Claiming compensation for paralysis will require the assistance of a specialist personal injury solicitor due to the nature of such a complex injury together with the long-term effects and impact it will have on both the injured party and their loved ones.
Paralysis is the loss of muscle function and sensation of either a single muscle or a complete loss of muscle function and sensation in the entire body which can be extremely hard to cope and come to terms with.
A compensation claim for paralysis can occur as a result of a severe accident or a simple fall and if the injury was due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else there is a strong possibility a claim for compensation would be successful.
Common causes of paralysis
There are too many instances to list where paralysis can take place but a high percentage of paralysis is caused by:
- Injury from an accident (road traffic accidents/falls from height)
- Suffering a stroke
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Multiple Sclerosis
Falls from height
One of the biggest causes of paralysis is falling and especially falls from a height. Paralysis from falls makes up over 40% of all causes of paralysis. These include falling down stairs, falling from scaffolding on building sites, or even being thrown from a horse. The Working at Heights Regulations 2005 were introduced by the government to enforce strict procedures are put in place by employers to attempt to reduce the risk of injury whilst working at height.
Road traffic accidents
Serious road traffic accidents are also common causes of paralysis as it is often the spine and head that are most effected as the result of serious collision between vehicles.
Clinical negligence although less common can also result in paralysis. In circumstances where surgery has been negligently carried out or a spinal injury has been left untreated or undiagnosed and a patient has not been moved correctly.
The support group Apparelyzed estimate that around forty thousand individuals in the UK suffer from paralysis. The actual number could be considerably higher than this as these statistics are counts of people who have contacted the spinal injury support centre.
Types of paralysis
- Monoplegia – where a single limb is paralysed.
- Hemiplegia – paralysis to the arm and leg on one side of the body.
- Paraplegia – paralysis to both legs and areas of the lower body.
- Tetraplegia/quadriplegia – both the arms and legs are paralysed
Coping with and treatment for paralysis
Regrettably paralysis is incurable but there are many treatments available to help those suffering. Technological advances and equipment are continually finding new ways to improve the day-to-day lives of individuals suffering paralysis.
Power chairs, wheelchairs and many other mobility aids are available to help paralysis patient’s adjust and adapt to their circumstances.
Standard wheelchairs are supplied by the NHS; however more refined models can be purchased privately. Making a successful claim for compensation would ultimately provide funding for superior mobility equipment to be acquired.
Medication & injections
Stiffness of the muscles (Spasticity) together with muscle spasms can be alleviated with a range of medication and also injections. Dantrolene, a muscle relaxant usually taken orally while Botulinum Toxin is used for localised spasms and injected lasting up to three months.
Physical therapies can help a great deal with paralysis together with therapies such as Intrathecal baclofen which is a procedure where a pump is implanted on the body to deliver the muscle relaxant to the spine.
In some circumstances a full-time assistant may be necessary to assist in daily tasks such as eating, bathing and communicating.
Breathing difficulties can occur if the diaphragm becomes damaged as a result of a spinal cord injury to the upper neck. A phrenic nerve stimulator can be used to resolve breathing difficulties in these situations by sending electrical impulses to the phrenic nerve allowing the diaphragm to expand and contract.
An alternative solution is to use a ventilator to control lung pressure. A negative pressure ventilator generates a vacuum around the lungs causing the chest to expand and draw in air.
Another solution is a ventilator which controls lung pressure. The negative pressure ventilator creates a vacuum around the lung so the chest will expand and pull in air. The positive pressure ventilator is used more frequently as it is convenient and smaller.
Invasive ventilators carry a greater risk of giving rise to lung disease but generally tend to work with more types of paralysis patients. Invasive ventilators use a tube which is inserted into the windpipe through an incision in the throat or non-invasive through the nose or with a mouthpiece.
An assistive vest can help with a reduced cough if the muscles between the ribs and the abdomen have been paralysed and the patient is struggling to clear mucus from the lungs. If the lungs are not clearing through coughing this can increase the likelihood of infection.
Around twenty percent of people with spinal injuries and paralysis suffer from clinical depression and therefore may need the appropriate counselling.
Coping with paralysis is quite possibly one of the hardest things someone can do and it is made even harder if financial strains are put upon a person in that situation. Claiming financial compensation for an accident that wasn’t your fault can help with the medical care and attention that will be needed.
Claim compensation for paralysis
For any injury compensation claim to succeed negligence must be proved against a person or persons showing they were responsible for an accident that resulted in an individual suffering an injury.
Typically if an injury occurred in the workplace the injured party would have to prove that the employer failed to ensure the working environment was safe and hazard free. All employers must adhere to health and safety regulations together with any regulations specific to their industry.
Where medical negligence is the cause of an injury to a patient the patient would have to show that the medical professional or professionals responsible for their care or after-care fell below acceptable standards and the medical professionals failed in their ‘duty of care’ owed to the patient.
All injury claims are subject to time limits to make the claim. A claim must be made within three years (unless the injured party was a child when the accident happened at which point the three year time limitation would begin on their eighteenth birthday) after the accident occurring or from the point the injured party became aware they were injured because of someone else’s negligence.
Injury Claims Assistance have specialist medical negligence solicitors that will be able to take care of every part of your injury claim and recover the maximum amount of compensation owed to you.
They will be able to handle every aspect of your claim from arranging medical reports to dealing with the responsible party taking the stress and worry out of making a claim.
Please contact us today and speak directly to one of our expert medical negligence solicitors to find out if you would be entitled to claim compensation for your injuries.