Spinal cord injuries can be devastating for victims. When most people think of spinal injuries, they think of the massive medical bills that often result from hospital stays and follow-up doctor’s office visits. Yes, medical bills do certainly add up when it comes to spinal cord injuries, often reaching into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, these are not the only costs that victims and their families need to be aware of concerning spinal cord trauma. Here, we want to discuss the real cost of a spinal cord injury so that victims and their loved ones know what to expect moving forward.
The First Year of Medical Care
When we examine data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that the costs of a spinal cord injury can become astronomical for victims. As we begin to discuss the costs of these injuries, please understand that more severe injuries require much more extensive care at every level.
For example, the first year of medical care for someone who experiences complete paralysis can reach more than $1.1 million. For individuals who are not completely paralyzed but experience any type of motor functionality issue, their cost of medical treatment can reach as much as $380,000 in the first year.
The reality is that the first-year cost of medical care will typically land somewhere in between those two dollar amounts, which is much more than the average person can afford.
Medical Care Beyond the First Year
The medical costs do not stop when the first year of treatment is over. The NSCISC indicates that every subsequent year of medical care can range anywhere from approximately $46,000 for a less severe spinal cord injury to more than $200,000 for a person who is completely paralyzed.
Overall, spinal cord injuries can result in millions of dollars of medical expenses over the course of a person’s lifetime.
Various Hidden Expenses
The medical expenses associated with spinal cord injuries are not the only costs that victims and their families need to be aware of. There are other “hidden expenses” that can certainly eat into a family’s bottom line, including the following:
- The cost of travel to and from spinal cord injury specialists
- The cost to alter a house or vehicle to aid with mobility
- Lost wages if a spinal cord injury victim can no longer work
- Possible lost income of a family member who leaves their job to become a caregiver
- The costs of paying for in-home care to help the spinal cord injury victim
Emotional and Psychological Toll
Finally, no discussion of the costs of a spinal cord injury can occur without acknowledging the tremendous emotional and psychological toll that victims and their family members will experience.
Unfortunately, a spinal cord injury is likely to completely upend a person’s life. Depending on the severity of the injury, a person may be longer be able to work and earn income. They may not be able to enjoy the everyday activities that they were able to before their injury occurred, including spending time with their family, their hobbies, or sexual activities with their partner. Spinal cord injury victims are much more likely to experience symptoms of depression. Family members will have to watch their loved ones suffer, and they too will suffer as a result of the injury and the consequences.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, contact our expert spinal cord injury lawyers in Orange County today.