Spinal cord injuries (SCIs) are among the costliest personal injuries. Between the cost of medical care and treatment and the assistance that an accident victim needs, the lifetime costs can reach into the millions of dollars. The exact recovery for your own SCI depends on the severity of your injury and how much care you will need.
Each Type of SCI Can Have Different Levels of Costs
There are four primary types of SCIs. First, there are incomplete and complete SCIs. With incomplete injuries, the patient retains some function or hope of a facility. Then, there is paraplegia and tetraplegia. For the latter, the patient loses function in both their arms and legs. In paraplegia, the patient retains the use of their upper body. The type of SCI depends on how high on the spine the damage is and the extent of the harm done to the spinal cord.
Tetraplegia has the highest costs associated with it. In 2014, lifetime costs of care for a 25-year old patient with tetraplegia topped $3.5 million. Inflation has picked up since then, and recent estimates would be even higher. The amount does not include the indirect costs of an SCI, and it only addresses the costs of care. Even paraplegia has lifetime care costs that exceed $1 million. The younger the accident victim, the higher the costs of care because they will need treatment and help for the rest of their lives.
Damages that You Are Legally Entitled to Receive After an SCI
Costs of care are not the only thing that you are entitled to after you have suffered an SCI. While it may be the highest share of the damages, there are numerous other elements of economic and non-economic costs that you are entitled to after an SCI.
For an SCI claim, you can receive the following types of damages:
- Payment for all medical costs, including surgeries and treatments to help you regain some function
- Payment for all rehabilitation costs
- Money for assistive devices to help you with your daily life, including the costs of modifying your home to accommodate your condition
- Home health care aids to assist with the activities of your daily life
- Lost wages if you are unable to work or do less work than you were previously able to before your SCI
- Pain and suffering for the ordeal of living with an SCI (which can include the physical discomfort, depression, or anxiety related to your condition)
- Loss of enjoyment of life as a result of not being able to engage in activities that you enjoyed before your accident
Factors that Can Affect Your Financial Recovery After an SCI
For an SCI, these damages can be considerable. How much you can actually recover depends on several factors, including:
- The amount of insurance coverage that the person or company responsible for your injury has and their assets that could pay your claim
- How hard you fight for every dollar that you deserve and need to pay for your injuries
- How well you are able to document and predict the lifetime costs of your injury
- Who you hire to represent you in your SCI case
For every SCI claim, you will need to prove that someone was negligent. Then, you will need to prove the full extent of your damages. The burden of proof is on you for both parts of your case. You can expect that an insurance company will be very strict about what they will pay. They may not accept your explanation of your damages if it is not abundantly clear to them. You can also anticipate that the insurance company will fight you on each individual element of damages, especially your lost wages and pain and suffering.
How a Lawyer Could Help Maximize Your Financial Compensation
Your lawyer would work with medical experts and life care planners to figure out the exact costs and damages that you will be facing in the future. There are many variables with an SCI that could impact your future. The key is having someone who is experienced and able to foresee what you may need and how to get it for you. It is very likely that you will recover more money with an experienced lawyer on your side than if you were trying to handle your legal claim on your own. The other given is that your costs may change over time based on both inflation and your own needs.
It is Critical to Know How Much Your SCI Case Is Worth
Much of your financial recovery is up to you and the strategy that you use when filing a claim or lawsuit. If you are offered a settlement, you have the right and ability to say no if the check will not be enough to compensate you for your injuries and care for you in the future. Getting top dollar for your SCI claim is about knowing how much your claim is worth and not letting the insurance company pay you less than that in a settlement that meets their own financial needs more than it does yours.
You may need to go through a prolonged period of negotiations or even a lawsuit, but that is time that you will need to invest to get the compensation you deserve. If you do not get the money now to pay for your damages, you will not be able to receive it in the future. Any settlement agreement requires that you sign a release form that states that the defendant is not obligated to pay you any more money in the future.
Contact an Encino Personal Injury Attorney
It is vital to have an experienced attorney at your side, especially when you are dealing with a complicated legal claim such as an SCI. The attorneys at the Arshakyan Law Firm help accident victims recover the full amount that they are due after they have been injured by someone else’s negligence. Call us today at (888) 851-5005 or contact us online to set up a time to talk about your case and discuss the possibility of financial compensation.