A slip and fall down stairs. A serious car or motorcycle accident. Or, a blow to the head from a sports injury. All these and other situations can result in the victim suffering a traumatic brain injury. Generally speaking, the term traumatic brain injury (or TBI) refers to any injury or trauma from an external or outside force that causes damage to a person’s brain. This type of injury can be described in terms of the injury’s severity, cause, and/or location. One thing all traumatic brain injuries have in common, however, is that expensive and ongoing medical treatment is often needed.
A traumatic brain injury suffered in an accident caused by another can leave you, the victim, with the hard task of recovery. Depending on the severity of your TBI, your life may not be the same ever again. While there is no known way to reverse damage caused by TBI, compensation is available through a personal injury lawsuit. By showing that your TBI was caused by the careless actions of another, that other individual and other responsible parties can be required to pay for your medical expenses, ongoing treatment, and home healthcare needs, and compensate you for work income you have lost or will lose due to a TBI-related disability.
CLASSIFYING THE TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Traumatic brain injuries can be classified in a variety of ways: mechanism, severity, and location. While all traumatic brain injuries are serious and deserve immediate medical attention, classifying TBIs can help you and others such as medical workers understand the nature of your injury.
- Mechanism: The “cause” of a TBI, or how the force that injured the brain was applied
- Rapid acceleration/deceleration (“whiplash”) can result in a traumatic brain injury. This mechanism is typically observed in serious and violent car crashes where a person’s head is traveling in one direction and that direction is suddenly stopped and redirected.
- Impact forces cause TBI where a blunt object hits the skull, causing damage to the brain within. Sometimes, impact injuries occur deliberately through violence or sports. Other times, a falling object can strike a person in the head, or the person’s head can strike a stationary object like a low-hanging ceiling.
- Penetrating injuries occur when something like a knife, pick, or other sharp object actually penetrates the skull and causes injury to the brain inside.
- Severity: How bad was the injury and how good is a prognosis?
- Mild TBIs can be expected to cause short-term (e., less than one day) of post-trauma amnesia. The victim may also suffer a loss of consciousness lasting from 0 to 30 minutes.
- Moderate TBIs may result in up to a week of post-trauma amnesia and loss of consciousness may occur, lasting from 30 minutes up to 24 hours.
- Severe TBIs have the poorest prognosis and, even if the victim survives, lifelong continuing care will likely be necessary. Severe TBIs can result in post-traumatic amnesia lasting beyond 7 days after the injury. The victim may also have been unconscious following the injury for a period of time in excess of 24 hours.
- Location: Where on the head did the mechanism occur?
- Open injuries are penetrating-type injuries that pierced the skull and penetrated the outer layers of brain’s membrane.
- Closed injuries are those suffered by a blunt object that does not pierce the skull or brain membrane.
- Whole-head or diffuse injuries occur where the mechanism affected the entire head at one time (such as whiplash suffered in a car accident).
- Local injuries occur in one or two isolated spots. An injury from a falling object or suffered in a game of football would be a local injury.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF TBI
Depending on the TBI’s severity and the length of time between the injury and when medical assistance is obtained, TBIs can impact a person’s ability to speak, think, reason, move his or her appendages, and even live independently. Even if a person is able to survive a TBI, healthcare costs can easily reach over $100,000 per year. This does not even account for prescription medications that may be necessary and wages and earnings the victim may be missing.
Because the prognosis for a TBI victim depends so heavily on time, you should be evaluated by a medical professional after any injury to the head. You should be especially mindful for the following symptoms of TBI which can follow a head injury:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty balancing
- Lack of coordination
- Confusion and trouble concentrating
- Trouble with memory
KAISER ROMANELLO: SEASONED PERSONAL INJURY ATTORNEYS
Contact the law firm of Kaiser Romanello following a head injury, especially if a TBI results. These injuries can cause serious financial strain and hardship on an individual and his or her family. Where your TBI is caused by the careless actions of another, an unsafe condition in a store or other public property, or in a motor vehicle crash not caused by you, you are entitled to be fairly compensated for your injuries. Contact us now to learn more about your legal options.