Paralysis is a type of catastrophic injury that typically involves injuries to the spinal cord and results in either reduced or total lack of mobility in certain parts of the body. The different types of paralysis someone can have are dependent on the area of the spinal cord that is injured as well as the severity of the injury.
However, no matter what type of paralysis someone suffers from, adjusting to life with new paralytic injuries entails more than just physical and mental adaptations; the financial burden is also often heavy. And if your paralytic injuries were caused by a defective product or someone else’s negligence, then you may be entitled to file a claim for compensation.
However, navigating personal injury legislation can quickly become complicated and overwhelming, especially if you are in the process of recovering from an accident. An experienced paralysis attorney like those at Mithoff Law knows the ins and outs of how best to investigate your claim, preserve evidence, and determine the exact cause of your accident.
Learn more about the different types of paralysis, the costs associated with living with paralysis, and how a paralysis law firm like Mithoff Law can help.
What is the main cause of paralysis?
Only in the past decade has the number of people living with paralysis in the United States become clear to both the scientific and wider community. According to data collected in the 2013 US Paralysis Prevalence & Health Disparities Survey study, nearly 5.4 million (or 1 in 50) people suffer from paralysis in North America.
While the majority of paralysis cases are caused by medical issues such as stroke, cerebral palsy, or multiple sclerosis, The Reeves Foundation, a leader in paralysis research and advocacy, found that 1.2 million of those 5.4 million suffer from paralysis caused by a spinal cord injury, with 77% of those 1.2 million paralysis injuries originating from car accidents, workplace injuries, falls, and sporting accidents.
Many of the accidents in these latter categories—car accidents, workplace injuries, etc.—are avoidable. In these cases, it’s often wise to consult with a lawyer to see if you have a case. Depending on your situation, you may wish to search for an experienced spinal injury lawyer, brain injury lawyer, car accident lawyer, or simply a paralysis lawyer. Some law firms, including Mithoff Law, have experience in all of these areas and more.
What are the symptoms of paralysis?
The severity and types of symptoms an individual experiences depends heavily on your injuries and the type of paralysis someone has. Depending on these circumstances, the following symptoms may onset gradually, start and stop, or occur suddenly:
- Loss of muscle function
- Muscular atrophy
- Stiffness, spasms, or twitching
- Numbness and pain
Depending on the area affected by paralysis individuals may experience an array of additional physical impairments. These can range from difficulty breathing, to loss of mobility in the trunk of the body, to from chest pain, to loss of bladder/bowel control.
How many different types of paralysis are there?
Paralysis occurs when the nervous system in the spinal cord/or brain is damaged (the latter often via a traumatic brain injury). There are multiple ways to describe the different types of paralysis, depending on whether you wish to classify the paralysis by the limbs affected, the area of the spinal cord that received damage, or the nature of the paralysis.
Types of paralysis as defined by limbs affected:
The following types of paralysis are known as general forms of paralysis. They are often directly correlated with what part of the spinal cord or brain has received damage.
- Monoplegia: Affects one limb, such as an arm or a leg.
- Hemiplegia: Affects one side of the body.
- Diplegia: Affects the same limb or area on both sides of the body.
- Paraplegia: Affects both legs and is often referred to as “paralysis from the waist down.”
- Quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia): Affects both arms, both legs, and in some cases, everything from the neck down.
- Locked-in-Syndrome: Affects all motor systems excluding the eyes. Locked-in-syndrome is a rare neurological disorder.
Types of paralysis as defined by area of the spinal cord that received damage:
- Sacral spinal cord (vertebrae S1-S5): Injury to the bottom of the spinal cord.
- Lumbar spinal cord (L1-L5): Injury to the lower portion of the spinal cord.
- Lower thoracic spinal cord (T6-T-12): Injury to the lower middle of the spinal cord.
- Upper thoracic spinal cord (T1-T5): Injury to the upper middle of the spinal cord.
- Cervical spinal cord (C1-C8): Injury to upper spinal cord.
Types of paralysis as defined by the nature of the paralysis:
- Partial/Incomplete: Maintains some motor control of the affected muscle groups. (This form of paralysis is also referred to as paresis).
- Complete: Total loss of motor control in the affected muscle groups.
- Localized: Loss of motor control occurs in specific areas only (such as the hands or the face).
- General: Widespread paralysis (see types of paralysis as defined by limbs affected).
- Permanent: Permanent loss of motor control in the affected muscle groups.
- Temporary: Temporary loss of motor control in the affected areas.
- Flaccid: Muscled affected become weak, shrink, and “flabby.”
- Spastic: Muscles affected become tight, tense, and hard; muscles may twitch or spasm.
Paralysis and your personal injury claim
Paralysis in and of itself is complicated, Having to navigate litigation for a paralysis claim is, more often than not, simply too much to ask of someone who is either recovering from an accident or taking care of someone who was injured.
Unfortunately, the costs associated with paralysis injuries can quickly become overwhelming. Depending on the extent of your injuries, paralysis victims may need either to remodel or retrofit their vehicles and home. In many cases, paralysis victims must pursue physical therapy and continued medical care, purchase and learn how to use a wheelchair, and take significant time off of work. Should injuries be severe, paralysis victims may need to hire caretakers for either themselves of their children.
Paralysis victims often require lifelong care and frequently experience additional medical problems due to their paralysis. These can include pressure sores, mood changes, and heart issues caused by changes in blood flow and breathing, as well as those symptoms mentioned above.
A paralysis law firm like Mithoff Law can help those affected by paralysis injuries pursue their claims for compensation. More specifically, it can assemble an investigative team to pursue and protect all available evidence, conduct a thorough and independent investigation, and guide you through the litigation process.
Over the years Mithoff Law has also built a strong network of professional relationships with a wide variety of subject matter experts. The contributions of these experts are a vital part of understanding the particulars of each case (via accident reconstruction, medical knowledge, etc.) as well as the amount of compensation needed to sufficiently support the future livelihoods of those who have been injured.
Noteworthy paralysis cases:
Mithoff Law’s experience representing those affected by paralysis spans a wide range of scenarios, from car accidents, to medical malpractice, to workplace injuries, and our record of success speaks towards our successes handling paralysis cases both in and out of the courtroom.
For example, Mithoff Law represented a client who suffered paralysis when a defective bicycle component caused him to be ejected from his bicycle mid-ride. As a result, our client suffered a severe spinal cord injury that led to quadriplegia. The case was settled for a confidential amount.
Another example: Mithoff Law successfully resolved the claims of a client who suffered paralysis as a result of an outpatient medical procedure. During the procedure, a physician improperly guided a needle and punctured our client’s spinal column. The injuries resulted in partial paralysis. The case was also settled for a confidential amount.
Mithoff Law: A paralysis law firm with decades of experience
When it comes to paralysis cases, understanding the differences between types of paralysis is only the tip of the iceberg. Mithoff Law knows how to uncover the rest of the story. A renowned paralysis law firm, we have a wealth of experience conducting the kind of thorough investigation required to build strong cases and establish the root cause of an injury.
We take paralysis cases from across the nation. To set up a free consultation with Mithoff Law, call 713-645-1122.
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