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What is the lifetime cost of a traumatic brain injury?

It’s hard to understate the impact a traumatic brain injury (TBI) can have on somebody’s life. While a mild TBI such as a concussion might affect someone for days or weeks, any type of more serious TBI can have long-term repercussions.

Even a moderate TBI can result in a decades-long or lifetime impairment, while those who suffer a severe TBI are never expected to regain the same level of ability they had prior to the incident. In addition to the emotional toll a TBI takes on both the victim and their loved ones, medical expenses can potentially become overwhelming.

Estimating the cost of a TBI

Determining the cost of a TBI is difficult. Not only is there no central database that tracks TBI diagnoses and associated spending, but the medical needs of someone who suffered a TBI can vary greatly. To put it into perspective, an expert from Northwestern University found the lifetime cost of treatment for TBI is estimated to be anywhere from $85,000 to $3 million.

The final figure will depend on the type and severity of TBI, level of care needed and how the injury progresses. One 2019 assessment found just the in-hospital costs of a TBI to be “generally high,” but ranging from $2,130 all the way to $401,808. That does not include any future costs stemming from the injury, such as rehabilitation or other medical services down the line.

The CDC meanwhile estimates the total cost of emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths related to TBIs – including medical expenses and lost work – is more than $82 billion a year.

The leading causes of TBIs

Many incidents can result in a TBI. Falls are often the leading cause among young children and adults over the age of 65. Car crashes are also high on the list, and result in the largest percentage of TBI-related deaths. Assaults, such as fights or child abuse, and people being struck by or striking an object or another person (while playing sports, for example) are also among the more prominent causes.

In cases where another person’s negligent actions resulted in someone else suffering a TBI, there may be an opportunity to pursue legal action. A personal injury claim might be able to recoup costs associated with the injury, including for medical care, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

While it’s impossible to predict exactly how much a TBI might ultimately cost, the data make it clear: such an injury can become expensive, particularly in the most severe cases. This financial pressure can exact a toll on already suffering patients, their family and their loved ones.

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Law Offices of Raymond J. Slomski, P.C.

2929 North Central Avenue Suite 700 Phoenix, AZ 85012 Phone: 602-635-7603 Fax: 602-230-8707 Phoenix Law Office Map