When actor Christopher Reeve fell from a horse in 1995 and severely damaged his spinal cord, the incident became highly publicized as a freak accident that left the movie Superman paralyzed from his neck down. Yet quadriplegia claims an estimated 6,500 new victims each year in the United States, with roughly 130,000 currently suffering from the condition.
And not all of the cases are accidental. There are many causes that involve negligence and liability -- auto accidents, unsafe workplaces, hazardous premises, defective products, hospital-contracted infections and medical malpractice.
Quadriplegia, also known as tetraplegia, occurs when there is an injury to one of the seven cervical vertebra in the neck area, above the first thoracic vertebra. This injury can result in not only loss of feeling and function in all four limbs but can also bring severe pain, loss of bladder or bowel control, spasms, changes in sexual function and fertility and shortened lifespan. (Reeve died nine years after his injury.)
Additionally, medical and general care is extremely costly.
If you or someone you love suffered quadriplegia as the result of negligence or carelessness, you may want to contact one of our experienced quadriplegia attorneys. Call us at 800-243-1100.
Auto accidents cause nearly half (46.9 percent) of all spinal cord injuries. In some cases, however, it was not just a driver who was at fault and potentially liable but also the motor vehicle itself that caused the most severe injury.
For example, automobile lap belts cause serious spinal cord injury and quadriplegia. Although these belts have been replaced in many vehicles with safer lap-shoulder belts, or three-point belts, the newer belts were not mandated for all cars until 2007 models. Many older models remain on the road with unsafe lap belts.
Kline & Specter, PC, has handled several such cases. In 2006, Shanin Specter won a favorable settlement against a major American automaker for a 10 year-old girl rendered a quadriplegic in a head-on collision. In an earlier case, he negotiated a substantial settlement with General Motors for a young man who suffered paralysis after he was injured by a lap belt in a frontal-impact collision. (See The Miller Case.)
Some spinal injuries can even be caused at hospitals, where infections can be contracted by patients. Though rare, blood-borne infections can lead to spine damage and quadriplegia . And medical malpractice can lead to quadriplegia, particularly cases in which a doctor fails to timely diagnose infections, hematoma or spinal compressions.
Kline & Specter, based in Philadelphia, has some 30 highly trained attorneys, several of them also highly experienced doctors. The firm has won many large settlements and verdicts for injury victims in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and nationwide. (See Major Victories)
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* Note: quadriplegia is occasionally spelled quadraplegia.
Kline & Specter handles cases in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and nationwide, working with local attorneys in states outside PA, NJ and DE.