medical treatments such as emergency surgery and patient stabilization, paralysis is primarily treated through rehabilitation. Paralysis rehabilitation can include ongoing physical therapy, occupational therapy and vocational retraining, respiratory therapy, speech therapy, nutritional therapy and psychological counseling. Although there are limits to what these therapies can attain, there is always the potential for amazing progress with consistent and dedicated hard work.

Unfortunately, ongoing therapeutic treatment, though essential, is very costly and can place the victim of paralysis in a precarious financial position. The best way to avoid financial emergencies and guarantee adequate funding for proper treatment and care is to work with a paralysis lawyer as soon as possible after your paralysis occurs. Legal action taken quickly can spell the difference between proper and improper rehabilitative care.

Paralysis Lawyers can be of Assistance

If the cause of your paralysis was the negligent or malicious behavior or inaction of someone else then you are legally entitled to recover damages from those responsible through a civil or criminal lawsuit. Paralysis injuries usually fall under personal injury law but may also be filed under medical malpractice, product liability or premise was liability lawsuits. An experienced attorney can assess your situation and take the proper channels forward to make sure you are covered financially.