What Are the Lifetime Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury?

A spinal cord injury (SCI) is nearly always considered a catastrophic injury. It is life-altering physical trauma resulting in permanent disability and a lengthy recovery period. When a person experiences an SCI, it can affect many areas of the body, leaving them with a variety of issues, both medical and financial.

After suffering an SCI, it is imperative to understand both the long-term physical and economic impact of your injury. An injury to the spinal cord can necessitate lifetime medical assistance, resulting in lifetime medical bills. When determining a personal injury claim about a spinal cord injury, you and your attorney must take into account the severe and ongoing nature of your injuries to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries.

How do spinal cord injuries occur?

Spinal cord injuries and damage can be the result of an accident, infection, a penetrating injury or a non-penetrating injury. According to the NSCISC, spinal cord injuries are most commonly caused by:

Financial effects of SCIs

The effects of spinal cord injury are more severe depending where on the spinal cord the injury occurred. A patient can suffer injuries like paraplegia or quadriplegia. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistic Center (NSCISC) estimates average yearly costs and expenses for various spinal cord injuries. Although these numbers can vary from person to person, this provides a general outline of SCIs and an idea of the medical costs for each.

  • High tetraplegia. These injuries affect the C1 to C4 vertebrae and impair the ability to feel or move from the neck down. This is typically called full body paralysis, and a patient will need assistance with breathing, bladder/bowel functions, and daily living tasks. Lifetime financial costs for this type of injury average between $2,803,391 and $5,100,941.
  • Low tetraplegia. These injuries affect the C5 to C8 vertebrae. A patient may have some movement in the arm, but still be unable to walk. They may breathe unassisted but need help with daily living tasks. Lifetime financial costs for this type of injury average between $2,292,479 and $3,727,066.
  • Paraplegia. This results from injury to the thoracic or lumbar vertebrae. The upper extremities are typically unaffected, with major impairment below the waist. Patients may be able to walk with assistive devices or use a wheelchair. Lifetime financial costs for this type of injury average between $1,636,959 and $2,494,338.

If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury, talk to the Richmond attorneys at Phelan Petty today. To set up a free case consultation, give us a call today at 804-980-7100 or use our contact form to leave us a message.