Some people realize that they hurt their heads in a car crash right away. They lose consciousness or have blurry vision and a headache at the scene of the collision that make them realize they need medical care. Others may go several days before their symptoms force them to see a doctor.

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) that result from car crashes can produce a huge assortment of possible symptoms. Some people will develop issues with their balance and motor function following a brain injury. In extreme cases, brain injuries may affect the subconscious functions of the brain, necessitating life support. Other times people have issues with memory, changes in personality and shifts in how they sleep as a result of a brain injury.

The ability of medical doctors to diagnose and treat such injuries has increased in recent years. Imaging technology allows doctors to pinpoint the location of bleeding inside the skull, while surgical advances may make it easier than ever before to alleviate the growing pressure on the brain. However, that cutting-edge care comes with a very high price tag. Brain injuries will cost tens of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars.

Every TBI case following a car crash is unique

The age of the person, their underlying health issues and the speed of the cars at the time of the crash can all influence the level of care someone requires. Researchers estimate that moderate brain injuries will cost an average of $85,000 in lifetime medical costs on the low end of the spectrum.

More severe brain injuries could cost as much as $3 million in medical treatment alone over the course of someone’s life. Those costs only reflect the immediate medical support requirements of an individual with a brain injury. The true cost may be much higher.

What are the secondary financial consequences of a TBI?

The more serious the symptoms produced by a TBI are, the more likely the injury is to affect someone’s earning potential. Professionals with TBIs will need to scale back their professional aspirations or even change careers due to their symptoms.

Some people with TBI may need to modify their homes or vehicles to make them more accessible. There could even be lost wages from another family member who chooses to leave their job and serve as a caregiver to the individual with a brain injury. It is very likely that the total costs of a TBI will far exceed the policy limits for the motor vehicle insurance policy of the driver at fault for the crash.

Alternate forms of compensation, like a personal injury lawsuit, may be necessary for families adjusting to a member’s recent TBI. Understanding the true financial impact of a brain injury can help those trying to respond to a collision handle an insurance claim and other compensation requests appropriately.