Paraplegic vs. Quadriplegic

A spinal cord injury (SCI) can happen in a matter of seconds because of a car accident, a fall, a gunshot wound or even playing a sport. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are nearly 18,000 new SCI cases every year. SCI patients spend less time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers than ever before because of advancements in treatment, but many will live with the physical, financial and emotional effects of their disability for a lifetime.

Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a bundle of message-carrying and sensory nerves protected by the spine. Its four main regions – from base of the skull to the tailbone – are the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral. Each is responsible for different movements and functions within the body. An SCI is categorized by a series of letters and numbers depending on where the damage is located: for example, a T-2 injury affects the second vertebra of the thoracic region.

An SCI can be described as complete (total lack of function or sensation below the injury) or incomplete (some function or sensation below the injury). Some people with incomplete SCIs regain various levels of movement and sensation. Additionally, the American Spinal Injury Association’s system describes the injury’s severity, from A (complete) through E (normal).

The most severe SCIs fall into two groups: quadriplegia and paraplegia.

  • Quadriplegia (alsocalled tetraplegia) refers to injuries sustained in the cervical region (C1-C8), and results in paralysis or weakness in both the arms and legs. The respiratory and digestive systems, as well as sexual function, can also be affected. People with quadriplegia are at higher risk for secondary conditions such as pneumonia and pressure sores.
  • Paraplegia refers to injuries to the spinal cord’s thoracic or lumbar region (T1-T12 or L1-L5). It causes paralysis or weakness in the legs, and there can be changes to the respiratory and digestive systems and sexual function. It does not affect movement in the arms, hands and shoulders.

Care for the Long Term

Depending on the injury, it’s estimated the first year of care for people with SCIs ranges from hundreds of thousands to a million dollars to cover hospital, equipment and rehabilitation bills. The costs typically go down in subsequent years but are ongoing. That’s for medical bills alone. Consider, too, the loss of income, the cost of home health care and the need for home alterations or a wheelchair-accessible vehicle.  Severe injuries such as SCIs also have emotional consequences, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder.

An experienced personal injury lawyer Bronx can help people with SCIs and their families receive fair compensation and damages when these injuries result from another party’s negligence or a workplace accident. The lawyer will thoroughly investigate the circumstances around the accident and work to ensure those who are harmed have sufficient financial resources not just for today, but for years to come. The legal services could include:

  • Appealing a workers’ compensation denial;
  • Pursuing a third-party personal injury or product liability claim;
  • Seeking punitive damages; or in some cases,
  • Addressing injuries that result from medical malpractice.

Trust an Experienced, Compassionate Advocate

Evan W. Kohn, who has more than 30 years’ experience as a lawyer, believes people with SCIs and their families shouldn’t have to navigate the complexities of the New York legal system alone. He offers a free consultation to begin a conversation that can lead to the best possible outcome for your case. Se habla español. Contact our office today at (718) 409-5500 for more information and to schedule an appointment. 

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