Will a Personal Injury Settlement Account For the Long-Term Cost of Paralysis?

November 15, 2021Firm News

If you are facing any type of paralysis following a personal injury accident, the resulting financial costs can also be devastating. If you are filing a personal injury claim, any settlement offer by the insurance company will not automatically include long-term costs. Even if an offer seems high, be sure to have an attorney evaluate your case and determine its value before you accept. 

Damages Associated with Paralysis

An attorney will have the resources to help you determine potential future financial losses related to your spinal cord injury that resulted in paralysis. This type of trauma can require: 

  • Emergency medical care
  • Hospitalizations and surgery
  • Long-term care, including rehabilitation 
  • Occupational and physical therapy, possibly lifelong
  • Speech therapy
  • Mental health treatment
  • Prescription medications
  • In-home care
  • Adaptive medical equipment
  • Personal care services
  • Home and vehicle modifications, and more. 

The Short and Long Term Financial Impact of a Spinal Cord Injury

The table below demonstrates the average living costs the first year after a spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis, each year after, and the lifetime costs based on the age when the trauma occurred. 

Injury Severity Average Yearly Expenses 

First Year

Average Yearly Expenses

Each Subsequent Year

Lifetime Costs

25 Years Old

Lifetime Costs

50 Years Old

High Tetraplegia (C1-C4) AIS ABC $1,163,425 $202,032 $5,162,152 $2,837,031
Low Tetraplegia (C5-C8) $840,676 $123,938 $3,771,791 $2,319,988
Paraplegia AIS ABC $567,011 $75,112 $2,524,270 $1,656,602
Motor functional at Any Level AIS D $379,698 $46,119 $1,724,594 $1,217,266


The NSCISC provided these figures, which are estimates of medical care and living expenses for a spinal cord injury victim. These numbers do not include any additional injury-related financial losses, such as lost income, employee benefits, and productivity. According to the NSCISC, these other costs may average more than $78,000 per year.

How an Attorney Can Help

Since paralysis can result in significant financial losses, a personal injury attorney will hire medical professionals and forensic accountants who have experience with injuries such as yours. These experts will be able to determine the lifetime expected cost of your particular injury by assessing your healthcare needs, any medical treatments you could require, and whether your ability to work will be affected in the future. 

A personal injury lawyer will also collect other vital information to get a more accurate estimate of your future lost income, for example: 

  • Your income before the accident
  • Your age and life expectancy before the accident
  • The field or industry in which you work
  • Any bonuses or raises you were expecting 
  • Potential career progression and promotions you would have achieved during your working life had you not been injured
  • The number of years you would have worked had you not suffered paralysis in an accident

An attorney will also take into account: 

  • Amount of pain and suffering you have experienced and will continue to in the future
  • Emotional anguish
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Loss of consortium
  • Property damage 
  • Out-of-pick expenses

After taking all of the evidence into consideration, your attorney will carefully draft a demand letter to send to the insurance company. This letter will include details about the accident, the injury and damages you suffered, that the named party is responsible for your damages, the amount of compensation you demand, and evidence to support this figure. Sometimes, the language within a demand letter is enough to convince an insurer of the severity of your claim and can successfully resolve a case. Other times, it will only be the beginning of a long negotiation process. However, a St. Louis personal injury attorney will be your best chance at obtaining fair compensation for the long-term costs of paralysis. 

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