Among all the injuries a person can sustain, a spinal cord injury is one of the most expensive. Usually a permanent injury, paralysis cannot be cured by modern day medicine. Most people who become paralyzed experience a significant amount of mobility and sensation loss. For example, daily assistance is needed to perform daily activities by many.
When you are newly injured, the costs are especially high. For those who become quadriplegics, their costs are the highest. Typical medical costs for the first year of becoming a quadriplegic is around $1 million. If a person needs to use a ventilator, the cost will be even more, but the average cost for a quadriplegic to live each year post-injury is around $185,000.
Common Causes of SCI
Because so many spinal cord injuries occur because of an accident, many people are able to seek legal compensation, which is a good thing because of these injuries being so expensive. And many have strong cases. Unfortunately, the world is a dangerous place. Accidents happen all the time. Here are some of the most common causes of spinal cord injuries:
– Automobile accidents are the number one cause or paralysis, accounting for roughly 30% of all spinal cord injuries.
– Violence or gun-related injuries
– Sport-related injuries
– Surgery/medical mistake
Possible Legal Claims
In the world of spinal cord injury lawsuits, you can usually seek damages stemming from two different causes, i.e, claims. They are as follows:
– Negligence: while this is usually not a purposeful activity, spinal cord injuries occur all the time due to negligence. Negligence is often used in car accident cases, against a doctor who may have caused the accident while performing surgery, or at water parks for example, if safety measures were not followed properly.
– Defective/faulty product: An example of a defective product used in a spinal cord injury claim is a seatbelt or an airbag not working correctly, which caused the injury. Another example would include a hammock breaking, and someone falling out, breaking their neck.
Possible Spinal Cord Injury Damages
When filing a spinal cord injury lawsuit, it is essential to carefully list the damages, i.e, the expenses the lawsuit money should pay for, if you win. This grand total you seek must be explained damage by damage. Here is a list of the damages many people with spinal cord injuries pursue:
– Medical Expenses: One of the most significant damages people seek after a spinal cord injury are medical expenses. From the initial surgery to a 2 to 3 month hospital stay, not to mention all of the medical and mobility products required, these expenses can be hundreds of thousands of dollars if not in the millions of dollars in the first year. Prescriptions, mental health and ambulance costs are also included in medical expense damages.
– Pain and Suffering: The anguish, depression and everything else related to your mental state because of your injury can also be considered a damage that should be considered when filing a spinal cord injury lawsuit. For many, there is no amount of money that can make up for the suffering that is caused from becoming permanently paralyzed. There have been recent tort reform laws that limit some pain and suffering damages.
– Home Renovations: Only 1% of homes in the United States are wheelchair accessible, which means most people who become paralyzed will need to renovate their home, or move. The money received for this damage can also cover things such as a wheelchair ramp, making the doorways wider or installing an accessible bathroom. Home renovations can be very expensive.
– Lost Wages: Most people are unable to return to work right away after their injury. You can include any lost wages as a spinal cord injury related damage.
– In-Home Assistance/Caregiving: Many people need In-Home caregiving for activities like getting in and out of bed, getting dressed, showering or bladder/ bowel care. These damages can also include costs related to hiring people to clean your home or do anything else in your house you can no longer do, such as gardening.
– Punitive Damages: This damage is similar to pain and suffering and aims to punish the defendant for knowingly causing you harm if that is the case.
– Loss of Consortium/Loved One’s Pain and Suffering: Your family and friends also suffer as a result of your spinal cord injury. Their suffering should be compensated. Loss of consortium damages exist to compensate people important to you for being affected as well.
If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury in the last 2 to 3 years and you’re wondering if you can afford your new life, reach out to a spinal cord injury attorney. They may be able to help. Chances are you could have a case, and any amount helps when faced with such an expensive injury.