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Paraplegia or Quadriplegia Caused by a Work Injury

Paraplegia is a form of paralysis that affects individuals from the waist down. Paraplegia can result from an injury to the brain or spinal cord. Incomplete paraplegia is a form of paralysis in which both legs are not fully affected. For example, one leg may be fully paralyzed while there is still limited function in the other leg.

Quadriplegia or Tetraplegia is a form of paralysis that affects all four limbs as well as the torso, or paralysis below the neck. Quadriplegia is often a result of damage high in the spinal cord. Usually the damage is to the cervical spine between C1-C7. The higher the damage is in the spine there is often more extensive paralysis.

Paralysis causing paraplegic or quadriplegic injuries results from the brain or spinal cord being inhibited from sending or receiving signals to the extremities. The brain sends signals through the spinal cord to the rest of the body and the spinal cord relays signals from the body back to the brain. Whenever someone suffers a brain or spinal cord injury, these signals may be inhibited causing paralysis. The leading causes of such injuries include car or motorcycle accidents as well as falls. Either of these causes can be sustained during the course and scope of one’s employment.

An employee who has sustained paraplegic or quadriplegic injuries as a result of a work injury is entitled to compensation. The injured employee is entitled to wage loss benefits as well as reasonable and necessary medical treatment that is causally related to the work injury. The employer may be required to pay the employee for special equipment and modifications to a home environment.

Under Section 306(f.1)(1)(ii) of the Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act, an Employer is required to provide the payment for necessary medicines and supplies, hospital treatment, services and supplies and orthopedic appliances, and prothesis to the injured worker. The Employer is therefore obligated to pay for any medical expenses incurred as a result of the injury. Orthopedic appliance has been defined to include any home modifications that may be needed in order to make the employee’s home wheelchair accessible. Therefore, these home modifications should be paid at the expense of the employer as an orthopedic appliance. Additionally, any motility device would be covered as an orthopedic appliance under the Act so long as it is reasonable and necessary and causally related to the work injury. Any travel expenses associated with the reasonable and necessary medical treatment that is causally related to the work injury may also be included under Section 306(f.1)(1)(ii) of the Act.

If you or a loved one have suffered a work injury causing Paraplegia or Quadriplegia, contact a skilled Pennsylvania workers’ compensation attorney with Rudberg Law Offices, LLC. Call us at 412.488.6000 or contact us at [email protected].