Paralysis is a medical term used to describe one’s lost use of one or more limbs. Paralysis is a very common result of spinal injuries, and there are very few options in terms of recovery. A paralyzing injury is typically permanent, leading to reduced mobility or complete loss of use of part of the body. If you or a loved one has suffered paralysis from a spinal cord injury in the Scottsdale area or anywhere else in Arizona, the attorneys at Bode & Collins are here to help.
Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries
The spinal cord is a thick bundle of nerves extending from the brain down through the vertebrae of the spine. This cluster of nerves carries neurological signals from the brain to the rest of the body, allowing the body to move. Despite the importance of the spinal cord to the rest of the body, it has a significant detrimental trait: the spinal cord is unable to repair itself after sustaining injury. A flesh wound may close over time after new skin cells grow and reattach, but damaged spinal tissue is permanent.
How Spinal Injuries Cause Paralysis
Spinal cord injuries are extremely serious wounds requiring immediate, thorough medical attention. The extent of the damage depends on the location and the severity of the wound. Generally, a wound higher on the spine will have more dramatic effects than one lower on the spine, and a complete wound that totally severs the spinal cord will have more concrete effects than a partial separation or minor tear.
Paralysis results from such injuries because the spinal cord transmits brain signals to the rest of the body through the spinal cord. If something damages the spinal cord, the brain can no longer send signals below the damaged area.
A spinal injury to the lower lumbar region may result in loss of bowel function, sexual function, and the use of the legs. A wound higher on the spinal cord closer to the base of the skull could leave the victim completely paralyzed and unable to perform basic bodily functions such as breathing without assistance.
Filing a Lawsuit for Paralysis
A paralyzed victim may be unable to represent his or her interests during legal proceedings, so the responsibility of filing a lawsuit may fall to a spouse, parent, or adult child. To secure compensation for a paralysis-causing injury, the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit) must be able to prove in court that another person or party (the defendant) caused the victim’s injuries. A paralysis case may fall under the purview of personal injury law, product liability, premises liability, or medical malpractice.
Proving fault in any civil action typically requires proving that the defendant was negligent in some way that and this negligence directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries and damages. Most plaintiffs in lawsuits for paralysis can collect compensation including:
- Medical expenses, such as hospital bills, prescription costs, surgical fees, the costs of any necessary medical devices, and emergency care.
- Pain and suffering. Spinal cord injuries and paralysis are permanent. Losing the ability to walk, move, or handle basic bodily functions is an extremely distressing situation for any victim, and the judge will consider this when rendering judgment.
- Lost income. Full or even partial paralysis can prevent a victim from resuming his or her job, either for an extended period of time or indefinitely. The plaintiff can use for the wages he or she would have reasonably expected to earn in the future.
- Property damage. In the event a defendant’s actions caused damage to the victim’s property as well as injury, the victim can sue for the cost of repairing or replacing that property.
At Bode & Collins, we understand the significant toll a paralysis injury can take on victims and their families. We believe in putting our full range of capabilities at the disposal of our clients, and we do not shy away from intense litigation.
Reach out to the Bode & Collins team if you or a loved one has suffered paralysis in Scottsdale or anywhere else in Arizona. We’ll review the details of your situation and let you know how we can help.