What Happens if a Truck Accident Leaves Me Paralyzed?
Posted on: February 7, 2022
Tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks weigh many times more than a regular car, up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. If you are involved in a truck accident, it is likely that you will suffer serious and life-altering personal injury.
One of the most tragic injuries you could experience is paralysis. Not only could this limit your ability to go about your daily life and care for yourself, but also it could cost you an exorbitant amount of money to cover your medical care. If someone else caused your accident, you could be entitled to compensation to help you cover these costs.
Causes of Paralysis
The spine is the body’s central message way. If the spine is injured, it cannot deliver messages to other parts of the body. This could include movement, sensation, and general function of body parts. When you are severely injured in a truck accident, your spine could suffer damage, impeding your ability to move and feel your body parts below the site of the injury.
When your vehicle is hit by a massive truck, the force of the impact can cause damage to your spinal cord. A fragment from your car could pierce your spinal cord, or it could be damaged by your body’s unnatural movement from the impact. Either way, you could suffer paralysis from the point of impact down through the rest of your body.
That is what makes paralysis such a tragic injury. Because you are unable to control your body from the site of the injury downward, you will have difficulty caring for yourself, earning a living, and participating in important life events and activities.
But the initial impact with the truck may not be the final cause of paralysis. In some accidents, your injuries can worsen over time and although you may initially not suffer paralysis, fluid accumulation or inflammation following your initial injury could cause paralysis. That is why it is vital that you get the necessary medical attention as soon as possible after your accident to ensure your body is treated accordingly and you can, it is hoped, avoid such a tragic outcome.
Effects of Paralysis
To be clear, not every spinal cord injury will cause permanent paralysis. Some people suffer from temporary paralysis. Although this can be traumatizing and take a long time to fully recover, these patients will eventually regain the use of their extremities.
For people who suffer permanent paralysis, their level of inability to control their body will depend on the completeness of the spinal cord injury. An incomplete spinal cord injury means that you will still have limited use of your body below the site of the injury. Although use may be interrupted at times, you may still retain some control.
However, when a spinal cord injury is complete, that means you will lose all control below the site of the injury. For example, if your spinal cord is damaged at your neck, you may lose control of all your extremities, resulting in quadriplegia. If, however, your spinal cord injury occurs lower down your back, you may only lose control of your legs, resulting in paraplegia. Both types of paralysis can result in loss of control of your extremities but also organs such as your lungs, bladder, and bowels.
A complete spinal cord injury will cause a drastic change in your life, as it shuts off communication from your brain to other parts of your body. Complete spinal cord injuries are almost always irreversible. Patients will have to rely on medical professionals and family for support and help to do even basic daily tasks.
This may include:
- Home renovations
- Wheelchair use
- Special vehicles
- Assistance with eating, bathing, and other daily activities
- Breathing assistance
Getting help with these daily tasks will be important for you to maintain a quality of life. But you will also require extensive medical care, most likely for the rest of your life. You will also require medical equipment to help you live your life and will most likely be unable to work.
Your spinal cord injuries could cost you millions of dollars over the course of your life, something you should not be responsible to cover. That should be the sole responsibility of the person or company that caused your truck accident. The most common culprits of truck accident negligence vary but include:
- The truck driver. The most obvious place to look after any car accident is a driver, in this case, the truck driver. Truck drivers work long hours behind the wheel and can lose focus. Some truck drivers drive longer than allowed by federal law, which can have catastrophic consequences.
- The truck driver’s employer. When a truck driver causes an accident, their employer may be liable for their negligence. If the truck driver had a history of driving accidents and their employer did not run a background check, the company may also hold liability for your accident and paralysis.
- The shipping company. The company that loads the truck must take great care to ensure it is loaded and secured. If the load is not properly secured, it can shift in transit, causing the truck driver to lose control.
- The truck manufacturer or parts manufacturer. Trucks are made of thousands of parts, and each one must work correctly to ensure safe operation of the vehicle. If a truck manufacturer does not assemble the parts correctly or a parts manufacturer provides a defective part, that could be the cause of the truck accident, and either company could be liable for your injuries.
- A maintenance company. Because trucks have so many components, they require constant maintenance. If a maintenance technician or company improperly maintains a truck or fails to correctly fix a problem, they could be the cause of your accident.
It is important to determine the exact cause of your truck accident, which could be one or more of the parties listed above, because your lawyer needs to prove they were negligent and caused your accident. The point of determining the cause of your truck accident and filing a personal injury claim against the negligent party or parties is to get compensation to help you cover your expenses and financial losses. Your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
- Home renovation costs
- Vehicle upgrades
Besides the financial burden, paralysis also places extreme mental strain on you and your family. Your injury may require your family to care for you and for you to miss out on participating in important life events. Although not a direct economic loss, you may still be able to get compensation for the mental anguish placed on you by someone else’s negligence.
It is important that you attempt to hold the negligent party accountable so that you do not have to worry about paying your bills. Your medical expenses will be astronomical. And that is before you even consider the regular bills you must cover, all while not having a regular paycheck. Your sole focus should be on your changing life circumstances and your health.
Monmouth County Truck Accident Lawyers at Ellis Law Help Clients Recover from Severe Injuries
Truck accidents can be tragic. If you or a loved one has suffered paralysis as a result of a truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the negligent driver. To help you get the compensation you need, reach out to the experienced Monmouth County truck accident lawyers at Ellis Law. For a free consultation, call us at 732-308-0200 or complete our online form. We are located in Freehold, New Jersey, and help clients throughout Freehold, East Brunswick, Toms River, Middletown, Jersey City, Neptune, Hudson County, Union County, Essex County, Monmouth County, Marlboro, and Ocean County, as well as Brooklyn, New York, and New York City.