Traumatic brain injuries can be emotionally and financially devastating to the victim and their loved ones. Much of a person's identity is wrapped up in their personality and their physical ability to do the things they love. Both of these driving forces could be dramatically impacted by a traumatic brain injury. In addition, the victim and their family could be responsible for significant medical bills that accompany the treatment of such a severe injury.
Many people assume that their health insurance will simply pick up the tab regarding the injury; however, this does not mean there will not be significant money the victim will owe due to high deductibles or other health insurance limits (in addition to a health insurance plan's subrogation rights) that could still place a family in dire financial straits. Furthermore, many physicians refuse to treat injury victims regardless of whether they have health insurance. What makes a traumatic brain injury potentially so expensive?
An Acute Traumatic Brain Injury Can Result in Chronic Health Problems
Often times, medical injuries are temporary. For example, when someone breaks their arm, it can be repaired with a surgical procedure and therapy to recover strength and range of motion. Once the arm is repaired, the patient may not have any ongoing issues. With a traumatic brain injury, however, the patient frequently may continue to suffer symptoms long into the future. Ongoing headaches, difficulty thinking and concentrating, and other symptoms (including epileptic seizures) may onset and continue for years after the injury. Patients who experience seizures, blood vessel damage and/or nerve damage will likely require additional treatment to help improve their overall condition. Each hospitalization, doctor's visit, prescription or brain image needed in the future can be very expensive.
There are Multiple Visits to the Doctor
When a patient suffers a traumatic brain injury, they require more frequent visits to the doctor. While many people may only visit the doctor once per year to receive an annual physical, a patient who suffers a traumatic brain injury could have multiple visits to multiple doctors each year. Many times, traumatic brain injury victims see numerous specialists including, neurologists, neuropsychologists, orthopedists, psychiatrists and other specialists who will all attempt to keep the various parts of their body functioning as well as possible.
Other Costs Associated with a Traumatic Brain Injury
If a patient is rendered unable to walk by a traumatic brain injury or needs assistance walking, they will require expensive equipment to remain mobile, in addition to transportation, which insurance does not typically cover. They may also require modifications to their home, which are costly. More severe traumatic brain injuries may also require attendant care ranging from someone to help with daily tasks up to 24-hour care. The victim may also be required to pay someone to perform household services and maintenance they otherwise would have performed on their own. Many of these types of expenses are not covered by health insurance.
While traumatic brain injuries are expensive, there may be legal avenues for compensation. The circumstances surrounding the traumatic brain injury must be investigated. For this reason, anyone who has a loved one dealing with a traumatic brain injury should contact an experienced personal injury attorney for guidance regarding the specifics of their situation and any avenues of financial recourse that may be available.