Injuries Involving Paralysis Claim *
Paralysis in an accident can occur in cases of personal injury * and usually occurs because of nerve damage. Paralysis is a secondary effect of an injury, in that while you may suffer a back injury, it may cause paralysis to another part of your body. For example, an injury to the middle of the spinal cord may cause paralysis in your legs and feet.
In personal injury cases *, paralysis occurs in incidents where a person suffers a traumatic brain injury * or spinal cord injury. The spinal cord acts as a relay system for the brain, and if the spinal cord or brain are insured the brain is unable to send or receive signals to and from certain parts of the body and is unable to sense touch in the affected area – this is essentially what paralysis is.
Incomplete vs complete spinal cord injuries
Paralysis can vary in its severity while some injuries cause total paralysis to certain limbs or parts of the body, there are also incomplete spinal injuries. With incomplete spinal cord injuries, the spinal cord is injured but some signals are sent up and down and to and from the brain. This means that while paralysis may be a result, the affected person may still retain some sensation or movement in the affected area.
Complete spinal cord injuries, on the other hand, occurs when the nerves in the spinal cord are completely severed or compressed as a result of a traumatic accident, this makes it impossible for the signals to travel up and down the spine and the injured person will have lost all movement and senses in the affected area.
Paralysis and personal injury claims *
A personal injury claim * involving paralysis is looked upon a little differently in comparison to an accident where somebody suffers a superficial injury that will heal relatively quickly. If a person suffers a brain or spinal cord injury * through no fault of their own, the legal remedy they seek would take into account the injuries they sustained and the effect the paralysis will have on their quality of life. As well as this medical costs and future costs relating to the injury and paralysis may also be factored into any settlement awarded.
Degrees of paralysis
While there are many types and degrees of paralysis, the conditions that have been seen are:
- Permanent –the injured person may never regain control of the paralysed area
- Temporary – the injured person regains some or all control of the paralysed area
- Flaccid – muscles reduce in size and become flabby
- Spastic – when muscles spasm (tight, hard)
- Monoplegia – one limb is paralysed, such as an arm or a leg. People with monoplegia have control over the rest of their body.
- Hemiplegia – an arm and a leg on the same side of the body become paralysed. Hemiplegia is sometimes temporary, but this will depend on the type of treatment and the person affected.
- Paraplegia – paralysis below the waist. In this case, both legs are paralysed and it may also affect the hips and other functions such as sexuality. The varying degrees of paralysis experienced by people with paraplegia depend on the person and in some cases can change on a day to day basis. It is also referred to as significant impairment to movement, not necessarily total paralysis.
- Quadriplegia – paralysis below the neck. In this case, the torso, as well as all four limbs, are usually affected. Quadriplegia can be a temporary condition or in severe cases be permanent.
In most cases, claims for injuries involving paralysis * are caused by a serious accident, whether it is at home, in the workplace, on the road or in hospital. Negligence of another party can be both straightforward and complex depending on the circumstances. A solicitor will help you through the process of determining where liability lies. The most frequent causes of paralysis injuries include:
Accident in the workplace *
There is a common misconception that if a person is injured in the workplace * it must be their own fault. This can often lead to the incident not being reported to the supervisor meaning that it is possible that the injury can happen to someone else. The employer has a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for all employees. This falls under the legislation of the Safety, Health and Welfare Act 2005. Specific precautions and measures are to be implemented if a person is working at height or operating heavy machinery in the hope that this will prevent any injury involving paralysis.
Accidents at work * that may lead to some form of paralysis have been:
- Slip, trip or fall in work
- Falling from a height (falling from a ladder, for example)
- Crush injuries
- Crane accidents
- Scaffolding injuries
Road traffic accident *
We are all familiar with the consequences of a road traffic accident * can inflict on both an individuals’ health and the families wellbeing. In some situations the cause of the traffic accident * may have been due to the negligence of another party such as a drunk driver, poor road conditions or dangerous driving. Evidence such as CCTV footage, eyewitness accounts and photographic evidence will assist in determining where liability lies. Injuries from car accidents that have led to paralysis are, traumatic brain injuries, back and spinal cord injuries.
Medical Negligence *
Complications can occur during surgical procedures which can, unfortunately, in some cases lead to injuries involving paralysis *. Some clinical negligence cases that have led to paralysis are:
- Inaccurate diagnosis – where a medical professional fails to provide the right diagnosis of your condition, it could lead to your condition progressing further than it would have it the correct diagnosis had been given earlier. Some common medical conditions that can cause paralysis are:
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Birth defects
- Spinal cord infections
- Brain infections
- Errors during surgery – in some surgeries, where a doctor unknowingly performs a surgical error, this could lead to depravation of oxygen to the brain or spinal cord.
- Prescription errors – where a medical professional provides an incorrect prescription which leads to your condition progress towards paralysis or where you have an allergic reaction to the prescription drugs given to you.
- Childbirth – during forceful deliveries a baby can suffer injuries which may lead to paralysis. In a forceful delivery of a baby, the brachial plexus (a group of nerves) which is located in the upper body may become damaged and affect the arm function of the new born baby.
Making a Claim *
The timeframe to bring forward a personal injury claim * is two years from the date of knowledge of the injury, this is known as the Statue of Limitations. The date of knowledge refers to the day when the incident occurred or the day you realised you were injured. This can vary from case to case.
Children under the age of 18 are an exception to this rule. A child cannot submit a claim until their 18th birthday. From this day they then have two years in which they can bring legal proceedings forward. However, it is important to note that the parent or guardian of the child can submit legal proceedings on their behalf before they reach 18.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries involving paralysis * where another party may be held accountable and would like to discuss this topic in more detail, feel free to call 01 649 9900 for a confidential discussion. Furthermore, you can tell us about your case via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and ask any questions or queries you may have.
With over 30 years’ experience, Tracey Solicitors ensure not to overwhelm you with legal jargon and can provide you with legal advice and guidance with your best interest at heart, in a language that you can understand.