What Are the Long-Term Costs Associated With a Spinal Injury?
A spinal cord injury is a type of catastrophic injury that can impact a victim for life. When an accident injures or damages the spine, it can sever the line of communication from the brain to the body. This can lead to long-term health problems, such as neurological conditions that paralyze the victim. Living with a spinal cord injury means paying for many related long-term costs. If you wish to bring a spinal cord injury claim in Virginia, it is important to fully understand these long-term costs before accepting a settlement offer.
Types of Expenses Associated With a Spinal Injury
If an accident gives you or a loved one a spinal cord injury, you will face many long-term or lifetime medical expenses. The exact treatments and care you need will depend on your specific diagnosis and prognosis. Most spinal cord injuries are irreversible. They inflict permanent injuries on the victim, such as paralysis below the point of injury (e.g. tetraplegia or paraplegia). The average spinal cord injury comes with the need for many different types of treatments.
- Follow-up care
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Live-in care
- Mobility-assistive devices
- Disability accommodations
- Home or vehicle modifications
The medical expenses alone related to a spinal cord injury can surpass $1,000,000 throughout a patient’s lifetime. To calculate your spinal cord injury expenses, add up all of your existing medical bills. Then, project your future foreseeable medical costs with assistance from a personal injury attorney. You will need to prove your damages with evidence such as pay stubs, bills and letters from your doctor to obtain fair compensation during an injury claim in Virginia.
Average Lifetime Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury
The price of living with a spinal cord injury will depend on the severity of the injury, how it will impact the victim and the age at which the injury occurred. The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center gives updated estimates of the lifetime costs associated with a spinal cord injury each year.
The 2020 data sheet states that the estimated lifetime cost of a spinal cord injury ranges from $1,202,832 for someone who experienced the injury at age 50 and still has motor function to $5,100,941 for someone who has high tetraplegia at age 25. The costs of paraplegia over a patient’s lifetime is estimated to be around $1.6 million for someone who was 50 at the time of injury to $2.5 million to someone who was 25.
These estimates are only for the lifetime costs of health care and living expenses. They do not include the indirect costs of a spinal cord injury, such as lost wages, lost productivity or lost quality of life. The full costs of a permanent spinal cord injury can far surpass the highest estimate for medical expenses alone.
How to Obtain Full Compensation for a Spinal Cord Injury in Virginia
In Virginia, the civil courts allow a plaintiff with a spinal cord injury to seek damages not only for lifelong medical treatments and live-in care but also for noneconomic damages. These damages can include emotional distress, mental anguish, lost quality or enjoyment of life, psychological trauma, scarring or disfigurement, and loss of consortium. The value of your noneconomic damages, or pain and suffering, can be immense in a spinal injury lawsuit if you have a permanent injury.
It is important to consult with an attorney to obtain an accurate estimate of how much your spinal cord injury will cost you in the long term. Excluding certain damages from your initial settlement demand could lead to accepting less than your spinal cord injury is worth over your lifetime. A lawyer will have prior experience successfully handling spinal cord injury claims for clients. He or she will understand the past, current and future expenses related to your injury. Your lawyer will also have the strategies to negotiate for maximum compensation from an insurance company on your behalf.