A spinal cord injury can mean lifelong limits on your work and your lifestyle. A complete injury will end your sensation and motor control below the site of the injury. An incomplete injury may affect your strength, balance or function despite not resulting in total paralysis.
Either of these types of injuries will likely mean significant time off of work and medical bills. However, you need to look at the big picture and all of your possible expenses before declining compensation. What expenses other than medical bills and missed wages will result from a workplace spinal injury?
Whether you need crutches or a wheelchair, that technology comes with a price tag. The more specialized and customized the technology is, the more expensive it will be. The best modern wheelchairs may cost thousands of dollars — if not much more.
It can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 to make the average house accessible for someone in a wheelchair or with significant mobility limitations. Everything from your entrance to your bathroom may need work to make your home habitable after a spinal cord injury. Even if you only make one change at a time instead of doing it all at once, those costs can quickly burn through your savings.
Although not a concern for those with crutches, those in wheelchairs will likely need to either purchase a specialized van or retrofit an existing vehicle. Wheelchair lifts and manual vehicle controls are both expensive modifications that can help you maintain your mobility after a spinal cord injury.
Being realistic about your costs can help you understand why seeking workers’ compensation benefits may be a smarter decision than relying on basic health insurance and using vacation days to cover your missed wages after an injury.