Paraplegia vs. quadriplegia: injury claims and compensation

Spinal cord injuries occur in a matter of seconds, but the damage they inflict can last a lifetime. Paralysis is one of the most serious complications of spinal cord injury, and whether it’s limited to the legs (paraplegia) or arms and legs (quadriplegia), these injuries are extremely costly to treat.

The good news is, you can recover full compensation for those medical bills through a successful catastrophic injury lawsuit. Keep reading to learn about the differences in paraplegia and quadriplegia claims as well as opportunities for compensation.



Let’s start with the basics – how paraplegia and quadriplegia differ.


Paraplegia is the medical term for paralysis of the legs and lower body, including stomach and pelvic muscles. The most common causes are motor vehicle crashes, falls from a height, and crush injuries, which are common in construction and manufacturing.

Paraplegia can be incomplete (affects one leg) or complete (affects both legs).

No matter the type, paraplegia is an expensive condition to treat. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the cost of living with paraplegia amounts to approximately $567,000 for the first year, then $75,000 each subsequent year.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with paraplegia after being in an incident caused by someone else, you can obtain compensation to ay your medical bills, make up for lost wages, and more. The catastrophic injury lawyers at Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates are here to help you recover what you deserve. Call (800) 985-1819 today.

*It’s important to note that these estimates do not include lost wages, fringe benefits, and productivity, which in total average ~$72,000 yearly.


Quadriplegia is the medical term for paralysis of both arms and both legs. The condition is also known as tetraplegia or full-body paralysis. It’s defined by the loss of feeling and movement in both legs and both arms, and as you can imagine, is extremely expensive and time-consuming to treat.

Quadriplegia costs even more than paraplegia. The average cost to treat high quadriplegia (affecting the C1-C4 vertebrae) is $1,163,400 for the first year, and $202,000 each subsequent year. Low quadriplegia (affecting the C5-C8 vertebrae) is slightly lower, at $840,700 for the first year, then $124,000 each subsequent year.

Those are enormous costs for an injury that might not have been your fault. If you or a loved one suffered a spinal cord injury resulting in amy level of paralysis, it’s important to speak with an attorney and understand your legal options. With the help of an experienced lawyer, you could recover compensation to pay for paralysis-related medical bills for the rest of your life.

*It’s important to note that these estimates do not include lost wages, fringe benefits, and productivity, which in total average ~$72,000 yearly.

Why spinal cord injuries are so complicated

In short, spinal cord injuries are complicated because there is a wide range of severity. A spinal cord injury can be moderate and may be treated over time, or severe and permanent. Regardless, any injury resulting in paralysis is going to be expensive to treat.

Let’s take a look at the common factors that make SCIs so complicated.

Steep bills

A person with a spinal cord injury will need an experienced team o`f medical professionals to assess the damage to the spinal cord, determine the impact it will have on the victim’s functioning, and design a treatment plan. 

This high level of care is crucial, not only for the injured person’s wellbeing but also if they are to have a legal case. Here’s why: First, there is sometimes a chance at a certain level of recovery after a catastrophic injury, but without very advanced medical care, the window for the chance of recovery can close and your injury could worsen. 

Second, if you are to bring your case to court to sue the person or entity that was responsible for your injury, you will need extensive evidence of your injury from experts. To say that these injuries are costly to treat would be a colossal understatement. Those bills are high and they add up very quickly. 

Lost evidence may affect your ability to recover damages

In the wake of an accident or event that leaves you or a loved one with a catastrophic injury such as a spinal cord injury, the main focus is understandably on the immediate medical care and recuperation of the victim. 

When your life is changed by a tragic and serious injury, even just mentally adjusting to that life change can take up the full attention of you and your loved ones. 

However, after an injury, time is of the essence when it comes to collecting evidence. Unfortunately, many victims of catastrophic injury and their families get so focused on the injury itself that they lose evidence or forget to record it altogether.

Retaining an attorney immediately after a catastrophic injury is the best way to make sure all of your bases are covered so that you can focus on the health and wellbeing side of things. 

Unforeseeable medical expenses

Not only are the upfront medical bills for a serious spinal cord injury financially overwhelming, but a condition like paraplegia or quadriplegia can also come with additional unforeseeable medical expenses in the long term. 

Long stays at the hospital or rehabilitation facilities, access to assistive devices like wheelchairs or power chairs, physical therapy, in-home nurses, medication, and surgeries are just a few of the many needs that could arise for someone with paraplegia or quadriplegia. 

These medical expenses can seem to come out of nowhere and can be unfathomably expensive. Treatment for a severe spinal cord injury could bankrupt you if you aren’t financially prepared for it. 

Our attorneys help people with paralysis recover what they deserve

Don’t let the insurance company deny you what you deserve. You have been through unimaginable physical, emotional, and financial pain, and you deserve to be fairly compensated.

An experienced Chicago catastrophic injury attorney from Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates will fight for maximum compensation that’s available to you. Navigating life after a catastrophic injury is overwhelming enough. You shouldn’t also have to navigate your case for compensation without support. Our team of lawyers will fight for you to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. 

Call us today at (800) 985-1819 to schedule your free case consultation.