You wake up to the sound of sirens. You are lying on the pavement. You can see your crumpled vehicle on the side of the road and a pickup truck with a smashed front end not far away. You realize you have been in a serious wreck.

Then you try to get up and move off of the pavement, and you realize it is even more serious than you first thought. You can’t move your legs. You can’t feel them at all.

You do not know for certain that you are paralyzed at that point, but the fear sets in instantly. When doctors confirm it at the hospital, telling you that you will never walk again, you know that your life has changed forever.

How common is paralysis?

Though paralysis seems uncommon, it happens more often than people think. Did you know that one out of every 50 people in the United States has some type of paralysis? The extent can vary significantly, but the issue itself changes many lives.

Immobility is not the only concern

Many people assume that immobility is the only issue for someone who is paralyzed. While it certainly is the initial issue — you may never fully recover — your life changes in numerous other ways due to related complications.

For instance, the inability to move can then lead to a significant loss of muscle mass. You may no longer be able to get exercise or work out. At best, you may have to learn new exercises and find out how you can still build your muscles up to counteract this loss.

Another issue is that you may live with constant fear of infections. Many who suffer from paralysis also deal with bedsores, for instance, since they have limited mobility. When left untreated, these can get infected. This is why you may require care around the clock in the wake of your injury.

Additional issues include:

  • Recurring skin breakdowns
  • Compromised cardiovascular function
  • Compromised respiratory function
  • A lack of bladder control
  • Decreased sexual function
  • Issues with body temperature
  • Living with constant pain and discomfort
  • Excessive weight gain, which could, in turn, lead to complications like diabetes or heart disease
  • The inability to sweat
  • Living with chronic depression

As you can see, you may face a lot of hurdles after this serious wreck, and some of these issues may never end. While some healing is possible, spine injuries do not always heal as desired and issues remain for life.

Your legal rights

Because of this, it is important to understand your legal rights. A significant disability can leave you in a tough spot financially, and you must know what options you have.