What’s the Real Cost of a Spinal Cord Injury?
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating. They can lead to significant short- or long-term disabilities that completely affect a person’s life. Calculating the total costs of a spinal cord injury can be challenging; most people simply think of the medical bills associated with an injury, which can be tremendous. However, there are many other losses that a person will sustain in these situations – both economic and non-economic losses – that have to be discussed when working to determine the real spinal cord injury costs. Here, our Nashville injury attorneys discuss the real cost of a spinal cord injury is.
The Medical Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury
When we examine data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that medical expenses associated with spinal cord injuries can reach incredibly high levels. The NSCISC shows that a person who experiences total quadriplegia, which would be characterized as complete paralysis from the neck down, could sustain as much as $1.1 million in first-year medical expenses. Those who sustain less severe injuries, including incomplete paralysis, can still see medical costs reaching as much as $380,000 during the first year of medical treatment.
However, medical care does not stop after the first year. Data also reveals that every subsequent year of medical care, until a person passes away, will likely result in anywhere from $46,000 to more than $200,000, depending on the severity of the injury.
In addition to these medical expenses, we have to consider how much it will cost a person to travel to and from various spinal cord injury specialists for treatment, as well as the cost of any prescription medications. Most people do have to travel some distances to get to the appropriate treatment, and this can reach several thousand dollars a year.
Finally, it is not uncommon for spinal cord injury victims to need various medical devices in order to help with their mobility. This can include specialized wheelchairs, various beds, walkers, and more. All of these devices are likely to cost tens of thousands of dollars
Hidden Costs Associated With Spinal Cord Injuries
In order to truly understand how much a spinal cord injury costs victims and their families, we have to look beyond medical expenses. Yes, medical bills can be astronomical and ongoing, and they can potentially last for the remainder of a person’s life. However, there are various “hidden costs” associated with these injuries that need to be examined.
First and foremost, the quality of life of the spinal cord injury victim is going to take a toll. Depending on the level of paralysis a person experiences, these injuries can keep a person from returning to work, and they can prevent them from enjoying the same types of activities they did before their injury occurred. This can include hobbies, spending time with family, and even just going outside for some fresh air. It is not uncommon for spinal cord injury victims to suffer from significant emotional and psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
We also need to examine other economic costs that victims and their families will experience. This can include a loss of income on multiple levels. If a spinal cord injury victim is unable to work, this loss of income could place a significant financial strain on their lives. Additionally, it is not uncommon for a family member to have to leave their own job to become a full-time caregiver in these situations. If you have been a victim of a spinal cord injury due to another’s negligence, make sure to consult with a spinal cord injury attorney.