By Pendergast Law on December 27, 2020
Receiving a diagnosis of paralysis can be heart-wrenching. The loss of sensation and motor control will force you to completely change your life and contend with a difficult future. While people often think of paralysis in serious conditions like paraplegia or quadriplegia, it is often more complex. Many accident victims have to face the real-world consequences of a hemiplegia diagnosis.
What Is Hemiplegia?
Paralysis is a medical condition that involves the loss of sensation, feeling, and control in a specific part of the body due to an injury to the body’s nerves. Our bodies’ nerves are extremely small and fragile. When pressured, stretched, or torn, they can have difficulties communicating with the spine or brain, resulting in paralysis, chronic pain, and other medical conditions.
Hemiplegia is one of the most unique forms of paralysis. Where other conditions like paraplegia involve paralysis from below the hips and quadriplegia everything below the neck, hemiplegia only affects one side of the body. This can mean that only a single leg is affected, both of your limbs on the right side, or even both limbs and the torso. It also does not have to feature total paralysis. Some people have limited control over their affected limbs or deal with nerve pain when the damage is incomplete.
Differences Between Right and Left Hemiplegia
Hemiplegia is typically caused by trauma to the brain or spine, which can have different consequences depending on where the damage occurred.
With the brain, the right side controls the left side of the body while the left side controls the right side of the body. If you were to suffer a blow to the right side of your head, the resulting traumatic brain injury (TBI) could cause hemiplegia in your left arm and leg. This is referred to as contralateral hemiplegia.
In contrast, hemiplegia caused by spinal cord injuries, or spinal hemiplegia, is the result of damage to one side of the spine. Typically, with a spinal cord injury (SCI), the trauma can affect both sides of the body, leading to paraplegia or quadriplegia, but if only the right side of the spine is damaged, it may only lead to hemiplegia on that side. Spinal hemiplegia can affect both limbs as well as the torso depending on what level of the spine was damaged. For example, damage to the lower back, or lumbar spinal column, can result in hemiplegia in one leg, while damage to the thoracic (upper back) or cervical (neck) sections of the spinal column could affect an arm and a leg on one side of the body.
Your Options After an Injury
Both TBIs and SCIs are serious medical conditions that should be immediately reviewed by a doctor, especially if a victim is dealing with some form of paralysis. While doctors may be able to minimize the amount of damage to the brain or spine, it is possible for hemiplegia to be permanent. Instead of fully recovering, an accident victim may need to adjust their lifestyle and seek additional treatment, which can include:
- Rehabilitation to strengthen the unimpaired half of the body
- Physiotherapy to improve coordination and balance
- Modified constraint-induced movement therapy to retrain the stronger half of the body
- Assisted living equipment like canes, crutches, wheelchairs, and braces
- Medication to deal with chronic pain
As a lifelong condition, hemiplegia can bury a patient and their family in medical debt. Oftentimes, these injuries are the result of a serious accident, such as a vehicle collision, slip and fall, violent attack, sports injury, or another form of trauma. If hemiplegia was caused by someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness, an accident victim could pursue a claim against that person under Washington state’s personal injury laws.
Filing a personal injury claim for paralysis is a complex process. You will need to not only prove that the at-fault party should pay you compensation for your injuries, but also calculate how much money you should receive. Compensation for lifelong injuries is difficult to calculate, which is why you should work with an experienced Seattle personal injury lawyer.
Our team of legal experts can review the circumstances surrounding your accident, calculate the lifelong costs of your injuries, and advocate for full compensation in a settlement negotiation or jury trial, if necessary. To discuss your case in a free consultation, call our office at 888-539-9211.