Whether you are a construction worker, an athlete or simply a Pennsylvania driver who becomes the victim of a traffic accident, a traumatic brain injury can radically change your life. These injuries happen when you receive a blow to your head that causes it to violently jerk forward and backward. As your head moves abruptly, so does your brain, rattling around inside your skull and injuring its cells and tissues.
Your brain is Grand Central Station for all the messages that go back and forth to the rest of your body, allowing you to think, perceive the world around you, and move through and around in it. Consequently, depending on the severity of your TBI, the results could be any of the following:
- Partial or total loss of vision
- Partial or total loss of hearing
- Partial or total paralysis
- Partial or total loss of speech
- Partial or total loss of memory
- Highly negative personality changes
In other words, a TBI could render you partially or completely disabled and unable to work at exactly the same time as when your medical bills spiral out of control.
Your medical costs can easily exceed $1 million during the first six months following a severe TBI. But this represents only the beginning of what could become lifetime costs. If you receive a severe TBI while still young, say, in your twenties, you can expect ongoing medical costs of $500,000 annually. This, in turn, amounts to somewhere between $15-$20 million over your remaining lifetime. Few if any insurance policies cover such catastrophic medical, rehabilitation and in-home care costs.
Should your TBI make it impossible for you to get or maintain employment, you will not even have sufficient income on which to live. In addition, you could require daily in-home care. In such a situation, one of your family members likely will have to quit his or her job so (s)he can provide you with the care you need. Therefore (s)he, too, will have no income with which to help alleviate your dire financial circumstances. Nor will this person likely be able to afford health care coverage for him or herself.
Unfortunately, virtually no health care discussions consider these family costs when addressing what insurance benefits TBI victims need and deserve. Statistics, however, estimate the annual nationwide family costs of a TBI at $375 billion.