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The Lifelong Costs of a Complete Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injuries are among the most serious and life-altering injuries you can sustain. In fact, your life can be permanently and irrevocably altered in that very moment. Because spinal cord injuries are so severe, they are also often accompanied by overwhelmingly negative physical, emotional, and financial consequences. In fact, the damages that emanate from a serious spinal cord injury are difficult to overstate.

Complete Spinal Cord Injuries

Serious spinal cord injuries are typically categorized as either complete or incomplete injuries. A complete spinal cord injury means that all signaling from the brain to the body (at or below where the nerve damage occurs on the spinal cord) is cut off. Some level of paralysis is nearly guaranteed with such injuries.

Living with any degree of paralysis is obviously extremely difficult, and the effects typically include overwhelming reverberations for the sufferer’s emotional, financial, and physical well-being. Further, such injuries often incur secondary health issues that can be chronic. These secondary health concerns can include lung ailments such as pneumonia, respiratory issues, heart disease, and infections such as septicemia. To make things even more difficult, these secondary health issues aren’t always adequately covered by health insurance.

If you’ve suffered a complete spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you very likely are utterly overwhelmed and have no idea where to turn. A personal injury attorney with experience navigating spinal cord injury claims can help. Although no amount of money can bring back what you’ve lost, just compensation can help you move forward and begin to build a new future for yourself and your family. The legal team at the Law Firm of Abels & Annes is here to help.

The Lifelong Costs

Spinal cord injuries are permanent injuries, and as such, they incur significant medical expenses over the course of your life. While your age at the time of the injury and the severity of your injury play an obvious role in the related expenses, there are several categories of medical expenses to consider:

  • Spinal surgery or surgeries following the accident;
  • Trauma care, including the use of ventilators and other life-saving devices;
  • Rehabilitation, which can include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and psychiatric and/or mental health counseling;
  • Long-term care, including home health care;
  • Medical equipment, including wheelchairs; and
  • Prescription medications, including medicines for pain and infections.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation estimates that – while the expenses vary considerably based on the severity of your injury and on your age at the time of injury – a complete spinal cord injury will cost you well over a million dollars for medical expenses alone.

Lost Wages and Earning Potential

Medical expenses are, of course, only the beginning when it comes to costs associated with spinal cord injuries. Many people who suffer complete spinal cord injuries remain permanently unemployed after they become injured. As such, lost wages and earning potential is one of the most detrimental costs associated with these injuries. The total amount of lost income is naturally dependent upon your age at the time of your accident and upon your earning bracket, but lost wages and earning potential play primary roles in the total expenses incurred by those who suffer complete spinal cord injuries.

Long-Term Costs

Spinal cord injuries are so all-encompassing and overwhelming that it can be difficult to grasp the scope of their long-term effects and expenses. If you’ve suffered a complete spinal cord injury, you are no doubt focused on your immediate medical and health needs – in fact, you probably have yet to even consider your long-term and ongoing needs. There are several categories of such needs that commonly apply:

  • Mental health care – Spinal cord injuries often necessitate significant expenses related to mental health care. After all, your life was upended in the blink of an eye, and that’s an overwhelming emotional blow. Ongoing treatment for the psychological component of such injuries is typically both necessary and expensive.
  • Long-term health concerns – Those who suffer from complete spinal cord injuries often suffer from secondary health issues throughout their lives. Respiratory infections are especially common.
  • Modifications to your home – If you’ve suffered a spinal cord injury, it’s very likely that you’ll need to make significant modifications to your home that will allow you to remain living there and to navigate throughout. Such modifications can include the redesign of your kitchen and bathrooms to accommodate your disabilities and the installation of elevators and/or ramps to allow you to get around.
  • Facilitative Transportation – A complete spinal cord injury can leave you unable to drive a typical vehicle or leave you unable to be transported in a typical vehicle. Many victims of such injuries require a wheelchair-accessible van (either to drive themselves or to be driven in).

These expenses outline the most basic costs associated with complete spinal cord injuries and should not be considered exhaustive. Every accident and resultant spinal cord injury is unique, but your personal injury attorney will work closely with you to assess your comprehensive and ongoing costs and expenses as they relate to your injury.

If someone else’s negligence has left you with a complete spinal cord injury, you need legal counsel. Although money can never restore you to your former health, your rights and your rightful compensation matter. Allow a personal injury attorney who focuses on spinal cord injuries to help navigate your claim toward the financial compensation to which you’re legally entitled.

