The True Cost Of A Spinal Cord Injury

By Robert Kram | May 11, 2018

A catastrophic injury like a spinal cord injury (SCI) is particularly devastating in terms of the extent of impact on the victim. It is a life altering event for the injured and their family, where in the vast majority of the injured people rarely make a full recovery.

In situations where the SCI results in partial or complete paralysis, significant and long-term assistance and therapy will be needed. According to the Rick Hansen Institute, the lifetime medical costs of a quadriplegic exceeds $3-million and $1.6-million for a paraplegic.

Injury treatments and care plans vary based on severity, each designed to create best potential quality of life and possible independence.

The types of treatment/care often required include:

  • First stage hospital care, which may include surgery and medication
  • Rehabilitation, including physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as mental health counseling
  • Attendant care
  • Medication
  • Mobility support, such as wheelchairs, home modifications, adapted vehicles, standing frames and other electronic aids
  • Housekeeping help

While some expenses are covered under OHIP, many are not. If the injury was sustained in a motor vehicle accident, victims can access Accident Benefits Claims which could help to cover some of costs related to income replacement, caregiver benefits, and medical and rehabilitation. However, those entitled to these benefits can only receive up to a combined maximum of $65,000.

Another option depends on the severity of the injuries sustained. If the injury is deemed catastrophic, the victim can access increased benefits. Unfortunately, in Ontario these benefits have been reduced by half in the last few years. Now these same individuals are limited to a maximum of a combined limit of $1,000,000 for attendant care and medical benefits over their lifetime.

Some of our clients were lucky to have taken preventative measures and purchased optional coverage which may provide increased limits with respect to the benefits under their own insurance policy.  However, some are not aware of the optional coverage or don’t realize the importance of having this relatively inexpensive coverage.

Money does not solve the emotional and physical trauma that SCI victims face, but it is our mission to make sure that our clients receive the full amount to which they are entitled so they can focus their attention to getting better and adjusting to their new normal with as little external stress as possible.


If you are looking for legal help as a result of a spinal cord injury, please contact Robert J. Kram. For more information he can be reached at or 416–236–3060.