Spinal cord injuries resulting in paralysis unfortunately happens to millions of Americans each year. In fact, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation released a report that claims in 2013 nearly 1 in 50 U.S. residents suffers from some degree of paralysis. That means more than 5 million people in the United States are struggling with paralysis and the symptoms of it.

People living with paralysis face various obstacles just living their daily lives. They often require accommodations for everyday tasks such as brushing their teeth or going to the bathroom. Paralyzed people also have a hard time finding employment. Many paralyzed people are without work as recent data revealed more than 40 percent are not employed. So, many paralyzed people cannot be independent both physically and financially.

Paralysis Injury Attorney in Bellingham, Washington

If you or someone you know has been paralyzed as a result of an accident, medical mistake, or product failure, you could be entitled to monetary damages. Learn more about your legal options by contacting the Washington back injury attorneys at PNW Trial Lawyers. We have decades of experience handling personal injury matters for our clients. Let us go to battle for you so you can finally recover from your losses.

PNW Trial Lawyers has offices in Bellingham, but accepts clients throughout Whatcom County, Skagit County and Snohomish County. Schedule your first consultation with PNW Trial Lawyers by calling us at (360) 483-5201.

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How Many Types of Paralysis is There?

Technically, paralysis can occur in any part of the body after a serious spinal cord injury. Doctors categorize paralysis by what part of body is paralyzed as well as if it’s localized in one part of the body or not. There are many types and degrees of paralysis, these include:

  • Complete – If all of the body or a complete body part is paralyzed
  • Partial – If only one piece of the body or a body part has been paralyzed
  • Temporary – If some or all muscle control returns after a period
  • Flaccid – If paralysis is caused by muscles shrinking and becoming flabby
  • Spastic – If paralysis is caused by hard, tight muscles that may spasm randomly


One of the most extensive and severe forms of paralysis is quadriplegia. Quadriplegics suffer from paralysis in all four limbs and in some cases the torso as well. Most quadriplegics face permanent paralysis and must spend thousands of dollars in treatment costs and care.

Quadriplegia occurs when the cervical area of the spinal cord is severely damaged. The damage will then create a lesion which will ultimately result in the person losing partial or toral function of all four limbs. This type of spinal cord injury can occur from physical trauma such as a car accident, disease such as tumor on the spine, or a congenital effect.


When a person’s lower body is paralyzed, they suffer from a type of spinal cord injury known as paraplegia. Paraplegics are often unable to move their feet, legs, and hips. Some paraplegics also have issues with mobility in their lower abdomen or torso. A person can suffer from complete or incomplete paraplegia. Complete paraplegia is when all feeling from your lower body, mostly your legs, is gone. Incomplete paraplegia occurs when one leg or parts of your lower body are paralyzed.

Similar to quadriplegics, a person can suffer from paraplegia if their spinal cord sustains a type of trauma. The most common reason for paraplegia is a fracture of the spine. However, a person can still be paraplegic if their spinal cord is squeezed severely. Accidents such as diving, or sports incidents are big causes for paraplegia. The condition can also be caused by other factors including medical malpractice, disease, or it could be a congenital effect.

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What Causes Paralysis?

Certain types of paralysis are considered to be underlying conditions such as monoplegia and hemiplegia in relation to cerebral palsy. However, most paralysis cases are caused by trauma to the spinal cord or brain. Serious damage to either could result in either partial or complete paralysis on different parts of the body depending on what was injured.

Physical accidents are one of the most common causes for spinal cord and brain injuries. In fact, it’s been reported that more than one-third of spinal cord injuries stem from a motor vehicle accident. Some other incidents that could result in a spinal cord or brain injury include:

  • Workplace accidents
  • Slip and falls
  • Diving accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Sports accidents
  • Intentional violence

Medical malpractice is also a big contender in paralysis cases. Surgical mistakes or ignoring obvious symptoms of a disease could result in lifelong paralysis. One of the most common medical mistakes that could result in paralysis is birthing errors. Extracting a baby improperly could yield birth injuries that may lead to complete or incomplete paralysis.

The following are some medical mistakes that could result in paralysis.

  • Birth injuries
  • Surgery mistakes
  • Failure to diagnose
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect
  • Misdiagnosis

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Can I Sue Someone for Causing My Paralysis?

Paralysis isn’t only emotionally difficult to come to terms with, but the financial cost of treatment can be massive. Thankfully, you have the option to file a lawsuit against the responsible party if your injury was due to another’s negligence or recklessness. Before you make any serious moves though, it’s highly recommended you seek legal representation. The procedures for personal injury law are complex and a mistake could harm your case.

That is why we recommend you hire an experienced spinal cord injury attorney for assistance. They can analyze the evidence, collect additional evidence, find researchers and experts to support your claim, and do whatever necessary to fight for the compensation you deserve. An attorney can also provide valuable advice regarding treatment, resources, and support groups to assist in your physical recovery.

If you and your attorney are successful with your lawsuit, the court will grant you a settlement. The monetary award will reflect all of the losses you’ve experienced since your injury. The payout of that settlement will depend on the facts of the case, but you could recover from the following losses:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Vehicular repairs;
  • Rehabilitation costs;
  • Counseling;
  • Loss of consortium;
  • Lost wages;
  • Loss of future earnings;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Loss of quality of life

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Additional Resources

Here and Now | Paralysis Support Group – Visit the official website for the Here and Now, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to connect and empower the spinal cord injury community in the Pacific Northwest. Access the site to learn more about their support groups, community activities, and larger upcoming annual gatherings.

Paralysis Causes | Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation – Visit the official website for the Christopher & Dana Foundation, an organization dedicated to curing spinal cord injuries by advancing innovative research on paralysis. Access their site to read up on the different causes of paralysis, what cause has the highest risk of paralysis, and other relevant information.

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Spinal Injury Attorney in Whatcom County, WA

If you or someone you love has been paralyzed because of another’s negligent actions, then it’s important you secure legal representation. You will need extensive resources to ensure you have the appropriate medical care and accommodations. Those resources aren’t cheap and if you’re unable to work getting back on your feet may seem impossible.

Let PNW Trial Lawyers help you recover by providing taking the at-fault party to court. We can develop a case that proves your injury was caused by the direct actions of the liable party and present that in court. Set up your first consultation with PNW Trial Lawyers today by calling our offices at (360) 483-5201 to speak to an catastrophic injury attorney today. 

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