What are Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) refer to sudden damage to the brain as the result of sudden blows or jolts to the area. While anything can result in a traumatic brain injury, some of the most common causes of these injuries include crashes, falls, and sports injuries. TBIs can range from mild to severe in nature. Consequently, the treatment of traumatic brain injuries can vary from rest and medication to complex medical procedures. Even after the initial incident has occurred, surviving a brain injury can have a lasting impact on a person’s mental and physical abilities.
If you or a loved one has suffered a TBI, an experienced personal injury attorney can help guide you through the process of pursuing the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Understanding the Nature of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury is an injury that results from a blow or jolt to the head, from either blunt or penetrating trauma. The injury that a person incurs at the moment of impact is referred to as the primary injury, and it can involve damage done to either a specific lobe of the brain or to the entire brain. Some injuries can result in a skull fracture, but this is not always the case. During the collision or jolt, a person’s brain can move back and forth inside the skull and can result in bleeding, bruising, or the tearing of nerve fibers. Immediately following the accident, a TBI victim will often end up feeling confused and may not remember how the accident occurred.
While the victim of a traumatic brain injury may feel just fine immediately after an accident, the victim’s condition often worsens days or weeks later. This is because following an initial impact, a person’s brain experiences a delayed trauma and swells against the skull, which reduces the flood of oxygen-filled blood. This swelling is referred to as a secondary injury, and it is often even more serious than the primary injury.
The Severity of Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries are divided into categories based on the severity as well as the mechanism of injury.
- The most common symptoms associated with mild traumatic brain injuries include disorientation, headaches, and sometimes a brief loss of consciousness.
- When a person experiences a moderate traumatic brain injury, loss of consciousness can occur from anywhere between 20 minutes to several hours.
- A person who experiences a loss of consciousness of more than six hours experiences a severe brain injury.
The Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can take various forms, but some of the most common types of injuries that people are known to face include:
- Concussions, which are mild head injuries that result in a brief loss of consciousness and often do not result in permanent brain injuries.
- Contusions are bruises to specific spots of the brain that result from impact to the head. Constitutions are sometimes also referred to as a coup or contrecoup injuries. While coup injuries involve the brain that is directly below the area being impacted, in contrecoup injuries, the impacted area is on the opposite side of the head.
- Diffuse axonal injuries involve the stretching of the nerve cells and happen when a person’s brain quickly moves back and forth inside the skull resulting in damage to nerve axons, which connect nerve cells throughout the brain. The most extensive axonal injuries can disrupt how the brain transmits information.
- Hematoma is a blood clot that forms when a blood vessel ruptures and blood leaks from the bloodstream and begins to clot, which is the body’s natural way of stopping bleeding. Hematomas can be small or large and can compress the brain. Symptoms associated with hematomas vary based on the clot’s location. While clots that form between the skull and the brain’s dura lining are known as an epidural hematoma, clots that form between the brain and the dura are referred to as a subdural hematoma. Clots formed deep within the brain tissue are classified as intracerebral hematomas.
- Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage involves bleeding into the space surrounding the brain. This space is often filled with cerebrospinal fluid, which functions as a cushion around the brain. This condition occurs when small arteries are torn during the initial injury and blood from the arteries is distributed over the surface of the brain.
The Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Medical professionals are learning more and more about traumatic brain injuries as a result of recent research. While medical professionals once treated concussions as mere bumps on the head, we now understand that even the small brain injuries can result in long-lasting consequences. Even though it seems like it should be easy to obtain compensation for brain injuries, these types of personal injury cases often present unique challenges, including that it can be difficult to calculate the damages associated with such an injury.
In these situations, it can help to obtain the assistance of a compassionate personal injury lawyer who knows how to fight for the maximum compensation that traumatic brain injury victims deserve. While brain injuries can occur in countless ways, the following outlines just some of the most common causes as well as some helpful tips you can follow to reduce the risk of suffering a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Due to the violent jostling associated with car crashes and motorcycle accidents, a vehicle occupant’s head can strike the steering wheel, dashboard, windows, or any other part of the car. Injuries associated with car crashes are often “closed-head,” which means they are not visible from the outside. Individuals who are injured in car accidents should promptly seek medical attention, even if they do not immediately display any overt symptoms associated with a traumatic brain injury.
Accidents can (and do) happen at any place and at any time, which unfortunately includes the home. People can often end up in accidents while using ladders, cleaning floors, or replacing electrical outlets. Objects can fall from high shelves, and the resulting impact can lead to serious brain injuries.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in increased domestic violence. Even though negligence plays a role in many accidents that result in traumatic brain injuries, TBIs can also be caused by domestic violence as well as other types of assault and intentional violence. Brain injuries that occur as a result of intentional violence are often open wounds that result in serious impairments.
