Financial Costs of Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of damage to the brain. Mild cases may result in a brief change in mental state or consciousness, while severe cases may result in extended periods of unconsciousness, coma, or even death.
While a price can’t be put on the cost of the emotional and physical issues that arise as a result of a brain injury, a price can be put on the financial burden that results from a brain injury. The monetary cost of brain injuries varies significantly and depends on the medical care, rehabilitation, and special services costs.
- The direct and indirect costs of traumatic brain injury in the U.S. have been estimated to be $48.3 billion annually.
- Lifetime costs for one person surviving a severe TBI can reach $4 million.
- An estimate of medical and non-medical per TBI survivor averages $151,587.
- Acute rehabilitation costs for survivors of a severe TBI have been shown to average about $1,000 a day and the average stay is about 55 days.
- Medical costs are highest for those who do not survive.
- Average costs rise dramatically for those individuals who undergo rehabilitation. In one study, after a 4-year followup, average costs for medical and long-term care services averaged $196,460 for survivors receiving rehabilitation services compared to $17,893 for those receiving no rehabilitation.
- One study showed that supported employment for helping TBI survivors return to work costs an average of $10,198 for the first year of service.
When a TBI happens the cost associated with the injury can cause difficulties immediately as families struggle to pay medical bills, as lost income impairs the ability to service debt and in the long term cognitive problems may affect financial management altogether. The patient and his or her family quickly can find themselves in a financial struggle as medical expenses continue to climb and wages are drastically altered.
With so many variables and little research, it is difficult to determine a cost in traumatic brain injury. Except to say that TBI is costly and very much affects the patient and family financially causing some to fall into poverty. Work may or may not be an option post-injury further damaging the financial outcome. Medical expenses may be required for the duration of the person’s life post injury creating a further spiral in finances.
While costs vary from individual to individual, the cost of brain injury is, for the most part, staggering. Because the overwhelming cost of brain injury can result in severe financial hardship for the survivor and his or her family, it is important that all sources of funding are evaluated. Because some sources of funding, specifically negligent parties, insurance companies, and governmental benefits, can be complex and difficult to navigate, those facing long-term financial responsibilities related to brain injury will benefit by securing experienced legal counsel. An experienced lawyer can help you maximize insurance and governmental benefits, and can also ensure that you receive any compensation due to you.
Some ways to help reduce costs of Traumatic Brain Injury
- Create a nationwide TBI prevention awareness program.
- Promote funding for research to improve TBI rehabilitation.
- Encourage funding for in-home interventions to educate caregivers about preventing TBI re-injury and long-term chronic complications.
Brain Injury Information
- Anatomy of the Brain
- Brain Injury Glossary
- Brain Injury Prevention
- Brain Injury Statistics
- Children’s Brain Injuries
- Common Causes of TBI
- Concussion Checklist
- Effects of Brain Injury
- Emotional Changes Associated with Brain Injury
- Financial Costs of Brain Injuries
- Football Brain Injuries
- Recovery from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Symptoms of Brain Injury
- TBI Frequently Asked Questions
- Treatment for TBI
- What is Traumatic Brain Injury?
- What To Do After a Concussion