There are few injuries that can have a bigger impact on victims’ lives than spinal cord injuries. The spinal cord is protected by the vertebrae, but it can be easily damaged in many types of accidents, including car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slips and falls, and more. Depending on where along their spinal cords the injury is, victims can become partially or totally paralyzed below the location of their injuries.
In an instant, spinal cord injuries can make it difficult or impossible for victims to work, drive, and even live independently, depending on the severity of their injuries. Not only are their lives forever changed, but the lives of their families are also forever changed. When spinal cord injuries are caused by others’ negligence, it’s important for victims to get the compensation they’re owed.
Here are some of the major costs of spinal cord injuries that we help victims and their loved ones recover.
The medical bills associated with a spinal cord injury that causes paralysis are often far too much for the average family to bear. Victims often require immediate and specialized transportation to a hospital, emergency surgery to stabilize their condition, and weeks or months of recovery and rehabilitation in the hospital.
Those are just the upfront costs of a spinal cord injury. Many victims need ongoing care for the rest of their lives, including the help of home nurses and health aides. The younger the victim, the greater their lifetime costs will be. In fact, some studies indicate that paralyzed victims who are aged 50 at the time of their injuries will face nearly $2 million in medical expenses for the rest of their lives.
Medical Devices and Home Renovations
Paralysis makes it difficult for victims to get around in their own homes. They may have trouble entering and exiting their homes, and ramps may need to be constructed to help them. They also may need lift mechanisms to help them get up and down stairs or even to get in and out of bed.
Victims who have lost the use of their legs may require wheelchairs, which can be extremely expensive and difficult to maneuver in their homes. To make getting around easier, their homes may need to be renovated to create more space by widening doorways, knocking down walls, and converting first floor rooms into bedrooms and bathrooms.
Whether they’re able to continue driving themselves or must rely on others to drive them, paralyzed spinal cord injury victims often need heavily modified vehicles. Modifications often include wheelchair ramps and lifts, hand-operated gas and brake pedals, specialized steering wheels, and more.
The cost of these modifications to an existing vehicle are significant, and many victims and their families opt to buy new vehicles with these features already built-in. Consumer Affairs says the cost of a wheelchair-accessible van can range from $40,000 to $100,000.
It’s common for paralyzed spinal cord injury victims to be unable to do the work they did before their accidents, and some are unable to work at all ever again. When these victims contributed to their families’ income or were the primary income-earners, losing the ability to work or being forced to take a lower-paying job can be devastating financially, as well as emotionally.
In many cases, victims’ income-earning capacity is significantly reduced not just while they recover and adjust to their paralysis, but for the rest of their lives. They may have to change careers or retire early with reduced pay and no benefits. To make matters worse, their spouses and other family members may have to quit their own jobs to stay home and take care of them.
Pain and Suffering
The pain and suffering associated with a paralyzing spinal cord injury are profound. Victims are often unable to participate in hobbies they enjoyed before their accidents, such as running, swimming, gardening, and playing with their children. They also may be dependent on others to do routine tasks and chores for them, and many paralyzed victims have no independence at all in their daily lives.
And while paralysis causes a lack of feeling in affected body parts, it can result in serious pain elsewhere in the body. Spinal cord injury victims often experience a type of chronic pain called neurogenic or neuropathic pain in areas that are otherwise devoid of feeling. This type of pain is caused by disrupted signals in the nerves connecting to the paralyzed parts of the body.
Let Us Help You Get the Money You Deserve after a Spinal Cord Injury
At Parrish DeVaughn Injury Lawyers, we never settle for less money than what our clients deserve. We know how much money spinal cord injuries cost, and we’ve helped many paralyzed victims and their families get full compensation after accidents. When you contact our firm, you’ll know you have a dedicated legal advocate on your side.