Depending on which research you believe, between 3 million and 5.3 million Americans live with a disability as the result of a traumatic brain injury. Some research only counts moderate to severe brain injuries, while others take mild brain injuries into account as well, particularly if the mild brain injury results in some level of disability. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation does count all levels of brain injury, thus places the number of those living with a brain injury-related disability at 5.3 million.
What the research agrees on, is that every year, at least 230,000 Americans are admitted to a hospital with a traumatic brain injury, and nearly a third of those will experience long-term disability as a consequence. The District of Columbia Department of Health states that Washington, D.C. has one of the highest rates of death and hospitalization for traumatic brain injury in the nation, and the sixth leading fatality rate in the nation due to TBI.
Financial Demands of a Traumatic Brain Injury are Significant
Even patients with a relatively mild concussion can see profound changes in their ability to respond to the demands of daily living. The financial demands resulting from a traumatic brain injury—or any catastrophic injury—are also significant, requiring careful consideration and understanding of insurance benefits as well as other available benefits. In addition to time spent hospitalized, the average number of days a patient with a significant traumatic brain injury will spend in inpatient rehabilitation is about 44. Following inpatient rehabilitation, most patients with a traumatic brain injury will continue rehabilitation on an outpatient basis.
The Extent of the Brain Damage Following a Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury can result from a penetrating head injury or a closed brain injury, and can be confined to one area of the brain or can involve more than area of the brain. Falls, car accidents and violent acts are the primary ways people receive brain injuries. The extent of brain damage following a traumatic brain injury are determined by the location, speed and nature of the impact as well as other complications such as hypotension, an increase in intracranial pressure, hypoxemia, or intracranial hemorrhage.
Complications can lead to secondary injury, hours or even days following the initial trauma. Cognition problems, such as issues with reasoning, memory and thinking, as well as behavioral or mental health issues such as social inappropriateness, aggression, changes in personality, anxiety or depression, are among the most frequently seen following a traumatic brain injury.
What Costs are Associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries?
The monetary costs of a brain injury can range from $85,000 for a mild brain injury, to nearly $1 million for a moderate brain injury and as much as $3 million for a severe brain injury. Even those brain injured patients with relatively good health care insurance may find there is a gap in their coverage, or exclusions in the policy which could leave such expenses as rehabilitation facilities, transitional living programs, skilled nursing care or long-term nursing facility care left to the patient and his or her family.
Some of the required expenses for a brain-injured patient include:
- Hospital bills;
- Cost for the use of medical technologies to diagnose and treat the brain injury;
- Costs for physicians, nurses and rehabilitative therapists;
- Prescription costs;
- Loss of income from being unable to work;
- Being permanently disabled and no longer able to ever work again;
- Cost for psychological evaluations;
- Cost for therapy to cope with emotional and behavioral changes;
- Costs associated with substance abuse issues caused by the brain injury;
- Costs for neurological rehabilitation services;
- Physical therapy costs;
- Costs for wheelchairs, braces or other specialized devices;
- Fees for daycare or long-term facilities, and
- Costs associated with hiring professional caregivers.
Some Insurers May Refuse to Pay for Rehab Programs
While most insurers cover brain surgery and necessary intensive care to save the lives of patients with traumatic brain injuries, many of those same insurers scrimp on benefits for rehab programs. Patients with a traumatic brain injury who require long-term care and rehabilitation, yet have no health insurance, could possibly have the care and rehabilitation paid for through workers’ compensation (if the accident occurred at work), through their auto insurance, through a defective product claim, through government benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security Disability.
Acute Rehabilitation Center in Montgomery County
In the DC, Virginia and Maryland area there are some exemplary programs for those with a traumatic brain injury. One, in particular, is located in Rockville, Maryland. As the first and only acute rehabilitation center in Montgomery County, Adventist Health Care is accredited through CARF International in Traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, amputations and strokes.
Why Having an Experienced Attorney Can Make a Substantial Difference
Since rehabilitation programs which challenge brain injured patients to relearn skills and abilities destroyed or damaged by brain trauma can cost as much as $8,000 per day, it is crucial that a victim of traumatic brain injury have an experienced personal injury attorney by their side from the very start. A knowledgeable DC attorney can ensure all avenues for determining how to pay for long term care and rehabilitation are exhausted, and that if negligence played a part in the accident, that the negligent party pay.
Contact Washington DC Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our TBI lawyers have extensive experience representing injured patients and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If you or someone you love has sustained a serious brain injury after being in an accident, we can help. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.