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.
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.