Injuries that occur at work and result in paralysis – the loss of movement or sensation following damage to the spinal cord or nervous system – can be devastating. This kind of on-the-job accident may leave the lower extremities non-functioning (quadriplegia) or impact all four limbs (paraplegia).
The pain and shock of a catastrophic work injury to your back are followed by the realization that you may never regain full use of your arms or legs. Your life and those of your loved ones will never be the same. Dramatic lifestyle changes, dependence on others, intense and long-term treatment and rehabilitation, and the emotional and psychological impact of paralysis can overwhelm workers and their families in the aftermath of a work accident.
What are Paraplegia and Quadriplegia?
The spinal cord is essential to almost all our physical movements. It is what allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body. When a spinal cord is injured or broken, the part of the body controlled by the affected area may lose its ability to function, resulting in permanent disability or paralysis, including:
- Either complete or incomplete, paraplegia affects the lower extremities (legs and trunk) but not the arms. Whether the trunk of the body is affected or not depends primarily on the location of the injury to the spinal cord.
- Often referred to interchangeably as tetraplegia, quadriplegia is paralysis of not only the legs and trunk but the arms as well. Injuries to the cervical (neck) area often result in quadriplegia.
A lack of mobility and use of the limbs are the most obvious impacts of a work injury resulting in paraplegia and quadriplegia. Paralysis can also cause or contribute to a cascading array of other health problems, including:
- Bowel and bladder dysfunction
- Loss or impairment of sexual function
- Chronic pain
- Low blood pressure
- Difficulty breathing, coughing or clearing secretions from your lungs
Risks in Every Job and Workplace
Unquestionably, certain jobs requiring physical labor and exertion – construction workers, warehouse employees, dock workers – are more likely to lead to workplace accidents resulting in paralysis than desk-oriented or sedentary jobs. But make no mistake, devastating spinal cord accidents can occur in almost any workplace or job. A slip and fall on a hard lunchroom floor, a fall from a stepstool, or a serious vehicle accident while driving during your employment can lead to tragedy as well.
Fighting for Injured San Diego Workers and Their Families
The average annual cost of treatment for those with paraplegia is $537,271 in the first year and $71,172 every year after that. The financial toll is even greater for those with quadriplegia. But these are just the dollars and cents. Medical bills and lost paychecks don’t fully reflect the incalculable losses incurred by families after a loved one has suffered a work-related spinal cord injury.
At Hiden, Rott & Oertle, our San Diego workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys know how important it is for individuals and their families to get the support and resources to help them recover and rebuild their lives. We are steadfastly committed to helping clients obtain the maximum amount of compensation available, whether through their workers’ compensation claims or, when applicable, through civil lawsuits against any third-parties that may be responsible for the injuries.
If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related spinal cord injury resulting in paraplegia or quadriplegia, please call us at 619-296-5884 or use the form on our contact page to set up your free consultation.