When you suffer an injury that affects your brain, that is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A person could suffer from a TBI for many reasons. Most happen because of accidents and crimes. Car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and shootings can all cause traumatic brain injuries. The two types of traumatic brain injuries include penetrating and non-penetrating. If you suffer a non-penetrating TBI, you hit your head, whether by falling, hitting your head in a car accident, or otherwise bumping your head. A penetrating TBI is when something penetrates your head and damages your brain. It could be a bullet in a shooting, or you could crack your skull when you fall. If your skull caves in and damages your brain, that is a penetrating brain injury.
Types of Traumatic Brain InjuriesNon-penetrating injuries have three subtypes: mild TBI, which are usually concussions, moderate TBI, and severe TBI. In most cases, penetrating TBI is severe.
Mild TBI SymptomsMild TBI might present with one or more symptoms, including headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, speech issues, and/or loss of balance. You might also experience sensor symptoms, such as light sensitivity, sound sensitivity, blurred vision, problems with your ability to smell, ringing in your ears, or having a bad taste in your mouth. You could also become unconscious for up to a few minutes, become dazed or confused, have trouble concentrating and/or remembering things, feel anxious and/or depressed, exhibit mood swings and/or changes, have difficulty sleeping, or sleep more than you normally do.
Moderate and Severe TBI SymptomsThe symptoms for moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries are similar. You could experience one or more of these symptoms for moderate and severe TBIs. Physical symptoms include losing consciousness, sometimes for hours but often for several minutes; a headache that only gets worse or does not go away; pupil dilation; seizures and/or convulsions; nausea and/or vomiting, usually repeated; no coordination; numb or weak toes and fingers; and clear fluids that drain from your ears and/or nose. You could also suffer from mental and/or cognitive symptoms, including coma, agitation, slurred speech, and profound confusion.
Traumatic Brain Injury StatisticsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, more people per 100,000 over 75 years of age suffer from traumatic brain injuries than any other age group. Those between 64 and 75 years of age have about 105 hospitalizations for TBI per year per 100,000 people, and those aged 55 to 64 years have about 67 hospitalizations per year per 100,000 people.
Recoverable Damages for Accidents Involving Traumatic Brain InjuriesAfter suffering a traumatic brain injury in an accident or at the hands of a criminal, you could recover damages, including medical expenses. Depending on the extent of your injuries and whether your doctors expect your injuries to lead to permanent disabilities, you could recover economic and non-economic damages.
Economic DamagesSpecial damages, often called economic damages, have a monetary value and can include:
- Medical expenses, including surgeries, follow-up appointments, regular doctors’ appointments for traumatic brain injuries and other injuries, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, occupational therapy, psychological therapy, adding hand controls to your vehicle, ambulatory aids, and renovating your home to accommodate your injuries, including adding a wheelchair ramp, widening doors, and adding grab bars.
- Lost wages and loss of future earning capacity.
- Replacement or repair of destroyed or damaged personal property.
- Funeral, burial, and/or cremation expenses if you lost a loved one because of an accident or a traumatic brain injury. You could also recover other end-of-life expenses, such as filing fees for probate court.
Non-Economic DamagesGeneral damages, often referred to as non-economic damages, do not have a monetary value and include:
- Pain and suffering, including emotional distress. You could also recover compensation for emotional distress if you lost a loved one to a traumatic brain injury.
- Loss of quality of life.
- Loss of companionship.
- Loss of consortium.
- Loss of use of a body part or bodily function.
- Inconvenience if you have to hire someone to do the chores you usually do, including grocery shopping, lawn maintenance, house cleaning, and home repair and maintenance.