A spinal cord injury is one of the most serious and debilitating types of injuries. The resulting paralysis makes a normal life next to impossible going forward, and you will need long-term rehabilitation therapies. Family members are also directly impacted. This can include the loss of your income and the cost of your continuing care.
However, with good medical treatment, therapy such as locomotor training, home modification (i.e. wheelchair ramps and grab bars), assistive technology, and basics such as wheelchairs, an individual can live a fulfilling life, and possibly regain some of their abilities. Care for a spinal cord injury, particularly with paralysis, is costly, and insurance may not cover everything.Many people wonder how much their case is worth, and how much they could expect to see in a settlement. Unfortunately, each case is different and unique, so setting a specific dollar amount on an individual case is difficult. Having a complete assessment of your injury and possible disability takes time. Settling your case too early can mean an amount that falls short of what you will actually need for medical care and other requirements.Here, we discuss the factors used in the course of calculating a settlement for an accident victim with a spinal cord injury.
A settlement for a painful whiplash will not be the same as it is for a severed spinal cord. While painful and debilitating, it’s treatable and not permanent.But a spinal cord injury requires long-term medical care, rehabilitation, disability, and the loss of employment, along with possible mental health challenges that can also last a long time. For someone who will suddenly be unable to work, earn a living and have insurance or pay for their own medical care, a settlement will be more significant.
Cost Of Continuing Medical Expenses
A spinal cord injury is one of the most expensive, and can easily cost in excess of $1M just in the first year of treatment. Many victims don’t have insurance that will completely cover such an injury. Over the victim’s lifetime, medical care can cost as much as $4 million, especially for complete paralysis.But many insurance companies will offer you a settlement before you even leave the hospital. Unfortunately, you won’t know the extent of your injuries or how much they will cost until much later. Accepting that settlement means you will only get that much. You won’t have the opportunity for more later if you discover you need it. That’s why you should work with an attorney who is familiar with spinal cord injury cases and understands how insurance companies work.
Lost Work, Wages, Benefits
Whatever type of work you do, a spinal cord injury will likely have an impact. Figuring a settlement means taking these factors into consideration:
- If you’re employed in a job that requires dexterity and movement, such as truck driving, construction, welding, plumbing, etc., manufacturing, a serious injury could keep you from working again.
- For someone who works in an office at a desk, wheelchair access, desk modifications, and other accommodations will become necessary to eventually return to work.
- Whether the injury prevents you from going back to your same position or prevents you from working any job at all.
Type Of Injury: Temporary Or Permanent
If you will eventually recover from your injuries, you can still recover damages. The amount you will need to get to the point of recovery may not be as much as if the injury were permanent.A permanent injury brings all manner of limitations, including your financial state and future opportunities. Settlements for permanent injuries are generally higher because of the impact of the injury and are multiplied by your estimated life expectancy.
These are more difficult to assign value. The non-economic damages of a spinal cord injury can include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment
- Psychological difficulties
- Loss of consortium (spouse only)
- Loss of abilities and skills that you previously enjoyed or performed on the job due to injury and/or disfigurement
These damages figure in what you used to do before the accident versus what you’re able to do now. This can include your job, or duties you carried out at work before the accident. Also included are activities that you may have enjoyed with your spouse, such as bicycling or other outdoor activities. These can also have an impact on the relationship with your spouse. A more serious injury will have a stronger impact and will be used to calculate your total damages and settlement.
Kansas City’s Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm
If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury and need help, contact us at The Popham Law Firm. Our spinal cord injury attorneys understand the difficulty of having this injury as well as getting help after an accident. Call us at (816) 221-2288 today or use our contact form. We’ll schedule an appointment and talk with you about how we can help.