The spinal cord is a hub for the central nervous system and any damage to it leads to widespread effects throughout the body. A spinal cord injury risks serious hospital time and medical bills, but also may leave a victim paralyzed for life.
It is important for anyone suffering from an SCI, whether mild or severe, to understand the usual causes and costs in order to adapt to a new normal during and after recovery.
Common causes of SCIs
According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, motor vehicle accidents and slip and fall accidents constitute the majority cause of SCIs in the United States. Those two sources make up over 70% of the nearly 18,000 annual cases. The remaining 30% consists of violence like gunshot wounds, sports or medical malpractice.
Common costs of SCIs
The average hospital stay with an SCI, as of 2020, is around 11 days. Add on a month of rehabilitation and hospital bills start to add up. Estimated first-year expenses average out between $375,000 and $1.15 million depending on the severity.
On top of the financial and physical costs of recovery, there is an emotional toll on victims as well. According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, around 20% of SCI victims experience depression — versus the average 5% of Americans.
SCIs threaten lives and careers. When victims must face the costs ahead of them, it may seem intimidating. However, there are resources available to help secure compensation when an SCI results from negligence such as a motor vehicle accident or a slip and fall on-premises.