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What is the impact of a brain injury?

The brain is a fragile organ, and it could be harmed or damaged in a car accident. A range of brain functions can be disrupted by a brain injury, which can be caused by either closed or open head injury. Traumatic brain injuries occur when sudden trauma damages the brain. Closed head injuries can potentially result in more damage than an open head injury. Victims and family members of victims who have suffered a brain injury may wonder what the impact will be on their lives.

Closed head and brain injuries can result in cognitive, behavioral and memory problems, partial or complete paralysis or a persistent vegetative state. Brain injuries can take time to recover from and may result in memory and personality problems. Behavioral problems that can be common following a brain injury include learning difficulties, poor self awareness, impulsivity, agitation, verbal and physical aggression and altered sexual function.

The rehabilitation process for victims recovering from a brain injury can include a variety of different therapeutic practices. Even with rehabilitative treatment, victims may still suffer symptoms of brain injuries including deficits in movement, memory, attention, complex thinking, speech and language and behavioral changes. Victims may struggle with depression, anxiety, a changed personality and the resulting impact of these changes on their self esteem of which they may or may not be aware.

The personal costs of a traumatic brain injury or TBI on the victim can include an increased risk of suicide, divorce, substance abuse and chronic unemployment. The financial costs of a TBI can also be staggering. The average lifetime cost of caring for a victim of a severe TBI can range from $600,000 to $2 million. The overall rehabilitation costs each year for acute care and rehabilitation for brain injury sufferers is $9 billion to $10 billion. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of brain injuries and alcohol is often involved.

Victims of brain injuries and their families face a tough road ahead. It is important for them to be aware that the legal process offers resources to help them recover compensation for the physical, financial and emotional costs of a brain injury when it was wrongfully caused such as by a negligent driver.

Source: Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, "Brain Injury," Accessed June 18, 2017

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