If You’ve Suffered a Complete Spinal Cord Injury, Consult with a Chicago Personal Injury Attorney Today

Suffering an injury in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence is always difficult. Suffering a complete spinal cord injury under such circumstances is catastrophic. You don’t have to go through this difficult time alone; the dedicated legal team at the Law Firm of Abels & Annes has the compassion and commitment to aggressively advocate for your rights and for your rightful compensation. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact or call our office at 312-924-7575 for a free consultation today.

Chicago Spinal Cord Injury FAQ – Part 2

Are There Different Types of Spinal Cord Injuries?

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine,1 there are two main kinds of spinal cord injuries (SCIs): complete and incomplete. In an incomplete injury, the victim retains some function below the site of the injury. For example, a person with an incomplete injury, a victim may retain some feeling or movement in one side of the body than the other. In a complete spinal cord injury, victims have no sensation or movement below the site of the injury.

What is the Prognosis for a Spinal Cord Injury Victim?

The prognosis for spinal cord injuries depends largely on the severity of the injury. Generally speaking, the outlook is much better for victims who have sustained an incomplete SCI. On the other hand, currently, recovery from a complete spinal cord injury is unlikely, although recent advances in medicine using stem cells2 indicate that this soon may change.

How Much Will I Be Able to Recover for my Spinal Cord Injury?

There is no way to determine how much a spinal cord injury victim will recover without undertaking a thorough evaluation of his or her case. That being said because spinal cord injuries often result in profound and long-term problems, they tend to result in substantial compensation when they are the result of negligence. Some examples of the losses that are often compensable in a spinal cord injury case include the following:

  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Lost income
  • Medical expenses
  • Loss of quality of life

It is important to keep in mind that spinal cord injury victims are often entitled to future damages in addition to damages they have already incurred. In these cases, it is often necessary to retain experts who can determine the amount of income a person would have made over the course of his or her career, extrapolate medical expenses, and place a value on the pain and suffering a victim will experience in the future.

Call Abels & Annes, P.C. Today to Speak to a Chicago Spinal Cord Injury Attorney

If you have sustained a spinal cord injury in an accident that you believe was caused by the negligence of another person, you should have your case reviewed by an attorney as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago SCI lawyers, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/physical_medicine_and_rehabilitation/spinal_cord_injury_85,P01180/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160415144520.htm

Chicago Spinal Cord Injury FAQ – Part 1

How Serious are Spinal Cord Injuries?

A spinal cord injury1 is among the most serious injuries a person can sustain. Because the spinal cord is the bundle of nerves that allows the brain to communicate with the rest of the body, any damage to it can result in serious complications, including paralysis below the site of the injury. Even in less serious cases, victims can experience issues like muscle weakness, limited mobility, numbness or tingling, and severe pain.

What Kinds of Accidents Can Cause Spinal Cord Injuries?

While spinal cord injuries are extremely serious, even fairly common accidents are capable of causing them. Some of the more common types of accidents that have the potential to result in spinal cord injuries include the following:

  • Slip and falls
  • Car accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Bus accidents
  • Boat accidents
  • Pool and hot tub accidents

Do Victims Need to Retain an Attorney?

Many spinal cord accident victims wonder whether the need to retain an attorney. In many cases, the at-fault party (or an insurance company) makes what seems like a reasonable settlement offer shortly after the accident, potentially making it appear to victims that legal counsel is unnecessary. Spinal cord injury victims often deal with the effects of their injury for the rest of their lives, and victims need to keep in mind that once they settle is almost impossible reopen a case to obtain additional compensation.

For this reason, it is critical for spinal cord injury victims to calculate and pursue future damages2 in their settlement negotiations. These future damages should include lost income, future medical expenses, and the pain and suffering that victims will continue to experience for the rest of their lives, all of which can be extremely difficult to calculate. As a result, it is strongly recommended for any spinal cord accident victim to retain an attorney familiar with representing people who have sustained catastrophic injuries.

Contact a Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Today to Schedule a Case Evaluation

Spinal cord injury victims can often recover significant compensation from the person or party responsible for their accident. To schedule a free consultation with a Chicago PI lawyer, call Abels & Annes, P.C. today at 312-924-7575 or contact us online.

1 http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chicago-spinal-cord-injury-lawyers/basics/definition/con-20023837

2 https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/damages