Monoplegia is a life-changing condition that can result from all types of traumatic accidents. If you have been diagnosed with monoplegia, understanding the specific cause of your condition is important. This will determine what legal rights you have available.
A monoplegia lawyer at Whitley Law Firm can evaluate your case for free and pursue the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys have extensive experience handling claims involving paralysis and other types of catastrophic injuries.
If you or a member of your family has developed monoplegia due to an accident caused by someone else, call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today to speak to a lawyer in Raleigh, North Carolina. It won’t cost anything to see if we can help. [En Español]
What Is Monoplegia?
Monoplegia is a type of paralysis that affects one limb. It can affect the arm or the leg on either side of the body, though paralysis of an arm is most common.
As with other types of paralysis, monoplegia can be partial or incomplete. Individuals who develop monoplegia as a result of cerebral palsy or a degenerative health condition may experience full or partial paralysis of the affected limb. In the event of a traumatic accident, meanwhile, victims are at greater risk for full paralysis of the affected arm or leg in the immediate aftermath of the injury.
Causes of Monoplegia
For traumatic accident victims, monoplegia has three main causes. Monoplegia can be caused by damage to the brain, damage to the spine, or damage to the limb itself.
In traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, monoplegia results from damage to the specific part of the brain that controls the movement of the affected limb. In spinal cord injury (SCI) cases, monoplegia results from damage to the nerves in the spine. Finally, monoplegia may also occur if the nerves in the arm or leg are severely damaged in an accident.
TBIs, spinal cord injuries, and injuries to the extremities can occur in all types of serious accidents. For example, accidents that can cause monoplegia include (but are by no means limited to):
- Auto accidents
- Boating accidents
- Premises-related accidents
- Product-related accidents
- Workplace accidents
While there is currently no known cure for monoplegia caused by traumatic injuries, prompt treatment can mitigate the symptoms and long-term effects victims may experience. As a result, anyone who is experiencing symptoms of any type of TBI or SCI following an accident should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you suffer a broken bone, crush injury, or other trauma to one of your limbs, you should go to the emergency room promptly.
Symptoms of Monoplegia
Monoplegia can have a broad range of symptoms and effects. For accident victims who do not experience complete paralysis of the affected arm or leg immediately, initial signs of monoplegia may include:
- Decreased sensation or a “pins and needles” sensation in the affected arm or leg
- Limited range of motion or stiffness in the affected arm or leg
- Limpness of the affected arm or leg
- Muscle weakness in the affected arm or leg
- Uncontrollable curling of the fingers or toes on the affected arm or leg
Pain is a common symptom as well (although arm or leg pain can also be symptomatic of a wide variety of other traumatic injuries). When monoplegia is caused by a traumatic brain injury, the symptoms listed above will often be accompanied by headaches, confusion, short-term memory loss, and other cognitive effects.
Since there is no known cure for monoplegia caused by traumatic injuries, treatment options focus on rehabilitation, coping, and therapy. While suffering a monoplegia injury is undoubtedly a life-altering experience, many accident victims will be able to live fulfilling and productive lives by learning to manage day-to-day tasks and perform work and recreational activities despite their disabilities. As a result, treatment often involves focusing not only on the affected limb, but on the rest of the body (including the brain) as well.
Some examples of treatment modalities commonly used with patients who have trauma-induced monoplegia include:
- Occupational therapy
- Physical rehabilitation and therapy
- Psychological or psychiatric therapy
- Pain-relieving medications
- Surgery (in appropriate cases)
Many monoplegia patients will often find it beneficial to join support groups and get involved with advocacy organizations. With monoplegia (as with most types of injuries), a proactive approach to care is generally best. The more patients can do to help themselves, the better their outcomes will typically be.
Consequences of Monoplegia
While monoplegia is generally manageable, it can still have various long-term effects. Losing the ability to use an arm or leg can change your life in a variety of different ways. In addition to the physical limitations, monoplegia can lead to psychological challenges as well.
Many accident victims who experience monoplegia struggle to cope with their new realities. Prompt and effective treatment can be critical to overall long-term wellness and mental well-being.
Compensation for Monoplegia
If the accident that caused your injury occurred due to someone else’s negligence (the careless driver of a motor vehicle, for example), you may be entitled to compensation. The Whitley Law Firm can seek recovery of the following damages on your behalf:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- The loss of earning capacity, if you are unable to work
- Out-of-pocket expenses (medical-related travel, assistive devices, etc.)
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
Multiple parties can be held liable in a personal injury claim. Our attorneys will thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident and assess all of your legal options. We also consult qualified experts in paralysis to accurately evaluate the damages in your case.
Does Monoplegia Qualify Me for Disability?
If you are diagnosed with monoplegia after an accident on the job, workers’ compensation should cover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. You may also be entitled to disability benefits if your ability to work is affected long-term. This may include permanent partial disability (PPD) benefits.
PPD benefits in North Carolina are calculated according to a scheduled rate determined by law (see North Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act § 97-31). The loss of the use of an arm or a leg are both considered “scheduled injuries,” with workers’ comp providing the following benefits:
- Loss of an arm: Two-thirds of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 240 weeks (just over four and a half years)
- Loss of a leg: Two-thirds of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 200 weeks (just under 4 years)
Depending on your work history, you may also be entitled to Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If you qualify, SSD benefits can help replace the wages you lose from being unable to work after a monoplegia injury. You can apply for SSD benefits regardless of whether the injury is related to your work.
Contact a Lawyer Today
Monoplegia and other types of paralysis can have a devastating impact on victims and their families. Losing the ability to use a limb can adversely affect your ability to work, your ability to care for yourself and your loved ones, and much more.
The Whitley Law Firm cares for every client like family. We are committed to protecting your rights and your dignity during this trying time and pursuing the full compensation you deserve.
Our attorneys draw on decades of collective experience with North Carolina’s personal injury law, workers’ compensation law, and more to maximize our clients’ financial recovery. We take on the burdens of your case so you can focus on reclaiming your life.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with monoplegia after an accident, please call the Whitley Law Firm at (919) 785-5000 today for a FREE consultation. Our personal injury lawyers handle claims involving paralysis and other catastrophic injuries on behalf of clients in Raleigh, New Bern, Kinston, and all of North Carolina.