Each year around 12,000 people in the United States suffer a spinal cord injury. The medical costs of a spinal cord injury can be staggering. The costs depend on the severity of the injury and the length of stay in the hospital and rehab.
An average hospital stay for SCI is around 12 days and the average inpatient rehabilitation stay is around 37 days. Because of medical improvements these figures are much lower than the rates in the early 1970s, when a rehab stay for SCI was often longer than 90 days.
Expenses for an SCI include: initial hospitalization, rehabilitation, and most likely the continuing need for a caregiver and medical care. A person who suffers high tetraplegia, the most severe form of SCI, may acquire medical expenses of over $800,000 in the first year after the injury. If this person is 25 years old or younger their medical expenses may mount up to over $3 million over their lifetime. People 50 years old or older at the time of a severe SCI may expect medical expenses of over $1.8 million over the course of their lifetime. SCI survivors with less disabling injuries face lower, but still hefty medical bills.
Insurance which may cover Spinal cord injury
If you or a family member has suffered a spinal cord injury the insurance company of the party responsible for the accident which caused your injury or your insurance may pay some of your medical bills. The amount of coverage depends on the policy and on the circumstances of the accident. Often, the insurance company of the party responsible for the injury will not pay a sufficient amount of damages for the injury; this makes it vital to obtain advice from an experienced brain injury attorney. Lawyers experienced in advocating for SCI survivors know how to get just financial compensation for you.
Health and Accident Insurance
These policies vary considerably. Some only pay only for injuries from accidents and natural disasters; others offer more coverage, including, routine doctor visits and annual physicals, as well as coverage for tests, and hospital stays for illness and injuries. Insurance polices are usually written in complicated legal terms, making them difficult to understand; talk with someone from your insurance company when an accident occurs so that you know what they will cover. Homeowner’s insurance may offer some coverage when an accident which results in a spinal cord injury occurs at home; this insurance also generally offers some coverage when someone else is injured in your home. About 26 percent of spinal cord injuries are the result of falls and many falls occur at home.
Vehicle accidents cause 40 percent of spinal cord injuries. If you sustained a spinal cord injury in an automobile accident the insurance policy of the driver responsible for the wreck will pay for a certain amount for your medical expenses or your own policy will pay. The amount depends on state regulations and on the actual policies carried by the parties involved in the collision.
In the majority of states you are required to carry a minimum amount of auto liability coverage and personal injury protection (PIP). Injury to another party is covered by liability, while PIP helps cover medical expenses and lost wages to the policy holder.
When you are injured by an uninsured driver you may receive additional coverage from your own insurance policy provided you carry underinsured/noninsured motorist coverage. Ask your agent or read your policy to see if you are carrying this coverage; it is generally not expensive and is well worth paying a bit extra for.
Spinal cord injuries which occur at work are usually covered by Worker’s Compensation; however, smaller employers may not carry this coverage on their workers because only larger companies are required by law to do so. Worker’s Compensation some cover for lost wages, and medical expenses. Vocational rehabilitation may also be covered by worker’s comp. Generally this benefit will pay two-thirds of your average salary. Lump sum benefits may also be paid. Notify the survivor’s employer as soon as possible after an injury occurs.
Short-and Long-Term Disability
An increasing number of employers are offer short- and long-term disability policies to their workers. Contact the survivor’s employer as soon as possible after the accident to see if this benefit applies.
Insurance policies are sometimes written in obscure language and have complicated provisions. They are written by legal professionals and can be difficult to understand without a legal background. If you or a family member has recently experienced a spinal cord injury and you are having difficulty understanding your insurance polices or other legal rights, a lawyer experienced in dealing with spinal cord injury cases can help you clarify the confusion and slice through the red-tape.
Newsome Law has the experience you need to deal with the medical expenses of spinal cord injury. We can help you sort out the complex insurance system and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to. If you or a loved has sustained a spinal cord injury, please contact us today. Fill out the convenient case evaluation form on the right of your screen and one of our experienced team of SCI attorneys will contact you and advise you of your legal rights. This evaluation is free; there is no obligation.