Suffering from a spinal cord injury (SCI) comes with immense challenges. First, there are the physical and emotional impacts. Then, there is a huge financial burden that comes. It costs quite a bit to cope with health issues and medical needs following an SCI.
The stark reality is that the direct and indirect costs of a spinal cord injury are astronomical, and it can ruin lives even more than the injury does.
This article explores the hidden costs of an SCI and helps you explore your options if you’ve been through this tragedy.
Immediate and Long-Term Medical Expenses
Emergency Care and Hospitalization
When a spinal cord injury occurs, the clock starts ticking. The victim requires a series of immediate medical treatments, and the expenses can be staggering.
From the moment the ambulance arrives, costs begin accumulating. Emergency medical services, emergency room fees, and a potentially long-term hospital stay start to add up.
With an SCI, hospital bills often run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Rehabilitation and Therapy
Following the acute phase of treatment, the journey towards recovery continues with rehabilitation and therapy. These services are just as financially demanding as the initial treatment.
Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other specialized rehabilitation services are not one-time expenses. Rather, they are ongoing necessities that can span months or years. These therapies help victims regain some function and adapt to new ways of living.
All told, a patient could spend over one million dollars in the first year of their SCI treatment.
Medication and Medical Supplies
Living with a spinal cord injury often means relying on various medications and medical supplies to manage pain, prevent complications, and support daily functions. The drugs alone can be a heavy financial weight, especially when required indefinitely.
Medical equipment such as wheelchairs, home hospital beds, and other assistive devices become essential for daily living. These supplies come with their own expenses, from the initial purchase to maintenance and eventual replacement.
Lifestyle Adjustments and Home Modifications
Home Accessibility Renovations
Spinal cord injury victims must often adapt their homes to meet their new needs. Such remodeling is a necessity, not a luxury. Victims can require renovations such as installing ramps, widening doorways, and equipping bathrooms with specialized fixtures. These modifications come with a hefty price tag.
Adaptive Vehicles and Transportation
SCI victims typically adapt their vehicles to accommodate a wheelchair. Those who can still drive require alterations to help with their limited mobility.
Depending on the situation, the victim may not have the option to keep or use a car at all. This problem leads to expenses for alternative transportation, such as specialized transit services or increased use of taxis or ride-sharing services. These costs are a part of daily life, requiring plenty of money to operate.
Employment Impact and Income Loss
Loss of Wages and Earning Capacity
Depending on your career, an SCI can significantly affect your ability to work. You can suffer a loss of wages and, in some cases, a diminished earning capacity.
This loss of income is one of the most challenging aspects to manage. It not only affects the victim, but it can also threaten their family's financial stability.
Sometimes, the injury doesn’t impact the victim’s ability to continue their current vocation. Even so, the road to returning to work can be long, and the victim may not be bringing in any money during this period.
Disability Benefits and Insurance Coverage
These resources are helpful, but they often come with limitations. They may not cover all expenses, leading many to consider supplemental insurance policies. Navigating the complexities of insurance coverage and disability benefits requires diligence.
Fortunately, there is hope. You can pursue a financial settlement if you’ve suffered an SCI. If the accident was not your fault, you frankly deserve to be compensated for these exorbitant costs.
Settlements can vary widely in size, depending on the circumstances of your case and the liability of the parties involved. A substantial award can significantly alleviate the financial burdens of an SCI. Damages in a settlement or a lawsuit provide resources for ongoing medical care, living expenses, and other needs.
Talk to a lawyer about the potential for financial compensation and how you can integrate it into your long-term financial plan.
Community Resources and Support Networks
There are various options available to those living with spinal cord injuries. Local and national organizations offer emotional and social support, and you can use them for financial assistance and guidance.
Such resources can be invaluable for SCI victims navigating the complex web of medical care, rehabilitation, and other associated costs. Non-profits and support groups stand ready to assist, providing a lifeline to those grappling with the financial realities of this tragedy.
Clawson & Clawson, LLP understands the profound impact a spinal cord injury can have on your life and finances. If you or a loved one has suffered an SCI, reach out to us right away. We offer free case reviews, so call us now at (719) 602-5888 or contact us online.