How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Cost?


Photo of a Man in Pain Due to a Back Injury

For individuals with spinal cord injuries, a lifetime of challenges awaits. Not only must these individuals adjust their lives to the limitations of their injuries, they must also pay for the associated costs. What is the monetary cost of a spinal cord injury? The San Luis Obispo spinal cord injury attorneys at James McKiernan Lawyers take a closer look at the issue.

What Causes Spinal Cord Injuries?

A new study from the National SCI Statistical Center claims that automobile crashes are the leading cause of spinal cord injuries. The organization claims that 39.3 percent of the nation’s spinal injuries are caused by vehicular crashes. Slip and falls come in second with 31.8 percent, followed by violence (13.5 percent), sports (8 percent) and medical errors (4.3 percent).

Medical Expenses Caused by Spinal Cord Injuries

The incidents listed above result in 17,730 spinal cord injury cases every year. Almost half of these new cases (47.6 percent) are incomplete tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Incomplete paraplegia (19.9 percent), complete paraplegia (19.6 percent) and complete tetraplegia or quadriplegia (12.3 percent) encompass the remainder of new cases. Living costs for a spinal cord injury victim depend on the type of injury he or she sustained. Age is also a factor associated with the overall lifetime costs.

  • High Tetraplegia (C1-C4) can cost up to $1,129,302 in the first year and $196,107 every subsequent year. Lifetime costs for individuals 25 years old is estimated at $5,010,748, while individuals 50 years old have a lifetime cost estimate of $2,753,822.
  • Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) has an estimated cost of $816,019 the first year and $120,303 in subsequent years. Lifetime costs are estimated at $3,661,165 for 25-year-olds and $2,251,944 for 50-year-olds.
  • Paraplegia cost estimates come in at $550,381 the first year and $72,909 each following year. Individuals injured at 25 years of age have an estimated lifetime cost of $2,450,234 and those injured at 50 years of age have an estimated lifetime cost of $1,608,015.

Individuals who are not paralyzed but still suffer motor function deficits may face $368,562 in living costs the first year. Subsequent years may incur a cost of $44,766. As a result, injuries suffered at 25 may result in lifetime costs of $1,674,012. For individuals injured at 50, the cost of a spinal cord injury may be $1,181,564.

These estimates do not include lost wages, loss of fringe benefits or losses in productivity. Indirect costs such as these come out to an average of $76,327 each year. However, this total can vary depending on the injury victim’s education level, post-injury functionality and pre-injury earning history.

How Our Personal Injury Attorneys Help Pay for Spinal Cord Injury Expenses

Although these estimates may give you a small idea of the economic damages spinal injury victims may incur, they cannot encompass the entire scope of the hardships these individuals experience. At James McKiernan Lawyers, we have 40 years of experience helping the wrongfully injured in California. This experience helps us win the compensation our clients deserve.

Compensation from a lawsuit can help pay for emergency care, hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Clients can also get compensation for in-home care, medications and medical equipment. Give our office a call at 800-200-HURT or fill out our online contact form to learn more about how our law firm can help.

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