It is difficult to estimate the cost of caring for someone with a traumatic brain injury (TBI); however, the data suggests that TBI patients spend a substantial amount of out-of-pocket money on treatment. A study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma estimated that someone with a TBI will spend nearly $5,000 more on average.
There are many potential costs that could contribute to the overall expenses of brain injury treatment, primarily hospital stays and rehabilitation.
What Are the Costs Associated with a Traumatic Brain Injury?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the lifetime economic cost of TBI in the United States is approximately $76.5 billion for all who are afflicted. This includes direct and indirect medical costs.
Here are some of the things included in this cost:
Treatment costs can include anything from emergency care to rehabilitation over the lifetime of the injury. Examples of medical treatment expenses include:
- Ambulance and emergency room (ER)
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
- Trauma unit
- Prolonged hospitalization
- Prescription medications
If the TBI results in disability, the patient or their family will likely need to make modifications to their homes and cars. This can include expanding doorways, installing a stair lift or ramps, purchasing medical lifts, etc.
In-Home or Nursing Home Costs
If the patient is in a vegetative state or any other lifetime condition that requires constant care and daily living support, family members may choose to provide care at home or in a nursing home. This means hiring a home nurse or paying for a facility to provide that care.
Some victims of TBI require rehabilitation. Physical therapy is an essential rehabilitation process as it will help the patient re-learn and practice things like standing up and walking. Rehabilitation can be expensive depending on the patient’s insurance coverage.
Speech and Occupational Therapists
Depending on the severity of the injury, they may also need speech and occupational therapy. Any specialized treatment like this isn’t cheap, but ideally, insurance companies cover this necessary expense.
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Does Insurance Cover the Costs for a TBI?
Insurance should cover most of the costs for a TBI. However, your personal insurance plan may limit your coverage. Many people in the U.S. get insurance from their employers, trade unions, or professional associations, and not all coverage options are created equal.
If you are left with medical debt after receiving treatment for a TBI, some non-profit hospitals offer financial assistance or forgiveness programs. In addition, personal injury lawyers may be able to help you recover medical expenses and get out of debt with medical providers.
The Less-Direct Costs of Caring for Someone with a TBI
Apart from the direct medical-related costs, there are other damages for the carer and the patient, including:
Recovering or caring for someone recovering from a TBI can be time-consuming. This may result in missed shifts, lost paychecks, and lost benefits. In addition, serious TBIs may result in long-term or permanent inability to work.
Lost Quality of Life
Serious brain injuries can radically alter the way a person lives their life. For both patients and carers, this may result in a loss of quality of life or less enjoyment in things you used to love.
Loss of Consortium
In high-stress situations like these, relationships suffer. The physical and emotional consequences of an accident can affect personal relationships, and this is a significant loss for everyone involved.
Costs like these may be compensable with a personal injury action. Just as it is possible to recover the financial costs of caring for someone with a TBI, it is also possible to recover compensation for these significant personal and interpersonal losses.
Long-Term Disabilities After a TBI Are a Common Cost of TBI
Millions of people in the U.S. live with a disability due to a TBI. The effects of these injuries vary according to the cause, type, and severity. Traumatic brain injuries result in different short and long-term issues that affect:
- Behavior: This can include personality changes, impairments in behavioral control, aggression, anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation.
- Sensation: This includes sensitivity to touch, impaired perception, vision loss, and hearing loss.
- Motor Function: This includes loss of balance, impaired coordination, and extreme weakness.
- Cognitive Function: This mainly includes problems with memory and attention.
Caring for someone with significant cognitive and physical disability costs more than just financial hardship. While your loved one is suffering, you have a difficult job that may impact your own quality of life. These costs, personal, emotional, and mental, can also be claimed in a personal injury action.
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Isaacs & Isaacs Personal Injury Lawyers Want to Help You Financially Recover
Estimating the cost of caring for someone with a catastrophic injury like TBI can be challenging given that each injury and each family is unique. However, a traumatic brain injury lawyer or a team member can help you evaluate what you’ve paid and what you will pay for this care, so you can pursue compensation from the person who caused the accident.
We have recovered more than $1 billion in settlements for our clients, and our attorneys have over 400 years of combined legal experience. Contact us for a free consultation.