People fear spinal cord injuries largely because they can’t imagine life with functional limitations. However, the human body and brain have an incredible ability to adapt to any circumstance. People don’t just survive with spinal cord injuries. They can truly thrive after they receive the medical support necessary for their recovery.
Getting from the first days after an injury to a comfortable, functional lifestyle afterward can be a bit of a challenge. What are some of the biggest challenges and changes for those with spinal cord injuries?
Ongoing medical needs
The care that you need immediately after a spinal cord injury will cost tens of thousands of dollars. The more severe and higher on the spine the injury is, the more expensive the medical care someone needs will become.
There will be ongoing care costs for the rest of someone’s life. They will need regular medical examinations and to improve or upgrade their assistive technology, like wheelchairs, every few years.
Changes to your home and vehicles
Relying on a wheelchair can make getting around the house more of a challenge. Families may spend as much as $30,000 or even more to make a home wheelchair accessible. Improvements range from a ramp to the front door to an elevator inside. Accessible bathrooms and first-floor bedrooms are also typically necessary.
A wheelchair-accessible vehicle is also a major expense. Both brand new specialized vans and the equipment necessary to retrofit standard vehicles will cost thousands of dollars as well.
Changes in employment and income
The physical limitations and medical demands of a spinal cord injury can affect someone’s career trajectory. Those in physical professions may not be able to work the same job and may need to move into lower-paying work, like customer service.
Others may not have any physical limitations on their work but instead struggle to get ahead at their job because of their frequent absences for medical care. Some workers will continue their careers, while others have to change professions or retire early after a spinal cord injury.
The sad truth is that car insurance won’t typically the enough to pay for all of those expenses, so those affected by a spinal cord injury may need to look into other ways to pay for their care and other injury-related expenses. A personal injury lawsuit could help someone recoup their financial losses beyond what insurance will pay.
Learning more about the cost and consequences of a condition and what insurance will cover can help those facing a future affected by a catastrophic injury like a spinal cord injury.