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How To Properly Insure Your Accessible Wheelchair Van

Everyone understands that it’s a legal requirement to have their vehicles insured and recognizes the value of being properly insured in case of an accident. But, most people are not insurance experts. In fact, some aspects of vehicle insurance confuse many people.


In order to keep your accessible van as safe as you can make sure you’re protecting it with the right types of commercial auto insurance. Here are the primary types of insurance you’ll need:

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is normally required by law in all parts of the United States. This coverage is designed to protect other people from suffering losses that are caused when your wheelchair van causes an auto accident. Liability insurance primarily focuses on two coverage areas: Bodily injuries and Property Damages.

  • Bodily Injury – This section of your liability insurance policy helps pay for any injuries inflicted on other people from an auto accident. If your mobility van causes, or is found to be at fault for, an auto accident that causes people to get physically hurt, the bodily injury portion of your coverage pays for their medical expenses. When an injured person must be transported to the hospital for example, your bodily injury coverage can pay for the ambulatory bills and expenses. It also pays for the emergency room care, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, physical therapy, rehabilitation and other medical bills that are caused due to the auto accident. Bodily injury also pays for a person’s lost wages when they must miss work due to recovery times, and it pays for pain and suffering of the victims. When a person is killed in an auto accident, your bodily injury insurance can pay their funeral expenses as well.
  • Property Damage – When a vehicle or other property sustains damages from an auto accident that was caused by your handicap van, the property damages portion of your liability insurance will pay for the cost of repairs.

Liability insurance can provide your wheelchair van with protection at varying levels, based on the amount of coverage you select. You can choose a standard split level policy or a combined single limit policy as well.

A split limit policy sets maximum benefit limits on two separate portions of an auto accident claim. Split limit policies will pay no more than the set limit per person for bodily injuries but no more than the total combined limit for all bodily injuries in an accident. It will also pay a separate maximum for property damages. Example: A liability split limit policy of $15,000/$50,000/$35,000 explains a specific payment maximum per accident. No more than $15,000 will be paid for any individual person’s bodily injuries in one accident; no more than $50,000 will be paid for the combined total of bodily injuries; and $35,000 is the maximum amount the policy will pay for property damages.

If you elect a single combined limit liability policy instead, there is no separate maximum limit defined for bodily injuries or property damages. There is just one maximum overall payout for the policy for each accident. A $50,000 combined single limit liability policy for example, would pay a maximum of $50,000 in damages per accident regardless of whether the damages were to people or property.

Medical Payments

Medical payments insurance is important coverage for a wheelchair van, because it pays medical related expenses that arise for your van driver and any passengers who were riding in the vehicle at the time of the accident. Coverage is for paying medical and related bills, such as ambulance transport, hospital care and follow up treatments. This insurance protects your driver and passengers without regard to who causes an auto accident. It is not available in all areas however, so be sure to contact one of your licensed representatives to determine if it’s an option for your policy.

Physical Damage Insurance

Physical damages insurance protects your wheelchair accessible vehicle itself. And it protects your you from having to pay the bills when the van is damaged or destroyed. This insurance is extremely important for you  if you still have an outstanding unpaid finance loan because it provides you with the most protection possible. There are three types of physical damages insurance protection:

  • Comprehensive Physical Damage Protection – Comprehensive damages protects you from a number of potential risks, perils and hazards. It does not protect against damages and losses caused by a collision or caused when your van overturns. It does however, protect against losses and damages caused by theft, break ins, vandalism and natural events. If your van is damaged due to a tree falling on it in a storm for example, your comprehensive damage protection coverage will pay for the repairs.
  • Collision Protection – Collision protection is specifically designed to pay for damages and destruction that are caused by a collision or by a roll over event. If your van has a blowout and overturns for example, your collision damage protection will pay for the repairs. If the van backs into a building while trying to access a wheelchair ramp, the collision damage protection pays for those repairs as well.
  • Specified Peril (CAC) – Pecified Peril coverage is also known as Fire and Theft with Combined Additional Coverage. This does not protect you against collision or roll over events. Instead, it protects you from just those perils that are specified on your insurance policy.

Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist

If your van is involved in an auto accident with another vehicle and that other vehicle was the cause for the accident, their liability insurance is supposed to pay for your bodily injuries and property damages. If the other driver does not carry insurance however, or if they do not carry enough coverage to pay all of the resulting bills, they are considered uninsured or underinsured. You can purchase protection against these risks with an uninsured or underinsured motorist policy. When the other driver is at fault but unable to pay for all of your damages, your policy will pick up the difference. This policy works much like your Liability policy.

  • Bodily Injury – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Property Damage – As covered with Liability Insurance.
  • Collision Deductible Waiver (CDW) – When you carry an uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury policy on your wheelchair van, you can qualify for a collision deductible waiver (CDW). The CDW makes it so that you do not have to pay your standard insurance deductible when you make an uninsured or underinsured motorist accident claim.

Other Important Commercial Auto Insurance for Wheelchair Vans

  • Special Equipment Coverage – This type of coverage covers every aspect of vehicle adaptation including mobility equipment such as a lift, ramp, lowered floor, kneeling systems, a lock-down system, or any other added adaptive driving equipment (hand controls and left foot accelerators).
  • Rental – If your van is unusable due to an auto accident, rental insurance can pay for the cost of a temporary replacement.
  • Towing – Towing insurance pays for the cost of towing your accessible vehicle from the scene of an accident when it is badly damaged.
  • Accessories – Accessories insurance protects you from losses associated with extra devices you may have installed on your van. A wheelchair van taxi may have a mileage meter installed for example, and a communications radio to keep them in contact with their dispatcher.

** The limits of your coverage and your deductibles for each element of your policy will vary based upon what you’ve purchased from your insurance company.

Things You Should Know Before Renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van

Whether your own wheelchair accessible vehicle is undergoing repairs or modifications or you’re testing the adaptive automobile waters before taking the plunge with the purchase of one, renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van is an affordable, convenient and comfortable way of improving your mobility.

If you’re looking to rent this type of vehicle, these are some good tips to keep in mind.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Handicap Van?
If you’re all about saving your pennies, there are many ways to reduce the cost of renting a wheelchair accessible van. Here are just a few:

  • Avoid renting an accessible vehicle airport. Enjoy lower taxes and minimal fees by going to a dealer or rental agency outside the airport grounds.
  • Reserve online whenever possible to take advantage of special offers.
  • Fill up the tank before returning the vehicle. More often than not, this will be less expensive than paying the fill-up fee or pre-paying for gas at the rental agency.
  • Don’t double up on insurance. If your personal auto insurance already covers you for rentals, make sure you don’t sign up for redundant coverage.

Where to Go
Many mobility dealers maintain a fleet of accessible cars or conversion vans for rental purposes. Identify and contact the location nearest you to find out if they have handicap vehicles available to meet your needs. There are also a number of companies that specialize in accessible rental vehicles.

When to Rent
A wheelchair accessible van or car can transform the lives of people with disabilities or temporary mobility impairment. Renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle can be particularly helpful when:

  • Your current wheelchair accessible vehicle requires repairs or maintenance over a period of multiple days.
  • You’re going on a road trip or long ride – a rented wheelchair accessible vehicle can make these much more comfortable. Even if you own a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you might still consider renting a vehicle in order to avoid putting the mileage and wear on your own van.
  • A loved one or family member with a disability visits. If you don’t own an accessible vehicle, renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle can facilitate transporting your friends and family.

What To Consider When Shopping For A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

If you have a disAbility and don’t yet have an accessible vehicle, it’s difficult to know where to start. You’ve worked with your doctor and therapist, maybe even a certified driver rehabilitation specialist (CDRS), but they don’t know your budget, your preferred car or van, or where the nearest mobility dealer is.

Your medical team will help, of course, but you have homework to do:

Set a budget
How much can you afford to pay for a new or used wheelchair van? Figure in the down payment, monthly payment, insurance, gas and an estimate for yearly maintenance. Look for rebates, grants, loans, etc. to help reduce the price tag.

Research, research, research
Your doctor or therapist may recommend necessary adaptive equipment, but there may be other equipment you’d like. Check out the many options available now.

