paralysis after a car accident

Paralysis After a Car Accident – California Legal Options

paralysis after a car accident

If you are paralyzed in a car accident caused by someone else or at least partly caused by someone else, you have the right to recover compensation from the wrongdoer in California. Paralysis damages can be substantial, and getting appropriate compensation may be challenging, however, someone who became paralyzed after being injured in a car accident in California has a right to seek compensation from the responsible party.

Most of the time, medical bills from a car accident are covered by the insurance policy of the responsible driver to pay for your car accident injuries. The place to start is by contacting a personal injury attorney to help you navigate negotiations with the auto insurance carrier of the at fault driver . However, California only requires drivers to carry $15,000 per person in liability insurance, which is unlikely to even make a dent in your damages. Injured persons may also have some coverage for underinsured motorists from their own auto policies. In these cases, a car accident attorney who handles paralysis injury cases can find out whether or not the person responsible for causing the crash has other resources available to pay a damage award and counsel you about taking further legal action.

Calculating Damages for a Paralysis Injury

The damages calculation is especially important for paralysis injuries since they are so debilitating and may require lifetime care.

Paralysis damages can be substantial due to the prognosis for spinal cord injuries (SCI) not being very good at the present time. Having a spinal cord injury also increases the risk of developing other health problems and diseases and may shorten life expectancy. The mortality rate is highest during the first year for severely injured persons. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death and is directly related to the severity of the injury.

Damages for Life-Time Medical Treatment

Ongoing medical care will be required, and assistance will be needed to accomplish many of the activities of daily living. Significant and chronic pain affects about 95 percent of those with spinal cord injuries during the first year but tends to lessen in severity and frequency over time.

Some of the secondary physical symptoms paralysis injury victims may have to contend with include:

  • Loss of bladder and bowel control
  • Pain
  • Susceptibility to blood clots
  • Circulatory problems
  • Respiratory issues, including pneumonia
  • Sepsis (bacterial infection)
  • Muscle spasms
  • Pressure sores

In certain persons with SCI, a very dangerous condition called autonomic dysreflexia (AD) can occur. AD causes a sudden spike in blood pressure, and its predominant symptom is a headache. AD more commonly occurs in persons with spinal cord injuries at the level of the mid to upper spine and will affect 48 percent to 70 percent of those with injuries in that area.

Medical treatment for a spinal cord injury can cost between $320,000 and close to $1 million during the first year and up to $5 million over the course of a patient’s lifetime.

Damages for Lost Income and Earning Potential

In addition to medical expenses, damages for a spinal cord injury can include amounts for lost income and lost earning potential, as well as other out-of-pocket expenses that must be incurred as a result of the injury.

Non Economic Damages

Becoming paralyzed after a car accident will change almost everything about a person’s life. In addition to health complications, the loss of physical independence can affect the ability to work, relationships, and personal freedoms. Trying to deal with all of the changes can also lead to the development of mental health issues – such as anxiety and depression.

A person suffering a paralysis injury is also entitled to damages for their non-economic losses, such as:

  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Mental distress and suffering
  • Pain
  • Inconvenience
  • Inability to enjoy relationships as before

Non-economic damages are based on subjective perceptions but require objective evidence to support the damages claim. Documented examples help provide proof of non-economic losses.

Even if all available auto insurance coverage is paid, it is not uncommon to need to file a car accident lawsuit in order to obtain additional damages that were not paid by insurance. The experienced car accident lawyers at Curtis Legal Group can help you and your loved ones through this difficult time. Contact us today for a free consultation.