Vehicle Accidents Involving Paraplegia and Quadriplegia

No one expects to be in a life-altering vehicle accident.

KY Car Injury LawyerWe all go about our days in Kentucky, back and forth to work, running errands, driving our kids from one place to another. Every time we drive, we risk being involved in an accident that may result in total or partial paralysis. If you or a loved one have suffered such an injury because of the negligence of another party, we may be able to help.

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord. The spinal cord is made of soft tissue surrounded by vertebrae; it extends down from your brain and is made up of nerve cells and groups of nerves called tracts, which go out to various parts of your body. Nerve tracts transmit messages between the brain and the body.

  • Motor tracts carry signals controlling muscle movement.
  • Sensory tracts carry signals concerning heat, cold, pressure, pain and the position of your limbs.

Paraplegia and quadriplegia result from spinal cord injuries. According to the Mayo Clinic:

  • They are caused by damage to the vertebrae (which are bones), ligaments or disks (made up of spongy material that acts as a cushion between vertebrae) that make up the spinal column or damage to the spinal cord and nerve tracts.
  • A traumatic spinal cord injury from a vehicle accident could be caused by the sudden, traumatic blow to your body — the spine breaks, dislocates, crushes, or compresses one or more of your vertebrae.
  • After the accident more harm can occur due to bleeding, swelling and accumulation of fluid in and around your spinal cord.

If a vehicle accident causes a spinal cord injury and injures nerve fibers passing through the area, it may impair part or all of your muscles and nerves below the location of the injury.

  • A chest (thoracic) or lower back (lumbar) spinal injury can impair your torso, legs, bowel and bladder control, as well as sexual function. This may result in paraplegia, an impairment in motor or sensory function of the lower extremities.
  • A neck (cervical) spinal injury affects movements of your arms and possibly your ability to breathe, in addition to impacting feeling and control of your body below your neck. This could cause quadriplegia, the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.

Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Auto and motorcycle accidents cause more than 35% of new spinal cord injuries each year in the U.S. Every year, around the world, between 250,000 and 500,000 people suffer a spinal cord injury, and most of them are due vehicle accidents, falls and acts of violence, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The agency estimates that those with a spinal cord injury are two to five times more likely to die prematurely than people without a spinal cord injury.

  • The risk of dying is at its highest in the year after the injury and stays high compared to the rest of the population.
  • As the severity of the injury increases, so does the mortality risk. It’s strongly influenced by the availability of timely, quality medical care.

Once paraplegia or quadriplegia occurs, it can cause a ‘domino effect’ on the person’s physical, emotional, financial and family functions.

  • There is an increased chance of secondary conditions that can be disabling or life-threatening, such as deep vein thrombosis (creation of blood clots which could later cause a stroke or death), urinary tract infections, muscle spasms, osteoporosis, pressure ulcers, chronic pain and breathing problems.
  • Paraplegia or quadriplegia can make a person dependent on caregivers; assistive technology can allow better mobility, communication, self-care and domestic activities.
  • About 20-30% of people with spinal cord injuries show significant signs of depression, which can negatively impact functioning and overall health.
  • Children with spinal cord injuries are less likely than peers to start school on time and advance after they’re enrolled.
  • Adults with spinal cord injuries have an estimated global unemployment rate of more than 60%.

Attorney Julie ButcherIf you or a loved one has suffered paraplegia or quadriplegia caused by a vehicle accident in Kentucky due to the negligence of another party, you can rely on the Julie Butcher Law Office, which has extensive experience handling the claims of those injured in motor vehicle accidents. Call us at 859-233-3641 or fill out our contact form so we can talk about the circumstances of your case and how we might help your family obtain justice.