Paraplegia and Quadriplegia

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Paraplegia and Quadriplegia Caused by Car Crash Injuries

Paraplegia or quadriplegia caused by car crash injuries is one of the worst possible outcomes of a wreck. These serious injuries are often permanent and victims will typically require intensive medical care for the rest of their lives.

Paraplegia and quadriplegia may be caused by injuries to the spine including the vertebrae, the spinal cord or ligaments. The spinal cord is vital to the functioning of the body. It links the brain to the rest of the body’s central nervous system. If you suffer a spinal cord injury, you may lose sensation, the ability to move and control of important bodily functions like bowel movement, sexual function, and breathing.

If you or a family member suffered a spinal cord injury caused by the fault of another person, it’s vital to seek legal counsel to recover as much money as you can for your severe injuries. Our Hampton, Virginia based trial attorneys can help you.

How Common Are Spinal Cord Injuries?

About 12,500 new spinal cord injuries are reported each year, meaning 40 out of every one million people suffer this devastating injury, states

As many as 240,000 to 337,000 Americans currently live with a spinal cord injury. However, a report by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation suggested the prevalence of paralysis across the U.S. was even higher.

The study found nearly 1 in 50 people in the United States live with some form of paralysis. That’s 5.4 million people, approximately the combined populations of Washington D.C., Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The foundation was chaired by the Superman actor Christopher Reeve who was a quadriplegic for the last decade of his life after he was thrown from a horse.

How often are Paraplegia and Quadriplegia Caused by Car Crashes?

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, 38 percent of all spinal injuries like paraplegia and quadriplegia are caused by car crashes. Auto wrecks are the leading cause of spinal accidents in Virginia. Falls account for 30 percent of spinal injuries and violence, in particular, gunshot injuries, for 14 percent.

Extreme accidents such as those involving tractor-trailers, rollover accidents or motorcycle wrecks are more likely to result in spinal cord injuries.

What is the Difference Between Paraplegia and Quadriplegia?


Paraplegia affects the lower extremities of a victim. It occurs when a spinal cord injury occurs at the thoracic level or below. A complete spinal cord injury is permanent. Incomplete spinal cord injuries may cause paralysis that can improve in time. Even victims who suffer an incomplete spinal cord injury may never again regain full use of their legs.

Paraplegia also affects abdominal muscles. Patients diagnosed with paraplegia often lose the ability to move and stretch abdominal muscles. Car accident victims who lose control of their abdominal muscles may also suffer from incontinence and lose sexual function. They may suffer from chronic pain and low blood pressure.


Quadriplegia is also known as tetraplegia. It is a type of paralysis that affects a victim’s arms and legs. Quadriplegia or tetraplegia is caused by a severe spinal cord injury to the cervical spinal cord.

Quadriplegia is more serious than paraplegia because quadriplegics have no control over their limbs or torso. Injuries that occur higher in the neck may be deadly.  Victims can lose control over their breathing and need to be on a ventilator for the rest of their lives. Patients with quadriplegia often need full time care for 24 hours a day.

Why Spinal Cord Injuries Are Complicated

If you suffered a spinal cord injury in a motor vehicle accident due to the fault of another driver, you may face a difficult fight for justice. Often, a highly specialized medical team is required to diagnose and treat your injuries. From the outset, your medical bills start piling up.

Victims of paraplegia and quadriplegia caused by car crash injuries face critical medical needs. They often remain for months in the hospital while evidence from the crash scene disappears and recollections fade. Often people who suffer paralysis face many months more in a costly rehabilitation center. Even after release, the ordeal is not over. Paraplegics and quadriplegics require adaptive equipment and home renovations to be able to live away from a hospital.

In cases like this, the burden falls on a loved one to deal with an insurance claim to cover exorbitant medical costs. Hiring a personal injury attorney will take away the burden of dealing with insurance adjustors yourself and mean vital evidence of wrongdoing that led to your injury will not be lost.

One of the most difficult aspects of a spinal cord injury case is predicting the level of future medical needs your loved one will require and the costs. An injury lawyer will make those calculations based on known formulas.

The Risks of Dealing with an Insurance Company When Paraplegia or Quadriplegia is Caused by a Car Crash

If you suffer a soft tissue injury in a car crash, the insurance company will seek to lowball you. However, the amount of money you can potentially lose is much higher in the case of a spinal injury that causes paralysis.

The insurance company that covers the individual or business at fault for the accident will seek to offer you the lowest settlement possible. This may seem like a lot of money when you are desperate after an accident. However, it may fail to cover all the acute medical needs of a paraplegic or a quadriplegic.

Contact a Hampton-Based Lawyer About a Spinal Cord Injury Caused by a Car Wreck

The Smith Law Center has forged a reputation for taking on complicated and serious injury cases such as brain injuries and spinal cord injuries and securing big results. Our trial injury lawyers have represented the injured in Virginia and further afield since 1949. See our case results or call us today at 757.244.7000.