Life After a Traumatic Brain Injury
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there were more than 220,000 hospitalizations because of traumatic brain injuries in 2019. In 2020, there were more than 64,000 deaths from them. On average, there were 611 hospitalizations and 176 deaths every day in the United States from traumatic brain injuries. Those statistics did not include the injuries that may have gone untreated or were only treated in the emergency room without any follow-up care.
In California, this type of injury is becoming more common and is often considered a personal injury when it is associated with accidents. The state has crowded roadways, and there are many types of traffic accidents that leave people with serious brain injuries. Personal injury attorneys can help victims of accidents after they sustain injuries. It is important to understand what a traumatic brain injury is, its potential short-term or long-term effects and its potential costs.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
This type of injury typically occurs as a result of a sudden and forceful impact against the head. The injury may be mild, moderate or severe. Its effects can vary widely and may be temporary or permanent. People often require rehabilitation and proper treatment to see improvements in abilities. Traumatic brain injuries can produce physical and psychological effects.
What Are the Main Causes of TBIs?
While some traumatic brain injuries that are penetrating come from bullets or shrapnel, others that are nonpenetrating are more common. They typically include some form of accident. These are some of the common accidental causes of traumatic brain injuries:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Construction accidents
- Dangerous premises accidents
Pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists are all at a disadvantage when they are struck by vehicles. Even with the proper headgear, it is still possible for these victims to suffer traumatic brain injuries.
Based on data from 11 studies that included a total of 2,769 people who suffered traumatic brain injuries from accidents, 43% were in automobile accidents. About 30% were in motorcycle accidents, and 27% were pedestrians. In a separate study that included a total of 1,753 people who suffered traumatic brain injuries due to accidents, 40% were driving a car, and 14% were bicyclists. For that study, pedestrians and motorcyclists were combined and comprised 23% of victims. The National Institutes of Health published the studies. More than 60% of the victims were between the ages of 15 and 35.
Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Depending on severity and the location of the injury in the brain, specific long-term effects can vary. People who suffer trauma to the left side of the brain may experience difficulties speaking or understanding. They may also have difficulties with logic. Individuals who suffer injuries to the right side of the brain may have difficulties performing tasks and processing information based on what they see. For example, a person with a right-sided injury may be able to identify what a toothbrush is but may not remember how to use it. These are some potential long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury:
- Mood swings
- Visual changes
- Reduced language skills
- Balance problems
- Memory loss
Short-Term TBI Effects
While many people who suffer traumatic brain injuries have long-term effects, some are fortunate enough to only have short-term effects. However, these can still be painful and cause plenty of difficulties. Short-term effects are usually associated with mild traumatic brain injury. In milder cases, the effects may resolve within 30 days to 90 days. Some people may recover completely, and others may have one or more long-term effects that linger. These are some short-term effects that people often experience with milder injuries:
- Noise sensitivity
- Light sensitivity
- Balance disruption
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mental fatigue
Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Treatment plans vary based on severity. People often receive one or more of the following types of treatments:
- Physical therapy
- Speech therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Vocational counseling
- Psychological therapy
- Cognitive therapy
What Are the Long-Term Costs of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
According to reports from 2016, the overall cost of non-fatal traumatic brain injuries to the United States healthcare system was $40.6 billion. So, how much is the lifetime cost of a traumatic brain injury? Experts estimate that lifetime costs associated with TBIs range between $600,000 and $1.86 million per person. However, those are only medical costs. The true cost of these injuries varies greatly and includes more than just medical expenses. When considering long-term costs, there may also be rehab, support or lost wages.
Initial and Ongoing Medical Costs
Recent research published by the National Institutes of Health showed that initial hospital costs for treating traumatic brain injuries varied between $2,130 and $401,808 per person. Those were for initial stays, and some required complex surgeries. The highest costs were associated with more severe injuries. Ongoing care costs vary every year and depend partially on insurance coverage. Some people also need medical equipment. Wheelchairs, canes or assistive devices can be expensive. Additionally, some people require prescription medications for a short time or for long-term use. Without good insurance, those expenses can be high.
Collectively, rehabilitation for traumatic brain injuries costs the American healthcare system between $9 billion and $10 billion every year. In many cases, people must stay in skilled-care facilities for at least the first part of the rehabilitation journey. Some people may require ongoing care at home for their injuries, and others may need to remain in skilled care permanently. Recent data shows that the average cost of a semi-private room in a skilled-care facility is a little over $4,000 per month. Private rooms can cost much more, and memory care unit rooms may cost between 30% and 50% more. Rehab treatment sessions cost an average of about $125 each. This may be higher or lower depending on the facility and insurance coverage.
In some instances, people who suffer traumatic brain injuries need more help than others. For instance, a person with a severe injury may need in-home assistance with bathing or other activities of daily living. If the person was also the primary caregiver for young children, there may be a need to hire in-home help for childcare, cooking or cleaning. Those expenses can add up fast, and this is especially true for people with more children.
If the person who suffered the injury was the primary earner in the family, lost income is a significant cost. While some people are unable to work at all, others with milder injuries may be able to train for a different type of work. However, the cost of training for a different career can be expensive as well. Also, most people with traumatic brain injuries require significant rehabilitative care before they regain enough abilities to work.
Compensation for Dealing With the Effects of TBI
The truth is that traumatic brain injuries cost people much more than money from loss of abilities and medical expenses. They can strain relationships and cause hardships for entire families, and they can completely change family dynamics. The people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries also lose some quality of life. While some may regain it with good care, others may not if their injuries are severe. If you or a loved one suffered a serious injury to your brain after an accident, you may be able to collect compensation for injuries. A personal injury attorney can help.
JT Legal Group has worked with many people who have been victims of car accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents or other transportation accidents. Our attorneys handle the process of seeking compensation from the responsible party or insurer. We consider all aspects of your personal injury, which include medical bills, rehab, projected long-term expenses, lost income, extra support, in-home care or any other expenses that apply in your situation. Our team looks at the unique factors of each case to ensure that we work toward a fair settlement or award. With our team on your side, you can focus on your health and dealing with the effects of your injury while we handle all the complex legal work. To learn more about traumatic brain injuries in California and seeking compensation, please contact us for a confidential, free consultation with a personal injury attorney.