A spinal cord injury could have a devastating effect on your personal life and your finances. Whether the injury is incomplete and you retain some function in the affected part of your body or the injury is complete and you have lost all motor control and sensation below the sight of the injury, you can expect the lifetime cost of your injury to be extreme.
Understanding the various financial implications a spinal cord injury can have will make it easier for someone negotiating an insurance settlement or considering a civil lawsuit to make the right choices. What financial consequences does a spinal cord injury have?
Massive medical costs
Someone who just suffered a spinal cord injury in a car crash or a fall will likely require emergency trauma care. It is common for the first year of medical care to cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. After the first year, treatment costs will drop, but those with spinal cord injuries will typically have thousands of dollars in extra medical expenses every year for the rest of their lives.
Lost earning potential
Someone recovering from a spinal cord injury could miss weeks or months of work. Those in blue-collar professions or with injuries high on the spine may never go back to work again. Others will eventually return to gainful employment but may never achieve the same financial success they would have without the injury. Between time off for medical care and limitations caused by someone’s injury, there can be a significant decrease in personal income stemming from a spinal cord injury.
Technically, you have the right to accommodations at businesses and when securing rental housing. However, especially if you own your own home, you may have to absorb some of the costs of adding amenities that make your living space accessible.
It often costs many thousands of dollars to change a home and make it wheelchair friendly. Vehicle adaptations can also prove rather costly. Buying a brand new wheelchair-accessible vehicle or adding foot-free controls to an existing vehicle can be very expensive.
Altogether, the financial impact of a spinal cord injury can be hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes more than a million dollars. Determining the financial effect of a recent spinal cord injury will help you make an insurance claim or pursue a civil lawsuit as appropriate.