Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is one of the most damaging injuries a person can sustain, and unfortunately, more common than most people realize.

Although TBI causes and outcomes vary, many head injury survivors deal with severe injuries that change their lives and the lives of those around them forever.

Survivors may struggle with physical, cognitive, emotional, communicative, and psychological impairments, and require years of costly rehabilitation and assistance.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), brain injuries are a major cause of death and permanent disabilities in the United States.

 

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

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Approximately 153 victims lose their lives to TBI’s each day, and nearly 5.3 million survivors are now living with permanent disabilities as a result of this tragic injury.

A traumatic brain injury is a type of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) that occurs after birth when physical trauma disrupts the normal function of the brain. When brain damage occurs before birth, it’s known as an In-Born Brain Injury. Fortunately, the law enables those who have suffered a TBI as a result of the negligence, wrongdoing, or inaction of another to seek compensation for their injuries and losses – whether it was acquired or in-born.

Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)

An acquired TBI occurs with external, physical trauma such as forceful impact in motor vehicle accidents, falls, assaults and other sudden events. It’s often called a “silent injury” because it can be hard to know if the brain, which is extremely fragile, has been injured. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, injuries can range from mild to severe and profoundly affect one or more areas of the brain. Even mild cases can be life-threatening.

Brain injuries that are considered acquired but not traumatic are those caused by strokes, infections, hypoxia, and medical errors. For example, if a newborn is deprived of oxygen, such as during a delayed Cesarean section, the loss of oxygen to the brain (anoxia or hypoxia) can lead to neurological complications or cerebral palsy. The excessive use of forceps or vacuums are medical errors that also commonly cause of newborn brain damage. 

Inborn Brain Injuries

Inborn Brain Injuries (not acquired) include those that happen before birth, such as genetic brain disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome, neurological damage from drug abuse (neonatal abstinence syndrome), perinatal illness or perinatal hypoxia/anoxia.

Common Causes

Countless TBI’s happen on the road, leaving millions of victims suffering from permanent impairments that effect everything from movement to memory and speech. It’s a common misconception that TBI’s happen only when a person suffers a direct blow to the head and loses consciousness.

However, a TBI can also occur when the brain is forcefully jarred in one or more directions during impact or sudden deceleration. When this happens, the soft tissue of the brain is damaged when it hits the inside of the skull. This kind of injury often occurs without loss of consciousness. Severe whiplash is a common cause of TBI.

  • Assaults
  • Slips and falls
  • Auto accidents
  • Trucking accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Motorcycle/bicycle accidents
  • Sports and recreational accidents
  • Work/construction site accidents
  • Acceleration or deceleration trauma

Have You or a Love One Suffered a Traumatic Head Injury?

If you or a loved one has suffered a serious brain injury, we understand the complexities of your situation. Just as certain injuries require medical experts, an attorney who has successful experience defending victims of brain injuries can significantly change the outlook of your recovery from a TBI.

We understand how a TBI can cause extensive emotional, physical and financial strain. Because of this, we fight to secure you and your family the compensation you require for long-term care and therapy, as well as for your pain and suffering. If your case qualifies for compensation, the financial support could make a big difference for you and your family. Contact the Brain Injury Law Center today at (877) 537-4340 or by using the form on this page for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your potential case.

Head and Brain Injury Severity Varies Widely

When a serious brain injury such as a TBI goes undiagnosed and untreated, it has the potential to cause lasting injuries that drastically hinder a victim’s life. Whether it is mild or severe at the onset, a brain injury should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Minor Head Injury

The tissue between the scalp and skull holds a lot of blood vessels that can cause severe bruising or bumps when impacted. These injuries can most often be treated with an ice pack, but it’s always best to seek medical treatment anytime the head is impacted.

Concussions

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) that affects brain function. Concussions are caused when an external force strikes the head, or when the skull and brain shake back and forth rapidly. They can happen even after a minor bump to the head and can be difficult to detect when they don’t involve unconsciousness. While concussions are not usually life-threatening, serious symptoms can occur from them and they should always be approached with care and involve seeking medical treatment.

