The victims of traumatic brain injury (TBI) can suffer significant losses, including some catastrophic in nature. TBI victims sometimes require extensive and prolonged medical treatment and rehabilitation services – all of which are tremendously expensive. In addition, many TBI victims are unable to return to their jobs until they recover sufficiently or fully. Many suffer long-lasting symptoms that prevent them from ever regaining their former employment. When this occurs, they must rely on disability and other benefit programs to cover bills and other expenses. All of this can lead to a downward spiral that is difficult to reverse.
Homelessness is one of the potential outcomes of this downward spiral. In January, 2019, about 3,200 people were homeless on any single night in Alabama. The number of homeless in the U.S. during 2019 is estimated at about 570,000.
The potential link between TBI and homelessness
According to a recent study from the University of British Columbia, homeless individuals experience a significantly higher than normal occurrence of traumatic brain injury over their lifetimes. The analysis is the first of its kind to examine the pervasiveness of TBI in individuals who are homeless or living in unstable housing situations. It examined 38 other studies published from 1995 to 2018.
The results show that a little more than half of homeless people experience a TBI and a little more than one-fourth experience a moderate or severe TBI. Researchers were unable to determine from the data analyzed whether homelessness itself increases an individual’s risk for TBI or whether TBI increases the risk of homelessness.
The devastating consequences of TBI
TBI is generally caused by an impact to the head or body, a fall, a head wound that penetrates to the skull, or a shaking or jarring of the brain that causes bruising, tearing, or swelling of brain tissue. The majority people recover from a mild brain injury, but others who sustain a severe TBI or repeated brain injuries may suffer long-lasting symptoms and difficulties involving speaking, learning, and moving.
A TBI can cause a wide range of symptoms that lead to physical, emotional, and cognitive difficulties, such as:
- Memory problems
- Coordination and balance issues
- Disorientation and confusion
- Protracted and repeated headaches
- Reduced decision-making skills
- Problems with focus and concentration
- Difficulty understanding communications (oral or written)
- Irritability and moodiness
- Difficulties engaging in human interactions
- Problems showing proper emotion
It is easy to understand how a TBI victim who is experiencing one or more of the symptoms mentioned above could end up losing his or her job. If the victim does not have family, friends, or others who can help, he or she could eventually move into a homeless situation.
After many individuals who have suffered TBI enter homelessness they often have difficulty obtaining independent living arrangements or completing substance abuse treatment or other social programs. Many of these TBI victims end up returning to the street.
Also, some homeless individuals suffer injuries from accidents, including car accidents or falls, or they get involved in physical altercations with others. These occurrences can result in repetitive head injuries that can lead to the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
TBI due to negligence
Many victims of TBI who suffer homelessness are military veterans who sustained brain injuries from service-related incidents such as explosions. Others have sustained brain injuries in accidents resulting from another party’s negligence.
Victims of traumatic brain injury resulting from the negligent actions or omissions of another party are owed compensation. These victims have a right to hold any liable parties responsible and recover financial resources to pay for lost income, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
After sustaining a TBI, the victim who files a personal injury claim to recover losses can save himself or herself from facing bill collectors or even losing a home.
If you have sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car crash or other incident that was not your fault, our Alabama TBI attorneys at Mezrano Law Firm are here to help. Please call us today at 205.206.6300 or complete our contact form to arrange a free consultation today. Our offices are located in Mobile, Gadsden, Birmingham, Montgomery, Tuscaloosa, and Florence.