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The Lifelong Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury

Posted in Spinal Cord Injuries on December 14, 2019

A person in a wheelchair

Most personal injuries will impact the victims for months or possibly even years to come. While this is unfortunate and inconvenient, it is not on the same scale as a spinal cord injury. Spinal cord injuries have the potential to impact someone for the rest of their lives and will also significantly impact those that are close to them.

If someone else was negligent and caused your spinal cord injury, you could file a lawsuit to help pay your related expenses.  When you hire a well-versed New Orleans spinal cord injury lawyer to seek compensation for your injuries, they will help determine what the lifetime costs of your spinal cord injury could be. Your costs could be astronomical and challenging to calculate, but nevertheless, you deserve to be compensated for all that you have and will endure.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center reports that about 12,500 people survive spinal cord injuries each year. Approximately 38 percent are caused by car accidents, 30 percent by falls, 14 percent by violence, 9 percent by sports and recreational activities, 5 percent due to medical errors, and 4 percent are attributed to miscellaneous and other factors. If the cause of your spinal cord injury arises from the careless or negligent act of another person or party, a New Orleans spinal cord injury can help you pursue damages in a civil case for the astronomical costs and losses you face.

The Price Tag of a Spinal Cord Injury

Nearly all spinal cord injury survivors can anticipate significant expenses related to their severe injuries. Understanding what your lifelong costs may be from your accident can help you seek a fair settlement in your case. Medical expenses are one of the most substantial expenses a survivor will face and can include the costs of:

  • Spinal surgery
  • Trauma care, such as being on a ventilator
  • Rehabilitation, including physical and occupational therapy, and speech therapy
  • Long-term care, including the costs of in-home aides
  • Medical equipment such as wheelchairs
  • Medication such as painkillers and antibiotics

The costs of a spinal cord injury can be difficult to estimate and depends on various factors, such as where on the spinal cord the injury occurred. The Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation reports that the average expenses for a spinal cord injury as follows for the first year:

  • People with high tetraplegia (a spinal cord injury high up on or near the neck paralyzing all four extremities) can expect to pay about a million dollars for care
  • Low tetraplegia (a lower spinal cord injury paralyzing all four extremities) produces about $769,000 in medical expenses, while paraplegia costs about $518,000
  • Injuries that produce incomplete motor function at any level cost survivors an average of $347,000

While still high, the costs of care tend to go down after the first year:

  • Survivors with high tetraplegia incur expenses of about $184,000 annually, compared to $113,000 for people with low tetraplegia
  • Paraplegia costs about $69,000 each year
  • Incomplete motor function produces the lowest costs, of about $42,000

There are many different medical expenses to consider, some that are frequently forgotten when calculating the lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury include:

  • Help for mental health issues related to your injuries
  • Medical expenses for long-term health issues as spinal cord injury survivors are more likely to die young, and more likely to suffer from medical problems such as respiratory infections

Non-Medical and Other Expenses

Not only can an experienced spinal cord injury attorney in New Orleans help you determine what the lifetime medical and care costs of your spinal cord injury might be, but they can also help you figure out how much your other expenses might run as well. If you sustained your injury due to the negligence of someone else, you deserve to be compensated for both the medical and non-medical costs of your injury.

One of these significant expenses is for travel. You may need to travel to other cities to get the specialized care you need. You may also need to have family or friends travel to you to help with your care.

Other expenses and damages might include:

  • Home modifications such as elevators or ramps to make your home more accessible.
  • Additional equipment, such as wheelchair-accessible vans
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

Lost Wages and Income Earning Potential

Damages and costs for a spinal cord injury case must also account for the lost wages of the survivor and consider the potential that they may never be able to work again. For those who earn an average salary, the lifetime loss can be over a million dollars over a lifetime. If you are a higher earner, it can be much more.

Even if you are able to go back to work or find a new job that you can still perform, you will still miss time at work during your recovery. In most cases, employers will not pay an employee while they are recovering from such a long-term injury, leaving them to fend for themselves. Your spinal cord injury lawyer in New Orleans and other professionals they may employ can help determine what your lost wages or lost earning potential may amount to and add it to the damages you claim in your lawsuit.

Get a Consultation from a Compassionate Spinal Cord Injury Attorney in New Orleans

After sustaining a spinal cord injury, make it a priority to schedule a consultation with a compassionate and knowledgeable New Orleans spinal cord injury attorney. The law limits your rights to seek compensation, and once they expire, you cannot expect to receive payments for the costs you incur. You need representation from an attorney who understands the high costs you will be burdened with over the rest of your life.

We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (504) 500-5000 to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., and schedule your spinal cord injury consultation today, or use our convenient online contact form.