Secondary Impact Syndrome

This rare condition results when someone suffers post-concussive symptoms after a head injury, and then sustains a second injury that leads to brain swelling and often death.

Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries happen after sudden impact or force. They are classified as ‘open’ or ‘closed,’ depending on the nature of the injury. An open injury occurs when the skull has been fractured from a fall, collision, or other incident when the head comes into violent contact with a hard object. A closed head injury does not involve an open wound or fracture, but can be just as serious due to the possibility of brain swelling and blood clots in the skull. Regardless of which kind of injury it is, brain trauma can be serious or fatal, even when there are no symptoms.

Common Brain Injury Symptoms

hampton traumatic brain injury attorneysTraumatic brain injury symptoms differ for each individual and have been known to both lessen and worsen over time. Catching these symptoms sooner than later is critical for preventing future damage. Unfortunately, symptoms are not easy to spot; even medical exams administered by experts aren’t flawless. It’s not uncommon for early characteristics of a TBI to be missed if they have not yet fully developed. This makes it all the more prudent to keep a close watch for signs of a TBI after an accident.

  • Persistent headache
  • Coordination problems
  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Light sensitivity
  • Seizures
  • Vision problems
  • Depression
  • Change in temperament or personality

Long-Term Effects and Symptoms

Traumatic brain injuries don’t just damage the ability to live a normal day-to-day life. The medical expenses involved in treating a victim of TBI can be staggering, draining the finances of families who are already suffering. Long-term physical and mental disabilities or changes are not uncommon, and a victim’s quality of life can be profoundly affected. He or she may be unable to function or work normally.

  • Cognitive Defects – Coma, short- or long-term memory loss, shortened attention span, problem solving and judgment deficits, loss of space and time perception
  • Motor Sensory Complications – Weakness, full or partial paralysis, poor balance and coordination, spasticity, reduced endurance, tremors, problems swallowing, seizures
  • Perceptual and Sensory Defects – Loss or change in sensations, tastes, hearing, touch, smell, and vision problems
  • Behavioral/Psychological – Mood swings, agitation, anxiety, depression
  • Language and Communication Problems – Difficulty speaking, writing, reading, planning, communicating, or identifying objects
  • Functional Complications – Difficulty with daily activities such as bathing and dressing, organizational problems
  • Social and Psychiatric Changes – Problems understanding or interacting in social situations, irritability, decreased motivation, depression, anxiety
  • Traumatic Epilepsy – Two to five percent of ABI victims experience seizures
  • Loss of life

Steps to Take Immediately Following Any Type of Head Injury

Taking quick action after encountering someone who has experienced a head injury is imperative to their health. In many cases, it can mean the difference between living a full life or one that is extremely impaired. The earlier treatment is given, the greater the chance of avoiding brain damage. Symptoms can take time to manifest after a head injury, sometimes progressively getting worse and leading to extensive brain damage.

1. Sit the victim down to make sure he/she is stable and safe

2. Look for a scalp wound; if present, apply a cloth and pressure to the wound

3. Give the victim something cold to hold against the wound

4. Gently check to see if the victim is alert, coherent and responsive. Look for dizziness or nausea, loss of memory, headaches, and confusion

5. Seek immediate help if symptoms worsen, such as increased drowsiness, confusion, dizziness, headaches, vomiting, double vision, difficulty walking or speaking

6. Seek immediate emergency care if the victim is unresponsive or has a deteriorating level of responsiveness, leaking blood or watery fluid from nose or ears, or unequal pupil size

Call the Brain Injury Law Center After a Serious Injury

After you or the brain injury victim has been treated, contact the Brain Injury Law Center to speak to one of our experienced team members regarding the injury. The medical evaluation results can be used to determine the amount of compensation the victim may receive from the liable parties. The sooner symptoms are detected, the faster your physicians and your traumatic brain injury attorney can begin getting you the medical care and compensation you need.

Pursuing a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit

After a traumatic brain injury, pursuing damages through a lawsuit is the best way to ensure you receive the best medical attention, and avoid completely draining your financial resources to pay for it.

