Traumatic brain injuries, or TBI’s for short, can occur in a variety of types of accidents. Common causes of TBI’s include car accidents, birth injuries, anesthesia errors, assaults, sports-related accidents, and slip, trip, and fall accidents. Every brain injury is different and affects victims in different ways. The prognosis, short- and long-term health effects, recovery process, and medical costs for treatment can all vary considerably depending on each unique case. Here is an overview of some things you might expect after a brain injury.
Basic Recovery Process for a TBI
There are four main types of brain injuries:
- Closed Head Injuries – Occurs when the brain hits the inside of the skull.
- Penetrating Injuries – Happens when something such as a bullet fractures the skull and damages the brain.
- Toxic Injuries – A result of the brain’s exposure to hazardous chemicals. The recovery process for a TBI will depend on the type and severity of the injury. All brain injuries require emergency medical care.
- Anoxic Injuries – Stem from lack of oxygen to the brain, such as during a birth injury.
Treatment for a mild TBI, such as a concussion that did not result in loss of consciousness, typically involves lots of rest and patience. Symptoms may last a few days or a few weeks, but they should eventually fade away with no lasting damage. Moderate TBI treatment may include rehabilitation to regain any lost cognitive or physical abilities. Again, most patients will not suffer permanent brain damage from a moderate traumatic brain injury.
Victims with severe TBI’s may need medications to limit secondary brain damage, such as anti-seizure or coma-inducing drugs. They may also require emergency surgery to remove blood clots, reduce swelling of the brain, or repair skull fractures. These patients often require lengthy rehabilitation and therapy sessions to regain lost abilities. After six month with a traumatic brain injury, the improvement process slows down substantially. There might be positive progression after this time, but it varies from case to case. Continuing prescribed medications and rehabilitations will help to improve the chances of recovery.
Short and Long-Term Costs of a TBI
Traumatic brain injuries typically result in steep medical bills – sometimes for life. Medical costs associated with TBIs include the cost of an ambulance, series of tests such as CT and MRI scans, surgeries, extended hospital stays, and physical/mental therapy and rehabilitation sessions. A victim may also have lifestyle costs on top of the medical costs for TBI treatment if a brain injury results in permanent disability. For example, a TBI victim may need to purchase wheelchairs or modify their homes or vehicles to accommodate limited physical or cognitive abilities. Many people with TBIs need permanent in-home care from nurses, aids, or family members to take care of them, bathe them, and feed them.
The lifetime costs for TBI treatment can run from about $85,000 to more than $3 million depending on the severity of the injury. TBIs cost the United States about $48.3 billion every year, divided between hospitalization costs and the costs of fatalities. Medical costs are just the beginning of the expense list for people suffering with TBIs. You must also factor in costs such as lost wages and capacity to earn. A significant injury such as a TBI will result in needing time away from work. In the event of permanent disability, victims can lose their job or never be able to return to doing what they used to ever again. This can cost the victim hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential future wages.
Victims of negligence-related accidents with TBIs have a way to win back the immense costs of treatment and temporary or permanent disability. Filing a personal injury lawsuit against the party responsible for a car crash, medical mistake, premises liability accident, or defective product can lead to monetary compensation for all TBI-related costs. Compensation may also include recovery for intangible damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and lost quality of life. Always seek the help of an experienced personal injury attorney for your traumatic brain injury.