Why are spinal cord injuries so expensive?

Spinal cord injuries might very well be the most feared injury caused by motor vehicle accidents. People have a hard time imagining life with limitations on their mobility, and the stories about spinal cord injuries that reach the mainstream media are often quite tragic.

Both complete spinal cord injuries that sever the spinal cord and incomplete injuries that cause motor function or sensation loss often generate massive lifetime expenses for those affected. What makes a spinal cord injury so costly?

The cost of care

Even if there is little hope of recovery after a spinal cord injury, an individual will still need immediate trauma care followed by a lifetime of support. The higher on the spine the injury is, the more likely it is to generate seven-figure price tag the first year after someone gets hurt. Injury victims usually require ongoing care, including physical therapy, pain management and psychological counseling as they cope with the lifelong consequences of a spinal cord injury.

Lost wages and earning potential

Many people will spend at least a few days in the hospital after a spinal cord injury, if not several weeks. They will, therefore, lose out on quite a bit of income during that time. Even when they can return to work, they may never command the same wages they were previously able to earn. People may have significantly diminished personal income after a spinal cord injury. In extreme cases, a spouse or other family member may also lose out on wages if they leave the workforce or scale back to part-time employment to provide medical support for their loved one.

The cost of accommodations

From wheelchair-accessible vehicles to remodeling a home, there are many costs associated with making life accessible for those with spinal cord injuries. They can cost tens of thousands of dollars each to secure accessible transportation and make someone’s living quarters properly accessible.

All of those expenses combined might make it impossible for insurance alone to cover the costs of a spinal cord injury, which might mean that an injury victim needs to pursue a personal injury lawsuit. Understanding how expensive an injury might be can help someone take the right steps to secure rightful compensation for it afterward.

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