Traumatic brain injuries are life-changing. They are also often difficult to diagnose, spot and treat. Proving the existence of a traumatic brain injury after an accident can allow victims to receive compensation for their suffering.
As Florida personal injury attorneys, we help victims of traumatic brain injuries to receive the financial compensation they deserve. It is only by recovering money that people can get the resources that they need to function more normally.
In this complete guide to traumatic brain injuries, we’ll discuss the fundamentals of the injury and explain your rights and where to get support if you or a loved one has suffered a TBI.
What Are Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)?
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) are a disruption in the regular function of the brain caused by sudden, violent blows or movements of the head. They can also be caused when an object passes through brain tissue, such as shattered pieces of the skull or other debris.
- According to the CDC, most TBI injuries are caused by:
- Auto accidents
How Does The Brain Get Injured?
The brain is a soft, delicate organ that floats inside fluid within the skull. Despite that hard, protective barrier, it’s very vulnerable to injury.
If an object strikes the head, the brain can scrape against the rough interior of the skull. The force of the impact passes through the brain, causing bleeding, bruising and damage to nerve cells.
Traumatic brain injuries can also occur from violent and sudden movements of the head. For example, in car accidents, a sudden change in speed can cause damage to nerve cells and nerve fibers without any direct impact being made to the head.
Blood vessel damage around the brain is also another common traumatic brain injury cause.
Finally, exposure to rapid pressure changes (such as explosions) can induce air bubbles to form in the bloodstream, interrupting the brain’s blood supply.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Focal contusion is caused by the brain making direct contact with the inside of the skull. This type of TBI is most likely to result in cognitive and emotional control problems.
Skull fractures are caused by significant impacts and can lead to long-lasting injuries, including the loss of taste and smell.
Hypoxia and Anoxia
Hypoxic Ischemia or Anoxia are caused by a lack of oxygen. These are seen in cardiac arrests, drowning, strokes and birth injuries.
Brain bleeding or brain hemorrhages are types of TBIs caused by the result of trauma. As a form of stroke, these injuries kill brain cells and can result in seizures and traumatically induced epilepsy.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
DAIs are serious brain injuries where tearing of the brain’s long connection fibers (axons) occur. These are usually caused by rapid speed changes or rotations in accidents.
How Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Diagnosed?
Diagnosing TBIs is difficult because the symptoms are often not visible. Even neuroimaging techniques can struggle to reveal minor damage. That’s why it’s often referred to as the ‘invisible injury.’
Someone may walk into a room one day, looking and feeling perfectly fine. But then, a month later, be struggling with concentration and suffering from headaches.
Neuropsychological testing is often performed in suspected TBI cases and is a known effective method for recognizing cognitive defects.
Signs and Symptoms of TBIs
Regardless of the type of accident, traumatic brain injuries can be life-changing. From suffering headaches for months to years of emotional problems, they can be devastating.
If you’ve been in an accident, you might have thought TBIs only occur from a lack of consciousness or a direct impact on your head. That’s not true. Symptoms can days or even weeks later.
Common signs of TBIs include:
- Chronic headaches
- Concentration and problem-solving difficulties
- Memory issues
- Struggling with reading or writing
- Vision changes
- Changes in sex drive or sexual function
- Mood changes
- Difficulty speaking
- Poor control of normal movements
- Difficulty recognizing faces or locations
- Out of character aggression
- Hand-eye coordination problems
- Tremors, dizziness and nausea
- Ringing ears
In most cases, these symptoms will pass in a few months. However, for around 20% of patients, symptoms may last much longer.
Regardless, even a few months of these symptoms may be enough to see you miss work, have medical bills and suffering that wasn’t your fault. If you’ve been in an accident and are suffering, you should contact a personal injury attorney to receive the compensation you deserve.
Traumatic Brain Injury Treatments
TBI treatment varies depending on the type of injury:
Mild traumatic brain injuries usually heal with rest and over-the-counter pain relief.
