Someone who suffers a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will experience monumental medical costs upfront. It is typical for a TBI patient to need extensive hospitalization immediately after the accident that caused the injury, such as car accidents. However, the initial costs for medical care will not likely be the most expensive financial drains when all things are considered.
What is the Cost of Brain Injury Rehabilitation?
The truth of TBI injury care that most people do not expect or understand is future and ongoing care will be significant. Medical insurance can quickly be expended, sometimes only in a matter of days or weeks. To make certain you are not stuck with bills you cannot afford or missing out on necessary treatments because your insurance runs out, you must consider pursuing compensation from any liable parties.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the in-hospital costs per patient alone ranged from $2,130 to $401,808 depending on length of stay and surgical interventions used. These costs are not taking into consideration the services required once released from the hospital.
To begin, think about the future traumatic brain injury costs, such as:
- Rehabilitation: A traumatic brain injury can hinder or eliminate behaviors and abilities many of us take for granted. Day-to-day activities may be a significant challenge for someone with a TBI. Rehabilitative therapies are a great way to relearn or regain talents, but sessions may need to be scheduled routinely – and also for many years, or for the rest of your life. These may include brain injury occupational therapy, brain injury speech therapy, or brain injury inpatient rehabilitation. The cost of continued rehabilitation can accrue to extreme amounts.
- Reduced earning potential: Living with a TBI is a challenge when it triggers numerous side effects, such as memory problems. It can be an unreasonable challenge to try to find and keep gainful employment if you have a TBI. Unfortunately, it is possible that your earning potential will be noticeably reduced. This amounts to a real cost that you should be granted through compensation from the liable party.
- Adjustments to living space: If you are facing physical limitations due to you a TBI, then you will need adjustments to your living space and daily routines. For example, you might be dependent on a wheelchair to get around comfortably. As such, you will need to have a wheelchair ramp installed at the front of your property, or an automated chair lift for any staircases. The cost of making these new adjustments to your household can be expensive.
- Lessened enjoyment of life: You must also consider the lasting noneconomic damages caused by your TBI. You may experience a lessened enjoyment of life due to debilitations caused by your injury, as well as a feeling of lingering trauma from the accident. You deserve compensation that considers noneconomic damages, like pain and suffering.
What are the Common Long-Term Effects of Brain Injury?
Any long-term effects of TBI will depend on which area of the brain experienced the most trauma. The frontal lobe or forehead area of the brain is what regulates reasoning, problem solving, judgement, impulse control, and planning, so a traumatic brain injury there would potentially cause the individual to engage in riskier or inappropriate behavior. An injury to the left side of the brain may lead to issues with logic, speech difficulties, or trouble understanding others. Injuries to the right side of the brain can cause problems processing visual information, neglect, or hinder the ability to perform familiar tasks, known as apraxia.
Those who experience long-term effects will also depend on how severe the trauma had been. In more severe TBI cases, individuals may experience long-term effects including:
- Memory loss
- Visual changes
- Balance issues
- Reduced language skills
- Mood swings
The more severe the brain injury, the more physical and cognitive impairments are present, as well as issues with problem-solving, difficulty sleeping, and depression.
However, even those with a mild traumatic brain injury can potentially result in serious long-term effects, including cognitive function impairments, issues with movement coordination, changed social behaviors, and an overall decrease in quality of life. Some reports have even shown that individuals with a history of concussion experience a higher rate of depression and dementia.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE)
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is another form of traumatic brain injury that could result in serious long-term complications. Considered a progresssive, fatal brain disease, it is commonly associated with repeated TBIs, such as concussions and repeated blows to the head. This is most commonly found in athletes participating in high-contact sports, such as football or boxing, as well as military veterans. CTE has been associated with symptoms such as problems with memory and thinking, confusion, personality changes, and/or new erratic behaviors such as aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Individuals may also have trouble paying attention, organizing thoughts, or have difficulty with balance and motor skills. These symptoms generally do not occur until years or even decatdes after the initial brain injuries.
Brain Injury Insurance Coverage and Compensation
Navigating health insurance isn’t always straightforward, even when using it for general health and wellness needs. When it comes to ensuring coverage for a TBI, it’s important to have an understanding of your private health insurance coverage to avoid any potential gaps. When providing coverage to TBI patients, a variety of parameters are considered, including the patient’s age, cause of injury, severity of injury, post-resuscitation Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, post-resuscitation blood pressure, post-resuscitation pupillary reactivity, duration of any post-traumatic amnesia, intracranial pressures, ability to balance the body, effect on cognitive skills, and more.
There are ways you can maximize your coverage after a TBI through state health care mandates. Applying for compensation through the state will require documentation of the progress and condition throughout recovery, including pictures, videos, and supporting documents. If you are still able to maintain insurance coverage, be sure to save claim files and don’t be afraid to fight against a refused claim or reduced coverage.
Unfortunately, because most people in the United States receive insurance coverage through their jobs, a TBI that results in severe damage and hinders their ability to return to work will mean loss of coverage. This is when receiving compensation for your TBI is absolutely essential as it will allow you to maintain necessary care and therapies to improve overall quality of life.
Get the Help You Need after a TBI – Call a St. Louis Brain Injury Attorney
At The Simon Law Firm in St. Louis, we believe that everyone should be treated fairly and respectfully after suffering a significant injury due to someone else’s mistakes. If you or a loved one have a brain injury and struggle to meet financial obligations due to high medical bills and continued costs of care, please let us know about what happened during a free initial consultation. Using our extensive experience taking on high-stakes injury cases, we can help determine if you have a claim, and what to do next if you do. Contact us today for more information.