Mobility loss is more common than many people think. According to the CDC, 18.6 percent of adults have difficulty walking or climbing stairs. Many things can affect an individual’s mobility, but injuries from falls, motor vehicle accidents, or caregiver neglect are some of the most common causes. Losing the ability to walk, climb stairs, or sit down without assistance can profoundly affect daily life for an individual and their family.
If you or a loved one is dealing with mobility loss after a car crash, workplace accident, or injury, the team at Boller & Vaughan is here to help. We have decades of experience helping Wisconsin residents get fair compensation to help with medical bills and income loss after a personal injury. You can schedule a free consultation to discuss your case by calling our Madison, Wisconsin, office at 608-268-0268 or contacting us online.
Injuries that can cause mobility loss
Mobility loss is an unfortunate consequence of many different types of injuries. Work accidents, car crashes, falls, and nursing home neglect are all common causes of serious neck and spine injuries that can lead to mobility loss.
Neck injuries can be caused by car accidents, falls, and work-related activities. Although an occasional twinge or soreness in the neck is something that most people experience occasionally, ongoing neck pain can create other issues: headaches, shoulder pain, and discomfort in the arms.
Severe neck injuries, such as a spinal fracture or dislocation may require the neck to be immobilized during recovery, which can severely restrict mobility and the ability to eat normally. Ongoing neck pain from stress, tension, or minor injuries can make daily tasks and movement difficult.
Back and spinal cord injuries
Injuries to the back and spinal cord can come in a wide range of severity, but most of them impact mobility to some extent. Even occasional back pain and soreness can make walking, lifting, driving, and sitting difficult. Severe spinal cord injuries may lead to partial or total paralysis.
Back pain may be caused by damage to the spinal cord itself as well as to the vertebrae, ligaments, and spinal nerves. According to the Mayo Clinic, motor vehicle accidents are the cause of nearly 50 percent of spinal cord injuries. Falls account for 31 percent of these types of injuries. Violence-related wounds, diseases, and age-related disc degeneration are other potential causes of spinal cord injuries.
Mobility loss affects daily life
Neck and spinal cord injuries can make daily life significantly harder. In addition to reducing mobility (the physical ability to move freely), back injuries can also affect bladder and bowel control, respiratory health, circulatory control, and overall fitness. Chronic pain and mental health issues are common counterparts of mobility loss.
When it’s painful or difficult to move freely, many daily tasks become challenging or even impossible. Cleaning, cooking, and eating are all activities that can be affected by mobility loss. Limited mobility can also make it hard to run errands, sleep comfortably, and manage personal hygiene.
Employment and income
Neck and spine injuries that reduce mobility can make it impossible for an individual to continue working in their chosen career field. Limited mobility doesn’t just affect physical occupations like construction work. It can prevent people from working in countless occupations. In some cases, employers create additional challenges by not developing work conditions that are accessible and accommodating to those with mobility issues.
In some cases, an injury can cause permanent mobility loss that prevents an individual from returning to their job. They may be able to qualify for disability benefits, but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes it’s necessary to retrain for another type of job, which can negatively affect mental health and personal happiness as well as income potential.
In many cases, mobility limitations can negatively affect other aspects of an individual’s overall health. When it’s difficult to stand, lift, or walk, it’s harder to get adequate exercise and maintain physical fitness. Mobility-limited individuals may also have less access to healthy food and may experience sleep loss.
One study indicates that there is a strong correlation between mobility limitations and negative health outcomes. Individuals with mobility issues were more likely to experience falls and less likely to have adequate access to medical services. Mobility loss was also shown to contribute to poor psychological health and lower overall quality of life.
How mobility loss is protected in the U.S.
Mobility loss is often associated with disabilities. In the United States, The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) was passed in 1990. The law prohibits distrimination against individuals with disabilities and helps ensure these individuals have the same opportunities as those without a disability. Both physical and mental impairments are protected under the ADA. This piece of legislation can help people with mobility loss in many different ways:
- Ensuring access to healthcare services and medical facilities
- Requiring government agencies and private businesses to allow the use of mobility aids (e.g. wheelchairs, scooters, canes) and ensure individuals using these devices have the same level of access as people without mobility aids
- Providing access to service animals that help individuals with disabilities
- Requiring housing providers to accommodate and not discriminate against individuals with disabilities (Fair Housing Act)
- Preventing airlines from discriminating against travelers with disabilities (Air Carrier Access Act)
- Prohibiting federal programs, agencies, and contractors from discriminating against individuals with disabilities and ensuring federal IT systems are accessible (Rehabilitation Act)
Essentially, the ADA is designed to give individuals with disabilities, including mobility loss, the best chance of having the same access and opportunities as those without disabilities. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is another important law that helps provide retraining and employment opportunities for people with disabilities. If your employer or housing provider is refusing to accommodate your disability, you can file a complaint with the ADA.
Get support for your mobility loss due to a personal injury
If you’ve experienced mobility loss, you know how much it affects your everyday life and your family. It’s especially challenging if your injury was caused by someone else’s negligence or harmful behavior. In many cases, insurance companies don’t provide adequate compensation for all the costs associated with neck and spine injuries. These can include income loss, medical expenses, and the mental toll of reduced mobility. At Boller & Vaughan, we help clients pursue compensation for injuries that cause mobility loss and other conditions. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and learn more about your legal options. Use the online form or call 608-268-0268 to contact our office in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information on personal injury claims, follow us on Twitter.