An experienced traumatic brain injury attorney will help you secure the compensation you deserve for current and future expenses, including:

  • All medical costs (ambulance, surgical, hospital bills, etc.)
  • Property damage
  • Rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost income
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

The Brain Injury Law Center was founded in Hampton, VA, to help people like you. Founder Stephen M. Smith has litigated traumatic brain injury cases for almost 40 years, winning multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements for his clients and acquiring the experience needed to pursue the same for you.

The effects of a traumatic brain injury can be devastating, but we will fight to secure the best possible future for you and your family. Call our Virginia office today at (877) 537-4340 for a free consultation. No obligation at all – simply a conversation about what you can do to get better, and how we can help.

Treating a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Multidisciplinary treatment and care will always offer the best possible outcome after a TBI, but treatment is expensive and most often a financial burden on the victim and family. When seeking treatment, remember that pursing a traumatic brain injury lawsuit can help you cover the financial costs.

The following treatments are most often associated with TBI:

Physical care – such as nutritional and medication needs

Pain management – medication and other methods for alleviating the pain

Psychological care – includes the administration of various tests to identify any behavioral and/or emotional problems as well as necessary counseling

Self-care skills – such as bathing, grooming, and feeding

Communication skills – speech therapy and alternative modes of communication

Mobility skills – may include wheelchair use or walking device

Socialization skills – focuses on interactions with family and community

Cognitive skills – to enhance memory, problem solving, concentration, and other areas of cognitive functioning affected by the injury

Vocational skills – work-related training

Family support – includes patient/family education and training on the numerous issues relevant to living with a brain injury

Don’t Let a Brain Injury Hold You Down

Check out our E-book on “Survivors Who Have Not Let a Brain Injury Hold Them Down”

Frequently Asked Questions

Is impact or force necessary to cause a traumatic brain injury?

No. Traumatic brain injuries can also be caused by rapid acceleration or deceleration forces that cause the brain to collide within the skull. Motor vehicle accident victims often suffer TBI from this type of event.

Can one suffer from TBI without having lost consciousness in an accident?

Yes. Despite popular perception, traumatic brain injuries are commonly suffered without the victim losing consciousness.

How long do you have to stay awake after you hit your head?

That depends if there are symptoms or not. It has been a long-held belief that you should keep a head injury victim awake so they don’t fall unconscious; however, that has changed. It’s best to seek medical care after a head injury so the physician can diagnose and make that decision.

What are the benefits to filing a lawsuit for my brain injury?

Filing a lawsuit after a brain injury may allow you to win financial compensation not just for your injuries, but also for lost wages, diminished earning potential, pain and suffering, and more. It could help you receive top-grade medical care that could make a major difference in the recovery process.

If I’ve suffered a brain injury, what legal claim can I bring?

Legal claims after a traumatic brain injury frequently depend on the circumstances of the injury. Accidents involving a slip and fall, motor vehicle, assault and other forms of direct impact may be filed under the umbrella of personal injury or premises liability. All cases are different.

A medical malpractice suit may be filed for brain injuries that are disease-, toxin- or birth/labor-induced, and are suffered as a result of a physician, nurse, technician, hospital or other medical professional performing below reasonable standards of care.

I got into an accident several years ago. Can I bring a claim for my brain injury?

Each state has a statute of limitations on filing a brain injury claim, which is a timeframe that does not begin until your injury is discovered – regardless of when it occurred. In Virginia, the statute of limitations is two years, meaning that you have two years from the time you discover your brain injury to file a lawsuit. Contact a traumatic brain injury lawyer to learn more.

Is a concussion a traumatic brain injury?

It absolutely is, although it’s a more common, mild form of TBI. Although concussion symptoms can be mild and disappear without treatment after a short time, severe concussions can lead to long-lasting damage that lingers for months or even years after the injury occurred. This damage may manifest in symptoms like dizziness, severe headaches and more.

What’s recommended for traumatic brain injury treatment?

Continue to report any persisting symptoms to your doctor. Treating a TBI is an ongoing process that should be monitored by a medical professional every step of the way.

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