How much does a spinal cord injury from a car crash cost?

On Behalf of | May 26, 2023 | catastrophic injuries

There are certain traumatic injuries that people recognize will cost them quite a bit of money. Brain injuries and amputations often generate massive medical expenses and result in diminished earning potential for the injured party, for example. Spinal cord injuries are also among the most debilitating and permanent traumatic injuries someone could suffer, and they are also among the most feared injuries possible after a crash.

While a spinal cord injury is not life-ending in the way that people sometimes claim, it can be one of the most expensive possible injuries that individuals can suffer in the wake of an accident. What makes damage to the spinal cord so it’s expensive?

Extreme medical costs

The average cost of someone’s spinal cord injury will depend on the location of the injury and its overall severity. Injuries that are more complete and higher on the spine tend to cost more. Even an incomplete spinal cord injury will typically cost someone more than a million dollars in lifetime medical expenses. Initial trauma care can be very expensive, and people will require ongoing medical support for the rest of their lives even if recovery isn’t possible.

Lost earning potential

People will lose money when they are in the hospital after their injury, and they may have to move into a different profession because of functional limitations caused by their injury. Blue-collar workers, in particular, often have to move into lower-paid professions as a result of a spinal cord injury. Needing to frequently miss work for medical care can also slow someone’s progress as they try to develop their career.

Secondary living expenses

Assistive technology and the cost to retrofit someone’s home and vehicle to make them wheelchair-accessible can often cost more than a full year’s salary. Someone’s lifestyle and age will determine exactly what accommodations they require, but most households will invest tens of thousands of dollars in making housing and transportation accessible.

When combined, those three kinds of expenses can add up to far more than the financial support available to someone after a car crash via insurance. Understanding why spinal cord injuries are so costly may make it easier for people to figure out their total expenses and evaluate if seeking legal guidance to file a personal injury lawsuit is advisable under their circumstances.