The presence of long-term health consequences, such as an increased risk of dementia and decreased life expectancy, substantially adds to the complexity and potential value of a TBI case. Let’s examine these points more closely.
Research, including a study in the journal Lancet Psychiatry, indicates that a person with a TBI is 2.3 to 4 times more likely to develop dementia. This severe and chronic condition requires long-term, often lifelong, care and can lead to significant medical expenses. If the plaintiff is young, this could translate into decades of expensive maintenance. In financial terms, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2020 report, the average lifetime cost of care for an individual with dementia is estimated to be $350,174. This doesn’t include potential lost wages from family members who might need to act as caregivers.
The reduction in life expectancy by nine years, as indicated in a study published in the Journal of Neurotrauma, is another profound factor. This could lead to a more significant claim for loss of life’s pleasures or loss of consortium, in addition to increasing the value of future medical expenses and lost earnings. The calculation here would be complex and depend heavily on the plaintiff’s age, profession, average lifetime earnings, and other personal factors.
The enhanced risk of dementia and decreased life expectancy could also potentially aggravate the pain and suffering damages. These damages, though more subjective, are nonetheless actual and significant. Considering the severe impact on a person’s life due to dementia and a shorter lifespan, the jury might award substantial compensation for these non-economic damages.
Considering this, the value of a legal case with a documented TBI could be significantly higher than initially estimated.