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What’s the Financial Impact of a Spinal Cord Injury?

Spinal cord injuries can occur in any number of situations from car and motorcycle crashes to more common accidents like slips and falls. In many cases, liability (financial responsibility) can be assigned to an individual or corporation (such as the store in which the slip occurred or the job site at which the victim fell). However, even when victims win shockingly large insurance settlements after paralysis accidents in Arkansas, they may still be faced with expensive long-term care that can bankrupt family savings accounts and leave survivors feeling helpless.

If you’ve been involved in an accident at work, on the road, or even in a parking lot and are facing the effects of a spinal cord injury, it’s helpful to know just how much your recovery is likely to cost in order to calculate a fair insurance settlement or a potential court award.

Types of Accidents and Injuries Likely to Cause Paralysis

Spinal cord injuries are the second leading cause of paralysis in the United States, behind only stroke. It should come as no surprise that automobile accidents are the leading accidental cause of spinal cord injuries and paralysis in the United States. It’s estimated that roughly half of all spinal cord injuries are caused by car crashes alone.

However, falls—especially those which involved individuals 65 or older—are also a significant cause. Nationwide fall stats show that almost 15 % of spinal cord injuries in this age group are caused by simple falls—most of which occur at home.

These two types of accidents cause almost 65% of spinal cord injuries and a majority of accidental paralysis.

How prevalent is paralysis in spinal cord injury cases?

According to data collected by The Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation, 45% of all paralysis cases caused by spinal cord injuries result in incomplete tetraplegia (also known as partial quadriplegia) in which victims suffer some paralysis in all four limbs and associated regions of the body. Complete tetraplegia represents 20% of all cases.

Partial Paraplegia (paralysis of two limbs and the associated regions of the body) represents 21% of all cases while complete paraplegia affects 14% of victims.

The Average Annual Cost of Accidental Paralysis

When estimating the dollar amount associated with a paralysis diagnosis, you have to remember that the cost of paralysis can be divided into direct costs (medical bills and care expenses) as well as indirect expenses (cost of living increases). The victim and their family members will have to absorb both while insurance companies will often try to pay only for direct expenses.

  • The average victim of tetraplegia can expect to be burdened by annual direct expenses ranging from $760,000 to well over $1 million.
  • Victims of paraplegia are often burdened with direct expenses between $340,000 and half a million dollars.

Those figures are shocking but that’s just the cost associated with direct medical expenses and care. The indirect costs can mount as high as $70,000 or more on top of those primary expenses.

Lifetime Cost of a Paralytic Injury

But it’s not really the immediate costs that cause catastrophic financial crises. Indeed, many health insurance policies and liability policies will cover victims of accidental paralysis up to $1 million. But when you take into account that a vast majority of these spinal cord injuries will have lifelong consequences, the total expenses a victim and their family members could be facing can be astronomical.

  • Indeed, the average estimated lifetime costs of a tetraplegic accident victim can run between $2.1 million and $4.7 million.
  • A paraplegic victim can expect to incur between $1.2 million and $2.3 million depending on their age at the time of their accident.

When Insurance Policies Won’t Cover Expenses

So what are accident victims facing paralysis here in Arkansas to do when insurance policy limits don’t reach the real costs of their injuries? That’s when an experienced Arkansas personal injury attorney can help. The law allows for victims of accidents caused by at-fault individuals, companies, corporations, and in some cases municipalities, to file lawsuits in an attempt to seek compensation above and beyond what standard insurance policies will pay out.

If you or a family member has been injured and is facing a paralysis diagnosis in Arkansas, contact the Pfeifer Law Firm today. Reach us online or call us at 501-374-4440.  There is no charge for the consultation, and you don’t owe us anything until we recover for you.

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