Testing, testing
If you can, test drive different vehicles at the mobility dealership to get the feel of spaciousness, ease or difficulty of loading, driving and parking, etc.

As you narrow the choices down, you might want to rent your top choice for a weekend or week-long trip. Time on the road will determine if the make and model are right for you.

Ask yourself these questions

  • Does it fit lengthwise and width-wide in my driveway or garage?
  • Is there space enough for the ramp or lift to deploy?
  • Can I easily reach and work all the controls?
  • If you plan to use a transfer seat- Is the seat comfortable? (Like your favorite chair at home—can you sit in it for hours and still be comfortable?)

There are many factors to consider that you may not have thought about until you test drive several candidates.

Find a mobility dealer
You will need to find an expert on wheelchair accessible vehicles and adaptive equipment. There are some things to consider when searching for the perfect mobility dealer to assist you.

  • Where are they located?
  • How experienced are they?
  • Do they offer a full-service shop?
  • How many vehicle options do they have available?

Things You Should Know Before Renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van

Whether your own wheelchair accessible vehicle is undergoing repairs or modifications or you’re testing the adaptive automobile waters before taking the plunge with the purchase of one, renting a Wheelchair Accessible Van is an affordable, convenient and comfortable way of improving your mobility.

If you’re looking to rent this type of vehicle, these are some good tips to keep in mind.

How Much Does It Cost To Rent A Handicap Van?
If you’re all about saving your pennies, there are many ways to reduce the cost of renting a wheelchair accessible van. Here are just a few:

  • Avoid renting an accessible vehicle airport. Enjoy lower taxes and minimal fees by going to a dealer or rental agency outside the airport grounds.
  • Reserve online whenever possible to take advantage of special offers.
  • Fill up the tank before returning the vehicle. More often than not, this will be less expensive than paying the fill-up fee or pre-paying for gas at the rental agency.
  • Don’t double up on insurance. If your personal auto insurance already covers you for rentals, make sure you don’t sign up for redundant coverage.

Where to Go
Many mobility dealers maintain a fleet of accessible cars or conversion vans for rental purposes. Identify and contact the location nearest you to find out if they have handicap vehicles available to meet your needs. There are also a number of companies that specialize in accessible rental vehicles.

When to Rent
A wheelchair accessible van or car can transform the lives of people with disabilities or temporary mobility impairment. Renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle can be particularly helpful when:

  • Your current wheelchair accessible vehicle requires repairs or maintenance over a period of multiple days.
  • You’re going on a road trip or long ride – a rented wheelchair accessible vehicle can make these much more comfortable. Even if you own a wheelchair accessible vehicle, you might still consider renting a vehicle in order to avoid putting the mileage and wear on your own van.
  • A loved one or family member with a disability visits. If you don’t own an accessible vehicle, renting a wheelchair accessible vehicle can facilitate transporting your friends and family.

Paying for Toyota Wheelchair Vans

2013 Toyota Sienna VMI Summit Silver VMi New England35
Toyota Wheelchair Van Payment Considerations
You’ve found the perfect Sienna. Now you need to think about how you’re going to pay for your Toyota wheelchair van. Different situations call for different actions. Here are some tips that can help you make the payment process easier whether you’re working with a dealer, an individual seller or need to pay for additional wheelchair van modifications.

When purchasing from a Toyota mobility dealer, you want to take smart actions that will protect you against paying too much for your wheelchair van. Here are a few ideas:

Buy at the right time.
Did you know that you can get the best deals during the last few weeks of the year and during the months of July through September? Prices tend to be lower during those periods.

Resist the extras.

Your Toyota dealer will undoubtedly offer you extra features and protections. Some may be great investments. Others may be unnecessary. Be smart and resist sales pitches for the extras you don’t need.

Know the market.
Investigate what other dealers are doing and what is happening overall in the marketplace. Knowledge is power. That information will protect you from paying too much and can help you negotiate the best possible deal.

When purchasing your Toyota wheelchair van from a private seller, you’ll want to use a cashier’s check from your bank or a money order. This protects both parties and avoids risks associated with the three most common alternatives.

