How to Pay for Medical Bills Following a Spinal Cord Injury


Written by Mackenzie Saunders:

Sustaining a spinal cord injury is a devastating event. Not only is sustaining a spinal cord injury overwhelming and even emotionally draining, but it is incredibly expensive. The wide array of medical expenses, home modification expenses, and lost wages may create financial instability for you and your family. Fortunately, there are resources available to help people with spinal cord injuries pay for the cost of their spinal cord injury.

Common Expenses

There are many expenses that come with a spinal cord injury. A majority of spinal cord injury expenses are medical expenses. Medical expenses may include acute hospital care, any necessary surgeries or procedures, ongoing physical rehabilitation, medications, mobility assistance devices, continued care, and in-home aides. Medical costs can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to over a million of dollars per year depending on your level of spinal cord injury.

Home modification expenses are also common for people with spinal cord injuries. Often, people with spinal cord injuries need modifications to their homes, such as lowering countertops and widening door frames, to accommodate a wheelchair. People with higher-level spinal cord injuries that affect their hand and arm movement may require further home modifications, such as voice-controlled smart systems. Sometimes, people opt to move to a different, more accessible home following their spinal cord injury instead of performing home modifications. This option may be more feasible for people who are renting their homes and cannot make many permanent modifications.

A final type of expense that comes with spinal cord injury is lost wages. People who hold jobs before their spinal cord injury more likely than not miss a significant amount of work days due to their injury. The money you did not receive from those missing work days is called lost wages. Another type of lost wages expense is loss of productivity and employment potential. The wages lost from missing work, not holding a job, or not being able to find a job due to spinal cord injury can all be classified as lost wage expenses.

Resources for Covering Your Expenses

There are four main resources a spinal cord injury patient can utilize to fund their injury expenses: insurance, crowdsourced fundraising, grants and fundraising organizations, and a personal injury lawsuit.

Insurance may be able to cover many of your medical costs, depending on your insurance policy. Insurance only covers what they deem medically necessary, which means surgeries may be covered under insurance while continued care may not. If you do not have insurance before your injury, you can still apply post-injury; this is because insurance companies cannot discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. If you need a specific treatment that is not covered by your insurance, an insurance lawyer may be able to help you advocate for covered care. You may also consider switching insurance plans when the opportunity arises. Keep in mind that insurance coverage still often requires copays and deductibles, so you will still be paying for some expenses out of pocket.

Crowdsourced fundraising has become increasingly common throughout the past ten years. Anyone has the opportunity to visit a crowdsourced fundraising website, such as GoFundMe, and start a fundraising campaign to be shared with family, friends, and others online. Many medical expenses across the nation have been covered through the sheer generosity of strangers who contribute to a viral online fundraising campaign. If you opt to make a crowdsourced fundraising campaign online, make sure to read the terms and conditions for the website first.


There are grants offered by the government, charities, and other organizations for people who are struggling to make ends meet. Research what grants are available in your area to see if you are eligible for applying for grant money. Additionally, many public or private charities have the ability to host fundraising events to help you cover your expenses. Research the relevant charities in your area to see if one or more may be interested in helping you cover your spinal cord injury expenses.

Lastly, a successful personal injury lawsuit can help you cover your medical expenses. To pursue a personal injury lawsuit, you must first hire a legal team with spinal cord injury lawsuit experience. The statute of limitations for personal injury cases vary from state to state, but the statute is typically around two years. This means that you only have two years after your injury file a personal injury lawsuit. To avoid surpassing your state’s statute of limitations, find an experienced legal team as quickly as possible following your injury. Your legal team will determine who was at fault for your injury, whether it was a reckless driver, a property owner, or a negligent employer. By proving fault or negligence in a court of law on behalf of the faulty party, your legal team can eventually recover financial compensation for your injuries. Compensation from personal injury lawsuits includes coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. A successful personal injury lawsuit is often the best resource for covering your injury expenses because compensation from a successful lawsuit covers a wide variety of costs and can even provide you with money for future continued care.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding paying for your spinal cord injury expenses, do not hesitate to contact the Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm. Not only are we committed to fighting for justice for our clients, but we love providing guidance and resources to people in the spinal cord injury community. We know spinal cord injuries because we live it everyday. Contact 1-877-SCI-FIRM or today!