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Spinal Cord Injury and Paralysis Paraplegia and Tetraplegia (Quadriplegia)

Spinal cord injury lawyer serving clients nationwide and throughout Texas

Complete paralysis creates tremendous burdens on victims and is more widespread than most people realize. One in 50 people in the United States suffers from some degree of paralysis, whether partial or complete, totaling approximately six million people. These statistics are 33 percent higher than previously estimated and the data comes from a recent study initiated by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The obstacles presented by spinal cord damage often result in exorbitant financial expenses for medical treatment, surgeries, and rehabilitation along with a lifetime of assistive care. The Texas spinal cord injury lawyers at Bush Lewis have extensive knowledge about spinal cord injury and the financial toll it takes, not to mention the emotional pain and suffering. We assist clients and their families nationwide to recover compensation for spinal cord injury damages caused by someone else.

Most recent study of paralysis

Christopher Reeve was a Hollywood, actor, screenplay writer, director and author who suffered serious spinal cord injury resulting from a fall from a horse in an equestrian contest. His accident left him a quadriplegic, and subsequently, he and his wife established the Reeve Foundation. The Reeve Foundation along with 40 experts, prominent scientists and healthcare advocates from the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), leading universities, and nonprofit healthcare organizations formed a Paralysis Task Force to assess the prevalence of paralysis in 2004. Researchers who were paralysis and statistics experts conducted the study surveying more than 33,000 households across the United States, the largest population based study ever to address any disability. The Paralysis Task Force set the goal to provide comprehensive information and promote improved quality of life for those suffering from paralysis.

The study revealed that the main causes of paralysis were:
  • Strokes (29%)
  • Spinal cord injury (23%)
  • Multiple sclerosis (17%)
Of the estimated 1,275,000 people suffering from spinal cord injury, the main causes of spinal cord injury were:
  • Work accidents (28%)
  • Motor vehicle accidents (24%)
  • Sporting recreation accidents (16%)
  • Falls (9%)
  • Victims of violence (4%)

What is spinal cord injury?

Boney vertebrae encase the human body’s main nerve or spinal cord to protect it as it runs down the middle of the back. When an accident crushes or fractures one or more vertebrae, it may also damage the spinal cord. Even when the spinal cord is not severed, if damage occurs to a significant part of it that involves a substantial number of axons, complete or partial paralysis may result. Axons are nerve cell appendages that transport signals up and down the spinal cord to the brain and other parts of the body. They are vital for central nervous system function. The central nervous system provides sensation and motor control for the limbs and carries messages throughout the body that support breathing, bladder and bowel control, sexual function, digestion, and cardio-vascular function, which monitors blood pressure.

Paralysis and its effects on quality of life

While injury impairs the specific spinal cord area that suffers impact, it also impairs the area immediately below, which can result in paralysis. Paralysis is the loss or impairment of movement or body sensation. Crushed or fractured vertebrae at the neck can cause paralysis from the shoulders down, which is called tetraplegia or quadriplegia and refers to the inability to operate all four limbs. Injuries lower down the spine affect the waist or chest and may result in paraplegia, which is paralysis from the waist down and refers to the inability to operate the legs.

Aside from a loss of sensation and movement, paralysis inhibits correct bodily function and can create:
  • Problems with breathing
  • Loss of sexual function
  • Digestive trouble
  • Lack of bladder and bowel control
  • Low blood pressure
  • Renal failure
  • Loss of involuntary body functions
  • Reduced ability to sweat and control body temperatures
  • Chronic pain
There is an obvious and severe loss of enjoyment and quality of life.. Severe spinal cord injuries and paralysis typically lead to a lifetime of medical expenses that include treatment, rehabilitation and daily assistance. Very few people can afford such expense. And, almost always, paralysis from spinal cord injuries causes a loss of earning capacity–usually total loss. In addition, many health and disability insurance companies compound financial stress by limiting compensation.

When another party is responsible for causing spinal cord injury, seeking legal help is vital for ensuring adequate compensation to cover the high costs of hospitalization, surgeries, treatment and lost income.

Rehabilitation

Today, rehabilitation breakthroughs bring at least some hope for spinal cord injury victims. Clinical research resulted in a paraplegic man being able to stand with assistance and move his legs. A research team comprised of University of Louisville, UCLA, and the California Institute of Technology scientists made headway through clinical research therapies that used direct epidural electrical stimulation of the lower spinal cord combined with locomotor training, which are physical therapy techniques. It is critical that any resolution of a spinal court injury case be sufficient to cover such expensive cutting age health care needs.

Rehabilitation specialists work at improving the individual’s quality of life and a variety of therapists take part in rehabilitation programs, including:
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Recreational therapists
  • Rehabilitation psychologists
  • Vocational counselors
  • Nutritionists
Therapists work with patients to help them regain strength and improved mobility, writing, typing, telephone skills, and use of devices such as walkers, leg braces, wheelchairs, and other assistive devices. Some patients may need assistance through programs that teach basic toileting regimens and self-grooming skills. Vocational rehabilitation evaluates strength, dexterity and cognitive skills for the possibility of employment. Activities that bolster work skills and encourage patients can also help them increase their abilities and participation in the community and better prepare them for a more normal lifestyle.

Seek Experienced Legal Help from Spinal Cord Injury Lawyers

Legal compensation from responsible parties can help obtain treatment, rehabilitation, and cover lost income. Victims of tetraplegia or quadriplegia face the most difficult challenges, but any victim of paralysis has a very difficult future road left. Spinal cord injury attorneys who can maximize compensation provide invaluable assistance for spinal cord injury victims.

If you or a family member has suffered spinal cord injury or paralysis, our Bush Lewis lawyers are experienced in spinal cord injury and paralysis litigation. Call Ken Lewis today at 409-835-3521, or email us for a free consultation.

Through our Beaumont, Texas office, we serve clients in Southeast Texas, including Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Newton, and Jasper counties and also nationwide.

Know This Before An Accident

No one plans to have an accident and no one expects to sustain a serious injury or lose a loved one to death from someone else's actions or mistake. It helps to at least have heard what experienced lawyers say you can do to ease the situation. At Bush Lewis, we think there are some helpful guidelines that we recommend to you. Our lawyers suggest: Learn more.