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Adding up to millions: Top four traumatic brain injury costs

According to the most recent numbers available from the Centers for Disease Control, the lifetime cost of a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) is roughly $76.5 billion. Now consider this: that figure is based on the average economic costs in 2010. Because of the rise in medical costs over the years, it's safe to assume that this figure could be close to $80 billion now.

The reason a TBI costs so much has a lot to do with the medical treatment and care needed after suffering a serious head injury. Brain injuries are not like broken bones - they don't heal quickly and in just about all cases, TBI victims rarely ever fully recover.

Here are just four costs that can add up quickly for an accident victim and their families:

Immediate medical attention

According to a combined study found on the National Center for Biotechnology Information, initial treatment for a moderate TBI can cost approximately $81,000. This just includes immediate medical attention, time spent in the hospital and other medical expenses related to health care immediately following an accident and injury.


In order to grasp the true cost of post-acute care, we need to consider total annual costs. In the case of rehabilitation - such as learning to walk and speak again, among other things - this could end up costing an individual or their family roughly $450,000 a year. In many TBI cases, patients live for decades after suffering a serious brain injury, which means costs can add up quickly and total in the millions.

In-home care

In addition to rehabilitation, a TBI patient may also require in-home care or may need to go live in a group home. Either way, long-term care such as this can also add up quickly. For supervised home placement, annual costs could be $49,600 or more. For behavioral group home placement, that number could soar to $84,000 or more.

Loss of employment due to disability

Severe and sometimes even moderate TBIs can result in permanent disability, which can cause a person to lose their ability to work and earn income. This cost isn't always apparent to most people with TBIs, but it is one that should be accounted for in a settlement offer. Depending on a person's job and income prior to their injury, a TBI could mean losing tens of thousands of dollars in income each year.

A fair settlement takes all these costs into consideration

When you add everything up, it's easy to see why TBIs cost individuals and their families nearly $76.5 billion over a person's lifetime. You can also see why it's important for insurance companies to provide full and fair compensation after an accident. It's important to know what costs to expect in order to determine if a settlement offer will cover the true cost of TBI care and it is a lowball offer.

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