Suffering any injury because of the actions of another is a serious matter. However, some of the most severe injuries are those that involve some form of paralysis.
When these or other incidents are the result of a person or business’s negligence, an injured individual can pursue a claim to request compensation. Because of the long-term impact of these injuries, these claims must take both past and future costs into account.
If you or a loved one was injured due to another person’s careless or reckless behavior, a hardworking and seasoned Michigan paralysis injury lawyer could help.
By working tirelessly to gather evidence and build a persuasive and thorough claim, an attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could prove to be an invaluable legal ally during this difficult time.
- United States paralysis statistics
- How does paralysis occur?
- Legal rights following a paralyzing injury
Statistics about Paralysis in United States
There are more than five million people in the United States with some form of paralysis. This is approximately one out of every five Americans.
The leading causes of paralysis are stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, and multiple disease processes.
Many people are paralyzed due to spinal cord injuries. The leading causes of spinal cord injuries are:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Physical labor injuries
- Physical assaults
- Sports injuries
Two-thirds of paralysis patients are between the ages of 18-64 years old. For younger patients, the leading cause is cerebral palsy. For older patients, it is stroke.
The pie chart below represents the causes of paralysis for more than 1 million valid responses, based on data compiled by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, in conjunction with the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Heath and Human Services.
According to the data, of the 1.4 million persons who reported a spinal cord injury, the cause of paralysis could not be determined for 26% due to missing, unintelligible, or incomplete data.
How Does Paralysis Occur?
There are two ways that paralysis can occur. The most direct is damaged nerves in the affected body part. As a simple example, a person may lose the ability to move a finger after an accident crushes and destroys the nerves in that finger. This lack of nerve connection to the central nervous system means that the brain can no longer communicate with that finger.
The other source of paralysis is damage to the central nervous system itself. If the spinal cord suffers an injury, it may be unable to relay the brain’s signals to the affected body parts. The higher in the spinal cord the injury, the more prevalent the paralysis. A neck injury may leave people unable to control their legs, arms, or even their ability to independently breathe. Injuries lower in the back may only affect a person’s legs.
Direct damage to the brain may also result in paralysis. If the portion of the brain that is responsible for motor skills endures an injury, that may compromise a person’s ability to take voluntary actions. A Michigan paralysis injury lawyer who has experience with claims arising from these severe injuries could work to determine if the proximate cause of this damage was the negligent actions—or inaction—of another person.
Paraplegia is paralysis in the lower part of the body caused by damage to the spinal cord. Paraplegia, both complete and incomplete, results in not only loss of feeling and function in the legs and lower part of the body, but can also bring pain or intense stinging caused by nerve damage. Loss of bladder or bowel control, spasms, changes in sexual function and fertility, and shortened lifespan are also common symptoms suffered. Additionally, medical and general care for paraplegic persons is extremely costly.
Legal Rights Following a Paralyzing Injury
Most instances of paralysis are the result of accidents. Even so, the state laws make it clear that negligent defendants in accidents still carry liability for their actions.
To prevail in these cases, an injured plaintiff must show that a defendant violated a duty of care and that this failure resulted in their paralysis. Examples can include a driver who fails to yield, a store owner who fails to clear ice from a sidewalk, or a doctor who damages a patient’s spinal cord during surgery.
Paralysis injury cases can be difficult because plaintiffs must estimate their future damages in addition to past medical costs. Because many of these injuries will never fully improve, the law considers these to be catastrophic injuries. Therefore, it is not unusual for a claim to demand payments for future medical care, reimbursement for lost income potential, and payments for lost quality of life.
Regardless of the extent of a person’s injuries, they may have only three years to file a claim—according to Michigan Compiled Laws §600.5805. However, this deadline might vary, depending on the proximate cause of the injury. Regardless, it is advisable for a claimant to act swiftly and contact a dedicated attorney in order to protect their rights.
Michigan Paralysis Case study
A patient was admitted to the hospital for the treatment of burn injuries. Shortly after admission, he began to have bowel and bladder problems. He also had paraparesis of his legs.
The hospital staff was aware of these issues but neglected to timely order an MRI.
The conditions worsened and an MRI was finally taken, which showed an epidural abscess. Due to the delay in diagnosis, surgery was significantly delayed. The patient never did regain full function and has permanent paralysis. A lawsuit was filed against the hospital and settled for $4.25 million prior to trial.
How a Michigan Paralysis Injury Attorney Might Help
A severe and paralyzing injury can leave you with physical trauma, emotional strain, and financial instability. However, when another person, business, or entity is to blame for your injuries, you should not have to shoulder the resulting costs alone.
A Michigan paralysis injury lawyer might be able to help. A skillful Buckfire Law attorney could help to assess your rights and work to file a claim on your behalf, so that you can focus on your recovery. To schedule a free case review, reach out to a legal professional today.
Our attorney, Robert J. Lantzy, was always available to take our calls, kept us updated very frequently and advised us thoroughly throughout the lawsuit process.
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