Have you ever considered the total cost of a traumatic brain injury? If you've never experienced a catastrophic injury such as this, the answer is probably no. You might not realize how expensive medical bills will be or how long-term care costs will add up. You may not even factor in costs that are less tangible, including loss of enjoyment and loss of companionship.
To put you in a better position, we'd like to break down the costs of a TBI to give you a better idea of just how costly this injury can be.
Initial health care costs
According to brainandspinalcord.org, the monetary cost of a TBI can vary depending on its severity. The site breaks it down like this:
- Mild head injury: $85,000
- Moderate injury: $941,000
- Severe injury: $3 million
The reason for this range in costs is due to a number of factors including: the ambulance ride to the hospital, length of stay in the hospital, number of surgeries needed to stabilize the patient, work done by specialists, prescription costs and any initial rehabilitative services.
Because moderate and severe brain injuries can lead to disability, both temporary and permanent, it's possible that an accident victim may miss work while recovering. Calculating the cost of lost wages depends on two factors: how much an individual makes and how long they are out of work.
If we use the most recent data from the United States Census Bureau for Lowndes County as an example, an average individual with a TBI in our area could see a loss of roughly $3,000 a month in wages if they make the median household income of $36,834. If the individual is forced out of work indefinitely, this cost could total hundreds of thousands of dollars in the end.
Rehabilitation after a TBI consists of two parts: cognitive and physical rehabilitation. This can require frequent visits to doctors and specialists over the course of many months, which can add up quickly and total hundreds of thousands of dollars as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rehabilitation and acute care costs the United States between $9 billion and $10 billion each year.
Long-term health care
In many TBI cases, long-term health care is needed, either by nursing staff or family members. It's estimated that these costs -- which can include around-the-clock care, medical devices, prescriptions and the installment of ramps and other accommodations -- can lead to upwards of $1.8 million over a person's lifetime.
In cases where another person was negligent, noneconomic damages can be sought. Also called punitive damages, this form of compensation provides accident victims with a chance to recover monetary losses that are not easy to gauge, such as loss of enjoyment of life or pain and suffering. Because these costs are difficult to calculate, turning to an attorney for help is often advised when seeking them in a personal injury case.