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How Much Does a Spinal Cord Injury Cost?

The financial impact of Spinal Cord Injuries can quickly become overwhelming to injury victims and their families.


  • Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are life-altering events causing paralysis, chronic pain, and other health issues.
  • The financial cost of SCIs is staggering, often reaching millions due to medical care, rehabilitation, and lost income.
  • Legal options exist to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • A spinal cord injury lawyer can help navigate the legal system and fight for maximum compensation.

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are devastating accidents that can rob victims of their mobility and independence. While the physical impacts are enormous, the financial repercussions can be equally crippling.

The high cost of medical care, rehabilitation, and ongoing support can leave victims and their families facing financial hardship. If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve fair compensation.

A personal injury lawyer with experience handling spinal cord injuries, like the team at Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia, can help you defend your rights and recover the compensation you need to rebuild your life. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-4357 to schedule a free consultation.

Understanding Spinal Cord Injuries

The spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs down your back, connecting your brain to the rest of your body. This vital pathway transmits messages that control movement, sensation, and bodily functions. When the spinal cord is injured, these messages can be disrupted, leading to a variety of impairments.

Spinal cord injuries, or SCIs, can result in:

  • Loss of movement: Depending on the level of injury, individuals may experience partial or complete paralysis in their arms, legs, or torso.
  • Loss of sensation: This can include the inability to feel touch, pain, temperature, or body position below the injury level.
  • Autonomic dysfunction: This affects involuntary body functions like bladder and bowel control, sweating, and sexual function.
  • Other potential issues: Chronic pain, respiratory problems, and spasticity (muscle stiffness and spasms) can also occur.

SCIs are categorized based on the level (meaning location) of the spinal cord injury and the resulting effects. Here’s a brief overview of two common classifications of spinal cord injuries:

  • Tetraplegia: Also known as quadriplegia, this refers to injuries that affect all four limbs and the torso. Individuals with tetraplegia may have limited or no function in their arms, hands, legs, and trunk.
  • Paraplegia: Injuries at the lower part of the spinal cord typically result in paraplegia. This affects movement and sensation in the legs and lower body, while arm function remains mostly intact.

Common Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries can happen in an instant, forever changing a person’s life. Some common accidents that may cause SCIs include:

  • Spinal cord injuries are among the most common types of car accident injuries. In fact, motor vehicle crashes, as well as motorcycle accidents and pedestrian collisions, are the leading causes of SCIs.
  • Accidents involving falls, especially from heights, are a serious risk, particularly for older adults. Weaker bones due to osteoporosis can increase the chance of fractures that damage the spinal cord.
  • High-impact sports like football, rugby, and diving carry a risk of SCIs.
  • Gunshot wounds and stabbings can cause severe spinal cord damage.

Beyond accidents, there are other factors to consider:

  • Tumors, infections, and some degenerative diseases can compress or damage the spinal cord.
  • In rare cases, birth defects affecting the spine can lead to SCI.
  • Blockages cutting off blood flow to the spinal cord (spinal cord infarction) can cause tissue death.

These are just some of the ways that a spinal cord injury can occur. If you suspect you’ve suffered an SCI, seek medical attention right away. Prompt treatment gives you the best chance of recovery.

The Complications of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are dangerous and complex for several reasons:

  • The spinal cord is irreplaceable: Unlike some other tissues, the spinal cord has limited regenerative capacity. Severed or severely damaged nerves often don’t heal, leading to permanent impairments.
  • The domino effect on the body:  The spinal cord acts as a central communication hub. Damage disrupts the flow of messages, impacting not just movement and sensation, but also vital functions like breathing, digestion, and bladder control.
  • Severity spectrum: SCIs range from mild to devastating. Even seemingly minor injuries can cause significant challenges, while complete paralysis can require lifelong care.
  • Hidden dangers: Beyond the initial spinal cord injury, secondary conditions can occur after a personal injury accident. Complications like blood clots, pressure sores, and infections pose a constant threat.
  • Chronic pain: Many SCI patients experience chronic pain, which can be debilitating and significantly reduce quality of life.
  • Psychological impact: The emotional toll of an SCI can be immense, leading to depression, anxiety, and social isolation.
  • Lifelong management:  There is no cure for spinal cord injuries. Ongoing medical care, rehabilitation, and assistive technology are necessary for managing the condition. This creates a significant financial and logistical burden.

The complexity arises from this combination of factors and the interaction between various bodily functions. The cost of a spinal cord injury isn’t just inflated by the individual’s physical limitations, as the constant need for adaptation and management contributes to the toll of the injury.

The Cost of Spinal Cord Injuries

The cost of a spinal cord injury (SCI) can be staggering, easily reaching into the millions of dollars over a lifetime. Here’s a breakdown of why:

  • High initial costs: The first year after an SCI often involves extensive hospitalization, surgery, and intensive rehabilitation. These initial costs can range from $500,000 to over $1 million, depending on the severity of the injury.
  • Ongoing medical treatment: SCIs are lifelong conditions requiring continuous medical attention. This includes doctor visits, medication, physical and occupational therapy, and potential future surgeries. Annual costs can range from $40,000 to $200,000 or more depending on the individual’s needs.
  • Assistive technology: Wheelchairs, ramps, home modifications, and other specialized equipment are essential for daily living after an SCI. These costs can add up quickly, easily reaching tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
  • Loss of income: Due to disability, many SCI survivors are unable to return to work or face limitations in their earning potential. This loss of income can have a devastating financial impact.
  • Long-term care needs: Some individuals with severe SCIs may require long-term care facilities or in-home assistance, significantly increasing the overall cost.