Medical malpractice occurs when any type of healthcare provider makes a mistake or treats a patient negligently. Sometimes this occurs when the brain does not receive an adequate supply of oxygen during a medical procedure. When a patient’s body does not have the oxygen required to function, brain cells die suddenly. When medical professionals commit errors involving anesthesia, medication, or supplemental oxygen, brain damage is a common result. Tragically, if medical professionals fail to promptly notice this mistake, the damage is often irreversible, which can lead to a lifetime of complications for the patient.
Slip and Falls
A slip and fall can occur anywhere, which includes someone else’s home, a hotel, or a business. When people slip, they often experience an impact to the head. As a result, things like internal bleeding, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries are common results of slip and fall accidents.
Sporting accidents are a common cause of concussions as well as other types of traumatic brain injuries. While the risk of TBIs is ever-present in sports that involve intentional contact, like football, brain injuries can also occur in sports where contact is incidental, like baseball. Even if a blow looks small or less serious at a first glance, chronic brain damage can still result if a player does not receive adequate and timely medical treatment.
Steps to Avoid Traumatic Brain Injuries
Certain steps can be taken to reduce the risks of incurring a traumatic brain injury. Some of these include the following:
- Make sure that children play in only safe areas.
- Make sure to wear your seat belt whenever you ride in a motor vehicle.
- Never use heavy equipment or motor vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Take steps to reduce the risk of falls for older adults and the disabled.
- Wear a helmet when riding a bike or motorcycle, playing sports, riding horses, skiing, or snowboarding.
The Ramifications of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Tragically, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) have a substantial impact on the people who suffer them, as well as their loved ones. Not only do these injuries create issues in the immediate aftermath of an accident, but they can lead to consequences that last for the rest of a victim’s life. TBI can disrupt a person’s emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. The following reviews some of the symptoms and side effects associated with traumatic brain injuries that can cause problems for a victim long after an accident or act of negligence has occurred.
Traumatic Brain Injuries Result in Life-Long Complications
When you experience a serious head injury, your brain begins to repair the tissue as well as other internal damage. When combined with direct treatment, the body is sometimes successful in recovering from these injuries entirely. Some parts of the brain are beyond repair after some injuries, however, and as a result, victims end up experiencing a decline that fills the rest of their life with challenges. Some symptoms associated with a traumatic brain injury only become noticeable months or years after an injury, while other times initial symptoms just worsen substantially over time.
Long-Lasting Physical Symptoms Associated With TBIs
People with brain injuries often end up struggling with a combination of physical symptoms which can last for years or even a lifetime. Some of the most common chronic complications faced by brain injury victims include:
- Headaches are a common occurrence after brain injury accidents, but many victims discover that these grow worse over time. Some patients who experience an otherwise total recovery report severe and recurring headaches years or decades after an accident.
- Dizziness as well as lightheadedness and vertigo are common traumatic brain injury symptoms. Fortunately, some brain injury victims experience an improvement in dizziness and vertigo over time.
- While sensory issues are most prevalent during the immediate aftermath of a brain injury, some brain injury victims report experiencing sensory issues long after an accident has occurred. As a result, some victims end up experiencing sensitivity to light and noise years after an accident.
- A person’s eyes can be substantially impacted as a result of a brain injury. One of the most common TBI-related impairments is convergence insufficiency, which involves the inability of the eyes to focus properly.
- The more severe the brain injury, the more likely that a person will end up with both mental and physical fatigue after a traumatic brain injury. The continued presence of a traumatic brain injury can also result in emotional symptoms and insomnia, and generally negatively impact a person’s ability to function as they once did.
Long-Lasting Emotional Challenges Faced by Brain Injury Victims
Countless emotional and psychological complications are known to develop after traumatic brain injuries. Impaired memory as well as other cognitive difficulties are common among brain injury victims. Some of the other challenges commonly faced by victims include anxiety, depression, inability to perform simple tasks, and difficulty sleeping.
Brain Injury Victims and Issues Involving Quality of Life
Besides emotional and physical complications, brain injury victims often end up facing various other hardships that result in a decreased quality of life. Some examples of these include:
- People with moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries have a greater chance of death due to the injury or its associated complications. Brain injuries also commonly result in depression as well as other emotional challenges that increase the risk of suicide.
- People with the most serious traumatic brain injuries experience difficulty in returning to work. Consequently, brain injury victims often face difficulties in covering medical bills and costs associated with daily living.
- Some brain injury victims report that they can no longer participate in the hobbies and recreational activities that they enjoyed before an accident.
Speak with an Experienced Ohio Personal Injury Attorney
Remember, the ramifications of a traumatic brain injury can vary substantially. While some people gradually face an increased number of hardships over the years due to a traumatic brain injury, other people experience an improvement and sometimes even a return to normal functioning after a brain injury. Some of the factors that influence a person’s road to recovery include the patient’s age, the patient’s ability to pay for medical costs, and the health of the patient at the time of the accident. An experienced attorney will fight tirelessly to make sure that you receive the greatest amount of compensation possible. Contact Kruger & Hodges today to schedule a free case evaluation.