An injury to someone’s spinal cord will mean lasting consequences. Even with incomplete injuries where someone retains or can regain function and sensation below the injury site, the broader impact of the injury will be permanent.
Motor vehicle collisions are the number one cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States. Car crashes cause 38% of spinal cord injuries. Despite many spinal cord injuries coming from car crashes, car insurance requirements in Colorado don’t reflect the massive financial impact that these injuries can have on people.
There are multiple financial consequences of a spinal cord injury
If you want to estimate the financial impact of the spinal cord injury, you first need to classify the injury based on severity and location. Complete injuries tend to cost more than incomplete ones, and injuries higher on the spine often come with more costs.
According to data about medical expenses, all kinds of spinal cord injuries require more than $340,000 worth of medical care in the first year alone. The average lifetime medical expenses will range from a bit over a million dollars to well over four million dollars.
Medical costs are only the tip of the iceberg. For many people, spinal cord injuries will affect their earning potential. They may need to change professions entirely. They may not be able to work in some cases. The functional limitations will also affect their living expenses, as they may need to hire people to do work they once handled on their own, like lawn care or laundry.
Those with spinal cord injuries also need accommodations to go about their daily lives, like specialized vehicles and major changes to their homes. Those needs can cost tens of thousands of dollars as well.
Insurance won’t cover everything
Most drivers carry far too little liability insurance to fully protect against the cost of a spinal cord injury. Even if the insurance company pays the maximum benefit possible, the other driver might have as little as $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage. Unless those with spinal cord injuries look into all of their options, they could suffer many uncovered losses.
Exploring other options for compensation may be necessary for those adjusting to life with a spinal cord injury after a car crash.