There’s always a chance you could be injured when you’re involved in an accident. Many times these injuries are minor, but not always.
We have worked with many clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries, including traumatic brain injuries, or TBIs. TBIs happen when an impact or jolt causes the brain to hit the inside of the skull. These injuries can cause serious brain damage that affects a person’s personality, mental and social skills, motor skills, and decision-making ability.
A TBI doesn’t just affect the victim, but their family as well. If you or a loved one sustained a traumatic brain injury, you may be able to seek compensation for injuries and medical expenses. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. ® are standing by 24/7 to take your call at 877-529-1222.
Facts about Traumatic Brain Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 1.7 million Americans sustain traumatic brain injuries each year. Of these, 275,000 TBI victims are hospitalized and 1.365 million are treated in emergency rooms and released. Sadly, there are roughly 142 deaths per day or 52,000 deaths per year as a result of TBIs.
Traumatic brain injuries are very common and account for 30.5 percent of all injury-related deaths in the U.S. Despite this, most are mild, with roughly 75 percent causing only concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries. TBIs are harmful to anyone, but are particularly risky for:
- Children under the age of 4
- Teenagers between 15 and 19 years old
- Older adults over the age of 75
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Since TBIs are caused by a blow to the head, they can occur in a variety of situations. Over 40 percent of TBIs are caused by falls. Additionally, 15.5 percent are caused by blunt force trauma, 14.3 percent by automobile accidents, and 10.7 percent by assaults. As personal injury attorneys, we often see TBI victims injured by:
- Truck Accidents
- Premises Liability (Slip and Fall)
- Sporting Accidents
- Car Accidents
- Construction accidents
- Defective Products (Product Liability)
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Domestic violence
- Workplace Injuries
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBIs are classified as either open injuries or closed injuries, depending on how the injury occurred.
Open TBIs are also called open head injuries (OHIs) and may be visible to the naked eye. They happen when the head comes into direct contact with another object, often as a result of a fall, an attack, or blunt force trauma. An open TBI can leave pieces of bone, debris, or shrapnel imbedded in the victim’s brain.
Closed TBIs, or closed head injuries (CHIs), are much more serious. These can occur even when the head is protected by an airbag or helmet. Because the skull is not fractured, the brain absorbs most of the impact. Victims of closed TBIs are much more likely to experience swelling or bleeding in the brain which can cause blood clots, coma, and death.
Once a TBI is classified as open or closed, a doctor can evaluate it based on how severe the damage and symptoms are. The injury will be classified as either mild, moderate, or severe.
Mild traumatic brain injuries may not show up on an MRI or CT scan. In many cases, unless the victim loses consciousness or notices a change in cognitive ability, a mild TBI may never be diagnosed.
Moderate traumatic brain injuries could have no permanent side effects or they could be permanently disabling. For a moderate TBI, it depends on what caused the injury and how much force the brain had to endure. Common side effects include prolonged loss of consciousness and permanent or temporary physical, mental, and behavioral issues.
Severe traumatic brain injuries cause long term side effects or are fatal. Some of these side effects include permanent mental and behavioral issues and an increased risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Signs of TBIs
As stated above, it is possible to sustain a traumatic brain injury without being diagnosed by a doctor. Often, the only way to detect a TBI, especially a mild one, is by monitoring the victim in the days and weeks after the accident.
If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from a TBI, look out for warning signs. If any of these symptoms develop, call your doctor or go to an emergency room immediately:
- Persistent headaches or migraines
- Loss of consciousness
- Trouble falling asleep
- Extreme drowsiness or problems waking up
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Mood swings
- Numbness or tingling in limbs or digits
- Slurred speech
- Problems tasting or smelling
- Blurred vision/pupil dilation
- Ringing in ears
- Memory loss
- Loss of bladder control
If a child experiences a TBI, it may be harder for them to explain how they feel or what their symptoms are. Adults should look for the following symptoms in children who may have a TBI:
- Crying more than usual
- Moodiness or irritability
- Change in eating habits
- Difficulty concentrating
- Change in sleeping habits
- Loss of interest in toys or activities
Complications of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Aside from the symptoms mentioned above, TBIs can cause irreversible or fatal health problems. Serious complications of traumatic brain injuries include:
- Coma: In a coma, the victim is unconscious and unable to communicate. Some comas last a few days or weeks while others last the remainder of the victim’s life.
- Vegetative State: A TBI victim in a vegetative state may be able to open their eyes, move, or make noise. Victims may be in a vegetative state permanently or transition into a minimally conscious state.
- Minimally Conscious State: Victims in a minimally conscious state will have an altered level of consciousness while remaining aware of their surroundings. Though this is a serious medical condition, recovery is possible.
- Locked-in Syndrome: Caused by a stroke, locked in syndrome leaves victims awake and aware but without the ability to move.
- Brain Death: A TBI victim suffering from brain death will have no measurable brain activity.
- Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy or CTE: This condition usually affects victims of multiple TBIs (football players, boxers, etc.). CTE can have severe side effects, like memory loss, impaired judgment, or a drastic change in personality or behavior. Currently the only way to diagnose CTE is through autopsy, though doctors and researchers are working on finding a better way.
Why Consult with a Brain Injury Attorney?
TBIs can happen anywhere at any time; from something as simple as a child falling out of a shopping cart to a middle-aged man hurt in a minimal impact accident. They are a serious medical condition that affects all aspects of a person’s life, including their ability to care for themselves. If you think you or a loved one may have suffered a TBI, seeing a doctor right away can be the difference between life and death.
Not only do TBIs affect the victim and their family physically and mentally, but financially as well. Paying for diagnosis, medication, treatment, and ongoing care can be expensive. As an injured victim, you may be able to recover compensation for:
- Lost Wages
- Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Medical Expenses
- Lost Future Wages
- Future Medical Costs
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Mental Impairment
- Permanent Disability
- Loss of Earning Capacity
- Property Damage
At the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. ®, we know that TBIs can be an enormous source of stress and pain. Our lawyers are standing by to discuss your case, so you can focus on your family. Contact us 24/7 by calling 877-529-1222.