How Will a Spinal Cord Injury Affect My Health and Finances?
Spinal cord injuries can be devastating, and approximately 17,500 of these types of injuries occur each year, with 38 percent being due to car accidents. The medical costs of spine injuries can put the financial security of victims and their families in jeopardy. In addition, these injuries can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to work and earn an income.
Understanding the Full Impact of Spinal Cord Damage
Spinal cord injuries can be either incomplete or complete injuries. Incomplete spinal injuries are injuries that do not sever the spinal cord. The severity of an incomplete spinal cord injury depends on the location and extent of the injury, but these injuries tend to not interfere with standard bodily functions. Incomplete spinal injuries typically occur below the neck, and they can result in paraplegia, which will cause a victim to experience paralysis in the lower half of their body. In addition to paralysis of both legs, injured parties can suffer symptoms ranging from difficulties with bladder and bowel movements, significant weight gain, and chronic pain.
A complete spinal cord injury is an injury that results in permanent damage to the impacted region of the spine. These injuries are typically located above the shoulders in the top seven vertebrae in the neck and result in tetraplegia or near total paralysis. Unlike paraplegia, victims who experience tetraplegia suffer loss of movement in all of their limbs, as well as their torso. Some victims may not suffer complete paralysis but will still lose significant mobility. Unfortunately, tetraplegia often leads to additional health complications, such as osteoporosis and pressure sores. Tetraplegia can also impact a person’s chest muscles, causing them to have difficulty breathing or contract respiratory infections. Respiratory infections are the leading cause of death among Americans living with spinal cord injuries.
In addition to the physical complications, those who suffer from paraplegia or tetraplegia often experience negative effects to their emotional health following their injuries. Many people who live with paraplegia deal with self-esteem issues, depression, and anxiety.
Outside of the loss of quality of life, these injuries can come with significant financial ramifications. According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), the average cost of first-year tetraplegia medical expenses is approximately $1.079 million. In the years after the injury, a victim’s family will usually pay an annual average of $187,443 in medical costs, including injury treatment, physical therapy, and pain medication.
Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries can occur in a wide variety of circumstances. In the United States, motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of spinal cord damage. These injuries occur most often in rear-end collisions, due to a passenger’s inability to brace for the impact. Falls are the second leading cause of spinal cord injuries, making up approximately 15 percent of all annual injuries to the spine. Other common causes of spinal cord injuries include accidents during sporting events, acts of physical violence, and health issues such as cancer, inflammation, and arthritis.
Contact a Green Bay Spine Injury Lawyer
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we fully understand the catastrophic impact of severe spinal damage. The financial implications of these injuries are massive, and we will do all that we can to secure the monetary compensation your family deserves. As you address the impact that this injury has had on your life, we will be working diligently to win the compensation that will address your needs and preserve your financial security. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a compassionate Appleton personal injury attorney, call us today at 920-739-7366.