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Spinal cord injuries mean high financial costs

When a person gets in an accident and suffers a spinal cord injury, it can drastically affect a victim's future. All spinal cord injuries are a serious matter because a healthy spine is crucial to all bodily functions. However, spinal cord injuries can cause different kinds of problems based on the severity of the injury. Likewise, the type of spinal cord injury that a person suffers dictates the financial costs of living with the injury.

According to data that the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center published last year, incomplete tetraplegia is the most common type of spinal cord injury. This injury causes a person to suffer weakness or partial paralysis in the arms and legs. The costs of living with tetraplegia can range from almost $765,000 to more than $1 million in the first year of the injury. After that, the average annual costs can range from about $113,000 to almost $185,000, depending on the specific area of the spine that is damaged.

Paraplegia is the next most common category of spinal cord injury, with about 21 percent of spinal cord injuries being accounted for by incomplete paraplegia, while 20 percent suffer complete paraplegia. By contrast to tetraplegia, paraplegia is where the person suffers weakness or paralysis in the legs only. The degree of paralysis depends upon whether the injury is complete, which is a total loss of sensory and motor function, or incomplete, which is a partial loss of function. The financial costs of living with paraplegia are in excess of $500,000 in the first year, with average annual costs of about $69,000 thereafter.

Based on these numbers alone, it is easy to see that the expenses of living with a spinal cord injury can be astronomical. In addition, these costs don't even include the lost wages, benefits, and productivity that the injured person will also deal with.

Spinal cord injuries can mean permanent disability and high costs for long-term medical care and treatment. When a person in West Virginia suffers this kind of injury in an accident that was caused by someone else's negligence, he or she can file a lawsuit in hopes of recovering compensation for the financial costs related to the injury.

Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, "Costs of living with SCI," Accessed on Oct. 22, 2016

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