Paralysis can be caused by a spinal cord injury, a brain injury, or a stroke, or diseases affecting the central nervous system. If these conditions or injuries occur due to the actions or negligence of someone else, you may be eligible to seek compensation to help with your treatment.
Spinal Cord Injuries
If you have a spinal cord injury, the extent of your injuries depends on the level of the injury to the spinal column.
The spinal cord is the nerve bundle that goes from the base of the brain to the tailbone and is protected by the bony “vertebrae” of the spine. The cervical section of your spinal cord is in your neck. If the first four vertebrae in this area are damaged, the result may be quadriplegia, a complete paralysis of arms, body and legs. Damage to the lower cervical section may also result in varying levels of paralysis below the neck.
Below that are the 12 “thoracic” vertebrae and five “lumbar” vertebrae. People with spinal cord injuries at a thoracic or lumbar vertebra may suffer from a form of paralysis known as paraplegia.
A spinal cord injury at or above the fifth thoracic vertebra can result in autonomic dysreflexia (AD), or hyperreflexia. A herniated disc (also called slipped disc, bulging disc, or ruptured disc) is a tear in one of the cushions between the spinal vertebrae. Brachial plexus injuries may result from a stretch, tear, or rupture of the nerves that carry signals from the spinal cord to the rest of the body. This may result in paralysis.
If the spinal cord injury was due to an accident caused by another person’s negligence, such as a motor vehicle accident or medical malpractice, the injured person may be eligible to recover compensation from the person who caused the accident.
Other Injuries Resulting in Paralysis
Brain Injury: There are many types of brain injuries that can cause paralysis. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can result from car accidents, slip and falls, or any accident that causes a head injury or blow to the victim’s head. Other brain injury causes are medical malpractice, asphyxiation, and anything that restricts blood flow to the brain.
Cerebral Palsy: Unlike other brain injuries, cerebral palsy is non-progressive. Categorized as ataxic, athetoid/dyskinetic and spastic, cerebral palsy can be caused by trauma or damage to the brain at birth, and result in paralysis.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome: Typically, the cause of a gastrointestinal viral infection, Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a disease that debilitates the body’s immune system causing muscle paralysis. Guillain-Barre Syndrome can be the result of food poisoning or infection by other means.
Motor Neuron Disease: Many types of physical injuries or accidents can cause motor neuron disease, which causes loss of movement, speech, swallowing and breathing.
Nerve Compression: A very painful condition, nerve compression can result in the sciatic nerve being pinched or pressured by any of the discs in the lower back/spinal cord. The pressure on a nerve root can lead to ischemia. Some severe cases of nerve compression may lead to paralysis.
Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attacks (TIA): Caused by a blockage or insufficient flow of blood to the brain, these can cause brain injury resulting in paralysis, often affecting one side of the body. Strokes and TIAs can be caused by trauma to the brain, dangerous medications, or medical malpractice.
Subarachnoid Hemorrhage: Bleeding of the brain causing trauma and paralysis. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage can be caused by a weakness in the arteries of the brain. Spinal cord and tumors may also contribute to this disease.
Paralysis Caused by Disease
Some causes of paralysis are diseases of unknown cause, genetic or environmental factors, or the patients’ general health and/or lifestyle – but not by the specific actions of anyone else. Typically, paralysis from these causes is not compensable. These include:
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS): Also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is a degenerative muscle disease that eventually results in muscle atrophy and paralysis.
Arterial Blockage: Artery disease, which can occur due to age, genetics, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, smoking, or other lifestyle issues, typically causes blockage in the carotid arteries which transport blood to the brain. This can lead to a stroke, which can result in paralysis or death.
Friedreich’s Ataxia: Friedreich’s Ataxia is an inherited disease that may cause issues with coordination, muscle deterioration, loss of sensation in the extremities and can cause heart disease and total paralysis.
Muscular Dystrophy: This is a genetic defect of protein in the bones and muscle cell tissues. Paralysis because of muscular dystrophy has no known cure, but physical activity and therapy can help.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS): Believed to be caused by viral infections that attack of an individual’s respiratory and immune systems, MS can result in muscle atrophy and weakness. Symptoms of MS include diminished coordination, problems with speech, vision and sensation. People with MS may even suffer from paralysis.
Poliomyelitis and Post-Polio Syndrome: Polio is caused by a virus that can be transferred between humans with infected blood streams. It destroys the motor neurons, causing muscle weakness and paralysis.
Syringomyelia / Tethered Cord: This tumor-like cyst that erodes the spinal cord and its connection to the brain. Loss of muscle control and sensation, as well as paralysis may result.
Transverse Myelitis: A neurological disease caused by the inflammation of the spinal cord, transverse myelitis is caused by the infection or deterioration of the body’s immune system and can cause paralysis.
Retaining a TorkLaw Spinal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has become paralyzed due to an injury at the hands of another party, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact the experienced personal injury lawyers at TorkLaw. We support and understand the complexities of brain and spinal injuries causing paralysis and its associated problems. We can help you recover expenses for medical bills, physical therapy, special equipment, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost wages, and other damages so you can treat your condition and regain some quality of life. Call us today for a free consultation.