How Much is a Spinal Cord Injury Worth?
Catastrophic Injury/Wrongful Death - November 8, 2021
Understanding the true costs of a spinal cord injury can be incredibly challenging. There are various levels of spinal cord injuries, and the long-term symptoms experienced by one individual may differ from another spinal cord injury victim. One thing is certain – nearly every spinal cord injury victim incurs significant expenses. Here, we want to discuss the true cost of a spinal cord injury, including economic damages as well as non-economic damages.
Examining the Medical Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways, but most happen as a result of vehicle accidents, falls, violent acts, sports injuries, and medical or surgical mistakes. If we turn to information available from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), we can see that medical costs associated with spinal cord injuries can be tremendous. In the first year after a spinal cord injury occurs, individuals can experience medical costs ranging from $380,000 to more than $1.1 million, depending on the level of spinal cord injury.
Additionally, every subsequent year of medical care until a person passes away will range anywhere from approximately $46,000 to more than $200,000, again depending on the severity of the spinal cord trauma.
Other Economic Losses Associated With Spinal Cord Injuries
The medical costs mentioned above are certainly not the only type of costs associated with spinal cord trauma. Spinal cord injury victims and their family members will have to contend with a range of other costs that could leave them financially devastated. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Lost income of the spinal cord injury victim
- Lost income of a family member who may have to become a caregiver
- The costs associated with modifying vehicles or homes to help with mobility
- The expense of traveling to and from various spinal cord injury specialists
- Purchasing various types of equipment that will help with mobility
- Various types of prescription medications to aid with pain or anxiety
These costs can easily double the price tag of a spinal cord injury for every year a person sustains symptoms that keep them from living a normal life.
The Long-Term Non-Economic Losses
We would be remiss if we did not discuss the long-term non-economic costs associated with a spinal cord injury. These costs are more immeasurable because there are no direct bills or receipts that can be added up and totaled. Some of the most common types of non-economic costs associated with these injuries include:
- Physical pain and suffering losses
- Emotional and psychological distress from not being able to live life in the same way as before the injury
- Loss of consortium for a spouse or family members, including loss of sexual activity
- Loss of quality of life damages
Properly obtaining a value for non-economic losses can be challenging but is typically done by using a multiplier method where an attorney will add up all of the economic losses sustained and then multiply it by a set number (usually a number ranging from 1.5 to 5). It is crucial to work with a skilled Chicago spinal cord injury lawyer who can discover all losses and help you recover maximum compensation.