It’s important to remember that these are just estimates, and the actual cost of an SCI can vary greatly depending on several factors, including:

  • The severity of the injury
  • Level of care required
  • Individual’s age and health
  • Availability of insurance
  • Individual’s income level

The financial burden of an SCI can be overwhelming. A spinal cord injury lawyer can assess your injuries, estimate the damages you’re owed, and file a personal injury claim to help you pursue full compensation.

Compensation for Victims of Spinal Cord Injuries

Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) come with a hefty price tag, but there are legal options available to help recoup some of the costs. Here’s what you might be able to recover through a personal injury lawsuit:

  • Medical expenses: This covers all past and future medical bills related to your SCI, including hospitalization, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, and ongoing care.
  • Lost wages: If your injury prevents you from working, you can seek compensation for lost wages and future earning potential.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensates for the physical and emotional pain caused by your SCI, including chronic pain, depression, and anxiety.
  • Loss of consortium: This covers the loss of companionship, intimacy, and support you experience due to your injury.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life:  This compensates for the limitations placed on your ability to participate in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Property damage: If assistive devices or modifications to your home were necessary due to your SCI, you can seek compensation for these costs.

The amount of compensation you may receive will depend on the specific facts of your case, including the severity of your injury, the impact on your life, and the strength of your legal case. This is where researching and identifying the best personal injury lawyer for your case can be invaluable. They can help you recover compensation that truly reflects the impact of your spinal cord injury.

Contact Spinal Cord Injury Lawyer at WHG to Help With Your  Case

Following a life-altering spinal cord injury, the legal landscape can seem daunting.  An experienced spinal cord injury lawyer can be your strongest advocate in securing the compensation you deserve. Here’s how they can help:

  • Investigating the cause: Your personal injury lawyer will meticulously investigate the accident or event that caused your SCI. This involves gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts to determine fault and liability.
  • Handling complexities: SCI cases often involve complex medical issues and long-term care needs. Your spinal cord injury lawyer will have the experience and resources to navigate these complexities effectively.
  • Negotiating with insurance companies: Insurance companies are experts at minimizing payouts. Your spinal cord injury attorney will handle negotiations with them, ensuring you receive a fair settlement that reflects the full extent of your losses.
  • Handling the legal process: The legal system can be overwhelming. Your back injury lawyer will handle all the legal paperwork, deadlines, and court appearances, allowing you to focus on your recovery.
  • Connecting you with resources: Beyond legal expertise, your personal injury lawyer can connect you with valuable resources like rehabilitation specialists, support groups, and financial planners to help you manage your life after an SCI.

Remember, you shouldn’t have to face the financial burden of an SCI alone. An experienced personal injury lawyer can be a powerful ally in your fight for justice and a secure future. Our team is committed to providing an accurate assessment of your spinal cord injury cost and then advocating for that amount.

At Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia, we’ve seen the impact that spinal cord injuries can have on the lives of victims, and we’re determined to help. Take the first step to reclaim your life and schedule a free consultation with us today. You can contact us online or call us at (800) 320-4357.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the signs of a spinal cord injury?

Signs of an SCI can vary depending on the severity and location of the injury. Common indicators include loss of movement or feeling in any part of the body, severe back pain, difficulty breathing, and loss of bladder or bowel control. If you experience any of these symptoms after a traumatic event, seek immediate medical attention.

How soon do I have to file a spinal cord injury lawsuit in Florida?

Time limits for filing a personal injury lawsuit vary by state. In Florida, for instance, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of your accident. Although this may seem like plenty of time, recovering from a spinal cord injury can be an intense and lengthy process. Don’t forget to file your personal injury claim in this time frame, or else you risk losing your right to seek compensation.

It’s crucial to consult with a spinal cord injury lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. They can help you understand the specific deadline in your jurisdiction and ensure you don’t miss the filing window.

What if the party who is liable for my spinal cord injury doesn’t have insurance?

Even if the person responsible for your spinal cord injury doesn’t have insurance, you may still have options. An experienced neck and back injury lawyer can explore avenues like uninsured motorist coverage or pursuing assets from the at-fault party. Don’t hesitate to discuss your specific situation with a lawyer to understand your best course of action.

No Win, No Fee Commitment

Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia is committed to helping you rebuild your life after a hardship. We are not just your legal team—we are your allies, your partners, and your advocates. We will do everything we can to handle your case with compassion and care, and to get you the results you need!

“And for every fight we take on, know this…we are doing everything we can to make sure we win!”

— Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia

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About the Author

Adam Werner is a partner and practicing attorney at WHG. He specializes in personal injury cases, workers’ compensation claims, and veteran disability benefits. He routinely writes about personal injury and workers comp topics for the Werner, Hoffman, Greig & Garcia blog

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