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Traumatic brain injury and its true costs on society: $76.3 billion per year in lost productivity

March 27, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Doctors and brain injury lawyers agree: When TBI isn’t recognized and treated, we all pay

We’re in our last week of Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. But just because it’s the end of March, doesn’t mean our brain injury lawyers are going to stop talking about this important subject. Today I’d like to discuss how much it actually costs when someone sustains a traumatic brain injury.

As a lawyer, I’ve been helping people injured in car accidents and truck accidents for nearly 20 years, and I’ve personally seen the costs and the long-term consequences of the people I’ve helped who’ve suffered brain injury. Brain injury doesn’t go away when the lawsuit does, despite what some not very kind people may think.

According to the Brain Injury Association of America, 1.7 million people will sustain a brain injury each year in the U.S.. And auto accidents are the second-leading cause of traumatic brain injury.

Here are some financial figures from the Brain Injury Association of America that really spell out how all of society is affected if brain injury survivors are not recognized as a priority and extensively treated:

  • The average hospital-based acute rehabilitation is about $8,000 per day.
  • The range for post-acute residential rehabilitation is about $850-$2,500 a day.
  • Day treatment programs (e.g. four hours of therapy) are about $600 to $1,000 with no room and board.
  • In the U.S., direct medical costs and indirect costs of TBI, such as lost of productivity, totaled an estimated $76.3 billion each year.

Just as no two people are alike, every car accident is different and every brain injury is different. The good news is that the majority of brain injury survivors do go on and have great recoveries. But for some reason, there is a significant percentage of people, estimated at 15-20 percent of our population, who don’t.

Scientists and the brain injury health care community refer to people who fall into this later category as the “miserable minority.” For these people, brain injury is the start of a lifelong disease process. This type of serious injury — which changes over time and has a variety of symptoms that affect personality, cognition and overall health — requires access to a full range of medical treatment and support.

When people are not properly diagnosed and don’t receive the medical care they require, taxpayers end up footing the bill. How? Awareness of brain injury and access to comprehensive brain injury rehab and medical care “eases medical complications, permanent disability, family dysfunction, job loss, homelessness, impoverishment, medical indigence, suicide and involvement with the criminal or juvenile justice system.

Access to early, comprehensive treatment for brain injury also alleviates the burden of long term care that is transferred to tax payers at the federal, state and local levels,” according to Dr. Brent Masel, National Medical Director for the Brain Injury Association of America.

In other words, if we care and treat for brain injury survivors, then they are more likely to make better recoveries, and this, as Dr. Masel says, benefits us all.

You can still help us to raise money for Michigan traumatic brain injury survivors – with just a click of your mouse

There is still time to help our attorneys raise $10,000 for the Brain Injury Association of Michigan.
For those of you who are just joining in on Michigan Auto Law’s fundraising efforts, as part of Brain Injury Awareness month, we’re raising $10,000 for brain injury survivors. You can help without paying a thing:

For every “Like” Michigan Auto Law receives on Facebook, we will donate $1 — up to $10,000 — to the Brain Injury Association of Michigan.

Here’s our Michigan Auto Law Facebook page.

We’ve gotten a lot of “likes” for brain injury and a lot of great feedback from our readers so far. Please help us keep this going so we can raise more money for Michigan brain injury survivors and continue helping them heal.

Steven M. Gursten is a brain injury lawyer and head of Michigan Auto Law. He is a member of the Executive Board of the American Association for Justice Traumatic Brian Injury Lawyer Group and sits on the lawyer committee of the Sarah Jane Brain Project. Steve has received the highest reported trial verdict and settlement for a TBI lawsuit in Michigan, according to published reports by Michigan Lawyers Weekly.

Related information to protect yourself:

Help raise money for traumatic brain injury survivors – without paying a dime

What it really feels like to have TBI

Symptoms of traumatic brain injury

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm in the state exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident lawsuits. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. Call (800) 968-1001 to speak with one of our brain injury lawyers today.

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