Paralysis after a Car Accident: The Cost of Living with a Spinal Cord Injury

One of the most serious types of injuries following a car accident can happen to the spinal cord, often leading to paralysis.

St. Louis man in wheelchair after car accident

Being injured as a result of a car accident can greatly affect your life. Car accidents that lead to injuries often inflict serious damage, even loss of life, as statistics show it every year. One of the most serious types of injuries can happen to the spinal cord, often leading to paralysis.

If you are in this situation and you are preparing together with your St. Louis car accident lawyer to file for compensation, you need to be aware of the costs of living with your injury. The figures will depend a lot on your age at the time of the injury, the extent of the damage and, of course, what your expenses are generally.

The Severity of the Spinal Cord Injury

Results of a National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center 4 year study published in 2015 show that the most common SCIs fall in the category of incomplete tetraplegia (45%). They are followed by incomplete paraplegia (21%), complete paraplegia (20%) and complete tetraplegia (14%). Of all cases where the victim survived an accident causing a spinal cord injury, about 1% have experienced complete recovery at the time of being admitted from the hospital.

The severity of the SCI is a crucial factor in determining the costs of living after the accident, but it has to be included in a bigger picture that considers others factors as well:

  • The victim’s education
  • Age
  • Employment history
  • The degree of associated neurological damage

The study published by the NSCIS, which also used data from other scientific journals, shows that a person who suffers from the highest degree of severity on the AIS (ASIA Impairment Scale) can pay up to $1,064,716 during the first year following the accident. For the lowest type of injury on the AIS, motor functional at any level (AIS D), the first-year expenses are $347,484 on average.

The first year is the most challenging for the victim, financially and otherwise. The following years will also add medical and other expenses, but they will represent a fraction of the first year’s cost.

Employment After a Spinal Cord Injury

The severity of the injury also influences the second greatest factor in determining life costs for SCI victims: employment status. According to the study, about 50% of the victims were employed at the time of the injury. The percentage dropped by 12% at 1-year post-injury but increased to almost a third of the total by 20 years post-injury.

There are no details about the productivity levels of SCI victims, but it is clear that certain lines of work leave SCI victims unable to perform fully or at all. This means that employment after an injury does not necessarily mean that the victims can sustain themselves without financial compensation.

For victims of SCI as a result of a car injury, estimating their cost of living and gathering physical evidence of their expenses is crucial in building a strong personal injury case. Speak with an experienced St. Louis car accident attorney as soon as possible to see what is the best course of action for you. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4242 for a FREE case evaluation.

Updated: August 27, 2019