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What are the Early Signs of Paralysis After an Accident?

January 5, 2023Car Accidents

Any damage to the spinal cord in an accident can be catastrophic, leaving a victim with permanent impairments. The most severe is paralysis, which is a partial or total loss of muscle function in part of the body. 

Signs of Paralysis After an Accident

Some of the common symptoms that can suggest a spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis include:

  • Loss of movement (paralysis)
  • Loss of or tingling sensation, including the ability to feel heat, cold, and touch
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Exaggerated muscle movement or spasms
  • Changes in sexual function, sexual sensitivity, and fertility
  • Pain or an intense stinging sensation (indicating nerve damage along the spinal cord)
  • Stiff neck, headache, or back pain 
  • Balance issues

Emergency symptoms include the following: 

  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Difficulty balancing or walking
  • Lack of alertness (semi-consciousness or unconsciousness)
  • Oddly positioned or twisted neck or back
  • Shock (pale skin, bluish lips, and fingernails)

Types of Paralysis

There are several types of paralysis:

  • Monoplegia: Paralysis affecting one limb
  • Hemiplegia: Paralysis affecting one side of the body
  • Diplegia: Paralysis affecting two limbs on the same side of the body
  • Paraplegia: Paralysis affecting both legs or the lower part of the body
  • Quadriplegia (Tetraplegia): Paralysis affecting both the arms and legs or, in some cases, the body from the neck down.

The spinal cord is the body’s support beam, made up of a cylindrical bundle of nerve fibers and tissue, and connects to almost every part of the body. When a person suffers a complete spinal cord injury, they lose all feeling and ability to control movement below the site of injury. The higher the damage on the vertebrae, the more severe the paralysis. 

Leading Causes of Paralysis 

Spinal cord injuries are the second leading cause of paralysis (27.3%) behind strokes. The most common causes of spinal cord injuries include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents: They account for nearly half of all spine injuries each year. 
  • Falls: Fall accidents are responsible for over 15 percent of spinal injuries—for example, falls at construction sites due to slippery sidewalks, unsafe property conditions, etc. 
  • Violence: Gunshots, knife wounds, and other acts of violence cause 12 percent of spinal injuries.
  • Sports Injuries: Impact sports are responsible for around 10 percent of spinal cord injuries—for example, football, hockey, MMA, or rugby.
  • Alcohol and Diseases: Alcohol factors into about a quarter of all spinal injuries. Diseases such as cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis, and spinal cord inflammation can also cause harm.

Who is Liable for My Paralysis After an Accident?

Victims who suffer an injury resulting in paralysis often experience life-changing repercussions personally and financially, as well as physically. When another party is responsible for the accident that causes your paralysis, it is critical to hold them accountable, as you may be entitled to significant compensation. To get an accurate estimate of your case’s value and to ensure you recover full compensation, speak to a Houston personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. They can help you with every aspect of your case, including gathering evidence in support of your claim and negotiating a fair settlement.