According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), one of the leading causes of death and disability among American children and young adults is traumatic brain injury (TBI). They estimate that 1.5 million Americans suffer a TBI each year.
Of those who incur a TBI:
- 230,000 are hospitalized and live
- 50,000 will die
- 80,000 to 90,000 experience the beginning of long-term disability
Traumatic brain injuries can occur from automobile collisions, falls, participating in sports and recreation, and various other activities and accidents. Some are relatively minor, potentially resulting in a brief loss of consciousness and a few days of recovery. Others are much more severe and will have far-reaching implications and life-long complications.
Brain injuries are one of the worst types of injuries sustainable. They are a typical driving force in many personal injury claims, and rightfully so. Depending on the severity of a brain injury, the victim might be unable to care for themselves or their family the way they once did, lose their career, and even experience personality changes.
Brain injuries can also come with a hefty price tag. If you or someone you love was recently diagnosed with a TBI, you might wonder what the long-term impacts will be and how much someone can receive for pain and suffering then contact a brain injury lawyer.
What Types of Accidents Most Commonly Cause Brain Injuries?
A traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired brain injury (ABI) or one that is not hereditary or happens at birth. A TBI occurs when fragile neuronal brain tissue gets damaged by impact or force, such as the force created by a car stopping suddenly.
A TBI is one injury that can occur in many different types of situations, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bus accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sporting accidents
The Importance of Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injuries
Realizing that a traumatic brain injury is one of the most complicated and costly personal injuries someone can suffer from, many victims and their families reach out to a seasoned personal injury lawyer to help them recover their damages. This assistance is essential if the injured party requires extensive medical care, therapies, or long-term care. In addition, the costs of caring for someone with a brain injury can be astronomical.
To receive compensation for your injuries, your personal injury attorney must prove these elements of negligence are true in your claim:
- Another person or party owed you a duty of care, for instance, to repair walkways, provide safety equipment in the workplace, or yield to oncoming traffic
- That person or party breached their duty to you
- Their breach caused your accident and injuries
- Your severe injuries caused your damages
The Value of Your Traumatic Brain Injury Case
The hard costs of a TBI can be astronomical and never-ending, and they don’t include pain and suffering and other intangible losses victims suffer. Some victims require a lifetime of medical care and rehabilitation. Some may never go back to work. The direct medical costs of TBI and other related expenses, including lost productivity, are over $60 billion in the U.S. annually.
The lifetime costs for a survivor of a TBI can total at least $4 million. Victims who require rehabilitation will pay an average of $200,000 or more instead of around $18,000 for those who don’t need rehab. Patients who succumb to TBI injuries will incur an average of $450,000 in medical bills before death. In addition, employment support to help TBI survivors who can return to work can cost an average of $10,000 for the first year alone.
Keep in mind these are only some examples of the average costs of TBI, and each patient is different. You should never depend on averages to calculate your losses, as you have your own treatment plan and set of challenges and expenses. Have your brain injury lawyer calculate your unique losses from your circumstances.
Your medical bills, lost income, and other expenses related to your injuries make up for your special or economic damages or losses. Typically, pain and suffering and other general damages are worth approximately 1.5 to five times the amount of your economic damages. So, the more severe and extensive your TBI, the more compensation you should receive for pain and suffering.
Other factors that can affect how much your traumatic brain injury claim is worth:
- The circumstances of your case
- The severity of your traumatic brain injury
- If you had a secondary injury
- The length and complexity of your hospitalization and medical treatment
Individuals suffering from a traumatic brain injury deserve more compensation due to the potential for a long-term or permanent disability. Your personal injury attorney can help maximize your compensation and ensure you are paid fairly for your damages. Speaking with an attorney is the best way to find out what your TBI case is worth, including the compensation you can receive for pain and suffering.
The Long-Term Effects of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The consequences of a brain injury will vary from one TBI patient to the next. However, their experience can depend on their age, what part of their brain sustained the trauma, the degree of the trauma, the rehabilitation available, and how well they respond to medications and other therapies.
Sadly, even patients who appear to have fully recovered can have long-term symptoms they have to live with for the rest of their lives.
The Long-Term Financial Impacts of TBI
There’s no denying that one significant long-term impact of a TBI is financial. The estimated annual direct and indirect TBI costs are $76.5 billion.
Patients who won’t ever recover fully or who will take a long time to recover from a TBI will have ongoing expenses related to their medical care, daily care, and rehabilitation. Suppose the negligence of another person caused the TBI.
In that case, they must factor these long-term expenses into their compensation. Many times, attorneys employ the expertise of life-care specialists to help calculate what these future costs will be.
