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How expensive is it to treat a spinal cord injury?

On Behalf of | Sep 23, 2022 | Catastrophic Injuries

Has an accident left your loved one with a catastrophic injury that has reshaped the way that he or she lives life? If so, then you’re probably overwhelmed with figuring out how to best support them. After all, even the easiest of daily tasks may seem impossible for them to accomplish. These physical shortcomings can lead to overwhelming emotional and psychological frustrations, which in turn can foster a whole host of mental health challenges.

As if that’s not enough, the financial ramifications can be devastating, too. Medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and lost wages can all quickly mount, leaving your loved one’s financial future bleak. This may even threaten your loved one’s ability to secure the treatment that’s needed to further the recovery at hand.

But just how extensive are these financial losses?

To see just how expensive it can be to treat a catastrophic injury, let’s look at the costs associated with treating a spinal cord injury. Keep in mind, though, that just as with any catastrophic injury, the exact cost of treatment and rehabilitation is going to depend on the type and the severity of the injury. So, let’s look at spinal cord injuries to give you a sense of what your loved one is up against:

  • High tetraplegia: This condition, which is perhaps the most severe form of spinal cord-related injury, can cost over $1 million to treat in the first year after onset. Each following year can cost more than $200,000 in treatment and rehabilitation expenses, with the lifetime average for treating this kind of injury coming in at several million dollars, with the exact cost depending on the age at which the injury is suffered. That said, many people with this injury face more than $5 million in lifetime expenses.
  • Low tetraplegia: This condition, which affects the lower limbs, is also expensive to treat. More than $800,000 may be needed in the first year of care alone with an additional $120,000 or more each subsequent year that treatment is needed. The lifetime costs to care for this type of injury, then, also rise into the millions of dollars.
  • Paraplegia: Although a little less expensive to treat, even paraplegia can run upwards of $550,000 in first year costs with more than $75,000 in expenses each subsequent year. For this condition, your loved one could end up facing more than $2.5 million in lifetime costs.

Keep in mind, too, that these are only some of the financial ramifications that spinal cord injury sufferers face. In addition to medical expenses and rehabilitation costs, these individuals will lose out on significant wages over the course of their life.

All of this, on top of the traumatic emotional and psychological damage that can be caused by this injury, can be overwhelmingly stressful for your loved one. Although you should certainly be there to provide them with physical and emotional support, you might also want to help them think through what they can do to protect their financial interests so that they can secure stability and the treatment that they need.

Is legal action right under the circumstances?

If your loved one’s accident and injuries were caused by someone else’s negligence, then legal action is justified. If that’s the case, then you might want to start talking to your loved one about preparing to enter the legal process. This may mean gathering medical records, witness accounts and contact information, police reports, and photographs of the accident scene, which are real and meaningful things that you can do to help your loved one.

Once you’ve done that, then you and your loved one can meet with an attorney who is skilled in personal injury cases involving catastrophic injuries. Hopefully then you can work collaboratively to craft the persuasive legal arguments your loved one needs to secure the stability and accountability they deserve.