It’s difficult to imagine an injury that is more physically and emotionally devastating than quadriplegia, which means the partial or total loss of function and feeling in all four limbs. Those with quadriplegia face a number of difficult obstacles in all aspects of their life, including their personal and family life as well as their professional life. Medical costs for such injuries often reach into the millions of dollars, which can add another major obstacle to their recovery.
Almost all of the 8,000 new paraplegics or quadriplegics become that way through a spinal cord injury, most commonly caused by accidents such as car crashes, work accidents, or falls from height. While a paraplegic is someone who suffers from either full or partial analysis affecting two limbs, usually the legs, quadriplegics suffer partial or complete paralysis to all four limbs, as well as the hips. This type of paralysis happens when the C-1 through C-4 areas of the spine become damaged to the point that the victim loses both sensory and motor function, which severely limits sensation and control. At the very least, quadriplegics usually need a minimum of 6-8 months of extensive rehabilitation just to be able to leave the hospital and be able to enter into treatment and therapy.
The Medical Problems Faced By Quadriplegics
In addition to the paralysis, quadriplegics face a number of other medical issues. For example, when the spinal cord is damaged at the C-1 vertebrae, a quadriplegic will not just lose function from the neck down, they will also lose the ability to breathe on their own and require a ventilator. Quadriplegics also commonly suffer from other medical complications, such as pressure sores, an increased risk of blood clots, loss of bowel and bladder control, increased susceptibility to urinary tract infections, bone fractures, kidney problems including kidney stones, and a significantly shortened lifespan.
The overall cost of treating and living as a quadriplegic are very high. According to data from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, in the first year alone, a quadriplegic will face between $740,000 to just over $1 million in costs for medical care alone, and incur between $109,000 and $172,000 each year after that, with lifetime costs being as high as $3 million-$4 million.
Financial and Social Hardships
Besides the medical bills lasting a lifetime, there is also a lack of employment available for such people. Though it is technically illegal to discriminate against those with a disability, many, if not most, employers will figure out a way to sidestep the law and deny a quadriplegic a fair opportunity for a job. In all, paraplegics make far less income than most other people; 24 percent of households with paralyzed people make less than $10,000, compared to just seven percent of households overall.
Quadriplegics also lack the ability to operate an automobile, which means depending on others, whether it’s public transportation or getting rides from friends, for getting around to such things as doctor’s appointments and appointments for physical therapy. Quadriplegics also suffer a lot of emotional distress, based on a number of unfair social statements and judgments by other people. Sometimes, quadriplegics suffer depression along with everything else.
These twin prospects of facing millions of dollars in medical bills at the same time income drops significantly makes it absolutely critical that victims of accidents that lead to quadriplegia seek compensation for their injuries. By filing a claim against the responsible party or parties, victims of these accidents can receive money to pay for their medical expenses, rehabilitation, medical equipment, lost earnings, and a lot more.
Texas Quadriplegic Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one have been injured in any sort of accident that left you a quadriplegic, you need an experienced and highly skilled personal injury attorney to help you get through that process. The personal injury attorneys at the Gutierrez Law Firm have the skills and the experience necessary to help you build the case, substantiate your losses and hold liable the party or parties whose negligence led to your injury. Contact us now so that we can get started in helping you protect your rights.