According to the NINDS, the leading cause of spinal cord injuries in the United States is car accidents followed by falls. Each year, approximately 17,500 new spinal cord injuries (SCI) are reported. In 2017, it was estimated that 245,000 to 353,000 were living with a spinal cord injury.
SCIs can be one of the most traumatic and life-altering injuries a victim may suffer in a traffic accident or fall. Therefore, it is important to understand the consequences of a spinal cord injury so that you and your family can prepare for lies ahead.
There is no cure for an SCI; however, there is promising research and treatment. The location and severity of the spinal cord injury determine the effects of the injury on other areas of the body. The spinal cord is a vital pathway that carries messages from our brain to all other areas of our body. When that pathway is damaged, various areas of the body may experience a complete loss of function and feeling. In some cases, an incomplete SCI may allow some feeling and function in the affected areas and the person may regain some functions and mobility through spinal cord injury rehabilitation.
What is Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation?
Each person’s SCI is different; therefore, an SCI rehabilitation treatment plan is tailored to each person’s injury, needs, and goals. However, rehabilitation after a spinal cord injury has four main goals that are common for everyone seeking treatment options for a spinal cord injury.
Goals that will likely be included in your SCI rehab plan include:
- Regaining (for incomplete SCIs) and improving function of the affected areas, including improving mobility and strength;
- Developing the necessary skills and developing a strategy for performing daily activities with the current level of impairment;
- Identifying and learning how to use various equipment and adaptive technology to assist in performing work or other activities; and,
- Learning coping skills to help address the psychological and emotional consequences of a spinal cord injury.
SCI rehabilitation facilities usually employ a variety of physicians and experts in the field of spinal cord injuries. These professionals work with the SCI patient to develop a rehabilitation plan that meets the patient’s needs and goals.
Some of the health care professionals that may work on an SCI rehab team include:
- Physical Therapists
- Occupational Therapists
- Speech Therapists
In your specific case, you may work with each of the above health care professionals, only a few of the professionals, or physicians and other health care providers that are not on the above list. Because someone who suffers an injury to the spinal cord goes through stages of grief including denial, anger, depression, frustration, and fear, it is especially important to work with mental health providers in addition to providers who focus on the physical impairments caused by the SCI.
What is the Cost of a Spinal Cord Injury?
The costs to treat a spinal cord injury can be astronomical. For someone who suffered a high tetraplegia, which is one of the most traumatic injuries involving the spinal cord, the first year’s cost for health care and living expenses were $1,079,412 in 2016. For every year after that, the estimated cost of health care and living expenses were $187,443. These figures do not include other losses and damages, including loss of income, benefits, and productivity.
The lifetime costs of a spinal cord injury vary based on several factors, including the severity of the injury, the age at the time of injury, life expectancy, education, and pre-injury employment. However, the estimated lifetime costs of a high tetraplegia injury occurring at 25 years of age is almost $4.8 million.
Contact an Illinois Spinal Cord Injury Attorney for a Free Case Review
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you might be entitled to compensation from the negligent party who caused your injury. However, your time to file a claim or lawsuit is limited, so please do not wait to contact the team of spinal cord injury lawyers at Costa Ivone to discuss your case.
Call the Costa Ivone injury lawyers at (708) 400-0000 for a free consultation or contact us online or by email.