The Consequences To Victims Of Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents are the second-leading cause of traumatic brain injuries (“TBI”) in the United States. Car accidents are also the leading cause of TBI-related death. Unfortunately, for many victims and their families, the long-term consequences of a TBI are life-changing, regardless of whether the TBI is minor, moderate, or severe.
4 Common Long-Term Consequences Of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common injuries from car accidents. The statistics tell us that:
- Car accidents cause nearly 300,000 TBIs annually
- Occupants of a vehicle are the most likely to suffer a TBI after an accident, followed by motorcyclists, cyclists, and pedestrians
- Males have higher rates of TBIs in every age category
While most TBIs fall into the mild to moderate category, many TBIs resulting after an accident fall into the moderate to severe category. Regardless of the severity of the TBI, victims of TBIs almost always endure long-term consequences affecting physical, mental, and emotional health.
The four most common long-term consequences of traumatic brain injuries include the following:
Impaired physical movement and coordination
Many victims of traumatic brain injuries experience life-long impairment or deficits in both how they move and overall coordination. This ranges from full or partial paralysis to muscle stiffness, slow reactivity, balance and mobility issues, or loss of fine motor control and dexterity.
It is common for those with traumatic brain injuries to experience seizures, permanent or short-term vertigo, and dizzy spells, which puts them at risk for additional fall accidents leading to repeat or exacerbated TBI.
Additional challenges with physical disabilities
As a result of the physical challenges associated with TBIs, victims may also experience the following:
- An inability to live on their own without assistance
- Disconnection from professional colleagues, networks, and friend groups
- Inability to participate in activities and hobbies
- Loss of personal dignity
- Inability to keep a job, go to school, or further their education
A lifetime of TBI-related physical challenges and disabilities devastates victims and their families.
Ongoing physical effects
In addition to altering or debilitating physical movement and coordination, moderate to severe brain injuries cause other physical effects. Many of these are invisible to the general public but take a severe toll on victims, families, and friends.
Examples of other ongoing TBI-related physical effects are:
- Sleep disorders
- Higher risks of other health issues, including infections, pneumonia, drug poisoning, and chronic ailments
- Speech impairment
- Cognitive impairment
- Vision loss and/or uncontrollable eye movements
- Intermittent or permanent memory loss
- Mood disorders
- Difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Fatigue or general lethargy
- Loss of bowel and bladder function
- Processing disorders
- Altered executive function
In some cases, especially those where no severe or obvious physical disability occurs, victims are not aware of these ongoing physical effects until further down the road. Then, as TBI victims begin to connect the dots, they realize their car accident and resulting TBI was the origin of many of their physical symptoms.
In most cases, TBI victims have two years after an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, the sooner an injured person files his/her insurance claim, the better. Moving forward with the claim at the earliest possible opportunity ensures the availability of evidence and witnesses, and enables the victim to obtain appropriate medical care and the proper expert assessments necessary to understand the long-term damages associated with the injury.
Decline in mental and emotional health
It’s easy to understand why those with traumatic brain injuries with lasting consequences have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and emotional regulation issues. Their altered lives leave them feeling angry, sad, lonely, isolated, and out of control of their fate.
Factors associated with declines in mental health after TBI
Other factors that affect the mental and emotional health of car accident victims with traumatic brain injury are:
More than half are partially or fully disabled
- 50% are no longer able to work or return to their former job/career
- 33% rely on others to perform daily tasks
- 30% report being highly dissatisfied with their lives
- 30% develop alcohol and drug addictions/dependency
Physical effects impact mental health.
Also, some of the physical impacts of TBI contribute to physiological or biochemical issues, leading to:
- Post-traumatic stress syndrome
- Mood swings
- Changes in personality and demeanor
- Violent outburst
- Hormonal irregularities
- Suicidal tendencies
A 2021 study, published in Science Direct concludes, “[m]ental health problems are increasingly recognized as important consequences of TBI that adversely affect quality of life and day-to-day functioning.”
Long-term financial instability after traumatic brain injuries
The lives of victims of traumatic brain injuries change in just a few seconds. These changes include the loss of a job, which cumulatively impacts the family, the availability of health insurance, the amount of retirement benefits, and future employability.
One recent study reports that lifetime medical costs for a person with moderate to severe brain injury range from $80,000 to more than $3 million dollars, and that does not account for lost wages, retirement benefits, and costs associated with structural changes required to modify a home to accommodate physical disabilities. In most cases, a spouse or close family member becomes a victim’s primary caregiver, diminishing their lifetime meaning potential.
This is one of the reasons it is imperative to connect with a personal injury lawyer experienced in handling TBI cases immediately after any car accident involving traumatic brain injury. The attorneys at Burneikis Law handle the legal and financial side of pursuing a claim so our clients have the ability to focus on healing and adjusting to their new way of life. Burneikis Law works diligently to recoup both the immediate and the long-term losses resulting from traumatic brain injuries in order to ensure our clients and families are provided with financial stability well into the future.
Contact Burneikis Law For Assistance Navigating the Consequences Of TBI
The attorneys at Burneikis Law work day in and day out to protect the rights and financial stability of victims of TBI. Schedule a consultation and tell us your story. Regardless of whether you use our firm or not, we will be happy to walk you through some important next steps to safeguard your right to get the compensation you deserve.