Paraplegia, Paraplegic—Paralyzed in a Motorcycle or Car Accident
Experienced Motor Vehicle Accidents Attorneys
Paraplegia (partial paralysis) is one of the most devastating injuries that can result from an accident. Trauma resulting in compression or alteration of the spinal cord or canal between the thoracic spine (T1) and sacral spine (S5) is a main cause. Trauma to this region of the spinal cord prevents brain signals from reaching the lower portions of the body.
The leading cause of spinal cord injuries is due to injury sustained in a car accident.
What is Paraplegia?
Paraplegia is a form of partial paralysis that affects portions of the body below the waist. Some paraplegics are completely paralyzed from the waist down, which is known as complete paraplegia, and others only suffer from minor mobility or sensory issues which is known as incomplete paraplegia.
There is a greater chance that the patient will regain sensory of motor functioning if they experienced an incomplete paraplegia injury. A paraplegic still has functioning in his or her arms and upper portions of the body, which is not the case with tetraplegics (quadriplegics.)
Tetraplegia (quadriplegia) is the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso; paraplegia is similar but does not affect the arms.
Long-Term Complications of Paraplegia
Long-term physical and medical complications leading to a decrease in life expectancy include:
- Respiratory issues resulting in difficulty breath;
- Urinary and gastrointestinal problems;
- Problems regulating blood circulation;
- Development of pressure sores leading to septicemia;
- Infections; and
- Blood clots.
The Enormous Costs of Living with Paraplegia
Paraplegia is a life-altering condition that requires a lifetime of therapy and treatment. Most therapy and treatment centers around enhancing the patient’s level of daily functioning. Individual goals are set that can be achieved through therapy. Therapy seeks to maximize the patient’s ability to complete important daily activities that will allow the patient to stay healthy and is a critical part of healing and improving quality of life. Needless to say, this type of ongoing, specialized care is expensive.
The average yearly expenses, including living expenses and healthcare expenses, and lifetime expenses varies depending on the age and level of impairment. According to the National Spinal Cord Injuries Center expenses for the first year of living with paraplegia averages $526,066 and another $69,688 every year after that.
The estimated lifetime costs for someone sustaining a paraplegia injury at the age of 25 comes to $2,341,988 while the lifetime cost of a 50 year old paraplegia injury victim comes to $1,536,976. These numbers do not included indirect costs like lost wages and decreases in earning capacity.
According to the National Spinal Cord Injuries Center the following are the most common cause of paraplegia injuries:
- motor vehicle accidents (38.4%)
- slip and falls (30.5%)
- violent assaults mostly involving gun shot wounds (13.5%)
- sport injuries and (8.9%)
- surgical error (4.7%)
- other (4.0%)
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