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Paraplegia After a Car Accident in New York

Category: Personal Injury

Catastrophic Personal Injuries: Paraplegia After a Car Accident in New York

One of the most catastrophic types of personal injuries after an accident is a spinal cord injury resulting in some form of paralysis.  According to statistics, globally there are up to 500,000 new spinal cord injuries every year, with almost 18,000 of those new spinal cord injuries occurring in just the United States.  Although there are many causes of spinal cord injuries, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes.  There are also many different types of spinal cord injuries, with paraplegia one of the most common kinds.  This means that paraplegia after a car accident in New York is a common injury that our experienced car accident lawyer can handle for you.

Here at the O’Connor Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping victims of catastrophic personal injury accidents recover the compensation that they need and deserve.  This includes disabling injuries such as paraplegia after a car accident in New York, which could cause permanent and life-changing injuries for a victim and his or her family.  Our experienced car accident lawyer in New York offers FREE consultations to review your case and to advise you on the law, including what rights you may have to seek reimbursement for medical bills, lost wages, loss of consortium, conscious pain and suffering, and for other damages related to your accident.  Learn more about our services by calling (718) 948-3500.

What is a Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury, also known as an SCI, is any type of injury to the spinal cord that is in the center of your vertebrae column.  The spinal cord is part of the central nervous system with the brain.  The spinal cord is connected to the peripheral nervous system, which is comprised of large branches of nerves that come out of the spinal cord and extend throughout your entire body—all the way to the tips of your fingers and toes.  The peripheral nervous system is responsible for sensation, function, strength, and otherwise controlling or monitoring the rest of the body.  Therefore, the spinal cord’s role is to send messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

When there is a spinal cord injury, those messages can be disrupted.  A spinal cord injury could be incomplete or partial, where the damage only affects some of the messages (i.e., strength), but other messages (i.e., sensation) can still be sent.  Or spinal cord injuries could be complete or total, where the damage to the spinal cord is a complete severance and no messages can be sent between the brain and the rest of the body below the injury. 

As a result, either an incomplete or complete spinal cord injury can result in paralysis.  The extent of the paralysis depends on the area of the injury – also known as the level of the spinal column.  The level of the injury can dictate the severity of the paralysis and the type of paralysis.

What is Paraplegia After a Car Accident?

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When a SCI injury affects the lower torso and the lower extremities, it is a type of paraplegia.  There are two main types of paraplegia, including:

Incomplete Paraplegia

This is when the SCI is incomplete or partial, and the lower torso and extremities are partially affected by the damage.  Victims with incomplete paraplegia after a car accident generally have some function, strength, sensation, and ability to move, but not all of these abilities to the fullest degree. 

Individuals may even be able to walk or run without assistance if their SCI is “minor” – although there is no such thing as “minor” spinal cord damage.  Whereas other individuals who have a more severe type of SCI may be wheelchair-bound or must use braces, but have some sensation and wiggle-movement ability.  The extent of the paralysis depends on the severity of the SCI.

Complete Paraplegia  

When the SCI is total and severs the spinal cord, it is known as a complete SCI because no messages can be sent between the brain and the lower torso and lower limbs.  This means that a person with complete paraplegia will have no function, strength, sensation, or ability to move the lower limbs.  Although there have been some advancements in medicine and some experimental treatments that have attempted to regrow portions of the spinal cord, oftentimes complete paraplegia after a car accident will be permanently disabling and incurable.

Effects of Paraplegia on a Victim and Family

An individual who is diagnosed with either complete or incomplete paraplegia after a car accident in New York will face significant hurdles in his or her life.  The medical bills alone can be overwhelming for a family, especially when factoring in medical equipment and home or vehicle modifications.  This is unfortunately often coupled with lost wages from being unable to work due to the disability, or being required to take a different job (that is often less-paying).

But the largest form of compensation in any type of paralysis case like paraplegia is conscious pain and suffering.  This type of “damages” in a personal injury lawsuit is to compensate a victim for conscious agony, pain, frustration, suffering, and the emotional harm experienced and caused by the injury and resulting disability.  There are two types of pain and suffering awards, including the following:

  • Past pain and suffering – from the date of the accident until the date of verdict, settlement, award, or another type of recovery
  • Future pain and suffering – an estimate of the number of years between the recovery and the victim’s remaining life span (through an actuary table).

Victims who have been injured in a motor vehicle accident causing catastrophic injuries such as paraplegia are often entitled to both forms of pain and suffering, with the future pain and suffering typically being the larger of the two awards.  This is particularly true when the victim is younger.

Do You Have Paraplegia After a Car Accident in New York?  Call Us For Help

All catastrophic injuries such as paralysis are very serious and often result in significant, permanent disability for a victim.  These damages also affect an entire family, causing overwhelming physical, emotional, and financial burdens on a family.  If you or a loved one suffered a SCI or paraplegia after a car accident in New York, call our experienced car accident lawyer in New York for a FREE consultation to learn more about your rights to compensation and how we can help you recover money for lost wages, medical bills, and conscious pain and suffering.

Here at O’Connor Law, we handle catastrophic injury cases throughout the State of New York, particularly right here in Staten Island, Brooklyn, New York City, The Bronx, Queens, Long Island, and in surrounding areas.  Call to schedule your FREE consultation by dialing (718) 948-3500 or using our “Contact Us” box available here