Assistance with Self-Care
Brain injuries can lead to severe cognitive disabilities. Even though someone has the physical ability to care for themselves, they may not have the mental capacity to do so. Simple activities of daily living, such as brushing one’s teeth or getting dressed, may pose impossible for someone with a TBI to perform independently.
TBI victims may never drive again and need assistance getting to and from appointments or work (if they continue to hold down a job). Sometimes, family members will take on the role of helping with self-care for a TBI victim. Still, victims often need to hire professional caregivers to give them respite.
Long-term implications of a TBI that can impact self-care include:
- Struggles with concentration, attention, and focus
- Memory problems (short- and long-term)
- Slow mental processing
- Issues with language processing
- Problems with executive functions include planning and determining right from wrong), initiating appropriate actions, and inhibiting inappropriate actions.
Employment or Productivity Losses
After sustaining a severe TBI, the victim may be unable to return to work. In cases where they can’t return to the job they held immediately preceding their injury, they can pick up a different position within the same company or at another company. The result will depend upon the type of job or career the person had before their injury and what kind of mental and physical demands it entails.
It’s easy to understand how one’s job might suffer, as a TBI can cause problems with:
- Spatial awareness
- Awareness of what is socially acceptable
- Understanding and integrating information received through the five senses (sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste)
- Issues with speech and language
Social and Familial Relationships
TBIs with long-term implications undoubtedly impact the social life and interpersonal relationships of the victim and their family.
Common social-emotional or behavioral effects experienced by TBI patients include:
- Dependent behaviors
- Denial or lack of awareness
- Fluctuating emotions
- Lack of motivation
- Lack of inhibition
Physical Effects of TBIs
A TBI isn’t a broken bone, a badly bruised organ, or another type of physical injury. It’s a severe injury to the brain that can impact nearly everything about the victim’s physical life in the future.
Physical manifestations of a TBI might include:
- Sleep disorders (insomnia, sleeping too much, etc.)
- Easily worn out or fatigued.
- Appetite changes
- Difficulty swallowing
- Physical paralysis or spasticity
- Ongoing pain
- Inability to control bladder and bowel functions
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
- Unexpected hormonal variations and changes
Unfortunately, it can take quite some time to determine how far-reaching the effects will be after sustaining a TBI. For example, it may be a year or more until doctors and specialists understand what specific effects a TBI patient might have and how long they might have them.
Don’t Wait; Time is Short
TBI victims and their families must know their state’s statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is a legal deadline determining how long a personal injury claimant has to file a lawsuit after suffering an injury. Typically, most states have a minimum of a one or two-year statute of limitations, and some have as many as four years.
If the deadline goes by and the victim or their personal injury attorney on their behalf hasn’t filed their lawsuit, they lose the right to use the civil court system to pursue damages, essentially leaving them with no other options. This failure can ruin TBI victim and their family financially.
Injured parties and their families should also be aware that the deadlines vary by state and can change with other variables. For example, if the person liable for causing the TBI works for the government, the claim will have a different statute of limitations that is usually shorter than if the claim weren’t against the government.
At the same time, you never want to settle a TBI claim too quickly. Doing so may preclude you from getting the compensation you need later on for your rehabilitation and long-term care. You may need to wait until you have reached what is known as maximum medical improvement before settling so that you know what kind of expenses you are facing for the rest of your life.
Hiring a brain injury attorney can help immensely in this process and ensure that your case gets filed within your state’s statute of limitations but not too soon after your injury that you don’t know what your case is truly worth.
Legal Concerns of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries are medically and legally complicated. Brain injuries need immediate medical attention, expert medical care, and legal experience.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you with numerous legal matters surrounding your injury, including:
- Preserving evidence
- Protecting your legal claim
- Insurance issues
- Filing Your TBI claim
- Obtaining financial compensation for an injury
- Healthcare privacy rights
- Product liability matters
- Social Security benefits
Suppose you or a loved one suffers a traumatic brain injury that can be the fault of another party. In that case, you must speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. You need to be sure that you are fairly compensated for such a severe injury, particularly if you or your loved one will endure long-term effects. You deserve compensation not only for your medical and rehabilitation expenses but also for your pain and suffering. The representation of an attorney can boost your claim’s value.
Remember that the lifetime financial burden for one person surviving a severe TBI can be around $4 million. The good news is that it doesn’t cost a dime to meet with a lawyer to discuss your case, as most personal injury attorneys work on a contingency fee basis. In other words, unless they secure compensation on your behalf, you don’t owe them anything for their services.
Even if the insurance company for the party who caused the injury offers to accept full responsibility for your injuries, contact an attorney. You will only know if you are receiving fair compensation for your claim if you do.
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