Sellers don’t want your personal check. You’re not the only person who will want to make paying for your Toyota wheelchair van safe and convenient. The seller will be interested in protecting himself or herself, too. A personal check requires a leap of faith on the part of the seller. He or she probably won’t take it.

Cash is too risky.
You don’t want to pay for your vehicle in cash. It doesn’t create a paper trail and it’s simply unsafe to visit someone you don’t really know with a large quantity of cash on your person.

Moneygrams and Western Union are not a good idea. These services exist so that people who know one another can send money in a pinch. They’re poorly designed for transactions like this. Additionally, these services are frequently used by those who are less interested in getting you a nice Sienna and more interested in robbing you!

Paying for your Toyota wheelchair van may be only part of a bigger picture. You may also need to pay for conversions to the vehicle in order to make it a perfect wheelchair van for you. Here are a few considerations to keep in mind when paying for conversions.

Look for “free” money.
Before you spend your own money on conversions, find out if you’re eligible for any government assistance. You should also check with your health insurance or worker’s compensation insurance to find out if your situation will compel them to pick up part of the overall modification bill.

Work with the dealer.
In many cases, your Toyota dealer can include the costs associated with wheelchair van modifications into your auto loan. That leaves you with only one monthly payment and may allow you to finance equipment and conversion services at a lower interest rate.

Visit your doctor. See your doctor and find out if you can get a written prescription for your wheelchair adaptations. If you have a prescription, you may be exempt from paying sales tax on your conversion.

Following recommendations like these can make paying for your Toyota less expensive and more convenient.

How Car Insurance Fees Can Be Lowered For Handicapped Drivers

DSC_4322
One common misconception about car insurance is that handicapped drivers pay more for coverage than non-handicapped drivers. This simply is not true. Federal law prevents car insurance companies from discriminating against handicapped drivers due to their disabilities. Many states have additional laws on the books, and even if car insurance companies were allowed to discriminate, they would likely discriminate in favor of handicapped drivers; statistically speaking, they are more careful than non-handicapped drivers and much less likely to be involved in accidents. Nevertheless, handicapped drivers need the lowest possible rates on car insurance just as much as all other drivers, and it is worthwhile to know a few ways that they can cut their car insurance fees.

Handicapped drivers should first look for safety discounts because this is one of the fastest ways to change premium rates without adjusting the coverage levels. Many car insurance companies offer safety discounts for any drivers who have vehicles with special safety features like side airbags and anti-lock brakes. You can find out whether your car insurance company offers these discounts by studying your policy contract or simply by calling your car insurance agent and asking about available options. If your car is already outfitted with safety features, you are wasting money by not asking for discounts, and if your car is not outfitted, you might look into having some low-cost safety measures installed to keep your car insurance fees low. Ask whether modifications that you have made to a car for your handicap qualify for discounts; even something like oversized mirrors can often have a positive effect on premiums. Other discounts will apply to handicapped drivers who take road safety courses, students, and even drivers who have simply kept their insurance coverage up for a specified length of time. The key is to ask-you will often be surprised at how quickly your car insurance fees will drop.

Online car insurance websites can also help handicapped drivers to find lower rates. Reputable websites will not ask about a driver’s handicap or even inquire as to the handicap status of the driver. Instead, car insurance websites will ask questions about your vehicle and driving record to determine how much of an insurance risk that you pose, and this information will be submitted to car insurance companies in order to return a few quotes. These websites make it easy to look at your insurance options, which in turn, can help a driver to find a better policy than what he or she currently has. Always take the time to compare car insurance quotes. Handicapped drivers and all other drivers can benefit from this, as it is the best possible way to keep rates down.

How Honda Wheelchair Van Insurance Really Works

If your ever in a accident in your wheelchair van and have insurance questions or need your to have repairs made contact the experts at the Mobility Center in Bridgewater, MA with your questions 508-697-6006

2012 Honda Odyssey  CB024644 Front Left Side View

We all know that we need to carry insurance on our Honda wheelchair vans. We understand that it’s a legal requirement and we recognize the value of being properly insured in case of an accident. Most of us are not insurance experts, though. In fact, some aspects of vehicle insurance confuse many of us. Let’s look at how wheelchair van insurance really works.

