Spinal cord injuries vary dramatically. Everything from the nature of the damage to the spinal cord to the location of the injury will influence how serious the effect is on the person.
The most serious spinal cord injuries are complete injuries that fully sever the cord and result in the loss of control, sensation and function below the site of injury. Incomplete injuries are slightly less severe and may involve the partial tearing, cutting or pinching of the spinal cord in a way that affects function and sensory input.
Some people recover at least partially from an incomplete spinal cord injury. While recovering function and resuming your daily life are very good things, you can’t discount the long-term impact that an incomplete spinal cord injury will have on your health and your earning potential.
You will likely have lasting financial consequences for a spinal cord injury
Immediately after suffering a spinal cord injury is often the most expensive time for a patient. They may require trauma care, surgery and rehabilitative services. Months without wages and massive medical bills are common.
As their body heals and therapy progresses, those with incomplete injuries may regain strength and sensation in the affected parts of their body. They may still require ongoing medical supervision, frequent treatments and medication, but those with incomplete spinal cord injuries can potentially move on from their injury.
Still, they will experience the lingering financial consequences of that injury for the rest of their lives in most cases. The first year after a spinal cord injury, those with an incomplete spinal cord injury that affects motor function can expect to have about $347,000 in costs. After that, every year, their injury will translate to about $42,000 in both costs and lost economic opportunity.
Care is necessary during insurance negotiations for a spinal cord injury
Given the lifelong implications of the injury, insurance companies are often eager to offer settlements. Before accepting a check or signing paperwork, those with incomplete spinal cord injuries should carefully review their settlement offer and their medical prognosis. Negotiating for a better offer may be necessary to truly cover the losses you will experience because of this injury.