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What happens when your spinal cord is injured in an accident?

Spinal cord injuries can occur when you are involved in a car crash. These injuries are very serious and require emergency medical care that can be extensive.

Depending on the severity of the spinal cord injury, there is a chance that you will have to live with the effects of the injury for the rest of your life. If you have a spinal cord injury, think about the ways that this can impact the way you live and your finances.

How was your spinal cord damaged?

There are two primary types of spinal cord injuries that can occur -- complete and incomplete. A complete injury means that you aren't able to feel the body parts below the injury and that you don't have the ability to use them. An incomplete spinal cord injury means that you do have some movement and feeling below the level of the injury. The chances of a recovery are higher when you suffer from an incomplete injury.

What are some of the effects of a spinal cord injury?

A spinal cord injury can lead to paralysis of any body part that is below the level of the injury. For example, if you injure your cervical spine, you might become dependent on a ventilator to breathe for you since the lungs are below the cervical spine. You can also suffer from paraplegia or quadraplegia.

What costs come with a spinal cord injury?

Spinal cord injuries are costly injuries. You can expect to have medical bills for the treatments and therapies that you need. Your life care expenses might increase, your income might decrease, and you might have to pay for vehicle and home modifications. All of this can have a negative impact on your finances.

What factors impact the cost of a spinal cord injury?

There are many factors that impact these costs. Two of the primary factors are your age and the severity of the injury. A person who is 25 years old when they are injured will incur more costs than a person who is 50. A person with a higher level injury will incur more expenses than a person who has a lower level injury.

For example, lifetime costs for care of a 25-year-old with a C1 to C4 injury is $4,724,181, but a 50-year-old with the same injury would incur costs of around $2,596,329. If that 25-year-old suffered an injury leading to incomplete motor function, the cost would be around $1,578,274 for a lifetime, and the 50-year-old would have around $1,113,990.

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