What Is the Average Settlement for Spinal Cord Injuries?

Spinal cord injuries rank among the most expensive and severe types of personal injuries. Spinal cord injuries can result in permanent loss of movement, lifelong treatment, and other related illnesses like respiratory infections and loss of muscle tone.

The best that some victims might hope for is to gradually re-learn to walk, breathe normally and handle everyday bodily functions.

Intensive Medical Bills

You can expect intensive medical bills to continue for years as you re-learn how to survive. That is why victims of spinal cord injuries try to file lawsuits against the people or companies responsible for any part of their injuries.

Coping with an SCI is challenging even without the burden of medical bills that can run hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars. Many experts state an average settlement figure runs $1 million or more depending on how disabled the victim becomes.

To find out a settlement or compensation estimate for your injuries, talk to spinal cord injury attorneys. After carefully reviewing your case, they can offer an informed opinion about the award you can expect to receive.

Causes of Spinal Cord Injuries

Fast treatment is recommended. A clinical study of SCI victims compared the length and cost of treatments based on multiple variables. The study concluded that treatment was shortened and cost less for those who received the most prompt treatment.

When a person receives a spinal cord injury, a bundle of nerves in the spinal column becomes damaged. The nerves no longer carry reliable messages to control motor actions. The most common causes of these injuries include car accidents, violence, falls, and recreational sports.

The specific types of spinal injuries include:

Anterior Cord Syndrome

This partial injury affects the anterior two-thirds of the spinal cord. It results in paralysis below the location of the damage and loss of pain, and the ability to feel the temperature in the affected area.

Central Cord Syndrome

Central cord syndrome ranks as the most common type of spinal injury. It impairs movement of the arms and hands and sometimes affects movement to a lesser extent in the legs and feet.

Brown-Sequard Syndrome

Brown-Sequard Syndrome is a rare condition that results in different disorders on different sides of the body. One side might suffer from various degrees of paralysis, while the other side loses the ability to feel temperatures and pain.


Tetraplegia is considered a complete spinal cord injury that results in a loss of movement in the upper and lower parts of the body. Affected areas include hands, fingers, legs, feet, toes, and chest.


Paraplegia results in the loss of movement in the legs and lower part of the body.


Triplegia is considered an incomplete spinal injury because it results in the paralysis of both legs and one arm.

Calculating a Fair Settlement

There really is no standard for calculating an equitable settlement because so many factors affect the calculations. One thing is generally true in most cases: some cases are calculated in years and might take years to settle.

Case settlements depend on many factors that include the following:


  • Calculating pain and suffering based on medical bills
  • Including actual pain from physical injuries and emotional injuries for loss of consortium, inability to continue a physical skill like playing the piano or a pro sports job, grief over the loss of function, etc.
  • Compensation for loss of companionship
  • Developing phobias like fear of insects

Finding a Skilled Attorney

It is essential to hire an attorney who specializes in spinal cord injuries if you want the best results. A skilled attorney has experience estimating a fair settlement that covers future medical bills, loss of income, educational expenses, and pain and suffering.

Consider asking your friends and family for recommendations. Also, be sure to conduct online research about any potential candidates. Many law firms offer a free initial consultation. Use this opportunity to see how you get along with the attorney and if they can help with your case. Choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable and whom you can easily trust.

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