Before You Accept that Settlement, Consider the Long-term Costs of Brain Injuries
There is no doubt that suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is life changing. Many brain injuries are catastrophic events for both the victim and their family. In fact, more than 5.3 million Americans currently live with permanent disabilities after suffering a TBI.
Even when these injuries are not permanent, they often require extensive medical care and ongoing therapy to ensure a full recovery. The long-term costs of brain injuries can easily financially devastate victims and their families.
Depending on severity, the cost of medical care for a family member with a TBI can range from several thousand dollars to $3 million or more over their lifetime. The average cost, according to research conducted in 2000 by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, was about $85,000.
What are the costs associated with medical treatment?
If there is any indication of a TBI at the scene of an accident, the victim will require ambulance transportation to the hospital and emergency medical care.
Following arrival at the hospital, the injured party will undergo a number of imaging scans and other tests. With severe brain injuries, hospitalization in the intensive care unit or a special brain injury unit is typical. While moderate TBIs may not require this level of care, hospitalization for some length of time is often necessary.
Depending on the injury, a victim may spend a few days or several months in the hospital. Some people require surgery, while others only need inpatient care.
What types of therapies are necessary?
Once the doctors stabilize the health of a person with a TBI, it is time to begin a process known as brain injury rehabilitation. This consists of a number of therapies to address any loss of strength or skill caused by the injury. This often includes:
- Physical therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
- Cognitive therapy
Depending on the individual’s needs, this rehabilitation can take place in the hospital, in a special inpatient rehabilitation facility or on an outpatient basis. Some therapies can cost several hundreds or even thousands of dollars a week, especially for intensive inpatient rehabilitation programs.
How much does ongoing care cost?
Some people who suffer a major TBI require ongoing nursing care, or assistance with activities of daily living such as bathing and cooking. Trained nursing care — often only a few hours several times a week — costs an average of $42,328 annually in Florida.
Paying for an untrained companion or someone to provide basic assistance during the work day costs an average of $3,426 per month in Florida, according to LongTermCare.gov (run by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Adult daycare offers a little relief, but the costs still add up quickly.
Will we need to purchase medical or assistive devices?
In addition to medical care, rehabilitation and ongoing care, you must consider the expense of providing your loved one with the tools he needs to live to his full potential. Depending on the individual injury, the medical or assistive devices may include a special hospital bed, electric wheelchair, communication devices, chair lift, glasses, or a variety of other tools recommended by doctors or therapists.
What about lost wages?
When the family breadwinner suffers a TBI, it often leads to major financial issues for the family. Even when the injury is only minor or moderate, several weeks or months away from work can create stifling debt. With severe TBIs, the victim is often unable to return to work at all.
Even if it is a child or non-working spouse who suffers injuries, caretaking family members often miss weeks or months of work and struggle to pay the mortgage and utility bills. This is before even considering the enormous costs of medical care and other injury-related costs.
Are there noneconomic costs of a TBI?
Traumatic brain injuries also cause a number of noneconomic damages, such as:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship for a spouse or child
- Mental anguish
- Emotional distress
How can Coffey McPharlin help us with these costs?
If you or your loved one suffered a TBI in an accident due to the negligence of another person, you can file an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to recover the immediate and long-term costs of a brain injury.
A Ft. Lauderdale attorney from Coffey McPharlin can calculate the cost of your medical bills, rehabilitation, ongoing care costs, non-economic damages, and other accident-related expenses. We will fight for the full value of your claim, ensuring your family is able to focus on recovery instead of financial stress. Contact us today at 954-541-3194 to learn more.