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How much does it cost to live with a spinal cord injury?

On Behalf of | Dec 9, 2023 | Personal Injury

Those who have been seriously injured and have suffered spinal cord injuries need to remember that the costs from that injury are going to far exceed the immediate treatment costs related to their harm. For instance, they could be an individual who was injured in a car accident with a tractor-trailer. They will have emergency costs right after the crash, like the ambulance ride to the hospital, but a spinal cord injury means that there could also be related costs for the rest of their life.

One of the indicators of how expensive an injury will prove to be is the level of recovery that is possible and the location of the injury. In some cases, patients may recover skills and abilities, but in other cases, those may be lost forever. The part of the body that is affected often depends on the elevation of the injury along the spinal cord itself.

Examples: High v. low tetraplegia

For example, someone could suffer from high tetraplegia, which happens between the C1 and C4 vertebrae. The estimated costs for the first year, according to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, are over $1 million. But they also estimate that it will cost $184,891 for every subsequent year. To see how the location makes a difference, though, consider a low tetraplegia, which is between the C5 and C8 vertebrae. This could still inspire initial costs of around $769,000 and then may cost $113,000 for every subsequent year of a patient’s life.

Age also plays a role

The Christopher Reeve Foundation also notes that the age of a patient when they suffer an injury plays a major role in how much that injury will cost over time. For example, if a 25-year-old suffers a high tetraplegia, they may be facing lifetime costs of $4,724,000. If someone is 50 years old when they have the same injury, though, their lifetime costs may be around $2,596,000.

Naturally, these costs are going to change from year to year, as medical expenses are affected by inflation and a host of other factors. Plus, every injured individual will face unique circumstances that can increase or decrease the costs that they’re facing. But, regardless of how expensive an injury will prove to be, it is essential that future costs are calculated as accurately as possible so that victims can seek fairly-valued compensation from those who caused their harm.