What are some of the costs associated with spinal cord injuries?

A spinal cord injury happens whenever trauma is inflicted to the central bundle of nerves that extends from the brain down the body through a person’s spinal column. The spinal cord is responsible for transmitting signals throughout the body that emanate in the brain. Once severed or otherwise destroyed, signals from the brain are unable to reach other parts of the body. This condition often results in the victim’s paralysis in some form.

Although some of these injuries are treatable, many more are not. A victim of an SCI can face a permanent loss of use of their limbs as well as other body parts, which can result in a lifetime spent using a wheelchair or similar assistive devices. Additionally, SCI victims also frequently encounter extreme difficulties breathing, urinating or defecating and engaging in sexual activities.

According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the average yearly cost of caring for a victim with SCI is approximately $15,000 to $30,000 annually. The CDC estimates that a typical SCI victim could incur costs related to his or her injury ranging between $500,000 through $3 million over the course of his or her lifetime.

Spinal cord injuries have also been associated with some costs that cannot be effectively measured. For example, victims of SCI frequently suffer from psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety associated with their diminished quality of life.

In the United States, there are currently about 200,000 people suffering with SCI. Each year, somewhere in the range of 12,000 to 20,000 new SCI victims join those ranks. The CDC says that as many as 25 percent of SCI injuries involve the use of alcohol in some manner.

If you are a Florida resident who has suffered an SCI through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Whether your accident was a result of a medical malpractice injury or a drunk driving accident, it may be possible for you to sue those responsible for your injuries and help secure your financial future.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Spinal Cord Injury (SCI): Fact Sheet” Nov. 12, 2014