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Quadriplegia After a Car Accident in New York

Category: Personal Injury

Understanding Quadriplegia After a Car Accident in New York, Explained by Our Catastrophic Personal Injury Lawyers 

Although there are many devastating types of personal injuries that could be caused by the negligence of another person or business, quadriplegia may be one of the most debilitating and catastrophic types.  Quadriplegia is a type of spinal cord injury, or SCI.  According to statistics, quadriplegia is the most common type of SCI in the United States, representing almost 60% of all cases since 2015.  Those same statistics indicate that motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of SCI in the United States, accounting for almost 40% of all cases.  Quadriplegia is a devastating and catastrophic type of personal injury, often resulting in permanent damage.  Victims frequently require assistance with their daily needs and routine, including, in very severe cases, professional nursing care.  If you or a loved one were diagnosed with quadriplegia after a car accident in New York, call our experienced car accident lawyer to learn more about your rights to compensation.

At the O’Connor Law Firm, we know how devastating any type of paralysis injury can be—particularly quadriplegia.  This type of SCI affects all four limbs and almost the entire torso, causing some loss of sensation, movement, strength, or other function throughout nearly the entire body.  Due to the severity of this type of injury, victims and their families may be entitled to considerable compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, and medical bills.  However, this also means that a defense attorney and insurance carrier will likely hotly contest both liability and your family.  This means that victims of quadriplegia after a car accident in New York should contact an experienced catastrophic personal injury lawyer such as ours.  Learn more about how we can help you during a FREE call by dialing (718) 948-3500.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries: What is a SCI?

We recently wrote about spinal cord injuries (SCI) in our paraplegia post available here and encourage readers to read our thorough description there.  But it is still important to realize that quadriplegia is a type of SCI and we repeat some of the important points here.

The spinal cord originates at the base of the brain and extends down to the hips.  It is protected in thick, strong bones called vertebrae.  The spinal cord acts as a messenger superhighway between the brain and the rest of the nerves in the body (called the peripheral nervous system), sending messages back-and-forth.  When the spinal cord is damaged, it could interfere with the messages being sent.

That interference could cause messages to be weaker or to be completely prevented from being sent.  Both the weakening of messages or the prevention of messages being sent is a type of paralysis.  When the spinal cord is partially damaged and the messages are weaker, that is a type of incomplete or partial SCI.  When the spinal cord is severed and the messages cannot be sent from below the injury to the brain, that is a complete or total SCI.  This means that a quadriplegia injury could be either incomplete/partial or complete/total.

What is Quadriplegia After a Car Accident?

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Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, is a SCI that affects the transfer of signals from the chin or upper chest/shoulders down.  That means that all four extremities and the majority of the torso are affected by quadriplegia. 

There are two main types of quadriplegia:

Incomplete Quadriplegia

When there is still some sensation, strength, movement, and other function below a SCI in the neck, that is a type of incomplete quadriplegia.  A victim of a car accident may still be able to move or have some sensation in his or her lower extremities, but will not have full control.  The extent of this disability depends on the extent of the damage.  Some individuals may be able to walk with some minor assistance (braces), while others may have some sensation but no control of movement or strength.

Complete Quadriplegia

Individuals who have no sensation, strength, movement, or other functions below a SCI in the neck have complete quadriplegia.  Victims of a car accident with complete quadriplegia will be dependent on assistance from others—whether that is from healthcare workers such as at-home nurses, or from family members.  Individuals with complete quadriplegia also have very little chance for any recovery, also being permanently disabled as a result of their injuries.

Difference Between High and Low Quadriplegia

Medical providers also distinguish between high and low quadriplegia.  The difference being the location of the SCI.  High quadriplegia is a reference to the first four vertebrae (C1-C4) at the very top of the neck right where the vertebrae and skull connect.  Whereas low quadriplegia references C5-C7, which is the lower part of the neck. 

The main difference is that, with low quadriplegia, a victim may have some sensation in the upper chest and shoulder.  Whereas with high quadriplegia, a victim may have no sensation below the chin.

Financial Costs of Quadriplegia on a Victim and a Family

Although quadriplegia obviously causes horrific physical and emotional injuries, the financial costs of quadriplegia on a victim and his or her family can also be just as devastating.  According to statistics, the financial costs of quadriplegia are overwhelming and staggering.  This includes:

First Year Expenses:

  • High Quadriplegia – $1.15 million
  • Low Quadriplegia – $830,000

Each Subsequent Year Expenses:

  • High Quadriplegia – $200,000 per year
  • Low Quadriplegia – $123,000 per year

Estimated Lifetime Costs by Age of Injury at 25 Years Old/50 Years Old

  • High Quadriplegia – $5.1 million/$2.8 million
  • Low Quadriplegia – $3.7 million/$2.2 million

These are staggering figures that can really cause significant impacts on an entire family, especially because a victim with quadriplegia is likely unable to work.  This is why it is imperative for victims and their families to contact an experienced car accident lawyer in New York to help them with catastrophic injuries such as quadriplegia.

Were You Diagnosed with Quadriplegia After a Car Accident in New York?  Call the O’Connor Law Firm for Help

Out of all of the most catastrophic types of personal injuries, quadriplegia after a car accident in New York is often said to be the most severe type of catastrophic injury right up there with traumatic brain injuries.  This is because, like a TBI, a SCI like quadriplegia is an injury to the central nervous system.  Victims suffering these types of injuries will have long-lasting and significant ramifications for the rest of their lives.  Because of the severity of these injuries, victims and their families should call an experienced car accident lawyer in New York like ours at the O’Connor Law Firm.

Our dedicated personal injury lawyers handle catastrophic injury cases like quadriplegia 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.  Learn more about your rights to compensation after a catastrophic injury like quadriplegia by scheduling a FREE consultation with our lawyers by dialing (718) 948-3500 or using our “Contact Us” box available here