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Traumatic brain injuries often go untreated

Traumatic brain injuries impact at least 1.7 million people in the country every year. Most people who suffer brain trauma received their injuries in crashes, strokes, falls, and sports accidents, among other things. Around 50,000 patients with brain trauma die every year, 230,000 are hospitalized, and almost 100,000 suffer with long-term disabilities, USA Today reports.

Violent impact on a person's head or tremendous force caused by sudden stops can cause traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury occurs most frequently as a closed head injury where the brain is bruised or bleeds because small vessels rupture or tear. The bleeding can kill brain issue or cause permanent brain damage.

Brain injuries can be difficult to detect and may have dramatic long term emotional and financial effects on accident victims. Americans suffer about $60 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity because of traumatic brain injuries, USA Today reports. Individuals with brain injuries may require the assistance of an experienced rehabilitation specialist to fully recover from their injuries and the experience of an attorney to recover funds from insurers and responsible parties.

Although rehabilitation can be essential to a successful recovery from a traumatic brain injury, many insurance plans do not cover extended stays at rehabilitation facilities. This means that many people go untreated and never fully recover their ability to walk, talk, or think clearly.

Many insurers dispute that rehabilitation is an essential part of the recovery process. Insurers cite a lack of studies on the benefits of rehabilitation. The chief medical officer of one insurer said that his company "does not run a science fair."

Source: USA Today, "For brain injuries, a treatment gap," Steve Sternberg, 3/2/11

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