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Quadriplegia and tetraplegia are two terms that describe the same medical condition—full or partial paralysis of the hands, arms, torso and legs. It’s called QUADriplegia when all four limbs (arms and legs) are affected. This is different from paraplegia which only deals with the torso and legs.
Quadriplegia is a devastating injury that has a life-altering impact. Quadriplegia injuries result when the spinal cord is compressed, usually from trauma, in the cervical spine between C1 and C8. Spinal injuries between C1 and C4, known as high tetraplegia, usually result in paralysis or loss of sensation and functioning from the neck down while spinal injuries in the C5-C8 region, known as low tetraplegia, can leave some sensation and functioning in the arms.
Loss of function and sensation in the hands and arms is required in order for the diagnoses to be quadriplegia. However, incomplete quadriplegia is a condition that results in partial paralysis of the upper extremities and is most likely to occur with injuries in the C5-C8 spine region.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries like Quadriplegia
Spinal cord injuries like quadriplegia and tetraplegia are almost always caused by some form of trauma from an accident. Car accidents are the number 1 cause of spinal cord injuries accounting for 4 out of 10 spinal cord injuries. Slip and fall accidents are second and result in 1 out of every 4 cord injuries.
Unfortunately quadriplegia is rarely cured. There have been some developments in stem cell therapy over the last decade that provide some hope for a future cure. Most treatment and therapy aims to improve the patients ability to perform necessary daily activities.
Cost of Living with Tetraplegia
The average yearly expenses, including living expenses and healthcare expenses, and lifetime expenses varies depending on the age and level of impairment.
High Tetraplegia (C1-C4) – Expenses for the first year of living with high quadriplegia comes to $779,969 and another $114,989 every year after that according to the National Spinal Cord Injuries Center.
The estimated lifetime costs for someone that sustains a high tetraplegia injury at the age of 25 comes to $3,499,423 while the lifetime cost of a 50 year old with a high tetraplegia injury comes to $2,152,458. These numbers do not included indirect costs like lost wages and decreases in earning capacity.
Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) – Expenses for the first year of living with low quadriplegia comes to $1,079,412 and another $187,443 every year after that according to the National Spinal Cord Injuries Center.
The estimated lifetime costs for someone that sustains a low tetraplegia injury at the age of 25 comes to $4,789,384 while the lifetime cost of a 50 year old with a low tetraplegia injury comes to $2,632,164. These numbers do not included indirect costs like lost wages and decreases in earning capacity.
These are staggering costs and expenses. What makes matters worse is that quadriplegia usually results in a complete loss of earning capacity. Quadriplegics usually are not only unable to work and earn money but also have the tremendous burden of paying for all the medical and therapy expenses that come with treating this condition. That is why it is vitally important to hire an attorney that has experience handling these complicated cases. There is too much at stake to go it alone. Our accident attorneys at The Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan have the experience and resources to secure you and your family fair and adequate compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, past and future medical expenses. Call today for a free consultation.
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