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What’s the Real Spinal Cord Injury Cost?

Posted on August 1, 2021 in

costs of a spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries can have devastating impact on a person’s life. This type of injury often results in permanent, lifelong complications that require extensive medical care and disability accommodations. These injuries can affect a person’s emotional, physical, and financial well-being. As a result, paying for spinal cord injury treatment can be very expensive, costing thousands and even millions of dollars.

Common Expenses for Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries often require specialized medical care, rehabilitation, and disability accommodations like live-in caregivers, mobility equipment, and modifications to the home or vehicle. Some of the most common medical expenses for spinal cord injury patients include the following.

  • Spinal surgery
  • Emergency trauma care
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Ventilator use
  • Mental health counseling
  • Medication like painkillers and antibiotics

The Average Cost of Spinal Cord Injury Treatment

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the average yearly expenses of a spinal cord injury varies from patient to patient. A person who suffers any loss of motor function due to a spinal cord injury spends an average of $375,196 in medical expenses during his or her first year and $45,572 for each subsequent year. His or her lifetime costs can range between $1.2 million and $1.7 million dollars.

NSCISC data also shows that patients with high tetraplegia, or injuries that affect the highest vertebrae in the spinal cord, spending $1,149,629 in the first year and $199,637 each subsequent year. A person who was injured at age 25 could spend over $5 million on medical expenses in his or her lifetime. 

The Hidden Costs of Spinal Cord Injuries

Medical costs are not the only expenses that spinal cord injury patients can incur. Many patients need to take time away from work to receive treatment and reach maximum medical improvement, leading to months of lost wages. Spinal cord injuries often prevent patients from returning to work altogether—according to the NSCISC, only 18 percent of patients are employed within one year of their injury. Only 32 percent of spinal cord injury patients are employed 40 years after their initial accident.

Additionally, patients may need to travel to another city or medical facility to receive specialized treatment. Transportation costs, lodging, food costs, and even parking can lead to significant costs over time. The physical and emotional impact of the injury can also affect a patient’s well-being, taking a major toll on his or her quality of life.

Filing a Lawsuit After a Spinal Cord Injuries 

The average person is unable to pay for the full extent of spinal cord injury treatment out of pocket. However, there are options for compensation available in certain circumstances. If you sustain a personal injury in Portland due to someone else’s negligent actions, you could file a lawsuit against the at-fault party. Through this claim, you can recover compensatory damages to pay for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other related costs.

To prove your right to this compensation, you will need to prove that the at-fault party’s negligence caused your injury and resulting damages. For example, say that you are paralyzed in a car accident after another driver runs a red light and collides into your vehicle. In this situation, the other driver clearly breached his or her duty to follow traffic laws and is likely liable for your injuries.

If you are suffering from a spinal cord injury, speak to an Portland spine injury lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can evaluate your case and help you determine whether you have grounds for legal action.