What Are You Buying?
When you insure your Odyssey or Element, what are you actually buying? “Insurance” actually consists of many different elements. Your policy may or may not have provisions covering all of them. They include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: This covers you if your Honda hurts or kills someone in an accident.
  • Comprehensive: This covers damage to your Honda from non-accident sources like weather and vandalism.
  • Property Damage Liability: This is legally required everywhere. It’s the portion of your insurance that covers damage to the other party’s vehicle after an accident.
  • Collision: This covers damage to your Honda if it’s involved in an accident.
  • Medical Payment: This provides coverage for you and/or your passengers for medical expenses related to an accident.
  • Uninsured Motorist: If someone who doesn’t have insurance injures you, this will cover you.

The limits of your coverage and your deductibles for each element of your policy will vary based upon what you’ve purchased from your insurance company.

What Determines Your Rates?
How do insurance companies decide how much to charge you for that coverage? They look at a variety of factors.

Your actual vehicle is an important part of the puzzle. The value of your Odyssey or Element will have an impact on the price of your policy, because the cost of covering replacement and repair vary based upon the vehicle.

There’s more to it than that, though. Insurance companies also look at the vehicle type to help determine how likely you will be to utilize your insurance coverage. That’s why it’s cheaper to insure an Odyssey than an Element–minivans tend to have fewer significant claims than do small SUVs.

You can also expect the modifications you’ve made to your Honda wheelchair van to influence policy pricing. You may be an excellent driver, but the fact that modified vehicles tend to be involved in a relatively high number of claims is reason enough for insurance companies to increase premiums on wheelchair vans, in most cases.

You are part of the pricing equation, too. Your personal driving record, age, gender and any license restrictions you may have will influence the price of insurance. Non-driving related factors such as home ownership, credit rating, and where you live will also influence pricing. Insurance companies look at multiple variables to determine your probable level of risk.

Finally, the policy limits and coverage you select will influence your insurance pricing. If you’re only purchasing the minimum requirement of liability insurance in an effort to “stay legal,” you’ll spend a lot less than you would for full coverage with all available protections.

Purchasing insurance is always a process of balancing the best possible coverage with affordability. The levels of coverage you need and the amount you can spend will, obviously, vary based on a series of individual factors. The most important thing to remember is to be certain you have adequate coverage to meet both the legal requirements and your personal needs.

You’ll also want to consider insuring your mobility aids, vehicle modifications and equipment. Most vehicle policies will cover your Odyssey or Element, but they won’t cover your lift or ramp. They’ll replace your bumper if you get in an accident, but they won’t necessarily pay to fix your low-effort steering system if it’s damaged.

Insuring a Honda wheelchair van isn’t really a complicated procedure. When you understand the different kinds of coverage and how rates are set, the process is even easier to understand.

How Ford Wheelchair Van Insurance Really Works

If you’re ever in a accident in your wheelchair van and have insurance questions or need your to have repairs made contact the experts at the Mobility Center in Bridgewater, MA with your questions 508-697-6006

2013 Ford Tuscany Wheelchair Van

Buying insurance can be a complicated process. For those of us who haven’t spent a great deal of time thinking about insurance and how it works, purchasing insurance for a wheelchair van can be rather intimidating. So here is a little information about the way Ford wheelchair van insurance really works.

Information about Coverage
Your Ford wheelchair van insurance is made up of individual elements. When one talks about vehicle insurance, they’re actually referring to a combination of different forms of insurance with different purposes.

For example, you can buy liability insurance. That will pay for any damage you might cause if you have an accident. Liability insurance is a legal requirement. Bodily injury liability coverage will defray the medical expenses of anyone who may be injured by your vehicle in an accident.

Due to the high number of people who fail to meet their state-mandated legal obligations, many Ford wheelchair van drivers purchase uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. This feature of a policy will protect you in the event that another driver collides with you and doesn’t have adequate coverage.

There is insurance designed to cover all of our own medical expenses if you’re in an accident and most new vehicle buyers purchase comprehensive policies that cover damage caused by vandalism, weather, and virtually any other mishap. If you are still making payments on a financed vehicle, the lender will generally require proof of comprehensive coverage as a term of the loan.

