People fear spinal cord injuries, in part, because they catastrophize the physical consequences. Most spinal cord injuries result in permanent, significant reductions in motor function and physical sensation below the location of the injury, and, therefore, people imagine that they will lose most of what matters in life if they ever lose such function.
In actuality, with proper medical support and accommodations, individuals with spinal cord injuries can usually continue the same careers and enjoy many of the same daily experiences as they did before their injury. Of course, living their lives as before will require more support and will result in significant expenses.
People often need to make compensation claims to cover those expenses. How much does a spinal cord injury usually cost someone?
Medical care will often cost more than a million dollars
Numerous factors, including the location of someone’s spinal cord injury and their age when they get hurt, will determine how much it costs to provide them with medical care. However, even those with incomplete spinal cord injuries will likely incur more than a million dollars in lifetime carry expenses. Complete spinal cord injuries, especially injuries higher on the spine, could cost much more than that.
Lifetime earning potential may drop
As with the costs of care, there can be a lot of variation and how much income potential people lose because of a spinal cord injury. Someone working in an office setting could mainly lose out on wages immediately after the injury and will make a full return to employment eventually. However, others may have to change professions or stop working altogether. Lost wages can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars or more after a spinal cord injury.
Accommodations can be expensive
Living a rich and fulfilling life with a spinal cord injury is very possible, but the support necessary for the safest and highest quality daily experience will cost quite a bit. People may need to alter their vehicle to make it wheelchair-accessible or purchase a vehicle that they can operate using only their hands. Wheelchair-accessible and legs-free vehicles can cost multiple times what standard vehicles do.
Adjusting a home to make it wheelchair-accessible is also often very expensive and may require adding a ramp or lift, reworking bathrooms and kitchens and even widening doorways. Although some people can make their home more accessible for a few thousand dollars, the work may require $10,000 or more of financial investment.
Especially when the person with the spinal cord injury was not to blame for a crash or other injurious circumstances that led to their injury, pursuing an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit could be an option. Seeking legal guidance and pursuing compensation can potentially help those with catastrophic injuries to cover medical expenses and other costs associated with their injuries.