- March 17, 2022
- Jed Strong
- Personal Injury
Brain injuries continue to pose a significant challenge for everyday people and their families, in terms of both their quality of life and their financial stability. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) too often go undiagnosed, and victims sustain considerable monetary and quality of life losses as a result. Those who seek medical treatment and care quickly discover health insurance coverage may not cover hospital bills and the peripheral costs associated with a brain injury.
At Strong Law, we provide determined, compassionate legal care for victims of TBI because we are keenly aware of the financial and emotional toll on loving families. If you or a loved one suffered a hard impact to the head, we urge you to seek medical attention. Then, carefully consider the potential losses you could suffer due to someone else’s carelessness.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury can result from a wide range of hard impacts to the skull. Brain injuries can occur from a penetration, such as gunshot wounds, or blunt force trauma from car collisions or slips and falls. Brain injuries differ greatly in severity, with some requiring only a few days of rest to recover. But moderate to severe TBIs can cause long-lasting and permanent damage that sometimes proves fatal.
Although relatively young adult males are overwhelmingly more statistically likely to suffer a TBI, our valued elders too often fall hard due to cluttered stairways, slippery floors, and other forms of negligence. Men and women who are involved in car crashes, play a sport, or suffer slips and falls are brain injury candidates. Even infants that are accidentally dropped can sustain a severe brain injury that goes undiagnosed. To understand the high cost associated with a brain injury, it’s essential to know the different degrees of the condition. These generally include the following.
- Mild Concussion: Sometimes referred to as an MTBI, mild concussions involve a seemingly brief departure from lucid consciousness. After sustaining a mild concussion, people feel woozy or dazed, or may pass out for up to 30 minutes. If feelings of confusion or memory loss persist for more than 24 hours, additional testing and immediate treatment may be necessary.
- Moderate TBI: Following a hard-impact fall or blow to the head, people who suffer a moderate TBI may lose consciousness for more than 30 minutes. Advanced testing may be necessary, and victims may have to stay home from work or school for upwards of a week.
- Severe TBI: High-speed car collisions, construction accidents, war, and deliberate violence leave victims unconscious for more than 24 hours. This level of trauma typically requires CT scans and a brain MRI to identify the extent of the trauma and injury. Victims of severe TBI could be sidelined from work indefinitely while incurring the cost of long-term treatment and care.
Cases involving TBI typically require a neurologist to conduct thorough examinations and determine the extent of memory loss, motor skill functions, and identify any adverse effects to hearing or vision. After suffering a brain injury, people can anticipate a battery of expensive tests.
What is the Average Cost of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The cost of a traumatic brain injury often proves highly subjective. Healthcare costs differ between municipalities, and each injury poses a specific challenge.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine, a wing of the National Institutes of Health, published cost-related findings. After considering more than 2,300 sources, its report indicated that in-hospital health care expenses ranged from $2,130 to $401,808 per victim. The study also reported the fact that in-hospital costs varied according to TBI severity and length of stay.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concurred that TBI costs rank high and uneven. The CDC also estimated the total national annual cost of non-fatal TBI conditions is more than $40.6 billion; one-time emergency room treatment costs hover above $6,620 each; and 11 days of lost wages at upwards of $1,600 on average are typical. What victims of traumatic brain injuries may not anticipate is that there are expenses beyond hospitalization.
Costs Associated with a Brain Injury
Research compiled by the CDC also revealed that brain injuries typically do not resolve themselves quickly. A recent study indicates that only 26 percent of people with moderate-to-severe brain injuries improved within five years. Another 22 percent remained the same, 30 percent experienced worsening symptoms, and 22 percent died. That means 74 percent of TBI victims and their families can expect prolonged health care costs or tragic funeral expenses. These rank among the common items that drive up the cost of TBI care and rehabilitation:
- Nursing Home Care
- Speech and Occupational Therapy
- Prescription Medications
- Purchasing a Wheelchair, Walker, or Crutches
- In-Home Services such as Food Preparation and Cleaning
- Transportation Expenses
- Handicap-Accessible Home Modifications
- Lost Wages or Earning Capacity
- Diminished Quality of Life.
Perhaps the costliest part of a debilitating brain injury revolves around loved ones. Victims often lose mobility and can no longer play with children and grandchildren. Physical and cognitive limitations may negatively affect the love and companionship of a spouse.
According to the data compiled by the Defense Medical Surveillance System, more than 449,000 members of the military were diagnosed with a brain injury from 2002 through 2021. While the majority of the brain injuries were viewed as mild, more than 48,000 were diagnosed as moderate, over 4,500 as severe, 5,500 were the result of skull penetration, and more than 21,000 were deemed as “Not Classifiable.” In a report to Congress, the CDC noted that TBI remains under-diagnosed and upwards of 5.3 million people in the U.S. live with a related disability.
How Can TBI Victims Recover Losses in Washington State?
Residents have up to three years to file a personal injury lawsuit following a TBI. State law also allows injured community members to secure compensation even if the incident was partially their fault. The state also does not necessarily put a cap on damages, and that bodes well for people who will require expensive long-term treatment and care.
Contact an Experienced Brain Injury Law Firm You Can Trust
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, it’s crucial to promptly contact an experienced personal injury law firm. A brain injury lawyer can review the facts of the incident, provide invaluable legal advice, and file a civil lawsuit on your behalf.
It would be fundamentally unfair for a negligent party to cause pain, suffering, and financial losses, while you and your loved ones bear these burdens. Call Strong Law at 206-741-1053 or use our online form to schedule a free TBI consultation today.