Those are only a few of the different forms of coverage that may be involved in covering your Ford. Different policies have different benefits and various insurance companies offer variations on the same theme. You may be interested in hearing about some of the other forms of protection they offer when insuring your wheelchair van.

Information of Rate Determinations
Now that we’ve discussed what you’re buying, we can explore why it costs so much! Most of us find insurance rather expensive and many wonder why different people may be subject to wildly different rates. There are a number of factors at play.

The most significant factor in setting insurance rates is the driver. Insurance companies evaluate data and look at multiple variables to determine how likely you are to be in an accident or to file a claim.

That’s why a 45-year old with a perfect driving record pays less for the same coverage than an 18-year old who’s already collected numerous. Your age is just one example of the many demographic variables influencing your rates. Your driving history is another.

Unfortunately, that means you’ll pay more than most people when you insure your Ford wheelchair van. Even if you are a fantastic driver, the overall statistics do indicate that drivers with disabilities are more likely to be involved in claims and accidents. US federal law prohibits insurance companies from discrimination based on disability, but they can consider those statistics when determining rates.

Your Ford wheelchair van will also influence how much you pay for your insurance. Again, the insurance companies base their rates on all available data and they have a very good idea of how much different vehicle types cost to repair and how likely they are to be involved in a claim. That’s why a sports car will cost more to insure than a dull four-door sedan.

It’s also another reason while you will be paying more than the average for your wheelchair van insurance. Wheelchair vans tend to cost a great deal to repair and data does indicate that they are more likely than many vehicle types to be involved in insurance claims. Additionally, wheelchair van owners need to be certain that their special equipment and modifications are insured. That drives up the price of their policies even more.

Insurance can be complicated and you need to be considerate when making decisions. Having at least a basic understanding of coverage types and the factors influencing the price of insurance should help.

Spinal Cord Injury Information – Will You Stand For Those Who Can’t?

Spinal Cord Injury Facts & Statistics

Who Do Spinal Cord Injuries Affect in the United States?
  • 250,000 Americans are spinal cord injured.
  • 52% of spinal cord injured individuals are considered paraplegic and 47% quadriplegic.
  • Approximately 11,000 new injuries occur each year.
  • 82% are male.
  • 56% of injuries occur between the ages of 16 and 30.
  • The average age of spinal cord injured person is 31.
  • SCI injuries are most commonly caused by:
    • Vehicular accidents 37%
    • Violence 28%
    • Falls 21%
    • Sports-related 6%
    • Other 8%
  • The most rapidly increasing cause of injuries is due to violence; vehicular accident injuries are decreasing in number.
  • 89% of all SCI individuals are discharged from hospitals to a private home, 4.3% are discharged to nursing homes.
  • Only 52% of SCI individuals are covered by private health insurance at time of injury.

What Do Spinal Cord Injuries Really Cost?
  • Length of initial hospitalization following injury in acute care units: 15 days
  • Average stay in rehabilitation unit: 44 days
  • Initial hospitalization costs following injury: $140,000
  • Average first year expenses for a SCI injury (all groups): $198,000
  • First year expenses for paraplegics: $152,000
  • First year expenses for quadriplegics: $417,000
  • Average lifetime costs for paraplegics, age of injury 25: $428,000
  • Average lifetime costs for quadriplegics, age of injury 25: $1.35 million
  • Percentage of SCI individuals who are covered by private health insurance at time of injury 52%
  • Percentage of SCI individuals unemployed eight years after injury 63%. (Note: unemployment rate when this article was written was 4.7%)
 Source: The University of Alabama National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center – March 2002

Number of New Injuries Per Year
32 injuries per million population or 7800 injuries in the US each year

Most researchers feel that these numbers represent significant under- reporting. Injuries not recorded include cases where the patient instantaneously or soon after the injury, cases with little or no remaining neurological deficit, and people who have neurologic problems secondary to trauma, but are not classified as SCI. Researchers estimate that an additional 20 cases per million (4860 per year) die before reaching the hospital.

