For most people, the idea of suffering a spinal cord injury elicits intense fear. Despite incredible advances in technology, complete spinal cord injuries, in particular, mean a lifetime of medical support and reduced function.
Car crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States, and they lead to a number of different financial costs, like the three below.
They cause a lifetime of medical costs
After suffering a spinal cord injury in a car crash, an individual will likely require stabilization and emergency transportation to a nearby medical facility. They will require trauma care and then rehabilitative support as well. Some may need to undergo surgery, and many will require physical therapy.
All of that care quickly adds up to be far more than what insurance will cover. The costs of a spinal cord injury are as intense as the treatment required. For the first year alone, patients may need more than $600,000 worth of medical care. Afterward, the injury will require around $100,000 worth of medical care each year for the rest of someone’s life.
Spinal cord injuries affect income, too
Many workers in a broad range of industries will find that their career advancement may suffer after a spinal cord injury. Those who work in physical professions will find returning to work challenging. Even those in white-collar professions may struggle to give their career full focus because of the demand caused by their injury.
The perception of others could affect their earning potential and limit chances of future promotions. Many people with spinal cord injuries have to adjust to lower income or even move into a completely new career after they get hurt.
Accommodations can also be expensive
A spinal cord injury might mean that you need an accessible bathroom at your house or a ramp so you can get to the front door. If you hope to continue driving, you may need a vehicle retrofitted for hand-only driving controls and a wheelchair lift. Adjusting your home and vehicle to accommodate a spinal cord injury will cost tens of thousands of dollars in addition to the other expenses and losses incurred.
Car insurance is often not enough to protect someone from these financial consequences. Civil lawsuits can be another way to connect with compensation. Drivers may want to look into third-party liability. Defective vehicle components, for example, could allow an injured individual to hold a company responsible rather than just a driver.
Having a realistic understanding of how spinal cord injuries will affect your life can minimize the lasting impact of the injury.