Spinal cord injuries are some of the most feared and most expensive injuries possible after a car crash. Depending on the location of an injury, people may face major changes in their lives. The body below the site of injury will not be able to effectively communicate with the brain, which can affect a spinal injury patient in many ways.
Spinal cord injuries may be incomplete or complete. Complete injuries do not respond to treatment but will still require medical intervention to protect someone’s health. Incomplete injuries may improve with certain types of medical care. People will experience a loss or reduction in sensation and motor function below the point of injury. They will also likely have to overcome numerous financial challenges related to their injuries, including the three most common contributions to the economic impacts of a spinal cord injury.
Just the initial trauma care that someone requires after a spinal cord injury will likely add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. The injured person may require a long-term hospital stay and surgical intervention, followed by rehabilitative services. Spinal cord injuries generally necessitate expanded medical support for the rest of someone’s life. Many injuries carry a seven-figure total price tag in medical care costs alone.
Those who need crutches or wheelchairs for mobility assistance after a spinal cord injury will have major costs to make their homes and vehicles accessible. Houses may require ramps, new bathrooms and a remodeled space so that there is a bedroom on the first floor. Vehicles may need to have special controls added so that someone can operate them without their feet or to make them wheelchair accessible. Home modifications will cost thousands of dollars, and even modifying the vehicle to make it accessible will likely cost tens of thousands of dollars in addition to the cost of the vehicle itself.
Lost wages and earning potential
Most people will have to forego any income during the time that they receive treatment for a spinal cord injury. Not everyone will be able to return to work in the same line of employment they previously enjoyed. Some people need to move into lower-paid professions. Others will have to give up employment entirely due to the severity of their injuries.
Oftentimes, spinal cord injuries are so expensive that people have to take their situation to civil court because insurance cannot come anywhere close to covering the full expenses they’re incurring as a result of another’s negligence or intentional conduct. Having a realistic idea of what crash injuries will cost is an important starting point for those in need of compensation after a wreck, as it will inform their approach to negotiations and/or litigation.