Total Number of People with SCI
  • 82% male, 18% female
  • Highest per capita rate of injury occurs between ages 16-30
  • Average age at injury – 33.4
  • Median age at injury – 26
  • Mode (most frequent) age at injury 19
  • Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of SCI (44%), followed by acts of violence (24%),falls (22%) and sports (8%), other (2%)
  • 2/3 of sports injuries are from diving
  • Falls overtake motor vehicles as leading cause after age 45
  • Acts of violence and sports cause less injuries as age increases
  • Acts of violence have overtaken falls as the second most common source of spinal cord injury
  • Marital status at injury:
    • Single 53%
    • Married 31%
    • Divorced 9%
    • Other 7%
  • 5 years post-injury:
    • 88% of single people with SCI were still single vs. 65% of the non-SCI population
    • 81% of married people with SCI were still married vs. 89% of the non-SCI population
  • Employment status among persons between 16 and 59 years of age at injury:
    • Employed 58.8%
    • Unemployed 41.2%
      (includes: students, retired, and homemakers)
  • Employed 8 years post-injury:
    • Paraplegic 34.4%
    • Quadriplegic 24.3%

People who return to work in the first year post-injury usually return to the same job for the same employer. People who return to work after the first year post-injury either worked for different employers or were students who found work.

How are spinal injuries caused?
Until the most recent figures were released by NSCIA in August, 1995, these were considered as the major causes of spinal cord injuries. See Answer to # 4 and Dr. Wise Youngís statistics in Section 2 for all the most recent demographics. One of the most surprising findings is that acts of violence have now overtaken falls as the second most common source of spinal cord injury,  as of the 1995 findings.

Previous To 1995:

  • Motor vehicles 48%
  • Falls 21%
  • Sports 14% (66% of which are caused in diving accidents)
  • Violence 15%
  • Other 2%

The Injury

Since 1988, 45% of all injuries have been complete, 55% incomplete. Complete injuries result in total loss of sensation and function below the injury level. Incomplete injuries result in partial loss. “Complete” does not necessarily mean the cord has been severed. Each of the above categories can occur in paraplegia and quadriplegia.

Except for the incomplete-Preserved motor (functional), no more than 0.9% fully recover, although all can improve from the initial diagnosis.

Overall, slightly more than 1/2 of all injuries result in quadriplegia. However, the proportion of quadriplegics increase markedly after age 45, comprising 2/3 of all injuries after age 60 and 87% of all injuries after age 75.

92% of all sports injuries result in quadriplegia.

Most people with neurologically complete lesions above C-3 die before receiving medical treatment. Those who survive are usually dependent on mechanical respirators to breathe.

50% of all cases have other injuries associated with the spinal cord injury.

Most Frequent Neurological Category
Quadriplegia, incomplete 31.2%
Paraplegia, complete 28.2%
Paraplegia, incomplete 23.1%
Quadriplegia, complete 17.5%

 

Hospitalization
(Important: This section applies only to individuals who were admitted to one of the hospitals designated as “Model” SCI centers by the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research.)

Over 37% of all cases admitted to the Spinal Cord Injury System sponsored by the NIDRR arrive within 24 hours of injury. The mean time between injury and admission is 6 days.

Only 10-15% of all people with injuries are admitted to the NIDRR SCI system. The remainder go to CARF facilities or to general hospitals in their local community.

It is now known that the length of stay and hospital charges for acute care and initial rehabilitation are higher for cases where admission to the SCI system is delayed beyond 24 hours. Average length of stay (1992):
Quadriplegics 95 days
Paraplegics 67 days
All 79 days

Average charges (1990 dollars) Note: Specific cases are considerably higher.
Quadriplegics $118,900
Paraplegics $ 85,100
All $ 99,553

Source of payment acute care:
Private Insurance 53%
Medicaid 25%
Self-pay 1%
Vocational Rehab 14%
Worker’s Comp 12%
Medicare 5%
Other 2%

Ongoing medical care: (Many people have more than one source of payment.)
Private Insurance 43%
Medicare 25%
Self-pay 2%
Medicaid 31%
Worker’s Compensation 11%
Vocational Rehab 16%

After the Hospital
Residence at discharge
Private Residence 92%
Nursing Home 4%
Other Hospital 2%
Group Home 2%

There is no apparent relationship between severity of injury and nursing home admission, indicating that admission is caused by other factors (i.e. family can’t take care of person, medical complications, etc.) Nursing home admission is more common among elderly persons.

