Serious injuries—including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)—can be seriously life-altering; the CDCE reports that in the US, about 1.5 million Americans survive a TBI every year. Of course, TBIs are by no means the only cause of injury. Between 20 and 50 million people in the world have road traffic injuries every year, with many people incurring a disability as a result. If you or a loved one has been through a serious injury, it is important to safeguard your health and economic future by taking a few key steps.

Seeing a Legal Professional

After a serious injury, it may take several weeks, months, or years until one is able to resume one’s profession. If one’s injury was caused by the negligence or intent of another, then obtaining legal compensation is vital, considering that the cost of treatment and therapy for serious injuries can be high. As reported by academics from Northwestern University, the lifetime costs of a patient’s treatment for a TBI range from $85,000 to $3M. Plaintiffs who are successful can obtain economic damages (including medical expenses and loss of income) and non-economic ones (such as mental anguish) as well. Even families of a person who have lost a loved one in a wrongful death case can file for everything from loss of support damages right through to loss of companionship.

Creating a Long-term Recovery Plan

From the start, it is important for your recovery to be planned by a multifaceted team that can include physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychiatrists, speech and language therapists, and psychologists. Each therapist should give you long-term goals that are then broken down into small, measurable, manageable ones so you feel that you are continuously progressing. They should also provide (whenever possible) predictions of how long it will take for you to be able to get back to work, do sport, or partake in the myriad of activities you used to enjoy prior to your accident or injury. Having a realistic game plan is vital so that you don’t feel frustrated or disappointed.

Receiving Psychological and Social Support

Around 50% of all people who have a TBI develop depression within a year’s time. Depression can be caused by physical changes to the brain post-injury, the emotional response to the injury, or other factors. Even if one merely feels unmotivated, sad, or anxious about one’s recovery, having psychological support is vital because it can help one feel more positive about life and find meaning from even the most difficult experiences and challenges one is facing. People with a TBI or other injuries can additionally experience challenges to social and community involvement after an injury. Therefore, one’s rehabilitation plan should ideally target social integration and contain goals such as developing new social relationships and maintaining existing ones.

Millions of people across the globe experience a life-altering accident or injury every year. In order to have access to a wide array of treatments, consolidating one’s financial position is key so if negligence or intent was involved in the injury, the victim should seek legal recourse. Drafting a thorough rehabilitation plan is also key. The latter should contain different physical, mental, and social therapies that can ease one’s road to recovery.