Spinal cord injuries are serious injuries that can impact many facets of a person’s life. Quadriplegia is the most serious type of spinal cord injury because it affects all of a person’s body from the neck down. In most situations, quadriplegia is a permanent, incurable condition.
A person who has quadriplegia may never be able to walk, feel any sensation, or move any part of their body besides their head or neck. Their goals of having children, establishing a career, or traveling can be lost forever. They may even be completely dependent on others for their care, which can dramatically impact their personal relationships.
If you suffered quadriplegia or have a loved one with this condition, it is important you understand quadriplegia injuries and your right to seek compensation from the at-fault party responsible for the quadriplegia injury.
What Is Quadriplegia?
In medical terms, quadriplegia is a pattern of paralysis that affects the body from the neck down. Paralysis itself is a condition that prevents a person from moving or controlling their muscles. In addition to affecting voluntary movement, quadriplegia may also affect automatic processes, such as breathing, digestion, and bowel and bladder function.
There are two main types of quadriplegia: incomplete and complete quadriplegia. Incomplete quadriplegia means that not all of the body’s signals are blocked. Therefore, a person may have some physical ability to move, control automatic body processes, and feel sensations.
For complete quadriplegia, the victim does not receive any signals. They lose all ability to regulate automatic body processes, feel, and move.
What Are Long-Term Effects of Quadriplegia?
Quadriplegia can affect every aspect of a person’s life and affect nearly the entire body. Those with quadriplegia often suffer from:
- Loss of movement
- Lack of coordination
- Loss of muscle control
- Muscle atrophy
- Loss of sensory function
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
- Sexual dysfunction
- Speech problems
Individuals experiencing these issues should seek immediate medical attention for proper diagnosis.
What Are Common Causes of Quadriplegia?
Quadriplegia is often caused by an injury to the neck, but other types of injuries can also result in quadriplegia. This condition often develops because of trauma caused by accidents such as:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Electric scooter accidents
- Boating accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slips and falls
Many of these accidents could have been avoided if people or companies did not act negligently. However, when they do, state law provides a pathway for accident victims and their families to recover the compensation they deserve.
How Is Quadriplegia Diagnosed?
Doctors commonly diagnose quadriplegia by conducting a physical exam and using MRI scans, CT scans, x-rays, or electromyography.
How Is Quadriplegia Treated?
Quadriplegia cannot usually be cured. Instead, treatment focuses on managing symptoms and teaching skills to assist victims. Treatment may include:
- Surgery to remove pressure around the spinal cord
- Physical therapy to teach exercises to relieve some of the symptoms
- Speech therapy to help the person speak in a more intelligible manner after losing speech skills caused by the accident
- Mental health counseling to discuss the trauma and after-effects of the accident
- Medication to help relieve some of the symptoms
Treatments are specific to the patient. The type of treatment that is recommended will depend on various factors, such as:
- The specific injury
- The location of the injury
- The severity of the injury
- The victim’s level of function
- How the injury affects the victim
- The victim’s life expectancy
Treatment for quadriplegia and the other financial impact on a victim often costs millions of dollars over a victim’s lifetime. Securing compensation through a quadriplegia injury claim is often necessary to ensure you can pay for your medical bills and other accident-related losses.
What Compensation Is Available in Quadriplegia Injury Cases?
If you were injured because of another party’s negligence, you can seek compensation for economic damages you experience, which may include:
- Initial costs for medical treatment and diagnosis
- Ongoing medical costs
- Future anticipated medical treatment
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Mental health counseling
- In-home care
- Long-term care costs
- Lost income
- Lost earning capacity
- Modifications to your home and vehicle to make them accessible
- Medical equipment
You can also seek compensation for non-economic losses you experience, such as:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and emotional distress
- Permanent disability and impairment
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of consortium
If the defendant acted intentionally or involved fraud, malice, or gross negligence, the court could award you exemplary damages as a way to punish the defendant.
What if I’m Partially To Blame for My Quadriplegia Injury?
No one wants to suffer a spinal cord injury, especially one as serious as quadriplegia. However, if you were partially at fault for the injury, you may still have the right to recover compensation for your injury, so long as you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident, per Texas’ comparative fault law.
However, your compensation will be proportionately reduced according to your degree of fault. Therefore, if you are found 10% at fault and suffer damages of $1 million, your award would be reduced by $100,000 in this example because that is equal to 10% of your damages.
It is recommended not to accept any fault and to allow your legal team to act on your behalf. That way, you can recover full compensation for your claim and ensure you aren’t assigned undue blame.
What Is the Time Limit for Filing a Quadriplegia Claim in Texas?
In Texas, you generally have two years to file a lawsuit against the at-fault party following any type of personal injury, according to the statute of limitations. If this deadline passes and you have not filed a lawsuit, you can be barred from seeking any compensation from the at-fault party, regardless of how clear the liability is.
Preserve your rights by contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer, as there are exceptions in some cases.
Schedule a Free Case Consultation With a Trusted San Antonio Personal Injury Lawyer for Help Today
If you or a loved one suffered a quadriplegia injury, George Salinas Injury Lawyers can help. Contact us today at (210) 225-0909 for your free case review with an experienced San Antonio personal injury attorney.