Car crashes, falls, medical errors and even interpersonal violence can cause debilitating spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord serves as the conduit between the brain and the rest of the body. It interprets sensory information sent from throughout the body and sends motor function instructions from the brain to someone’s limbs and extremities.
Damage to the spinal cord can affect both physical sensation and motor function anywhere below the site of the injury. Individuals with both complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries often experience major financial impacts, and the costs in three areas, in particular, often make up the majority of their economic losses. These are some of the expenses that typically result from a spinal cord injury.
Massive medical costs
The location of someone’s spinal cord injury, whether the injury was complete or incomplete and even the age of the person injured can have a major impact on how much their treatment costs. However, most spinal cord injuries will cost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in lifetime medical expenses.
Getting treatment after a spinal cord injury might mean that someone has to take an extended leave of absence both for initial healing and then for rehabilitation. Frequent medical care will likely be necessary on an ongoing basis, so workers may have to miss days on the job to get the treatment they require. In some cases, people with spinal cord injuries need to change the profession in which they work or cease working outside the home altogether.
Home and vehicle modifications
Making transportation and living spaces accessible costs tens of thousands of dollars in many cases. Some people will move to a new home because their current living arrangements would require too much investment to adjust. People may need to change bathrooms, remodel bedrooms and even adjust counter and sink height in the kitchen to make them more accessible. Adjusting vehicles to make them wheelchair accessible or operable by someone who can only use their hands to control the vehicle can also cost thousands of dollars.
All told, the financial impact of a spinal cord injury could be far more than what insurance will cover. Determining the consequences of a catastrophic injury can help people take appropriate steps to pursue compensation – which may include seeking legal guidance and filing a lawsuit – after getting hurt.