Medical experts consider traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs, life-altering and disabling injuries. Injuries to the head and brain can result in a variety of both physical and cognitive problems from which it can be difficult or impossible to heal. For many TBI patients, this can mean a lifetime of therapy and care. Whether you are a brain injury patient or their loved one, it is important to understand all the potential lifetime costs of a serious TBI.
An experienced Los Angeles attorney can help you determine your needs, as well as work to ensure you or your loved one secure the proper compensation.
The severity of traumatic brain injuries
A traumatic brain injury occurs from a violent blow or jolt to the head that causes the brain to jostle around in the skull. When the brain makes contact with the skull, its tissues can sustain bruising and tearing, resulting in damage. This can affect the brain’s cognitive, emotional, and physical functioning and many TBIs are irreversible.
According to the CDC’s TBI factsheet, for patients five years after injury:
- “57% are moderately or severely disabled.
- 55% do not have a job (but were employed at the time of their injury).
- 50% return to a hospital at least once.
- 33% rely on others for help with everyday activities.
- 29% are not satisfied with life.
- 29% use illicit drugs or misuse alcohol.
- 12% reside in nursing homes or other institutions.”
They also note that about 50 percent of TBI patients become worse or die within five years of their injury. Brain injury patients are also at higher risk to suffer from fatal seizures, drug poisoning, infections, and pneumonia. The CDC believes the federal government must recognize TBI as a chronic health condition, and provide more resources to help prevent and reduce these injuries and long-term effects on patients.
What types of long-term services might a TBI patient need?
Traumatic brain injuries, especially moderate to severe, can affect every part of the body, including the parts of the brain that control cognition, emotion, behavior, and physical functions. Depending on the level of injury, a patient may need a team of medical specialists to assist him or her with daily activities and tasks.
Therapy center, Comprehensive Rehabilitation Consultants, discusses the types of long-term services they would provide to a TBI patient:
- Medical evaluations with a professional team, including doctors with “neurological, endocrinological, orthopedic, and psychiatric specialties.” These physicians can also prescribe appropriate medications and therapies.
- Diagnostic tests, which can include ongoing lab tests, MRIs, X-rays, and CT scans, to monitor the brain injury throughout the patient’s life.
- Vocational evaluations, which can help determine if a patient has the capability to work any type of job. This evaluation can also help analyze potential lost earnings. One example of this is if a TBI patient was in graduate school at the time of his or her accident. An expert medical team can help determine the wages he or she would have earned, if not for the brain injury.
- Support care, often necessary for TBI patients unable to live on their own due to cognitive difficulties. These patients may need legal setups like guardianships, powers of attorney, and financial managers. This can also include trusts and estate plans, depending on the needs of the patient.
Every patient and every injury is different; therefore, you or your loved one may require higher or lower levels of care.
Other long-term costs of a TBI
As we mentioned earlier, patients with a severe traumatic brain injury may require long-term rehabilitative care, often in a nursing home or other type of facility that can provide the special care they need. Although this is necessary to provide your loved one a safer and better life, the cost of these care centers is often massive, adding even more ongoing expenses. However, brain injury rehabilitative facilities offer patients and their families a variety of specialized care and services, including:
- Personalized rehabilitative treatment designed to meet a patient’s needs and goals.
- Physical therapy and interventions for comatose or low-conscious patients to maintain muscle tone and prevent pressure ulcers.
- Therapeutic recreation, speech therapy, psychological counseling, and music/art therapy.
- Family support services, including caregiver support and how to be actively involved in the patient’s recovery process.
After an accident or incident that results in a TBI, a skilled attorney can help you determine the proper compensation to account for all your current and future needs.
How a Los Angeles brain injury lawyer can help
Traumatic brain injury patients require a great deal of medical care, especially those who experience a moderate to severe TBI. When you or your loved one suffer from a brain injury because of the negligent or reckless actions of another, it is crucial they are held accountable for his or her actions. You have the right to hold them responsible with a personal injury claim, and our attorneys can help.
We work with your entire medical team, as well as brain injury, financial, and other experts to determine the entire scope of your injury and how it is affecting you now and how it will affect you for the rest of your life. Then, we work to secure the compensation to which you are entitled for your accident, which can include:
- Medical bills and expenses, now and going forward.
- Lost wages and future earning potential.
- Pain and suffering, for both your daily physical and emotional trauma.
- Treatments like physical, vocational, and occupational therapy.
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life.
Depending on the circumstances of your accident and injury, our attorneys may also seek punitive damages, which are meant to punish the at-fault party for grossly negligent or intentional behavior.
At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, we represent brain injury clients throughout Los Angeles. If you or a loved one were injured in an accident at the fault of another, we want to help you secure financial compensation for your losses. To talk to us about your case, call our office at 310-474-1582 or complete our contact form to schedule a free, remote consultation with one of our experienced Los Angeles lawyers today.
Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
With more than 25 years’ experience as a trial lawyer, Partner Patrick McNicholas exclusively represents victims in personal injury, product liability, sexual assault and other consumer-oriented matters, such as civil rights, aviation disasters and class actions. Learn more about his professional background here.