Many Colorado Shooting Victims Face Lifelong Disability Expenses

After the mass shooting at the Colorado theater last month, many people, even those who live in the community, will return to their lives by the end of the year. For those who were injured, the nightmare is only just beginning.

Ten victims remain hospitalized and dozens more suffer from injuries sustained that night. Their lives are forever changed.

One victim lost her daughter, suffered a miscarriage and, due to her injuries, will no longer be able to work. As she looks ahead to a lifetime of disability, her family wonders how they will pay the medical bills that are already pouring in.

Although resources from around the country are arriving to help with the shooting victims' immediate needs, many of the injured will need a lifetime of care and treatment. As the rest of the world's focus shifts to the next news item, financial help dwindles, and victims of the tragedy will be left to deal with the costs on their own.

Hospitalization immediately following a gunshot wound can top $50,000 in less than a week. Disability insurance lawyer Frank Darras told USA Today in an interview that just one year in a rehabilitative facility can cost up to $240,000. Additionally, rehabilitation only deals with a portion of a gunshot victim's injuries. Psychiatric care and prescription medications, even with good medical coverage, can cost hundreds of dollars each month. If a victim is not able to return to work, he or she may no longer have any means of financial support and no health coverage.

Some of the shooting victims have head and brain injuries and some are permanently paralyzed. Many are fighting to physically recover and have not even started addressing the growing mounds of medical bills and insurance paperwork. Lawsuits are sure to follow as the injured begin to battle with insurance companies for payment of their bills.

Source: USA Today, "Colorado theater shooting victims face bills with wounds," August 3, 2012.

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