An injury to the spinal cord can drastically change the trajectory of a life. A promising career, a fulfilling social life and the comforts of family can all be devastated by an injury that can occur in a moment. Spinal cord injuries can happen in car accidents or at work or even while working around the home. When they do happen the effects are terrible. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 52% of spinal cord injuries result in the individual being a paraplegic. What makes these injuries so tragic is that they can affect the young as well as the old. The CDC estimates that the average age of the 11,000 new spinal cord injury patients each year is 31, with 56% of the patients being between the ages of 16 and 30.
Following a spinal cord injury the average stay in the hospital is about 15 days. That is hardly the end of the injury, however, because on average there is an additional 44 days of rehabilitation. Thanks to the nation’s dedicated healthcare professionals sufferers of such a serious injury can regain some semblance of their old lives. Unfortunately all of that care can be expensive. The average initial hospital bill for someone with a spinal cord injury is $140,000. Then the cost of rehabilitation during the first year following the injury costs an average of $198,000.
For the 52% of patients that are paraplegics the costs are even greater. The cost to care for a paraplegic adds an additional $152,000 to the first year expense and the estimated lifetime cost of care for a paraplegic that is injured at the age of 25 is $428,000.
If the injury is even more serious the costs are even higher. The cost of healthcare for quadriplegics is on average $417,000 in the first year and the lifetime cost is $1.35 million (for someone injured at the age of 25).
Compounding the added health care costs is the loss of income that many injured people suffer. A shocking 63% of individuals were still out of work 8 years after the date of the injury.
To make matters worse the National Association of Health Underwriters estimates that only 52% of individuals are covered by private insurance at the time of injury.
Arguing for negligence
As noted above, a spinal cord injury can happen anywhere but the most common causes are:
- Car accidents (37%)
- Violence (28%)
- Falls (21%)
- Sports injuries (7%)
As is seen here, the two most common causes of these injuries are usually due to someone else’s negligence or downright inexcusable behavior. Despite this, many victims of car accidents and violence who suffer spinal cord injuries are left to cover the costs of their healthcare and lost wages well after the insurance companies have come and gone.
For this reason, anyone who has suffered a spinal cord injury is urged to seek the help of an attorney that specializes in these kinds of cases. An attorney will take your case to the insurance companies and to court and argue that it be termed a case of negligence.
Negligence in everyday speech simply means someone was careless or irresponsible and therefore should be held responsible for their consequences. The attorney will show that the person responsible, whether it is the other driver in a car accident or anyone at fault in a different type of accident, was not acting in a reasonable manner and because of this caused the accident.
To do this, the attorney will usually compile police reports, testimonies from eye witnesses, personal testimonies from the parties involved and medical opinions from the doctors that treated the victim’s injury. Once the attorney has the necessary evidence to prove that someone else was indeed responsible, he will work until a fair settlement has been reached that factors in medical costs, the expected loss of income and emotional stress that the injury caused.
If you or a loved one has experienced the trauma of a debilitating spinal cord injury and don’t know how those medical bills will be covered, you may be missing some funding from insurance companies. Don’t try to take on insurance companies alone. The personal injury advocates of Christensen & Hymas can provide a free consultation to see if they can help your case. Contact us at (801) 506-0800 today.
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