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Your well-being is our priority.

Car insurance often isn’t enough for spinal cord injuries

Most car crash injuries are minor. They range from bruises and scrapes to broken bones. However, some people experience life-altering, permanent injuries in motor vehicle collisions.

Spinal cord injuries are among the most feared potential traumatic injuries that someone might suffer in a motor vehicle collision. Damage to the spinal cord will typically affect both motor function and sensation for the body below the site of the injury. The higher on the spine the injury sets, the more of the body it affects.

Anyone living in California affected by a spinal cord injury will likely have lasting medical expenses. Unless the driver who caused the crash paid for much more insurance than the state requires, the cost of a spinal cord injury will likely far exceed the insurance coverage available after the crash.

How much does a spinal cord injury cost?

Someone who suffers a spinal cord injury will need immediate trauma care and support afterward. The exact costs vary from person to person and depend on other health conditions and the location of the injury.

According to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, even incomplete spinal cord injuries will cost more than $1,000,000 in direct medical costs. These figures do not include lost wages, benefits or other secondary expenses.

Depending on the severity of the injury, the care someone needs in the first year after a car crash will range from just under $350,000 to more than $1,000,000. People will have ongoing annual expenses as well, which will increase with the severity of the injury.

What does California require?

Drivers in California need liability coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage is what will apply both to the medical costs someone incurs and any wages they lose out on because of their injury. Unfortunately, state law in California only mandates $15,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage if a driver hurts one person in the crash. The minimum increases to $30,000 if there are two or more.

Drivers can carry more coverage than that, but even that could fall short of the actual costs that a spinal cord injury causes. You should not have to absorb either the lost wages or medical expenses from a spinal cord injury if you were not at fault for the crash that left you hurt. You may have the option of filing a civil lawsuit against the driver who caused the crash or a third party with liability.

Realizing how expensive a spinal cord injury can motivate you to look at all of your options for compensation.