Spinal cord injuries are currently irreversible in most cases. Any harm caused to the sensitive spinal nerve is usually permanent since the nerves regenerate at such a slow rate.
However, there are still treatments available to alleviate spinal cord injury symptoms. With many of these treatments relying on continual care and rehabilitative methods, the cost of care across a lifetime can become incredibly steep, threatening to bankrupt the patient, even if they have health insurance. To continue necessary treatments and therapies without draining their own finances, a spinal cord injury patient and survivor should consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party that caused their injury.
Initial Treatments for Spinal Cord Injuries
A spinal cord injury that causes paralysis will require emergency medical care. Paralysis can affect internal organs, becoming life-threatening depending where on the spine the injury was inflicted. Emergency medical care can incur significant costs, ranging into five and six digits with a single visit.
If a spinal cord injury is not immediately life-threatening, then the patient will likely be admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) for close monitoring and hospitalization. It is also possible for the patient to be placed under the care of a specialized team of medical professionals at a spine injury center. The time and attention of these specialists may present the best chance at limiting the permanent harm caused by the injury, but they are also expensive. Certain medical insurance plans may not even cover care from a specialist team, placing the cost of such treatment right on the shoulders of the patient.
Continued Medical Care for Spinal Cord Injury Patients
Depending on the type and extent of a patient’s spinal cord injury, there may be several ways a doctor or specialist wants to proceed with their patient’s care. For cases ranging from mild to severe, prescription medications will likely be used to reduce pain, inflammation, and the risk of infection. Prescription costs can stack quickly if a patient needs to refill them each month, especially when there is a heft copay each time.
For moderate to severe spine injuries, immobilization techniques may be used to keep the patient still during the recovery process. Immobilization can be simple as wearing a neck brace at all times, which comes with its own set of limitations. Or immobilization can be more extreme, such as requiring the installation of a specialized bed at home that stops the patient from moving around while sleeping. The financial cost of immobilization equipment can be steep, not to mention the noneconomic costs caused by the lost feeling of mobility and freedom.
When a spinal cord injury is severe, life-threatening, or expected to cause chronic health complications, surgery may become necessary. Back surgery is invasive and intensive, requiring the skills of experienced specialists. Predicting the cost of back surgery is difficult, as it can vary depending on the extent of the surgery, how long it lasts, or how many times it must be conducted. In all cases, though, it can be expected to be costly, even when insurance coverage absorbs the bulk of the price.
Ongoing Rehabilitation Well into the Future
Outside of the hospital setting, spinal cord injury treatments often include rehabilitative therapy. Patients may undergo stretching and movement exercises to regain mobility, increase muscle strength, and reduce chronic pain. Rehabilitative methods can also include psychotherapy sessions if the hardships caused by the spinal cord injury have been weighing on the mental and emotional wellbeing of the patient.
Severe spinal cord injuries may need rehabilitation for the rest of the patient’s life. Otherwise, they could backslide in their progress and find themselves facing the same pain and limitations they felt the day of their accident. Perhaps needless to say, attending lifelong rehabilitative therapies of any sort will be expensive in the long run.
Maximize Your Chances with an Attorney’s Help
Are you living with the consequences and symptoms of a spine injury after being in an accident caused by another negligent party? If you are worried about how the total costs of your treatments are going to affect your finances, then the next thing you should do is talk to a personal injury lawyer about what happened. With an experienced attorney in your corner, you can get a careful estimation of what your total costs and damages will be far into the future. Using that estimate, you can file a claim and demand compensation from the party that caused your injury.
Pratt Clay, PLLC in Atlanta represents the wrongfully injured in all types of cases, including spine injury cases. Contact our firm for more information. Free initial consultations are available to inquiring clients in the greater Atlanta, Georgia region.