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Paralysis Due To Spinal Cord Injuries

The spine and related nerves are an integral part of the human anatomy and control movement, organ function, sensation, strength, and much more. Without a properly functioning spinal cord, an individual may be severely limited in movement and other abilities. For this reason, many accident victims who suffer injury to the spinal cord face a dim prognosis for their future health and independence.

Spinal cord injuries may be caused by many different kinds of accidents, but the most common causes[1] are as follows:

  • Traffic-related accidents
  • Falls
  • Violent acts
  • Sports injuries

If an individual suffers a spinal cord injury in any of the above incidents due to the negligence of another person, the victim deserves to be fully compensated for all injury-related losses and should contact an experienced attorney who understands spinal cord injury cases as soon as possible.

Temporary Paralysis

Spinal cord injuries often result in either temporary or permanent paralysis. In the case of temporary paralysis, a patient may be unable to move below the point of injury on the spine as long as the swelling and pressure remain on the spinal cord. Prolonged hospitalization is often required to keep the patient stabilized and to work to relieve pressure on the spine as much as possible. Medical professionals may opt to perform surgical procedures in order to reduce pressure, which will hopefully also reduce pain as well as improve neurological functioning. In many cases, as the spinal swelling and pressure subsides, a patient may regain movement abilities as soon as three weeks after the accident. After one year, the level of movement ability tends to stabilize and additional improvement may be rare.


Though stabilization and decompression may help some individuals suffering from spinal cord injury with functioning, movement, and the ability to walk, others may suffer permanent paralysis. When the paralysis is in the lower extremities, the diagnosis is called paraplegia. Though the life expectancy and general prognosis for paraplegics has improved in recent years, there are still many complications that paraplegics may suffer as a result of their injury. Some of the complications may include:

  • Formation of blood clots (thrombosis)[2]
  • Pressure sores
  • Pneumonia

While technology is improving to help paraplegics regain independence and mobility, such tools are extremely costly and require a significant amount of costly rehabilitative training to master. Patients with paraplegia often spend a long time mastering wheelchair mobility and may require a large amount of equipment to help with accessibility and mobility.


Quadriplegia occurs when a spinal cord injury victims suffers from total and permanent loss of movement and sensory functioning in all four limbs as well as the torso. Paralysis in the torso further means that the individual can suffer from an impairment or a complete loss of functioning of the following:

  • Sexual function
  • Bladder and bowels
  • Breathing
  • Digestion

Overall, quadriplegics have a lower life expectancy than paraplegics, most often due to the many medical complications that can occur as a result of this substantial paralysis. Such complications include thrombosis, osteoporosis leading to bone fractures, pressure sores, spasticity,[3] freezing of the joints, infections of the respiratory system, cardiovascular disorders, and more.

In addition to medical complications, many quadriplegics lose the majority of their independence as they often require assistance with even the most basic daily activities such as washing, eating, or dressing. Individuals with injuries particularly high on the spine in the neck may require ventilators to survive.

Contact an experienced spinal cord injury attorney for a free consultation today

If you or a loved one has suffered any form of paralysis in an accident, you should not delay in contacting an attorney who understands the implications of spinal cord injuries and knows how to help victims recover. Estimating the damages a paralyzed victim deserves from a negligent party can be extremely complicated and can require the assistance of financial experts, medical professionals, and more. At the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, our skilled personal injury attorneys will always use all possible resources in order to accurately estimate the amount that your spinal cord injury case is worth. Please do not hesitate to call our Clearwater office for a free consultation today at 727-451-6900.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756



[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/spinal-cord-injury/basics/causes/con-20023837
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thrombosis
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spasticity