The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
reports that Americans suffer over 2.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) each year, and the nation sees 153 TBI-related fatalities every day. Virginia
fares about the same as the nation as a whole. Approximately one-third of all injury-related fatalities involve TBIs, as do about 15 percent of all injury-related hospitalizations.
Victims of TBI face a wide variety of symptoms and life challenges. Some TBIs resolve completely, whereas others inflict long-term or even permanent disabilities. The brain dysfunction associated with TBI results from a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. In recent years, participation in youth sports and recreational activities has raised the rate of concussions and other traumatic brain injuries in children age 19 and younger. People age 75 and older also run a high risk of TBI. Whatever your age, however, a TBI can severely affect your life and wellbeing.
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Emroch and Kilduff know how challenging every day can feel after a TBI. We work to ease the burden on TBI victims by helping them recover the compensation they need to return to a normal life. Call us today at (888) 358-1568.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBIs result from incidents that cause an impact between the brain and the interior of the skull, from penetrating injuries (such as a bullet wound), and from oxygen deprivation. Some of the most common events leading to a TBI, according to the CDC,
Traumatic Brain Injury Modes
Head trauma from any of the causes above can cause a range of “insults” to the brain, all of which can temporarily or permanently damage brain tissue. These include:
- Hematoma. A hematoma is a blood clot outside of any blood vessel. Blood clotting between the skull and brain is called a subdural hematoma. It can damage brain tissue.
- Hemorrhage. Uncontrolled bleeding inside the skull or within the brain structure causes swelling and deprives parts of the brain of blood.
- Concussion. A concussion results from a collision between the brain and the interior of the skull, or from the movement of the brain within the skull, resulting in bruising and swelling. Many concussions are “minor” and fully recoverable, but studies have begun to show evidence of permanent damage from repeated concussions, especially among athletes.
- Edema. Edema is swelling caused by fluid retention. Cerebral edema causes dangerous pressure build-up inside the skull, leading to injury.
- Skull fracture. The skull is a bone, and like any bone it can break, usually because of a blow, leading to bleeding, swelling, and the brain injury complications that accompany them.
- Diffuse axonal injury. Lesions in multiple areas of the brain can disrupt brain function and lead to permanent injury or death.
Traumatic Brain Injury Effects
The brain is a complex organ and damage to it results in a wide variety of effects. Depending upon the severity of the injury and the part of the brain it affects, a TBI can cause:
- Coma or a permanent vegetative state;
- Memory loss;
- Emotional changes;
- Cognitive impairments; and
- Motor impairments.
One of the most vexing problems associated with TBI is the difficulty victims may have in identifying and pinpointing their symptoms. Children and elderly people, especially, may struggle to explain exactly what’s wrong, or to do so in a manner that clues caregivers into the fact that a TBI has happened. Symptoms may also develop over a relatively long period of time—typically days or weeks—making recognition of a probable TBI more difficult.
Obviously, any of the effects above, when observed, could send a strong signal that a TBI has occurred. But, also be on the lookout for more subtle indications of TBI in yourself or a loved one.
- Dizziness or equilibrium problems;
- Persistent headaches or neck pain;
- Confusion or frequent “senior moments”;
- Nausea (often immediate);
- Problems seeing or hearing, and sensitivity to light;
- Disturbed sleep; and
- Unexplained mood changes or swings.
With TBI, the best rule-of-thumb is “better safe than sorry.” See a doctor whenever you bump your head or sustain a “jolt,” even if you think you’re “fine.” Get to a doctor immediately if any of the problems above appear and persist. Medical providers have reliable tests for TBI; the trick is to go see them before doing further damage.
Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury
The sooner a person seeks treatment for TBI the better. That’s why you see football players on TV get taken out of games immediately when the sideline doctor suspects a concussion. Swift medical intervention with medications, therapies, and even surgery, can help keep brain damage from a TBI in check.
Longer-term, lasting effects of TBI respond to various modes of treatment. These may include:
- Medication to reduce swelling or forestall seizures;
- Cognitive and behavioral therapy;
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy; and
- Assistive devices and technologies.
Suspect a Traumatic Brain Injury? What to Do Next.
See a doctor as soon as possible for any type of head injury. As we said above, quick medical attention can reduce the severity of a TBI and limit brain tissue death. So, do not wait to seek medical care any time you sustain a bump or jolt that leaves you feeling out of sorts, even if only for a moment or two. You risk permanent injury and disability if you wait.
If someone else’s careless actions caused your injury, then seek the help of an experienced brain injury attorney after you’ve received appropriate medical attention. Bring your medical records to your first meeting with a lawyer—they can help support any claim you may have for compensation.
Should an attorney conclude you have a case, you may have the right to recover a range of damages associated with your TBI, including:
- Medical expenses;
- Therapy expenses;
- Lost income and lost earning capacity; and
- Pain and suffering.
There is no guarantee of recovering damages, of course. But, the sooner you seek medical and legal assistance for a TBI, the better your chances of making a healthy recovery supported by the financial resources you need.
Call Our Richmond
, Virginia, Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys if Someone Injured You or a Loved One. Don’t wait to speak with an experienced TBI attorney. The clock is running on your legal rights.
Call Emroch & Kilduff at (804) 358-1568, or contact us
online, to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a member of our team.