Each year 1/3 to 1/2 of all people with SCI are re-admitted to the hospital. There is no difference in the rate of re-admissions between persons with paraplegia and quadriplegia, but there is a difference between the rate for those with complete and incomplete injuries.


Survival
Overall, 85% of SCI patients who survive the first 24 hours are still alive 10 years later, compared with 98% of the non-SCI population given similar age and sex.

Causes of Death
The most common cause of death is respiratory ailment, whereas, in the past it was renal failure. An increasing number of people with SCI are dying of unrelated causes such as cancer or cardiovascular disease, similar to that of the general population. Mortality rates are significantly higher during the first year after injury than during subsequent years.

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Every 48 minutes someone in the U.S. is paralyzed from a spinal cord injury.  Millions worldwide are living with paralysis as a result and living with the knowledge that there is currently no cure for their injury.

In an effort to raise awareness about the critical need for better treatments and preventive measures, September has been designated National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month by the U.S. Senate, the result of a resolution co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).  To bolster the resolution’s message, we are launching an awareness campaign lasting the entire month of September.

The goal of the campaign is to ask “Will You Stand Up For Those Who Can’t?”  The intent is to create a national conversation about the devastation of paralysis, and to bring this condition to the forefront of public awareness.

“Paralysis does not discriminate.  People need to realize that paralysis can happen to anyone at any time,” said Nick Buoniconti.  “But the reality of today’s statistics can’t be disputed.  Every 48 minutes another person in the U.S. will become paralyzed. That is simply unacceptable. Each of us must do what we can to make a difference.  I am personally asking you, will you stand up for those who can’t and do one or more of the following?”

We are asking our friends and supporters to:

Make a donation in honor of a loved one, caregiver, scientist or organization who is working to improve the life of those injured.  If you would like to host a small fundraising party at your house, please email bfinfo@med.miami.edu and we will send you more information.

“The inspiring work of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has touched the lives of millions of young athletes, accident victims and troops in harm’s way and I commend them for it,” said Sen. Rubio. “By designating September as National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, I hope we can further educate the public about how crippling accidents can be prevented while promoting the important work being done to help victims walk again.”

Financing Options for Wheelchair Vans Massachusetts and New England

Financing Options

The New VMI Northstar Wheelchair van Conversion Toyota Sienna financing options

DID YOU KNOW? In most towns you are exempt from excise tax if you don’t pay state sales tax on your mobility van. See the bottom of this page for a list of most cities and towns in MA and RI for you to check on your options.

VMi New England offers on-site bank financing. Our goal is to provide you with the vehicle that will fit your needs. Here are some financing options we have available for you on-site:

CONSUMER LOANS – We offer adaptive mobility van banking programs that can offer up to 10 years financing on a wheelchair handicap van. Even if your credit is less than perfect we will work hard to get you financed!!

INDEPENDENT LIVING CENTERS – A nonprofit organization that helps grant people money so they can maintain an independent lifestyle.

INDEPENDENT MOBILITY SYSTEMS – IMS used to offer long-term financing on all new purchases. All loan transactions are done on-site and guaranteed to help fit your needs.

INSURANCE COMPANIES – We will help you work with your insurance company to make sure you are receiving the maximum your benefits allow.

KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS – May be able to help to familles that have children with disabilities. (up to age 20)

MANUFACTURERS REBATES – Major manufacturers often offer rebates. We’ll help you process all paperwork.

MEDICAID – In certain instances, Medicaid will pay for vehicle adaptive equipment. This falls under the “Medicaid waiver” and each state administers this program differently. We will be able to process you Medicaid claims for you as of January 2003.

PFS – Patient Financing offers long-term financing fit for your budget. PFS will finance any medical related equipment up to $25,000.00.

TOYOTA FINANCING– We can now get financing on Toyota Sienna wheelchair vans.

VETERANS ADMINISTRATION – Provides help for veterans.

VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION – A State funded organization that’s goal is to provide individuals with the means they need to get back into the workforce.