Your Right To Seek Compensation After A Spinal Cord Injury
Individuals who live with quadriplegia are facing a lifetime of medical care and treatment. Depending on where the spine was injured, the person may be unable to breathe without assistance (ventilation dependent or vent-dependent) and will require full-time care, often from a relative. Unfortunately, these costs can be unbearable for a single family to handle, as the injured party may lose a job and have serious difficulties finding other employment. In the majority of cases, these injuries are caused by someone else’s negligent actions.
At Pendergast Law, our Seattle quadriplegia lawyers have represented numerous individuals who have suffered catastrophic injuries at another’s hands and can outline your legal options in a free consultation. We understand how devastating spinal damage is and can advocate for full compensation on your behalf. To speak with a team of dedicated personal injury attorneys, call our office toll-free at 888-539-9211.
What Is Quadriplegia?
Quadriplegia (also known as tetraplegia) refers to the inability to move or feel below the neck due to damage to the spinal cord. The spinal cord is composed of a series of nerve bundles that stretch from the base of the skull to the tailbone. When these bundles are damaged, often due to the trauma to the surrounding bones of the spinal column, it can result in paralysis below the area that was damaged. Given that quadriplegia involves paralysis below the neck, it is often caused by injury to the cervical section of the spinal column (the neck) or the thoracic section (the upper back). This condition is different from paraplegia, which only affects a person’s ability to move and feel in the lower body.
This spinal damage makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the brain to communicate with the rest of the body’s nerves. Quadriplegia can be both complete and incomplete, meaning a person has either no sensation or motor control in the area below the neck or has some sensation or control. Complete quadriplegia can leave someone confined to a chair or bed, while someone dealing with an incomplete spinal cord injury may be able to move one side of his body, be able to feel but not move his limbs, or be able to walk or move with physical therapy. However, quadriplegics also can suffer from sudden and severe nerve pain that is extremely difficult to deal with.
Quadriplegia can also result in several secondary medical conditions, including:
- Blood clots
- Bedsores (pressure sores)
- Autonomic dysreflexia (a dangerous rise in blood pressure)
- Low blood pressure
- Phantom pain
- Bladder and urinary tract infections
- Issues associated with bowel function
- Respiratory problems
- Deep vein thrombosis
The real-world costs of quadriplegia are difficult to process. Whether your injury was complete or incomplete, you are looking at years of medical treatment to deal with daily issues. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, you may be to hold someone else accountable for your injuries and demand full compensation for all of the costs you have incurred.
What Causes Quadriplegia?
An estimated 247,000 to 358,000 individuals in the United States live with spinal cord injuries, 47.2% of whom deal with incomplete quadriplegia and 11.5% with complete quadriplegia, according to a report from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC). Almost all of these injuries are caused by serious accidents, the top five of which include:
- Car accidents – 38.3%
- Falls – 31.6%
- Violent crimes – 13.8%
- Sports injuries – 8.2%
- Medical/surgical errors – 4.6%
Unfortunately, these statistics will only continue to grow, as the NSCISC reports that an average of 17,000 new spinal cord injuries occur every year. No matter the type of spinal cord injury or the type of accident, victims deserve proper compensation if someone else hurts them. At Pendergast Law, we can provide in-depth legal guidance about how to receive compensation for your injuries, including in cases of:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Medical errors
- Acts of violence
- Sports-related injuries
- Diving injuries
Why You Should Speak To An Attorney
Every case is unique in how it took place, the degree of the condition, and the health and future prospects for the accident victim. As quadriplegia leaves a person incapable of directing the motion of the chest, shoulders, arms, hands, legs and feet, his or her life is completely altered. The ability to work, earn a living, care for a family, and enjoy normal activities has been irreversibly changed. When negligence is the cause of the injury, legal action should be taken to pursue compensation.
It may be difficult to focus on the legal issues, but Washington state laws limit the time in which a lawsuit can be filed, and these deadlines must not be missed. In standard personal injury cases against third parties or private companies, an accident victim has up to three years from the date of the injury to file a claim. When a governmental agency is liable, however, the time limit drops to only 60 days.
After a catastrophic injury, it could not be more important to contact a respected Seattle quadriplegia lawyer. A lawyer’s litigation skills can vary; it is in your best interests to retain a firm that has a track record of success. We urge you to connect with us immediately if you or your loved one has been seriously injured and is facing life as a quadriplegic.
We will ensure that all filing deadlines are met and that the correct legal actions are taken to help you pursue full compensation. We have achieved positive case results for numerous injured clients in the past, and we have received many awards and recognitions that showcase our professional qualifications.
How Much Is A Case Worth?
No two cases are the same, and the lifetime costs of quadriplegia can vary depending on the nature of the injury, the age of the victim, and the level of care they receive. But, according to the NSCISC, the average costs for high-level quadriplegia (C1-C4, or the upper neck) are:
- $1,1002,403 for the first year after an injury occurred
- $191,436 for each following year
- $4,891,395 in lifetime costs for someone who is 25 when injured
- $2,688,229 for someone who is 50 when injured
For low-level quadriplegia (C5-C8, or the area where the neck meets the back), the costs include:
- $796,583 for the first year after an injury occurred
- $117,437 for each following year
- $3,573,960 in lifetime costs for someone who is 25 when injured
- $2,198,305 for someone who is 50 when injured
These costs can include a variety of surgeries, physical therapy, medical equipment, medication, and additional care from medical professionals or family members. When you file a claim, the amount of money you should receive should reflect the long-term impact on you, both financially and personally. The financial damages alone will be extensive and can include the following:
- Costs of medical care (current and estimated future costs)
- Costs of training and rehabilitation
- Costs of nursing care
- Costs of medications
- Vehicle and transportation costs
- Costs of equipment (chair, breathing apparatus, others)
- Costs of home renovations
- Loss of income
- Lost earning potential
Above and beyond the “hard costs” of caring for a person with quadriplegia, we are also dedicated to recovering “noneconomic damages” – the personal costs of an injury – as well. These costs can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Emotional anguish
It is the duty of your lawyer to demand both types of compensation by thoroughly researching the circumstances surrounding your injuries. Whether you were injured due to a negligent pool owner or in a serious truck accident, we will utilize our nearly 30 years of experience to represent you and your family.
Where To Turn For Help In A Washington Quadriplegia Injury Case
Pendergast Law offers assistance to individuals who have become quadriplegic due to no fault of their own. Every case is different and must be evaluated on an individual basis, but we can answer any question you have about the claims process in a free consultation. There is no cost or obligation in reaching out to us, and if you retain our services, you owe us no legal fees unless we are successful.
Our mission is to serve those that have suffered serious injuries to recover a fair level of compensation. Our Seattle personal injury attorneys are dedicated to serving clients and providing them with the best legal guidance they can receive. We are driven to perform and care deeply about the outcome of your case. You can trust us to fight for you and your future. Call Pendergast Law toll-free at 888-539-9211 to speak to an experienced attorney today.