Injuries suffered after a large truck accident have numerous severe consequences, including significant hospital bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and mental trauma. But while some of these issues can be compensated with money or healed over time, other circumstances may be permanent and last a lifetime. For example, one of the most devastating outcomes of a commercial truck crash is permanent spinal cord injury (SCI) and paralysis.
How Truck Accident Paralysis Can Happen
You’re more likely to suffer a catastrophic injury like a spinal cord injury or paralysis when you collide with a commercial truck or trailer. Why?
An empty semi weighs an average of 35,000 pounds, while a full truck can weigh up to 80,000. Cars and SUVs, on the other hand, only weigh about one-tenth of that. Hitting a semi is like hitting a wall—and in head-on accidents, that wall is moving toward you at high speed. Car safety measures aren’t as effective against such tremendous power.
Although you might have some protection with seatbelts and airbags, a large truck collision inflicts significant blunt-force trauma to your body, damaging two vital areas that control movement: the brain and the spinal cord. This increases the likelihood of a paralysis injury.
Types of Injury-Related Paralysis and Common Causes
Paralysis occurs when you’re unable to make certain voluntary body movements. Permanent paralysis is caused by issues with the nervous system, which sends signals from your brain throughout your body. Damage to parts of your nervous system, including your brain and spinal cord, results in paralysis in certain areas of your body.
Many types of paralysis can occur due to a truck accident. They include:
- Partial paralysis: When you can move some, but not all, muscles in one part of your body.
- Compete paralysis: When you cannot move any muscles in one part of your body.
- Flaccid paralysis: When your muscles shrink.
- Spastic paralysis: When your muscles clench, jerk, or spasm outside of your control.
- Hemiplegia: When paralysis affects one side of your body—this is often caused by brain damage.
- Paraplegia: When paralysis affects both legs, a condition often caused by a lower spinal cord injury.
- Quadriplegia (Tetraplegia): When paralysis affects both arms and both legs, a condition frequently due to a high spinal cord injury.
The Immense Costs of SCI and Paralysis
When you break a bone, it often heals fully, leaving you with a similar quality of life to the one you had before your accident. With paralysis, a full recovery is much less likely, especially if your injury involved brain or spinal cord damage suffered in a truck crash. Permanent paralysis greatly affects your daily life, goals, and future, even if your paralysis is partial or only involves some of your limbs.
Here are just a few medical consequences and complications of paralysis:
- Mobility is greatly affected.
- You may have difficulty breathing and swallowing
- There’s a greater chance of developing heart and blood pressure issues.
- You may become more prone to disease, infection, bed sores, and sickness.
- There may be sexual difficulties such as erectile dysfunction (ED).
- You may suffer from incontinence.
- There’s a higher risk for blood clots and deep vein thrombosis.
- You may suffer from depression and anxiety.
In addition, truck accident paralysis may have other consequences, such as:
- You might be unable to continue your current line of work or provide for yourself and your family.
- There may be difficulty enjoying many of your past activities.
- You may require ongoing medical and nursing care.
Life After Paralysis
Even after experiencing a catastrophic truck accident and paralysis, many people have fulfilling lives filled with love, family, and hope. They discover new passions, meet new challenges, and feel gratitude for all they have.
But healing from and living with paralysis can be extremely expensive. If a truck operator or some other entity was responsible for what happened, you shouldn’t have to foot the bills related to your past, current, or future health care. An experienced Washington truck crash attorney understands how challenging these cases can be, and can help you achieve the physical, emotional, and financial wellness you deserve.