Determining the long-term costs of a brain injury
It can be very difficult to accurately estimate the lifelong costs of a traumatic brain injury.
There are millions of people across America living with the devastating consequences of a traumatic brain injury. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are more than 2.5 million new brain injuries each year, and that brain injuries come with an estimated annual expenditure of $76.5 billion in medical expenses and related costs. Regardless of whether the initial injury was classified as relatively mild or much more severe, the fact remains that the ramifications of any brain trauma can be both serious and long-lasting. For some people, a brain injury means that their entire lives change forever.
Brain injuries are not only among the most devastating physically, they also carry a huge economic impact for the victim. Information provided by The Brain Injury Institute reveals that medical treatment alone for even a “mild” injury to the brain (such as a minor concussion) can still be nearly $100,000, and that treating more serious brain injuries will cost a minimum of $3 million over the lifetime of the victim. Keep in mind that these are only the direct medical expenditures such as ER visits, provider co-pays, testing like X-rays and MRIs, and hospitalization. This doesn’t include any related costs the patient and their family will incur, which is often where the biggest financial impact is felt.
Seeing the entire financial picture
Much of the CDC’s estimated annual cost of brain injuries comes not in the form of hospital visits and medical costs – though those are very significant, with each TBI patient spending a minimum of $85,000 on care – but in related or indirect expenditures. These additional costs vary widely from patient to patient depending upon the initial injury, the level of care the patient needs, the prognosis for recovery, the patient’s support structure (family and friends who can help the patient with his or her recovery) and other factors.
It is important when handling a brain injury case that the total cost of the injury be accurately calculated, not just the direct medical expenses. Many of the most expensive related costs fall into several categories, including:
- Home rehabilitation is often necessary to remodel or retrofit homes to better accommodate people who have suffered traumatic injuries, even if the victim isn’t left paraplegic or quadriplegic as a result. This can include widening doors and hallways to accommodate crutches or walkers that the patient must rely on for stability, installing stair lifts and darkening or soundproofing rooms for patients who suffer from headaches related to their injuries, among other modifications.
- Lost wages and earning potential; many people who suffer a TBI are never the same again. With their injury comes a loss in cognitive function that virtually guarantees they won’t be able to return to their former career, particularly if it involved attention to detail and a need for analytical or critical thinking skills. Even with vocational/occupational retraining possible, there can still be a huge economic impact from this type of injury. This also goes for family members and other caregivers who must miss work or school to care for the patient as he or she recovers.
- Mental health consequences often come as a result of brain injuries, particularly depression and anxiety issues, which are rampant amongst brain injury survivors and their loved ones. This ties in to the frustration about the loss of independence the victim suffers as well as personality changes related to the injury and can affect both patients and their caregivers.
- Substance abuse can also come into play, particularly if the patient was left with chronic pain afterwards and takes opioid painkillers (which are notoriously linked to addiction issues) to manage it.
The costs of long-term care, uncovered medical expenditures, the draw-down of life insurance policies, the loss of retirement stability and more are also commonly associated with brain injuries.
The health of your loved one isn’t the only thing at stake in a brain injury case. While you and the patient must focus your time and energy on recovery and treatment, you need an ally working behind the scenes to ensure that the people responsible for the injury are held accountable for their actions. You need a law firm with the experience, resources and knowledge to both accurately and skillfully handle these difficult claims so that you don’t have to concern yourself with worrying if you’ll be able to finance care down the road.
When someone you care about has a brain injury caused by another person or company’s negligence, you need The Sasser Law Firm by your side. Call their Charlotte law office toll free at 866-770-8681, locally at 704-315-2584 or send them an email to schedule a free initial case consultation.