Spinal cord injuries have the potential to be catastrophic. Not only can they result in permanent life-long damage to a person’s health, but the costs associated with a spinal cord injury can be staggering.
For example, the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation reports that a person in the United States with high tetraplegia may pay as much as $1 million in medical expenses and care within the first year of being injured. Those with low tetraplegia may pay nearly $770,000 in medical expenses the first year of their injury. Those with paraplegia can expect to pay approximately $518,000 in medical expenses the first year of their injury, and those who suffer an injury that produces incomplete motor function can expect to pay $347,000 in medical expenses during the first year of their injury.
However, expenses related to medical care are not the only expenses those with spinal cord injuries may face. A person with a spinal cord injury may need to travel to obtain medical care, or their loved ones must travel to care for them. These travel expenses could cost the victim or their family thousands of dollars. Small expenses associated with a hospital stay, such as eating out, entertainment expenses and parking, can also add up.
Another very real and very damaging expense is lost wages and earning potential. One year following the injury, only 11.7% of spinal cord injury victims can work, and 20 years following the injury, only 35.2% of spinal cord injury victims can work. Moreover, even if a spinal cord injury victim returns to the workforce, they may be unable to earn as much as they would have if they had not been injured.
As this shows, there are many expenses related to spinal cord injuries. When these injuries are caused by the negligence of another, the spinal cord injury victim may be able to pursue compensation for the damages they suffered. For some, this means filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. If it can be shown that the responsible party had a duty to the victim, which was breached and caused the victim to suffer damages, the spinal cord injury victim may be awarded the compensation they need to get by financially as they move forward with their lives.