Every year,an estimated 12,500 people sustain spinal cord injuries (SCI). The leading causes of SCI are car accidents (38%),falls (30%),and violence (14%). Nearly 340,000 Americans currently live with SCI,with nearly half being young people between the age of 16 and 30.
The catastrophic nature of spinal cord injuries coupled with the extremely long recovery timelines means that SCI is one of the most expensive conditions to manage.
SCI medical expenses
The recovery process of tetraplegia (partial or total loss of function in all four limbs) and paraplegia (partial or total loss of function in the lower extremities) tend to be the longest and most expensive of all the four forms of SCI (the others being monoplegia and hemiplegia). According to personal injury attorney ,the most common forms of expenses for SCI survivors are:
â ¢ Spinal surgery
â ¢ Trauma care,including the use of specialized equipment such as ventilators
â ¢ Rehabilitation
â ¢ Long-term care
â ¢ Medical equipment such as wheelchairs
â ¢ Medication
According to the Christopher Reeves Foundation,average medical expenses for SCI survivors are as follows:
â ¢ High tetraplegia: $1 million during their first year; $184,000 annually for subsequent years
â ¢ Low tetraplegia: $769,000 during their first year; $113,000 annually for subsequent years
â ¢ Paraplegia: $518,000 during their first year; $69,000 annually for subsequent years
â ¢ Injuries producing incomplete motor function: $42,000 during their first year; $184,000 annually for subsequent years
Despite the large sums incurred through medical expenses,loss of income is potentially the biggest expense overall. Only 35.2% of SCI survivors are in employment 20 years after suffering injury.
Valuation of SCI lawsuits
When valuing your SCI lawsuit for potential compensation,the insurance claim for a car accident will look at factors like:
â ¢ Your pain and suffering
â ¢ Lost wages and potential earnings
â ¢ Medical and other expenses
â ¢ Court costs,including lawyer fees
â ¢ The ability of the defendant to cover your damages
Given the complexity of dealing with the costs of a spinal injury,even seemingly large compensation packages can sometimes barely manage to help the survivor pull through as they struggle to adjust to a new reality and learn new skills.