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A spinal cord injury (SCI) can occur after a blow to the vertebrae, ligaments or disks of the spinal column or to the spinal cord itself. SCIs may cause the victim to lose function or be paralyzed in one or more limbs or over larger portions of the body. Less severe injuries may cause chronic pain that affects the victim’s quality of life.
About 273,000 people in the U.S. were living with an SCI as of 2013, the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC) at the University of Alabama at Burlington reports. Unfortunately, many of those who have sustained spinal cord injuries cannot walk, work for a living, perform various manual tasks or care for themselves.
If you or a loved one has suffered a serious spinal cord injury because of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you may be able to hold the at-fault party accountable and obtain compensation for your medical bills and other expenses.
The lawyers of Belt & Bruner, P.C., can investigate your SCI accident and determine the legal options open to you. Contact us today by phone or online for a free review of your case.
The Costs of Spinal Cord Injury
A spinal cord injury (SCI) is identified by the vertebra where the damage has occurred. This is because portions of the body below the injury are affected. For instance, a C4 injury is damage at or around the fourth cervical (neck) vertebra. This is very high injury that affects most of the body.
Paralysis from such a high injury is typically defined as tetraplegia (quadriplegia), which affects all four limbs as well as functions of the abdominal and chest muscles. Paraplegia refers to partial or complete paralysis of the legs.
The NSCISC says that SCI patients who enter a “model system” immediately after being injured spend a median of 11 days hospitalized in acute care medical or surgical units. Afterward, they will typically spend another 36 days in rehabilitation.
Most SCI patients (87.1 percent) live in private homes once they leave the hospital, the NSCISC reports. However, 6.5 percent move to nursing homes (speak with an Alabama nursing home abuse lawyer for legal assistance), and 6.3 percent live in hospitals, group living situations or make other arrangements.
Depending on the extent of the injury, the NSCISC estimates the annual cost of living with SCI as:
- High Tetraplegia (C1 – C4) – $1.04 million in the first year, $181,328 annually
- Low Tetraplegia (C5 – C8) – $754,524 the first year, $111,237 annually
- Paraplegia – $508,904 the first year, $67,415 annually
- Incomplete motor function at any level – $340,787 the first year, $41,393 annually.
According to the NSCISC, the lifetime costs for a 50-year-old who suffers SCI that results in any type of incomplete motor function will top $1 million. A 25-year-old who sustains a high tetraplegia (C1 – C4) injury faces medical and personal care costs of more than $4.6 million over the rest of his or her lifetime.
The cost of living with SCI shows clearly why an individual or family burdened with such a serious medical problem should not be left to fend for themselves. An individual or organization that caused the accident that led to the injury should be held liable for the costs of their negligence or recklessness
Liability may be established in SCI cases involving:
- Car, truck and motorcycle accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents that occur at businesses or at public or private properties
- Acts of violence at apartment complexes or commercial establishments that should be safe for visitors
- Supervised school or civic sports and recreation and other situations.
At Belt & Bruner, P.C., we can investigate the circumstances of an accident that led to the SCI suffered by you or a loved one. We can seek a proper settlement of your claim or take your case to court if necessary.
Contact a Huntsville Spinal Cord Injury Attorney
If you or a family member has suffered a significant spinal cord injury in an accident caused by someone else, you may be eligible for compensation to assist you with medical bills and other living expenses. Belt & Bruner, P.C., can investigate your accident and protect your right to appropriate financial relief.
Contact us by phone or through our online contact form as soon as possible to arrange a case review that we will provide to you at no charge.