What Are the Lifetime Costs of a Spinal Cord Injury?

If you or a loved one recently suffered a spinal cord injury, it is reasonable to be preoccupied with the immediate expenses that accompany this catastrophic type of physical trauma. However, our attorney suggests looking ahead at the costs that the injury may bring over time. That way, you will have a better understanding of the compensation you deserve to receive. 

Spinal Cord Injury Cost by Severity

Many different and unique circumstances can influence the lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury. These include education, pre-injury employment history, and level of neurological impairment. However, one factor is relatively dependable when it comes to estimating the long-term fees. 

That factor is the severity of the spinal cord injury. As a rule of thumb, more severe injuries come with higher lifetime fees. While every person may incur different costs, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) estimates average yearly expenses based on injury severity as follows:

  • High tetraplegia: High tetraplegia results from trauma to the spinal cord between the first through fourth cervical vertebrae (C1 through C4). Individuals with this injury experience paralysis in their trunk and extremities. Loss of sensation, impaired speech, and the inability to breathe unassisted are common. Estimated lifetime health care costs and living expenses for this type of injury range from $2,837,031 to $5,162,152.
  • Low tetraplegia: Low tetraplegia results from trauma to the spinal cord between the C5 and C8 vertebrae. Individuals with this injury are likely to have some paralysis of their trunk and/ or extremities. They may need assistance with some or most activities of daily living. Lifetime costs for this type of injury range from $2,319,988 and $3,771,791.
  • Paraplegia: Paraplegia results from injury to the thoracic vertebrae or lower parts of the spinal cord. Individuals with this injury may have loss of sensation or immobility from the waist down. They are most likely to use a manual wheelchair. The lifetime costs of paraplegia range from $1,656,602 and $2,524,270. 

As you can see, the economic impact of a spinal cord injury has the potential to be staggering. And these estimates do not include indirect costs like lost wages and fringe benefits. According to the NSCISC, indirect costs for persons with spinal cord injuries averaged $78,633 annually.

Learn How to Maximize Your Claim for Free

Attorney Christopher Jeffress uses the knowledge he gained working for insurance companies to seek fair compensation for his injured clients. If you live in Boulder, Broomfield, Longmont, or a nearby Colorado area, call 303-993-8685 to request a free case evaluation at Jeffress Law.


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