The Financial Impact of Catastrophic Injuries

The Financial Impact of Catastrophic InjuriesCatastrophic injuries change not only your life in an instant, but also the lives of your entire family. Everyone in your household will need to pitch in with your recovery, therapy, and helping you adjust to your new life. Whether it is helping you eat, put on clothes, wash your hair, walk, or communicate, the days, weeks, months, and years after a catastrophic injury will be challenging for everyone. Aside from the emotional and physical impacts, catastrophic injuries have massive financial effects that last a lifetime.

This is why, if your injury was the result of someone else’s negligence or reckless behavior, the single best thing you can do is call one of our attorneys in Oklahoma City. You shouldn’t have to shoulder these costs when someone else is to blame for your injuries. We can help.

First things first: what is a catastrophic injury?

Catastrophic injuries are those which are unlikely to heal, and usually have long-lasting effects. They’re usually injuries like:

Catastrophic injuries can occur in almost any type of accident, including the following:

Catastrophic injuries and loss of income

One of the biggest financial hits a victim of a catastrophic injury will experience is their loss of income. Depending on the nature of the injury, the victim might only be out of work temporarily. If the injury caused paralysis, vision loss, or amputation, you might not be able to work for the rest of your career.

On top of their lost income, you might not be able to work any longer, either, because you have to become the caretaker for your loved one. Now your family is out two incomes because of a single catastrophic injury.

Medical expenses that last a lifetime

The bills from your medical expenses to treat a catastrophic injury will continue to arrive in the mail. Between X-rays, scans, blood tests, and a multitude of appointments, your health insurance will only be able to cover so much. Your loved one might have to undergo multiple surgeries, skin grafts, and extensive therapy in order to regain some semblance of normalcy in their life after a catastrophic injury. The expenses will be astronomical.

Look at spinal cord injuries, for example. According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, high tetraplegia spinal cord injuries cost close to $1 million for the first year. Low tetraplegia injuries cost $769,000 and paraplegia costs just under $520,000. After the first year, annual costs range from $42,000 to $184,000. These are just costs for victims who suffer a form of paralysis in an accident. Burns, traumatic brain injuries, amputations and other injuries can also cost well into the hundreds of thousands annually.

The cost of long-term care

If you cannot afford to leave your job to provide care for your loved one with a catastrophic injury, you will need to pay for long-term care. Long-term care can be provided in your home or your loved one might have to be moved into a long-term care facility. The types of long-term care your loved one might require include occupational therapy, physical therapy, and skilled nursing care. According to Elder Life Financial, the cost of a private nursing home room in Oklahoma is roughly $73,000 per year.

Modifications to your home, and medical equipment

You will also need to take a look at the costs for modifying your home and purchasing medical equipment for your loved one. If the catastrophic injury left your loved one paralyzed, you will need to make significant modifications to your home. If you weren’t planning on doing any renovations to your home, it will be challenging to find the funds in a pinch. Modifications you might need to make could include the following:

  • Building a ramp entrance to the front or rear doors
  • Converting first-floor rooms into a bedroom and bathroom
  • Lowering counters and cabinets
  • Installing handrails and guards throughout the home
  • Widening doors and other entrances
  • Installing roll-in showers and toilets that are raised higher off the ground

When it comes to adaptive medical equipment, you might need to purchase* the following for your loved one:

  • Wheelchair
  • Motorized scooter
  • A hospital bed
  • Assistive technology
  • Prosthetics
  • Oxygen tanks

*In some cases, insurance will cover some of these devices as part of your care. But you may still need to pay up front and seek reimbursement, even if they’re covered. And other medical devices may not be covered at all. For example, you can now buy hearing aids over-the-counter, which is great – but hearing aids run on batteries, and that expense will likely come out of your pocket.

Psychological support for you, your loved one, and the entire family

Aside from the long-term physical impacts of a catastrophic injury, you can also expect to deal with emotional and mental effects. Victims of catastrophic injuries and their family members could suffer from any of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

It will be just as important to seek psychological treatment as it is to seek physical treatment for a catastrophic injury for both the victim and their loved ones. The cost of seeing a therapist for an extended period will be added on top of the money already spent as a result of the injury, especially because most therapists do not take insurance. If prescription medications are required to treat PTSD or anxiety, those costs will also be a direct result of the injury. If the psychological issues become severe, you or your loved one might wind up needing to be hospitalized, adding to an already expensive ordeal.

A catastrophic injury can lead to permanent changes in how you and your family live life. You might not be able to work in order to care for your loved one. Being down two incomes is devastating no matter your prior financial situation. Talk to the experienced Oklahoma City personal injury attorneys at Cunningham & Mears about the catastrophic injury your loved one has suffered. When all is said and done, you could be looking at spending upwards of $1 million or more to care for a loved one with a catastrophic injury. Call our office or submit our contact form today to schedule a free consultation.