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    Top 5 Hidden Costs of Catastrophic Injuries: How to Prepare for a Lifetime of Expenses

    Catastrophic injuries can have severe, life-altering consequences, but the physical and emotional toll is only part of the picture. The financial impact of such injuries is often underestimated and can lead to significant hardship for victims and their families. Today we’re highlighting the hidden costs associated with catastrophic injuries and how to secure the compensation necessary for a lifetime of expenses.

    1. Medical Expenses: Medical care is the most obvious cost of a catastrophic injury. Medical expenses for catastrophic injuries can be astronomical and are often ongoing throughout a person’s life. Initially, victims could spend weeks or months in the hospital undergoing emergency and lifesaving treatments, including surgeries. For instance, someone may have to get skin grafts to treat burn injuries, or require extensive surgeries for spinal cord injuries. These major treatments are often followed by rest and rehabilitation, and victims may need a long-term plan for care. This could include physical therapy at the very least, but they may also require additional surgeries and follow-up hospitalizations. Regarding specific costs, data from the Dana and Christopher Reeve Foundation indicates that for the first year, high tetraplegia procedures cost around $1 million, low tetraplegia costs $769,000, and paraplegia costs just under $520,000. After that, the annual costs range from about $42,000-$184,000 or more per year — for life. The lifetime costs for brain damage and burn-related medical expenses can run even higher, well into tens of millions of dollars.
    2. Lost Income: A catastrophic injury often affects a person’s ability to work temporarily or permanently. This can lead to lost wages and, in severe cases, the complete loss of earning capacity. Calculating damages for lost income involves looking at past and future earnings and any loss of earning capacity that may result from the injury​. In addition to the impact on the victim’s ability to work, the need for care can also lead to lost income for the victim’s family members or caretakers. If a family member has to leave their job or reduce their hours to care for the victim, this can further compound the financial impact of the injury. In some cases, it may be necessary to retain an expert witness to give their opinion on the damages suffered. Experts can state, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, how specific injuries will affect a person’s life and the long-term consequences of those injuries, including their impact on the person’s ability to earn a living​​.
    3. Adaptive Equipment and Home Modifications: When individuals experience a catastrophic injury resulting in a disability, their ability to perform daily activities may be significantly affected. To address these challenges, adaptive equipment and home modifications are crucial in improving accessibility and empowering individuals with disabilities to lead independent lives. Adaptive equipment, such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, and assistive technology, offers tailored solutions to meet specific needs. Home modifications may include installing ramps to overcome barriers like steps or uneven terrain, widening doorways to accommodate mobility devices, and incorporating grab bars and handrails for enhanced safety and stability. In addition, bathrooms can be modified with features such as roll-in showers and raised toilets to facilitate personal hygiene routines.
    4. Long-term Care: Some victims of catastrophic injuries may require long-term care, either at home or in a specialized facility. Types of long-term care include skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other forms of care that help patients manage their daily lives. Long-term care can be a significant financial burden. The cost of care can vary widely depending on the specifics of the injury and the type of care required. For example, according to, the median price for a private room in a nursing home in Florida was $115,524 in 2023, and costs continue to rise. For survivors of traumatic or hypoxic brain injuries, there ss often a lifetime of 24-hour care required, which will run into the tens of million of dollars.
    5. Psychological Support: The psychological impact of a catastrophic injury can be immense, leading to conditions like depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Counseling and mental health services are often needed, adding to the overall recovery cost. Costs include the direct costs of therapy and counseling services provided by mental health professionals, often required for a prolonged period. Prescription medication may also be required for conditions like depression, anxiety, or PTSD, adding to the overall expense. In severe cases, hospitalization may be necessary, leading to high costs associated with hospital stays. Additionally, some patients may require specialized, intensive treatment programs or residential care facilities, which can be costly but provide essential support for recovery.

    Securing adequate compensation for a catastrophic injury is crucial to covering these costs and ensuring the best possible quality of life for the victim. At Leighton Law, we have the expertise to guide victims and their families through this complex process, advocating for their rights and fighting for the compensation they deserve. We have represented many families who have suffered catastrophic injuries, and routinely work with experts in the field of rehabilitation, physiatry, psychology, pain management, life care planning and economics. If you or a loved one has suffered a catastrophic injury, we’re here to help. Contact us today for a consultation.

    Article by:

    John Leighton

    A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite


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