Spinal cord injuries are some of the most severe and life-altering injuries a person could suffer in a car crash. These possibly debilitating injuries come in many forms.
A spinal cord injury might results in paraplegia if it occurs lower in the back or tetraplegia if it occurs in the neck or cervical spine. For those with incomplete spinal cord injuries, recovery may be possible. Those with complete injuries, however, will likely never regain sensation and motor function below the site of the injury.
As if coming to terms with the medical consequences of a spinal cord injury weren’t bad enough, many people who get hurt in a car crash know that when they file an insurance claim they won’t have enough protection to cover the cost of the injury.
How much does the average spinal cord injury cost?
According to research by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the first year after a spinal cord injury is the most expensive. Those with tetraplegia could have over a million dollars in one year from lost wages and medical costs alone.
Even those with an incomplete spinal cord injury could face nearly $350,000 worth of medical expenses and other losses in the first year. Costs after the first year range from around $42,000 per year for those with incomplete motor function impairment to over $184,000 for those with high tetraplegia affecting the C1-C4 vertebrae.
When you consider that New Mexico only mandates a minimum of $25,000 worth of bodily injury coverage for a crash where one person suffers an injury, it’s obvious that those with spinal cord injuries could have costs well beyond what insurance will cover.
What can you do when there isn’t enough insurance?
When a driver who did something irresponsible and caused a crash doesn’t have enough insurance, the victims of that collision are often left with unpaid bills and mounting debts if they cannot work. You may have the right to pursue a personal injury claim against the driver who hurt you. In some cases, such as crashes with commercial trucks or professional drivers, you may have other options, including a claim against a business that didn’t maintain its vehicle fleet or that violated transportation laws.
Reviewing the circumstances of your crash can help you explore what options you have to cover your lost wages and medical expenses after a spinal cord injury.