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Julia Kefalinos Julia Kefalinos
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Bankruptcy Related To Traumatic Brain Injury

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For a family dealing with a serious injury to a loved one’s brain and/or spinal cord, the physical and emotional trauma can be absolutely devastating.  Unfortunately, the pain can and does spread to other areas of life, one of which can be finances.  How can a traumatic brain injury (TBI) result in a bankruptcy? It can happen more quickly than you might guess.

The Path to Financial Ruin 

The problem with a serious medical event in life is that bills keep rolling in, whether or not the injured person is able to continue to earn a living. In addition to typical bills related to a mortgage, vehicle, childcare, utilities, and credit cards, explosive medical bills can start to pile up.  This can be a particularly frustrating issue for individuals whose health insurance is inadequate for a major medical incident.  Frequently recipients of Workers’ Compensation, Social Security Insurance, or Disability Insurance find that those checks don’t come close to covering expenses. In no time, a household that used to be financially stable finds itself teetering into bankruptcy. This is true regardless of external factors such as age, race, gender and insurance provider.

The Numbers 

In one study, 26 percent of individuals who suffered substantial TBI had a significant amount of medical debt following hospitalization. In fact, medical debt accounted for over 20 percent of unsecured debt—indicating that medical bills were likely  the issue that pushed many families into bankruptcy. While such debt alone might not lead to bankruptcy, when it is added to other debt owed and combined with an inability to work and earn, bankruptcy is the outcome all too often. More than four in ten patients remain without employment a year after a TBI.  Even after the passage of years, bankruptcy threatens.  The prevalence of these filings increased by roughly one-third in the five-year time frame following injury, indicating that bankruptcy would likely not have been necessary absent the medical bills. Adding to the mix, some individuals have hefty liability obligations related to the very accident that caused the patient’s TBI. Living expenses are on the rise as well—to the tune of about nine percent, adding stress to an already frazzled budget. Simply put, medical expenses and liability commitments, combined with reduced or eliminated earning power and piled on top of inflationary living costs leave many with few options outside of filing for bankruptcy.

Assistance With Tough Decisions 

If your financial health has been hobbled by a significant medical incident such as TBI, you are likely facing some difficult decisions.  At the Law Office of Julia Kefalinos, our experienced and compassionate Miami bankruptcy attorneys have the answers you need to move forward.  Contact our office for a confidential consultation today.

Source:

pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19254605/#&gid=article-figures&pid

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