Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury: Symptoms, Treatments, and Legal Options
Traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI, is an injury that happens suddenly and causes damage to the brain. This can include blunt-force trauma or a violent jolt. This can also account for objects that penetrate the skull. It is important to understand what traumatic brain injuries are, the symptoms, and the available treatments because traumatic brain injuries are permanent.
In fact, according to the CDC, “Moderate and severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to a lifetime of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral changes. These changes may affect a person’s ability to function in their everyday life.”
Traumatic Brain Injury: Types and Causes
Traumatic brain injuries can be serious and even fatal. Its effects can be crippling. The most common TBI cases result from falls. In fact, research shows that falls lead to almost 50% of all TBI-related hospitalizations. In the US, TBI-related deaths are most commonly the result of suicide by firearm. Other common TBI cases stem from car crashes and assaults.
According to John Hopkins, there are 2 primary classifications for TBI. “Closed brain injury. Closed brain injuries happen when there is a nonpenetrating injury to the brain with no break in the skull. A closed brain injury is caused by a rapid forward or backward movement and shaking of the brain inside the bony skull that results in bruising and tearing of brain tissue and blood vessels. Closed brain injuries are usually caused by car accidents, falls, and increasingly, in sports. Shaking a baby can also result in this type of injury (called shaken baby syndrome).
Penetrating brain injury. Penetrating, or open head injuries happen when there is a break in the skull, such as when a bullet pierces the brain.”
There are 8 main types of TBI as well. The main types are:
- Penetrating brain injury
- Brain hemorrhages
- Coup-contrecoup brain injury
- Second impact syndrome
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Intracranial hematomas
The severity of traumatic brain injuries can range from mild concussions to fatalities. The severity depends largely on the factors of the injury, including the amount of force used to inflict the damage, the object involved be it ground, blunt object, or forced sudden movement, etc., and any preexisting conditions.
The Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
According to the National Institutes of Health, mild to severe traumatic brain injuries can present physical symptoms. Some symptoms include:
- Headache that gets worse or will not go away.
- Loss of vision in one or both eyes.
- Repeated vomiting or continued nausea.
- Slurred speech.
- Convulsions or seizures.
- An inability to wake up from sleep.
- Enlargement of the pupil (dark center) of one or both eyes.
According to the Mayo Clinic, there may be cognitive symptoms resulting from TBIs. These include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes.
- No loss of consciousness, but a state of being dazed, confused, or disoriented.
- Memory or concentration problems.
- Mood changes or mood swings.
- Feeling depressed or anxious.
- Difficulty sleeping.
- Sleeping more than usual.
And finally, according to Brainline, TBIs can also be accompanied by emotional and behavioral symptoms. These symptoms can include:
- Verbal outbursts
- Physical outbursts
- Poor judgment and disinhibition
- Impulsive behavior
- Rigidity and inflexibility
- Risky behavior
- Lack of empathy
- Lack of motivation or initiative
- Depression or anxiety
Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury
A medical evaluation and tests are necessary to help determine traumatic brain injuries. And while MRIs and CT scans cannot always detect a TBI, oftentimes a neurological exam is warranted. These exams include testing the patient’s mental and physical status. This may include testing the patient’s critical thinking skills, gross and fine motor function, hand-eye coordination, sensory capabilities, and muscle reflexes.
The role of a neurologist
The role of a qualified neurologist in TBI cases is paramount in diagnosing the extent of the brain injury and understanding whether or not it is mild, such as a concussion, or severe, such as requiring lifelong inpatient care.
Treating Traumatic Brain Injury
When it comes to an auto accident or another kind of injury that results in the sudden onset of possibly severe TBI, acute treatment may be needed. Acute treatment is the pressing need for immediate medical intervention.
Acute treatment options include the surgical removal of blood clots or pools from hematomas. Bleeding in the brain can reduce oxygen delivery or create dangerous pressure in the brain. These cases can be life-threatening. In the event of brain swelling or bleeding causing intracranial pressure (ICP), a doctor must alleviate the pressure immediately. Treating skull fractures or removing foreign objects from the brain is also a form of acute treatment.
Whether or not a victim of TBI needs intensive, specialized, or comprehensive treatment depends entirely on the severity of the damage and the culmination of the symptoms. In any case, there are multiple avenues for rehabilitation and ongoing care.
For more severe injuries, options include inpatient and nursing home care. Severe injuries may need lifelong treatment. Mild to moderate injuries can include outpatient rehabilitation. In many cases, periodic care, such as frequent or infrequent follow-ups can help patients to live normal lives by preventing sudden onset decline.
Receiving early treatment and care
Regardless of severity or treatment options, it is critical to get a diagnosis and early treatment to help prevent the onset of possible severe complications. Early rehabilitation is critical when it comes to improving and maintaining brain function. It can also vastly help to improve the quality of life and speed up the return to the patient’s normal daily routines, or at least get them as close as possible.
The Legal Options for Suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury
If you or someone you love has suffered a traumatic brain injury, the financial and life challenges can be catastrophic. Even “mild” brain injuries can present recurring challenges that could last for years. Severe TBIs can present challenges and recurring costs that could last a lifetime.
You deserve relief. Relief from the constant stress of mounting medical costs, bills, and daily needs. Relief from the fear of getting to your next appointment. Relief from the growing fear that your livelihood might be permanently destroyed.
In California, you are entitled to compensation from a negligent party. A personal injury lawsuit can bring you financial relief through a civil claim. A qualified attorney will guide you through the process, explain to your all of your legal options, and work to get you and your family the biggest settlement possible. Potential compensation can range anywhere from $100,000 to millions of dollars. The award will help to cover medical bills, lost wages, pain & suffering, and more.
A traumatic brain injury can affect your life and the lives of those around you. When you suffer, your loved ones also suffer. A traumatic brain injury can range from mild to severe, however, in both cases, the symptoms could last years if not for the rest of your life. When someone has suffered a TBI, they must receive medical attention right away. The earlier you receive a diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, the better the chances of improving brain function and one day possibly resuming normal daily activities.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, you must seek legal assistance right away. An experienced personal injury lawyer, like Pyramid Legal, will help you every step of the way with compassion and dedication. We will discuss all of the legal options available to you under the law and provide you with our vision for the best way forward. Remember, suffering due to someone else’s negligence is unacceptable.
You deserve relief from the cost of rising medical bills and debt. Missed work, doctor’s appointments, rehabilitation – everything can pile on quickly and that’s why we’re here to help.
Contact us today for a free consultation.