However, a patient may still need to be closely monitored for worsening conditions and require multiple follow-up doctor visits.
This may see the patient miss out on work, school and their usual activities. As always, a visit to the doctor is required as no two brain injuries are the same.
Immediate emergency care is required for moderate to severe TBIs. This can ensure the patient gets enough oxygen and blood to the brain while preventing any further damage to the head or neck.
Additional treatments in a hospital or intensive care unit may be required to minimize inflammation, bleeding or oxygen supply concerns.
Surgery may include:
- Removal of clotted blood
- Repairing skull fractures
- Surgery to stop brain bleeding
- Surgery to reduce pressure in the skull from swelling.
Medications to minimize and prevent secondary damage may be prescribed by a doctor, including:
- Anti-seizure drugs
- Coma-inducing drugs
Most significant brain injury patients will undergo rehabilitation to relearn basic skills and improve their ability to perform daily activities.
Rehabilitation usually begins in the hospital before moving to residential treatment facilities or outpatient services. Specialists may include:
- Physical Therapists
- Speech and Language Therapists
- Social workers or case managers
- Rehabilitation nurses
- Recreational therapists
What To Do If You Or a Loved One Has Suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury?
You may not be aware you have suffered a TBI. If you’ve had an accident or suspect you have sustained a TBI, seek medical attention.
You should also visit a doctor if symptoms arise days, weeks or even months after the accident. The sooner you receive treatment, the greater the chances of reducing impairments.
If you’ve had an accident, you should also track your health with a daily journal and by keeping all doctor’s notes, photos and medical bills. These can prove vital in future personal injury claims.
Making a Personal Injury Claim for a Traumatic Brain Injury
You should always contact a personal injury attorney if you suspect that something is wrong. If the accident was someone else’s fault, you deserve compensation for your suffering – physically, emotionally and financially.
With the legal expertise of a personal injury attorney, you can help prove the other party’s negligence. They’ll also build a solid case while taking on insurance companies and their army of lawyers.
If a connection between the accident and your injuries can be made, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of ability to function
- Loss of spousal companionship
- Emotional distress
The Facts About Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Every year an estimated 1.5 million Americans sustain a TBI.
- There are around 61,000 TBI-related deaths each year in the United States.
- That’s around 166 TBI-related deaths per day.
- TBI is the leading cause of death and disability in children, young adults and older adults.
- Auto accidents are the leading cause of TBI resulting in hospitalization.
- 80,000 to 90,000 people suffer the onset of long-term disability after a TBI.
- TBI in the United States was reported to have caused an economic loss of approximately $37.8 billion each year.
Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention
Sadly, traumatic brain injuries occur in accidents every day. They do not discriminate and affect everyone, from babies and adults to the rich and poor.
There are, however steps you can take in your everyday life to prevent the risk:
- ALWAYS wear a seatbelt
- Drive safely
- Wear a properly fitting helmet while using a motorbike or bicycle or playing sports such as baseball or football
- Install child safety gates at the top of your stairs
- Ensure your home’s lighting is sufficient
- Install handrails in your home and on your stairs
- Reduce the risk of slips and falls in your home by clearing pathways and obstructions
Common Misconceptions About Traumatic Brain Injuries Include:
- If someone didn’t lose consciousness, then they didn’t sustain a concussion.
- Because they were walking and acting fine after the accident, they sustained no brain injury.
- There were no visible signs of injury, so there was no brain injury.
- The car accident was too low a speed and too weak an impact to cause a brain injury.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney for Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you or someone close to you suffered a traumatic brain injury after an accident, then you deserve to receive compensation for your suffering and financial losses.
Personal Injury Attorneys McQuaid & Douglas have been providing exceptional legal assistance to Florida residents for personal injury claims for decades. As partners at a U.S. News and World Reports Tier 1 Law Firm, Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., they give you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. Serving the state of Florida with offices in St Petersburg and Riverview, they are here for you.
Contact us today for a free consultation.