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Paralysis from California Car Accidents and Case Value

Car accidents and other motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of accidental paralysis for younger people in California. As per the Cleveland Clinic, paralysis occurs when there is damage to the brain or spinal cord, and relay signals fail to make it through nerves to the muscles.  According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, most cases of paralysis from are caused by injuries to the spinal column. More than half of such injuries are suffered by victims between 16 and 30, and more than 80% of them are male.

What is Paralysis

The Cleveland Clinic reports that paralysis involves both a loss of strength and control over a muscle or group of muscles. The cause ordinarily isn’t the muscles themselves. It’s more of an issue of the nerves that run back and forth from the brain to the affected part of the body. Those nerves are what tell you to move a body part. Th ere are different types of paralysis too. Here are a few types of them:

  • Partial: When you still have some control of your muscles. It’s often caused by a partial spinal cord tear.
  • Complete: This occurs when the spinal cord is completely severed. Victims will have no muscle movement.
  • Permanent: Permanent muscle loss occurs when muscle control is gone and never returns.
  • Temporary: When muscle control is lost but returns. It’s a spinal cord concussion, and often called a “stinger” in American football.
  • Flaccid: Muscles shrink because they become flabby.
  • Spastic: Muscle spasms occur when muscles tighten up and their movement becomes involuntary.

Localized vs. Generalized Paralysis

When paralysis is localized, it’s limited to one area of the body like the hands, face or even the vocal cords. If it’s generalized, it becomes a question of how much of the body is affected. The following are types of generalized paralysis:

  • Monoplegia: This form of paralysis affects only one limb, like one arm or one leg.
  • Hemiplegia: One side of the body will be affected with hemiplegia, like one arm 
  • Diplegia: One area of both sides of the body will be affected with diplegia. For example, both arms would be affected.
  • Paraplegia: The most common example of paraplegia would be both of a victim’s legs being paralyzed.
  • Quadriplegia: Both arms and both legs would be affected with quadriplegia. Even the function of the body’s vital organs might be affected.

Treating of Spinal Cord Injuries

It will be obvious that immediate medical attention is warranted for any spinal cord injury. Emergency medical personnel will need to use a stiff neck brace and a rigid carrying board. At the emergency room, maintaining the victim’s ability to breathe is of paramount importance. Emergency room personnel might also further immobilize the victim’s neck. The National Institute of Health advises that surgical intervention might be needed for purposes of removing fluid, tissue, bone or disc fragments or foreign objects from the injured area of the spine. Fusion of spinal bones or implantation of braces might also occur at this time. 


Sadly, there is no known way to reverse a spinal cord injury. These injuries and their aftermath are permanent. Rehabilitation and physical therapy and the use of assistive and adaptive devices are about the best that modern medicine can hope for right now. If the victim has fine motor skills, vocational or occupational therapy are in order. In a worst-case scenario, a home health care provider would be required.

Damages in a Paralysis Case

Unless the accident victim is in that small minority who fully recover from a spinal cord injury like a spinal concussion, the injuries suffered are going to be permanent. A life care plan will likely need to be created. Damages are classified as both economic and non-economic. Here’s what economic damages ordinarily consist of:

  • Ambulance or paramedic charges.
  • Hospital bills.
  • Physicians’ bills, including any surgeries.
  • Therapy and rehabilitation.
  • Cost of future care.
  • Assistive devices, including wheelchairs.
  • Lost time from work.
  • Diminished earning capacity.
  • Necessary medications.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses.

Note that economic damages can all be quantified within a reasonable degree of certainty. Non-economic damages must be subjectively weighed by a jury. They can’t simply be added up like economic damages. There is no price tag on any non-economic damage They might consist of any of the following:

  • Pain and suffering.
  • Emotional anguish and distress.
  • Any permanent disability and disfigurement.
  • Diminished enjoyment of life.
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Punitive damages when appropriate.

What is the Value of a Paralysis Case?

Although California law doesn’t allow us to guarantee an amount, it’s safe to say that settlements and verdicts in paralysis cases are on the high end of personal injury damages.  That’s because of the significant permanent disability, earnings losses and ongoing medical and rehabilitative care involved. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, spinal cord injury victims can pay between $518,000 and $769,000 in medical expenses for the first year. Each year thereafter can easily approach $200,000 for quadriplegia. The extent of a spinal cord injury will affect the amount of the compensation. Settlements and verdicts are typically in the seven and eight figure range. Here are some examples of some recent settlements and verdicts:

  • $8,077, 789 in Wisconsin for paraplegia that resulted in death a year later from a complication of the injury.
  • $38, 164,263 in another Wisconsin rear-end collision case that left a man a paraplegic.
  • $54 million for a 9-year-old who suffered quadriplegia from a Costa Mesa car crash.
  • $8,225,000 million for a 79-year-old man who was left a quadriplegic as a result of a negligent spinal surgery.
  • $11 million to a Riverside motorcyclist who will never walk again as a result of a collision with another vehicle.

Why You Need Maison Law After an Accident That Caused Paralysis

At Maison Law, we concentrate our practice on severe and catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. When you consult with and retain us, all legal details in your case will be fully attended to while you aim at reaching maximum medical improvement. In the event of a wrongful death, you can focus on yourself and other surviving family members while we piece a strong case together and move it forward toward resolution. You can call us at Maison Law or contact us online to arrange for a free consultation and case review. No up-front money is needed. If we’re retained to represent you, our objective will be to obtain the maximum settlement or verdict that you deserve.

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