Spinal Cord Injuries are Expensive to Treat
Many accidents leave victims with catastrophic injuries—head injuries, crushed limbs, and internal organ failure. But spinal cord injuries can be some of the most serious. The spinal cord runs down the middle of the back, carrying signals from the brain to other parts of the body. Although it is protected by vertebrae, the spinal cord can become damaged in a traffic accident, with victims facing a lifetime of continuing medical care.
Types of Spinal Cord Injuries
A traumatic accident can cause any of the following injuries to your spinal cord:
- Compression fracture. The disc falls onto the one below it, pinching nerves and causing pain.
- Herniated discs. The rubbery pad between vertebrae ruptures.
- Spinal cord damage. The spinal cord becomes torn or bruised, resulting in loss of movement and sensation.
Paralysis deserves a special mention, because it is so devastating to those who suffer it. Generally, the victim is paralyzed below the point where the spinal cord is damaged. Spinal cord injuries can be complete or incomplete, with some sensation and movement remaining after an incomplete injury but total paralysis resulting when the spinal cord is completely severed.
Someone paralyzed from the neck down has tetraplegia (also called quadriplegia), whereas someone paralyzed from the waist down has paraplegia. Since 2010, the breakdown is as follows:
- Incomplete Paraplegia: 21%
- Incomplete Tetraplegia: 45%
- Complete Paraplegia: 20%
- Incomplete Tetraplegia: 14%
Costs of Treating Paralysis
A new study from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has shone a light on the extraordinary cost of living with tetraplegia or paraplegia. Based on their estimates, the first year requires the most intense investment of resources, with the total lifelong costs depending on the age of the victim when they suffered the injury.
For example, someone with paraplegia will spend about $518,904 in the first year alone, and then $68,739 each year going forward. Someone with high tetraplegia will spend $1,064,716 in the first year and $184,891 each subsequent year.
Measured over the course of a lifetime, the numbers look like this:
- Someone who suffers from paraplegia at age 25 will spend roughly $2,310,104 over their lifetime.
- Someone who suffers from paraplegia at age 50 will spend about $1,516,052 over their lifetime.
- Someone who suffers high tetraplegia at age 25 will spend about $4,724,181 over their lifetime.
- Someone who suffers from high tetraplegia at age 50 will spend roughly $2,596,329 over their lifetime.
These numbers represent only the costs of medical care. They do not include any amounts for lost wages if the paralyzed person cannot return to work, which can be particularly devastating when the injured person is a family’s main breadwinner.
Financial Compensation Is Available
At Bundza & Rodriguez, we help paralyzed victims and their families fight for the compensation they deserve. Victims can receive money damages for the following if they are successful in their lawsuit:
- Past, present, and continuing medical care
- Past, present, and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium for negative changes to your marriage, such as loss of companionship and sexual intimacy
Given the high costs paraplegics and tetraplegics face going forward, it is important to maximize the compensation you receive in a settlement or jury verdict. For this reason, you must begin building your case right away. Remember to hold onto all medical records and keep detailed notes about how your spinal cord injury has impacted your life.
Have You Suffered a Spinal Cord Injury?
Those suffering from spinal cord injuries face an uncertain future and need an aggressive Daytona Beach spinal cord attorney by their side. At Bundza & Rodriguez, we fight to obtain fair compensation for our clients. Contact us today to begin the process.