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Can a Car Accident Cause Paralysis?

Traffic accidents are among the most common trauma-related causes of spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, and paralysis. So, yes, a car accident can cause paralysis. Paralysis may include paraplegia, which affects the lower body, or quadriplegia affecting the arms, trunk, and legs.

If you or a loved one is living with paralysis after another driver caused your Texas collision, you may have a valid insurance claim or civil lawsuit. You may want to discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you can recover compensation to help pay for treatment and care.

How Does Paralysis Occur Due to a Car Crash?

Dallas car accidents usually cause paralysis because of a spinal cord injury (SCI). This type of injury can occur when the crash forces cause vertebra in the back to break, bruised tissues to press on the spine, or the spinal cord to partially tear or sever in another way. Depending on the SCI, you may suffer from complete or incomplete paralysis from where the injury occurred and below.

In some cases, a traumatic brain injury can also cause paralysis or concerns with movement and mobility. However, this is not as common.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Paralysis?

According to Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, between 2005 and 2011, the most common cause of an acute spinal cord injury was car accidents. In addition, over a third of all SCIs involved a traffic crash of some kind. The complete list of common spinal cord injury causes included in this report was:

  • Automobile crashes, 31.5%
  • Falls, 25.3%
  • Gunshot wounds, 10.4%
  • Motorcycle crashes, 6.8%
  • Diving incidents, 4.7%
  • Medical malpractice or surgical complications, 4.3%

Of note, auto accidents are only the leading cause of spinal cord injury and paralysis up to age 45. According to these statistics, once a person reaches age 45, they are more likely to suffer a spinal cord injury in a fall.

Spinal Cord Injuries Are One of the Most Expensive Injuries to Manage

Not everyone who sustains an SCI experiences complete paralysis, but most people do not experience a full neurologic recovery. Most people are left managing some degree of impairment following this type of injury. However, the outcome improves for most patients with the proper treatment and rehabilitation program. This is why the initial treatment for an acute injury is so expensive.

Many patients with spinal cord injuries require ambulance transportation, stabilization, surgery, and hospitalization. The first 24 hours are often critical for survival. However, once their injuries and vital signs are stable, they often transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation facility to take therapies, recover more abilities, and learn to manage their condition.

It could be from a few months to a year or longer before they reach maximum medical recovery. Nerves heal very slowly, and progress is often hard-won. Depending on their prognosis and overall health, patients may require around-the-clock nursing care, family help with daily activities, regular medical monitoring, or other care and support. Though some may return to work and their previous activities, many cannot.

Recovering Compensation for Your Treatment and Care

When injuries occur because of another driver’s careless or reckless actions behind the wheel, that party—or their insurance provider—is responsible for paying for the expenses and losses incurred by the victims. When those injuries include paralysis, these costs can be substantial. The recoverable damages via an insurance claim and negotiated settlement or civil trial include:

  • Medical bills for both current and future care
  • Ongoing care and support costs
  • Mobility equipment and assistive devices
  • Home renovation necessitated by mobility needs
  • Vehicle repairs
  • Lost wages and diminished earning capacity, if applicable
  • Pain and suffering
  • Reduced quality of life
  • Mental anguish
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

Your attorney may be able to build a compelling case to prove negligence and liability, demanding a fair payout from the insurer based on the value of your damages. This strategy may be effective, or they may need to sue and take your case to trial. Your specific case depends on the circumstances.

If your case calls for a lawsuit, Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003 gives most people up to two years to sue for a personal injury or wrongful death.

Connect with Loncar Lyon Jenkins About Your Car Accident Claim Today

Loncar Lyon Jenkins provides free legal consultations for injured parties and families who lost loved ones due to accident injuries. We will assess your legal case, explain your opportunities for pursuing justice and compensation, and discuss how we may be able to help, call our car accident lawyer in Houston to get free consultation.

There are no upfront costs for our services. Because we are a contingency fee firm, your family will only pay if we win money damages for you.

If you have questions or need help, call in the Strong Arm. Contact us today.

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Ted Lyon

Born in Terrell, Texas, Attorney Ted Lyon, a partner of Loncar Lyon Jenkins, attended East texas State University, now Texas A&M at Commerce, where he obtained his undergraduate degree in political science. Working as a police officer, Attorney Lyon paid his way through undergraduate school, followed by attendance at the Southern Methodist University School of Law. Learn More


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