Spinal cord injuries have a profound effect on the lives of injured people and their families. Besides the physical and emotional toll that these injuries take, the financial costs of living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) are substantial. Most families cannot handle these costs by themselves; that is why personal injury lawsuits after an SCI need to take into account the expected future costs of living for the injured person.
Lifetime Costs of SCI
The University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention release a yearly analysis of the average costs to treat and live with an SCI. These studies illuminate just how costly these injuries really are, and help families understand their future expected expenses.
The amount of money it takes to treat and live with an SCI depends on the severity and the location of the injury. The NSCISC breaks down the costs by four different injury types: High tetraplegia, low tetraplegia, paraplegia, and incomplete motor function at any level.
Tetraplegia, also known as quadriplegia, results from an injury to the C-1 through C-8 vertebrae located high in the neck. An injury in this location causes complete paralysis of a person’s arms, legs, and torso.
In 2014, the NSCISC estimated that a person with tetraplegia would spend between $1,064,716 and $769,351 during the first year of their injury. For each subsequent year, the costs would range between $184,891 and $113,423, depending on the location of the injury. This means that a 25-year-old with this type of injury could expect to spend between $4.7 and $3.4 million in medical bills and related costs over the course of his or her lifetime.
Less severe SCIs which result in paraplegia (meaning only the legs are paralyzed) or other types of paralysis are still incredibly expensive. These types of injuries will cost an injured person between $518,904 and $347,484 for the first year, with between $68,739 and $42,206 in annual medical expenses every year thereafter. Overall, a 25-year-old SCI patient with these types of injuries can expect to spend between $2.3 million and $1.5 million in medical costs and expenses over the course of his or her lifetime.
Life Expectancy and Quality of Life
These numbers are even lower than they should be because all types of spinal cord injuries will statistically shorten a person’s life. A 20-year-old without an SCI is expected to live for an average of 59.3 more years. With a spinal cord injury, that number decreases substantially. Any type of SCI costs a 20-year-old approximately seven years of life. As the severity of the injury increases, the same person could see 10, 20 or even 30 years lost.
None of these numbers can truly paint a picture of the complications and struggles that life with a spinal cord injury brings. Dealing with these injuries takes a type of strength and perseverance that most people will never know.
At the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., we understand the types of hardships that people with an SCI face, and will work to get you the compensation you need to live your best life possible As both an attorney and a medical doctor, attorney Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., understands what you and your family is going through, and will fight to get you the compensation you deserve after an injury caused by negligence or medical malpractice.
For a free consultation at the Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq., call us today at (310) 289-2600 or use our online contact form to have your case reviewed for free.