A spinal cord injury affects more than just your ability to walk

by Paula A. Wyatt | February 6, 2018 | Blog, Spinal Cord Injuries | 0 comments

A spinal cord injury affects more than just your ability to walk

Perhaps you are one of the approximately 17,500 people who suffer a new and life-altering spinal cord injury each year. As you come to terms with your new reality, you more than likely have concerns regarding what this means in terms of your financial situation.

Without a doubt, your injury will have a profound effect on your ability to work and support yourself and your family. If another person or persons caused your injury, you may be able to seek compensation to help with your monetary losses through the filing of a personal injury claim. First, however, it may prove useful to know some facts about your situation and the approximate lifetime costs you face.

Facts about those who suffer spinal cord injuries

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center keeps track of numerous factors relating to those who have suffered spinal cord injuries (SCI). Some of the statistics gathered in 2017 include the following:

  • Somewhere between 245,000 and 353,000 people in the United States live with an SCI.
  • Estimates indicate that as high as 81 percent of victims are men. They have an average age of 42 years.
  • The leading cause of SCI is motor vehicle accidents followed by falls, violence, sports and medical errors in descending order of incidence.
  • The most frequent classification of SCI is incomplete tetraplegia followed by incomplete paraplegia, complete paraplegia and incomplete paraplegia in descending order of incidence.
  • Not even 1 percent of SCI victims make a full recovery prior to leaving the hospital. 

Even if you do recover from your injury, it will be more of a marathon rather than a sprint. More than likely, your doctors told you that you may not fully recover.

Facts regarding the costs of an SCI

As you attempt to work out your financial matters relating to your injury, you may want to know that your pre-injury employment status, your neurological impairment and your education level influence the costs you face. The latest data shows that the lifetime costs for people with an SCI vary, depending on the severity of your injury. The NSCISC provides the following estimates:

  • If your diagnosis is high tetraplegia (your injury was to C1-C4), your first-year costs could reach around $1,079,412 and $187,443 each year thereafter.
  • If your diagnosis is low tetraplegia (your injury was to C5-C8), your first-year expenses will be approximately $779,969 in the first year and approximately $114,988 each subsequent year.
  • If your diagnosis is paraplegia, the first year after your injury could cost $526,066 with each year thereafter costing about $69,688.
  • If you experience any level of motor function, the first-year costs hover around $352,279 and could cost approximately $42,789.

These numbers are only estimates, and your personal circumstances could cause the costs to be higher or lower. You may also need to know that this only includes medical and medical-related expenses. These numbers do not include income losses or fringe benefits.

Seeking support

As you can see, the costs associated with your SCI are significant by nearly everyone's standards, and they don't even include other factors such as your lost wages. This makes your pursuit of compensation all that more important. Fortunately, you do not have to embark on this endeavor alone. With the right legal representation, you may be able to receive the compensation your need and deserve.


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