How Much is a Spinal Cord Injury Worth?

Posted: October 1, 2021

Spinal cord injuries can be devastating. These injuries can leave victims with lifelong disabilities that continue to affect them and their family members. However, pinpointing the exact value of a spinal cord injury claim is difficult. Here, we want to look at how the value of a claim is affected by the level of the spinal cord injury. We also want to look at the totality of all costs that spinal cord injury victims are likely to endure, including obvious economic ones as well as various hidden expenses.

Examining Medical Care Costs After a Spinal Cord Injury

The first bit of data to examine when trying to assess the true costs of a spinal cord injury has to revolve around medical expenses. The reality is that spinal cord injuries can become incredibly costly when it comes to medical care. This includes initial emergency care at a hospital as well as various types of follow-up care, including rehabilitation and physical therapy. 

According to data from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the level of medical care a person needs after sustaining a spinal cord injury will vary depending on the severity of the actual injury. During the first year of medical care, a person who has been fully paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord injury can see their medical costs rise to as much as $1.1 million. For those who are not completely paralyzed but experience some type of motor functionality issue, medical treatment can reach as much as $380,000 during the first year. The truth is that the total first-year medical costs will likely fall somewhere in between those two extremes.

Unfortunately, nearly every spinal cord injury victim will have to receive medical care beyond one year. The NSCISC states that every additional year following the first year of treatment can cost a spinal cord injury victim anywhere from $46,000 to $200,000, depending on the severity of the injury.

Examining the Hidden Costs of a Spinal Injury

Medical expenses are not the only types of losses that spinal cord injury victims and their families experience after these injuries occur. The reality is that there are various other types of “hidden expenses” that must be taken into account in these situations. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Transportation costs to and from medical specialists
  • The cost of construction inside or outside of a home (ramps, mobility assistance, etc.)
  • Lost income for a spinal cord injury victim if they cannot work
  • Last income of a family member if they have to become a caregiver
  • The cost of in-home care professionals to help the spinal cord injury victim

In addition to these hidden economic costs that are relatively calculable, the emotional and psychological toll these injuries place on victims and family members must also be taken into account. Spinal cord injury victims are likely to suffer from a lower quality of life as a result of the injury and the ongoing need for medical care. Individuals may no longer be able to work or enjoy their day-to-day activities. Additionally, family members will also suffer as they watch their loved one go through the injury and the effects of the injury. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s advised to speak with a Denver spinal cord injury attorney.