Living with a spinal cord injury sustained in any type of accident can cost far more than you might imagine. In just the first year after a spinal cord injury leaves a victim with some degree of paralysis, medical care can cost anywhere from $350,000 to more than $1 million, according to estimates from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. Even in cases of less severe injuries, the cost of medical care adds up fast, especially the ongoing costs that never go away. In this blog post, we review some common costs many of our clients living with a spinal cord injury face.
Drivers of the High Cost of Living With a Spinal Cord Injury
One key expense often comes to mind when people first think of life with a spinal cord injury: medical care. Of course, that is a huge component of any spinal cord injury. Medical care starts immediately after the injury, and for many patients it never ends. Patients may need surgeries, extended hospital stays, and ongoing physical and occupational therapies to manage the health complications associated with paralysis. Patients may also go through psychological or psychiatric services to help them learn how to cope with their new lives.
Medical care, however, makes up only one component of the cost of living with a spinal cord trauma. Other, less obvious costs add significantly to the tally, including:
- Wheelchairs. Paralysis forces many victims of spinal cord injuries to rely on wheelchairs to get around and continue living their lives. The cost of a wheelchair varies according to its form and function, from chairs that the occupant can manoeuver with his arm strength alone to self-propelled models that transport victims with near-total paralysis. The chairs wear out after a few years, and then victims must replace them.
- Home modifications. Home modifications necessary to accommodate wheelchair-mobile people add more cost to living with a spinal cord injury. These may include ramps, lifts, structural changes to doorways and hallways, and installation of grip bars and other handholds.
- Vehicle modifications. Victims of spinal cord trauma may lose the ability to drive vehicles in the same manner as other people. Cars may require extensive retrofits to permit driving with one’s hands. Those victims most seriously paralyzed by a spinal cord injury may lose the ability to drive altogether, and must get around in a specially designed van driven by someone else.
- Lost wages and lost earning potential. Many people who suffer spinal cord injuries find themselves unable to return to work in their previous capacities. They may not return to their former jobs, especially if they worked labor-intensive positions, or they might need additional training to pursue new careers. In some cases, accident victims may never return to work at all.
Get Legal Help After Your Spinal Cord Accident
If you or a loved one must face life with a spinal cord injury, an experienced personal injury lawyer may assist you in obtaining compensation to meet your financial needs. Contact Emroch & Kilduff today at (804) 358-1568 to set up your free consultation.