Spinal cord injury (SCI) costs are staggering. Depending on the severity and location of the injury on the body, the extent of paralysis, and patient age, first-year medical costs alone range from $350,000 to more than $1 million, with lifetime healthcare costs ranging from $1.5 million to nearly $5 million. Note that those estimates are just for healthcare costs and living expenses—they do not include lost wages.
In addition to the hard economic costs, SCI significantly affects mortality: Spinal cord injuries reduce life expectancies.
Life can change instantly. There is no way to prepare for something as catastrophic and traumatic as spinal cord injury. Despite medical and technological progress, SCI patients face daunting challenges.\
What Is a Spinal Cord Injury?
Life-changing and debilitating damage to the spinal cord or spinal nerves can take catastrophic physical and emotional tolls on a victim’s personal and professional life. SCI affects not only patients but also those around them, including family, friends, co-workers, and colleagues.
Typical SCI symptoms include:
- Intense pain
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Reflex disorders
- Lost or reduced sensations (for example, the inability to experience hot or cold)
- Sexual dysfunction or hypersensitivity
- Difficulties coughing, clearing lungs, and breathing
Typical Causes of Spinal Cord Damage
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) estimates that more than 250,000 Americans today suffer from spinal cord injuries.
Spinal cord injuries most commonly result from:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Gunshot wounds
- Diving injuries
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical and surgical complications
- Falling objects
- Bicycle accidents
- Person-to-person altercations
- Pedestrian injuries
Potential Hope for Debilitating Injuries
Medical and technological advances give hope that doctors may repair spinal cord injuries or dramatically reduce their worst effects. New surgical techniques and developments (spinal nerve regeneration, cell replacement, neural techniques) are spurring cautious optimism.
In the meantime, victims should ensure that they recover all of the compensation they can for their losses—a process that begins by retaining a lawyer as soon as possible.
Did You Suffer a Spinal Cord Injury? Call an Experienced Richmond, Virginia, Personal Injury Attorney Today for Help
Spinal cord injuries have the potential to derail a person’s life in an instant. Many victims go from independent and active to spending the rest of their days in wheelchairs.
In cases where someone else’s negligence caused the injury, Virginia law may make compensation available. To schedule a free case evaluation with a spinal cord injury attorney in Richmond, call Emroch & Kilduff today at (804) 358-1568 or contact us online.