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Is $5 Million Enough To Care For a Catastrophically Injured Spinal Cord Quadriplegic Teen?

by The Beasley Firm  |  May 17, 2011  |  

Rocky Clarke had it all. He excelled in playing football, baseball, and running track. His bedroom is full of trophies, ribbons, medals, varsity letters, and autographed footballs. One week prior to his life-altering injury, Rocky told his mother that he was going to soon be able to buy her a new house one day. Sadly, Rocky will not be able to add any more sports trophies, medals, or award ribbons to his room and he will not be able to buy his mother a home. Rocky is now paralyzed from his neck on down.

In September 2000, when Rocky was a high school junior and a running back for his high school football team, he was tackled and hit the ground head first. One minute he was running down the football field while the fans cheered, and the next minute there was total silence. When he awoke, he remembered his entire body vibrating. Rocky attempted to get up but could not. He broke his neck in two places and was paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury. His injuries left him a quadriplegic with only one functioning lung. He now requires someone to scratch an itch, comb his hair, brush his teeth, and wipe the tears that run down his cheeks.

Statistically, Rocky is very susceptible to fatal infections that can be caused by urinary tract infections, pneumonias or bedsores. Up until now, the school district’s $5 million catastrophic health insurance policy covered his medical treatments. That policy ran out when Rocky was only 27 years old. Rocky’s mother, Annette, is now his 24/7 primary care giver. The school district said that both the insurer of the initial $5 million policy and the new insurer refused to issue a new policy for Rocky. He is now left to fend for himself because he survived. A recent study estimated that approximately 25,000 individuals in the United States have reached the limits of their catastrophic health insurance. Not only does a catastrophic injury take away a huge part of a person, the caps on policy limits take away everything else they have left, including the home that shelters them. Due to medical costs and caring for Rocky day and night, Rocky’s mother had to file for bankruptcy.

Sadly, this scenario is all too common. Many individuals will see on the news or in their doctor’s offices of a multi-million dollar verdict for an injured person and think it is outrageous. Yet, many individuals do not understand how much it really does cost day in and day out to care for a seriously injured person. Think about it. How much was your insurance company charged for an emergency room visit that lasted only a few hours? How much are those medications you pay for that you need to be on everyday? How much did that last MRI, chest x-ray, or blood work cost the insurance company? Not the expenses you paid out. Look at the charges that were sent to your insurance company. I remember looking at one of my bills and my insurance company was billed $7.85 for one Tylenol pill. I am guessing that I got the generic brand, but my insurance was billed for the real thing at a rate where I could have bought a bottle on my own at a lesser cost. Now just imagine how much it costs a quadriplegic to pay for medications, ventilators, back-up generators in case of a power failure, oxygen, someone to turn them so they do not get bedsores, antibiotics and wound care to treat bedsores, someone to clean them, someone to bathe them, someone to suction them or someone to feed them? How much does it cost to modify a home for a paraplegic or quadriplegic? How much does it cost to modify a car or van so a quadriplegic or paraplegic can be driven back and forth to doctors appointments? How much does it cost to install a ramp so that the spinal cord injured victim can be wheeled out of the house to get to doctor appointments or therapy? How can a spinal cord injured teen be told, “Sorry, we can only give you this amount, after that, you are on your own?”

Here at The Beasley Firm, we really do understand the amount of expenses that a catastrophically injured victim will endure over the years. In addition to our specialized medical and legal teams, we consult with Life Care Planners and Economists to obtain all of the real expenses and losses an injured victim will face in the years to come. We go to trial with real data and costs so the jury can truly understand what expenses lay ahead for an injured victim and their family.

If you or a loved one has been a victim of a catastrophic injury or spinal cord injury, please feel free to contact us for a risk free, confidential consultation. Our experienced medical and legal teams know how to help you.

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