For the past month, our brain injury attorneys have been conducting an ongoing series on the various types and causes of brain injury. As national Brain Injury Awareness Month comes to a close, today we take a step back to look at the dramatic societal costs of these various neurological conditions.
Brain injuries are more widespread than many whose lives have not been touched would realize. In America, every year about two million head injuries occur – or just short of 200 per every 100,000 Americans. Of these, about 1.5 million people suffer a brain injury which causes them to “black out,” or lose consciousness, but which does not commit them to a hospital or other institution long-term. An additional 300,000 Americans each year sustain a brain injury that results in hospitalization, and of these, about 99,000 suffer a lasting disability.
According to a study in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry, this means that in America alone, for each 100,000 adults (age 15 and over), there are about 62 people who suffer from enduring or permanent disability caused by traumatic brain injury (TBI). Traumatic brain injuries also result in about 56,000 deaths each year in America – about 34% of total deaths from injury. If you are one of the many Americans whose life has been touched by TBI, you will need a trained professional professional to help you decide whether to seek compensation. Our top Chicago TBI lawyers can help.
Brain damage stems from any number of causes. The largest categories of traumatic brain injuries are automobile accidents (around 28%) and sports (around 20%). Skiing accidents are particularly prone to result in head injuries – the New York Times has reported that an alarming 5-10 percent of such accidents lead to this type of injury. Assaults comprise another large chunk of traumatic brain injuries (around 9%). These figures, however, take into account all traumatic brain injuries. When only those TBIs that result in hospitalization are considered, almost half such injuries are the result of motor vehicle accidents. To speak with one of our experienced attorneys regarding a car accident traumatic brain injury, call us at (312) 527-4500 for a free consultation.
The landscape of traumatic brain injury is also constantly evolving. Between 1984 and 1992, for instance, brain injuries from car, bus and truck accidents declined an impressive 25%. Unfortunately, during that same period TBI from firearms increased by 13%.
The personal and societal costs of dealing with brain injuries cannot be overstated. In the mid-1990s, the National Foundation for Brain Research stated that the costs of dealing with only traumatic brain injury amount to $48.3 billion in America each year. Sadly, the costs of medical treatment are the worst for those who do not survive – costs that are passed along to the family they leave behind. Again in the 1990s, those who suffered fatal brain damage had average medical expenses of $454,717. These expenses have only increased over time. If someone you love has suffered a fatal brain injury as the result of negligence, an experienced Chicago wrongful death attorney can help you to navigate the legal landscape and receive justice for your loved one.
Other estimates from the 1990s show the purely economic costs for brain injury victims who do recover. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the costs for a survivor of a severe traumatic brain injury can reach over four million dollars over the course of her life. The average traumatic brain injury, regardless of severity, has medical-related costs of around $150,000, including medical bills, modifications to a home, rehabilitation for life and work, and increased health insurance costs. It is important to note that this average includes even those who suffer comparatively mild injuries such as concussions, and thus even this alarming figure is deceptively low. For those who suffer a brain injury severe enough to require rehabilitation, the average cost over only four years reaches around $200,000. For those who require extensive rehabilitation, the cost of this treatment can be around $1,000 each day. Victims of a severe TBI can take years to fully recover, with gradual improvement often progressing over the course of ten years or more.
It is also important to note that in the ten years since these estimates were made, costs have gone up substantially — and these costs do not include the severe past, present and future physical and emotional damage to brain injury victims and their families — including pain and suffering, disability / loss of normal life (inability to enjoy the pleasurable aspects of life), wage loss, loss of society (companionship) and disfigurement. Only a top personal injury lawyer, such as those at Passen & Powell, can take the time to understand the loss experienced by brain injury victims and their families, and communicate that loss to the other side, and eventually to a jury of one’s peers.
Victims of traumatic brain injury who need support services in order to return to work find that those services cost tens of thousands of dollars in the first year alone. Many brain injury survivors, however, do not have the ability to return to work, even with rehabilitation and assistance. Although estimates cover a broad range, some studies show as many as 80% of survivors, particularly those who suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, unable to ever resume work. Many survivors also require assistance with daily activities, and can suffer from depression, anxiety, and isolation. These are all costs that must be taken into account when pursuing a case against a person or company whose negligence caused a brain injury. If you have suffered a brain injury, an experienced Chicago brain injury attorney can help you obtain the full compensation to which you are entitled.
For a free consultation with an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.