The cost of a spinal cord injury is considerable, and those calculations involve medical costs, ongoing care, travel costs, income loss, and other hidden costs. This extensive list of potential expenses makes it difficult to calculate the true cost of a spinal cord injury.
Medical Costs Take Center Stage Early On
In the first days following an accident that leads to a spinal cord injury, the medical bills can add up quickly. Many spinal cord injuries require spinal surgery. Severe injuries may require trauma care and time on a ventilator. Hospitalization can add to these costs as well. Almost every person with a serious spinal cord injury will spend time with rehabilitation teams learning skills for independent living. Many individuals consult with a personal injury lawyer to help with these costs.
Ongoing Care Adds to the Costs
Spinal cord injuries can lead to paralysis and the need for long-term care. People who cannot walk or use their limbs may need in-home aides to assist with daily living tasks. Some may be required to live in an assisted living facility to care for their daily needs. This is an expense that may not be covered by health insurance.
Costs for Travel
Getting specialist care after a spinal cord injury may mean traveling to a hospital that’s a little farther from home. This incurs costs for family traveling back and forth to help with care. There may also be expenses for valet service, parking, and accommodations, depending on the circumstances.
Loss of Income
Spinal cord injuries can make it difficult to work, and some injured individuals are never able to return to work. Only 11.7% of people with spinal cord injuries are employed one year after the injury. The rate climbs to 35.2% 20 years after an injury. The cost of those lost wages over a person’s lifespan are extensive. However, a personal injury lawyer can often help to recover them.
Other Hidden Expenses
Hospital meals for visiting family members, medical equipment necessary to maintain quality of life, ongoing long-term health issues, and addressing mental health concerns are all expenses individuals suffering from these injuries must consider. These expenses add up quite quickly, and, when partnered with initial medical expenses and costs for long-term care, they can place a heavy financial strain on patients.