What’s the Real Spinal Cord Injury Cost?

If you or somebody you love has sustained a spinal cord injury caused by the negligent actions of another individual in Illinois, you will have to contend with various types of expenses. Spinal cord injuries are perhaps the most expensive type of trauma that a person can endure. This is particularly true for those who sustain long-term disabilities caused by the injury. Here, we want to review the main costs that spinal cord injury victims and their families can expect in these situations and we also suggest consulting with a Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer.

What's the real spinal cord injury cost?

The Calculable Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury

If we examine data and statistics available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that it is certainly possible to calculate medical costs associated with a spinal cord injury. For example, the NSCISC states that the first year of medical care for a complete high tetraplegia injury can reach as much as $1.1 million, while a less severe spinal cord injury that results in a loss of motor functioning can reach as much as $379,000. Every subsequent year of medical care for a spinal cord injury victim can range anywhere from approximately $46,000 to more than $200,000.

However, we have to look past the medical costs in order to properly understand how much these injuries will cost a victim and their family members. A spinal cord injury victim may not be able to return to work at all, meaning we have to calculate the total amount of lost income that person was expected to earn over the course of their lifetime. Younger spinal cord injury victims will have to contend with much larger amounts of lost wages than those who sustained these injuries at an older age.

Additionally, spinal cord injury victims and their families have to contend with:

  • The costs of modifying homes or vehicles to help with mobility
  • The costs of medical devices and prescription medications
  • The expense of travel to and from various medical specialists

The Immeasurable Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury

There are more immeasurable costs associated with spinal cord injuries that are not often discussed. This includes the non-economic or “general” damage is associated with these injuries.

How the Injury Affects the Victim

We have to examine how these injuries affect a victim’s life. A spinal cord injury can completely change the way a person interacts with their environment and their friends and family. Often overlooked are the physical pain and suffering losses and the emotional and psychological distress a person experiences when they can no longer participate in life activities in the same way as they could before the injury occurred. This type of loss is immeasurable. 

How an Injury Affects the Victim’s Family

The family member of a spinal cord injury victim will inevitably suffer as well. The children, spouse, or parents of a victim have to watch as their loved one suffers. These family members may no longer be able to interact with the spinal cord injury victim in the same way. For a child, this could mean that their parent can no longer take them to a sports game. For a parent, this means they may not be able to watch their child accomplish the dreams they had. A spouse may no longer be able to engage in sexual activity with their loved one.