North Carolina Lawyers Helping Those with Quadriplegia
Out of the estimated 270,000 people in the U.S. living with spinal cord injury, nearly 41 percent suffer from a condition known as incomplete quadriplegia (also called tetraplegia) and nearly 16 percent from complete quadriplegia.
Quadriplegia is a condition that often arises due to an accident. It could be the result of an incident that occurred at work, a slip and fall on another’s property or a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver. In many of these cases, the victim may be entitled to compensation.
If you or a family member has been diagnosed with quadriplegia, contact the North Carolina personal injury and workers’ compensation lawyers at Hardison & Cochran right away. Call us today at (800) 434-8399 or complete our online form. We can review your case free of charge. We help clients across North Carolina, including Raleigh, Cary, Durham and Fayetteville.
What is Quadriplegia?
Quadriplegia is the inability to voluntarily move the upper and lower parts of the body. This includes impairment to the arms, hands and fingers. It also can impact the chest, legs, feet and toes and possibly the head, neck and shoulders.
Quadriplegia is caused by a spinal cord injury, or SCI. Spinal cord injuries are described by the vertebrae where the injury has occurred and below which there is a loss of feeling and/or movement. The higher the spinal cord injury is on the vertebral column, or the closer it is to the brain, the more effect it has on how the body can move and feel.
An injury from the C1 vertebrae (the highest cervical or neck vertebrae) to the T1 vertebrae (highest thoracic vertebrae) generally results in quadriplegia.
Incomplete paralysis differs among its victims because the damage to each person’s spinal cord and nerves differs. A person with incomplete quadriplegia may experience some feeling but be capable of little or no movement. Others may have more movement than feeling.
A person whose paralysis is incomplete at the time of their injury has a better chance of regaining some or all of their motor or sensory function.
Eventually, a quadriplegic’s body systems that are controlled by the damaged nerves will begin to shut down. These include the respiratory, urinary, gastrointestinal, circulatory and reproductive systems.
Doctors and therapists who treat quadriplegia victims will focus on realistic expectations for levels of activity the quadriplegic should be able to achieve. These are called “functional goals.”
The functional goals for a quadriplegic generally are small goals. They range from limited movement of the head and neck in a patient with a C1 to C3 injury, to the ability to move the head, neck, shoulders, arms, hands and fingers in the patient with a C8 to T1 injury.
The C1-C3 patient might be on a breathing ventilator and use a motorized wheelchair operated by head motion, mouth stick or chin control. The C8 to T1 patient might use a manual wheelchair and live independently.
Clearly, a quadriplegic injury is a life-altering event. It often results in a difficult and expensive recovery. A quadriplegic will require therapy, assistive devices and perhaps part-time or live-in care. The lifetime cost of treatment for a quadriplegia patient who is injured at age 25 will range from an estimated $3.3 to $4.5 million.
The Challenges of a North Carolina Quadriplegia Claim
The Mayo Clinic says three main causes of spinal cord injury are motor vehicle accidents (accounting for about 40 percent of the SCIs suffered each year), falls (more than 25 percent) and disease (arthritis, cancer and osteoporosis).
If you or a loved one suffers from quadriplegia, it’s important to review how the condition arose and whether compensation can be sought to pay for medical expenses, lost income and other losses.
For instance, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. Although these claims can be complex in certain cases, no showing of anyone else’s fault is required. Your employer’s insurance company will be responsible for paying this claim.
You also may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent person, company or driver who caused you or your loved one to suffer quadriplegia. This does require a showing of fault. Such cases can be resolved through a settlement or by taking a case to trial.
Our Raleigh Quadriplegic Injury Lawyers Are Ready To Help
Hardison & Cochran handles many personal injury and workers’ compensation cases in North Carolina where the injured person has quadriplegia (or tetraplegia). If you or a loved one needs a lawyer to handle your claim, make sure your attorney has experience representing clients who suffer from this condition. Contact Hardison & Cochran today online or call us at (800) 434-8399 to schedule a free consultation about your case.