What Happens If You’re Paralyzed After a Car Accident?

by Eric Chaffin | Last Updated: March 10, 2021

If you are paralyzed after a car accident, there is a good chance you will spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair and require assistance for the normal tasks of daily living. Although there are exceptions, most people are unable to work again or must find employment in a different field.

A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania personal injury attorney at Chaffin Luhana can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Our experienced attorneys have recovered over $1 billion in settlements and verdicts for clients.

Paralysis symptoms

While lack of sensation and inability to move parts of the body are the classic signs of paralysis after a car accident, other symptoms are common, including:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory loss
  • Numbness

After a collision, these symptoms always require a trip to the nearest emergency room or trauma center, even if the person has some feeling and movement in their limbs. Paralysis may prove temporary or permanent, depending on the specific injury.

Paralysis types

Paralysis falls into four basic injury types. These include:

  • Paraplegia– paralysis of both legs, and often other areas of the lower body, such as the pelvis.
  • Quadriplegia– paralysis of both legs and arms, also referred to as tetraplegia.
  • Monoplegia– paralysis of one limb.
  • Hemiplegia– paralysis of an arm and leg on one side of the body.

Paralysis also comes in complete and incomplete versions. The former involves no movement or sensation below the injury level, while with the latter, the accident victim may experience some sensation.

These severe injuries often affect bladder, bowel, and sexual function. Patients with respiratory issues may spend a significant amount of time on a ventilator to continue breathing.

Catastrophic injury

Paralysis resulting from a motor vehicle accident is considered a catastrophic injury. This means the injury impairs the brain, neck, or spinal cord.

The costs for caring for a person with a catastrophic injury are enormous, often running into millions of dollars. Many people can no longer live independently and may require constant skilled care in a nursing home or similar facility.

Other common issues associated with paralysis involve kidney dysfunction, digestive problems, and chronic pain. Not surprisingly, those affected by paralysis often become depressed and need psychological or psychiatric support.

Paralysis damages

If the accident occurred because of another driver’s negligence, the victim might file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver and any other parties responsible for the crash. An attorney conducts a thorough investigation to determine whether other entities contributed to the collision and holds them all accountable.

Damages, or compensation, for paralysis in a motor vehicle accident may include:

  • Medical expenses, present, and future
  • Lost wages
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Special equipment
  • Modifications to the home or car
  • Vocational training
  • Pain and suffering

Insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible in claims, and paralysis injuries are among the most expensive. Car accidents are a leading cause of this in young people, so medical and care needs may go on for decades.

Based on your injuries, prognosis, and long-term care needs, your attorney will know a fair settlement amount and will work hard to negotiate one that will take care of you now and in the future. Experts, such as doctors, life care planners, and actuaries, can provide documentation of the costs of your living expenses and medical care.

Contact a Pittsburgh car accident lawyer

If you or a loved one were paralyzed in a car accident because of another driver’s recklessness or negligence, your life has been altered irrevocably. A personal injury attorney in Pittsburgh at Chaffin Luhana will fight for your rights at this difficult time.

To arrange a free consultation, call us today or contact us online. While most cases are settled, we never hesitate to go to trial when necessary.