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Personal Injury Cases and Quadriplegia: Your Legal Rights

By Matt Quick on August 11, 2018

A person in a wheelchairWhenever someone suffers a spinal cord injury, the matters must be taken seriously. These kinds of incidents can result in partial or total paralysis. The most tragic spinal cord injuries that do not claim lives result in quadriplegia, which drastically changes a person’s life as well as the lives of their loved ones.

The attorneys at our law firm have assisted numerous clients in the Kirkland and Seattle, WA areas who have suffered catastrophic injuries that have changed their lives. Let’s discuss quadriplegia and what you legal options might be after such a devastating injury.

About Quadriplegia

Quadriplegia refers to the loss of use of all extremities. Quadriplegics will lose the full use of their arms and legs, and will generally be unable to feel anything below the point of the spinal cord injury. They will be dependent on others to accomplish simple tasks around the home that we take for granted, such as eating, bathing, and so forth.

Quadriplegia occurs when the cervical spine is injured. This refers to the vertebrae located in the neck portion of the spine. Paraplegia, by contrast, occurs lower on the spinal cord, affecting the lower extremities rather than all extremities.

Levels of Quadriplegia

There are different levels of quadriplegia depending on where the injury occurred along the cervical spine. The higher up the neck, the more severe the effects. C8-C5 injuries are less seriously than C4-C1 spinal injuries, with C1 injuries being the most severe.

Briefly, here are some effects of a C8-C5 spinal cord injury:

  • Reduce use of the hands if not loss of use of the hands
  • Reduced mobility of the wrist
  • Limited use of the arms
  • Weakened breathing

Here are some effects of a C-4 to C-1 spinal cord injury:

  • Machine required to assist with breathing
  • No use of the arms
  • Impaired ability to speak
  • 24-hour personal care required

Causes of Quadriplegia

According to the Mayo Clinic, these are the leading causes of quadriplegia in the United States:

  • Auto Accidents - Almost half of all spinal cord injuries each year are from auto accidents.
  • Falls - Falls are a leading cause of spinal injuries, especially in the elderly. Around 15 percent of spinal injuries can be attributed to falls.
  • Acts of Violence - Gun violence, knife attacks, and other physical altercations result in 12 percent of spinal injuries each year.
  • Sports and Athletics Injuries - Athletes at all levels and in all sports may suffer from severe spinal injuries. Around 10 percent of spinal injuries are suffered during sports and recreational activities.

In addition, the Mayo Clinic notes that alcohol use is said to contribute to 1 in 4 spinal injuries every year.

Changes to Your Life and Livelihood

If an injury renders you a quadriplegic, you now have to depend on others each day to live with dignity. You will need a wheelchair to get around, impacting mobility and affecting daily transportation options. Your career path will change drastically, and the need for constant medical attention can be costly. This can take a major financial and emotional toll on you and your loved ones.

How Catastrophic Injury Lawyers Can Help

If your catastrophic injury was the result of a another person’s negligence, it’s important that you seek legal help to hold that person or party legally liable. Damages from a civil lawsuit can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and the emotional pain and suffering related to your injury.

Having a lawyer on your side can offer peace of mind during a legal proceeding. Your attorney can offer sound counsel during every step of a lawsuit, and can help negotiate a fair settlement. Our law firm will put your needs and your family’s needs first.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about your legal rights and options following a severe spinal cord injury, contact our team of catastrophic personal injury lawyers. The attorneys of Quick Law Group, PLLC are here to answer questions and offer insight into your best legal options.

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