Motor vehicle collisions are always dangerous. But it is nice if you can walk away from one. Some are not so lucky. Sustaining a spinal cord injury (SCI) can leave your motor skills damaged or leave you paralyzed depending on the vertebra damaged. In those cases, it is imperative to know the kind of financial impact a SCI can have on your future.
Let us break down three types of paralysis and their average costs according to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC):
A paraplegic SCI paralyzes your legs and lower body. This involves physical therapy and adjusting your life to the regular use of a wheelchair. The NSCISC estimates costs at over $500k in medical debt, with costs in subsequent years ranging around $68k.
This damage results from SCI that damages the lower cervical nerves (C5-C8). Tetraplegia refers to paralysis or dysfunction in all four limbs. With low tetraplegia, you might breathe on your own without assistance and speak normally. This recovery can cost a lot more with estimates ranging over $750k in first year expenses with subsequent years costing above $100k.
High tetraplegia can result from the most severe SCIs as it damages the higher cervical nerves (C1-C4) which affect most if not all your body. With this kind of paralysis, you require around-the-clock assistance with daily living. First year expenses can cost all the way up to $1M in medical debt. Subsequent yearly costs average around $180k.
Right now these costs are inevitable, as medical science has yet to develop a cure for these injuries. Knowing the numbers can help you develop a plan to recovery and restitution that covers your costs.