One of the most devastating and life-altering injuries a person could suffer in a workplace accident is paralysis. Workers in many jobs could become paralyzed in a serious workplace accident. It can literally change a person’s life, making him unable to return to his former job and needing the assistance of others with some of his day-to-day basic needs. Fortunately, victims can make a claim for workers’ compensation benefits to replace the lost wages, expensive medical treatments, and assistive tools they will need to help them maintain their mobility and independence.
What Are the Types of Paralysis?
Paralysis is the loss of function of a muscle or group of muscles that enables us to move our limbs, hands, fingers, feet, and toes—something we take for granted every day unless we lose this ability. Paralysis will fall within one of these four categories:
- Monoplegia. One limb is paralyzed.
- Hemiplegia. The arm and leg on one side of the body are paralyzed.
- Paraplegia. Both legs and possibly the lower body and the pelvic area are paralyzed.
- Quadriplegia. Both of the person’s arms and legs are paralyzed.
Paralysis is caused by a spinal cord injury where the spinal cord or nerves transmitting messages to and from the brain are injured. The paralysis will be more severe when the injury is higher up on the spinal cord. While traumatic brain injury does not always cause paralysis, it can when certain parts of the brain are injured. Two other causes of paralysis that are not work related are strokes and multiple sclerosis.
Workplace Causes of Paralysis
Many different types of workplace accidents cutting across many professions and industries can cause paralysis. They include the following:
- Vehicle accidents
- Slips and falls
- Machinery accidents
- Burns caused in fires and explosions
- Being struck or caught between heavy objects or machinery
- Workplace violence
Treatment Options You Could Need If You Are Paralyzed in a Workplace Accident
There is unfortunately no cure for paralysis, and the goal is to help a person maintain as much independence as possible, managing the many complications associated with paralysis, and improving his quality of life. Paralysis victims could need the following treatments:
- Surgery. Surgery could be needed soon after an accident to remove foreign objects, bone fragments, and fractured vertebrae. In addition, reconstructive surgery may help in repairing some of the nerve damage.
- Mobility aids. Wheelchairs and orthoses—braces made of plastic or metal used to improve the function of a limb—can help a paralysis victim with mobility.
- Assistive aids. Many assistive tools can be utilized to help a person maintain his independence and improve his quality of life. Environmental control units that are voice operated can help a person control the basics of lighting and temperature in his house. Specially adapted computers—some voice or laser beam operated—can help an individual work and otherwise use a computer.
- Pain management. Even with the nerve damage causing the paralysis, the person can experience significant pain and may need medications and other treatments to help him manage it.
- Dealing with complications. A paralysis victim can suffer many complications from his paralysis, such as bladder and bowel control, pressure sores, blood clots, respiratory problems, and muscle spasms, all requiring medical treatment throughout his life.
How Workers’ Comp Can Help
According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the cost of health care and living expenses during the first year a person becomes paralyzed can range from $347,484 to $1,064,716, depending on the severity of the paralysis. Workers comp could help pay for your medical treatments, personal and home health care, assistive and mobility tools, home modifications, like wheelchair ramps and wider doors, lost wages, and more. In addition, you may have a claim against a negligent third party that can help to fully compensate you.
Because a workers’ compensation claim will be worth so much more than a less serious injury claim, the workers’ compensation insurance company for your employer may aggressively fight to deny or reduce your claim. Let Manfred Ricciardelli help you get the compensation you deserve. Start an online chat or fill out our online form today to schedule your free consultation.