An Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injuries
Any time a person is injured, it should be taken seriously. But, there are some injuries that are far more serious than others. One of the most devastating and life-changing injuries is a traumatic brain injury, or TBI.
There are two types of TBIs: open and closed. An open TBI injury occurs when a foreign object such as a bullet breaks the skull and enters the brain cavity. A closed TBI, on the other hand, occurs as a result of a violent blow or jolt to the head. The impact from a violent blow and the sudden movement from a jolt can cause the brain to hit against the skull, which damages brain cells.
Over one-third of all TBIs are caused by falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 17.3% of these injuries occur in traffic accidents, either when the victim’s head jolts back and forth or when the victim’s head makes impact with the steering wheel, window, or another part of the car. Falls and car accidents are the two most common causes of TBIs, but they’re far from the only causes. Unfortunately, the cause of 21% of TBIs is still unknown.
What are the Symptoms of TBIs?
The symptoms of a TBI will vary depending on whether the victim has sustained a mild, moderate, or severe injury. A victim who has suffered a mild TBI may or may not lose consciousness, however if they do lose consciousness, it should not be for very long. Mild TBI victims can also experience extreme confusion, memory loss, and disorientation after an accident. Later, other symptoms such as fatigue, nausea, intense headaches, mood swings, sensitivity to light, and dizziness can set in if the victim has suffered a mild TBI.
Moderate and severe TBI victims experience nearly identical symptoms, so they are often grouped together even though severe TBIs are more serious. Anyone who has suffered either one of these injuries will lose consciousness. The loss of consciousness can last for anywhere from several minutes to hours, depending on the severity of the injury. But, this is just one of the many symptoms that a moderate or severe TBI victim may experience. Other symptoms include seizures, loss of coordination, clear fluids coming from the nose or eyes, vomiting, slurred speech, and numbness.
It’s obvious when someone has suffered a moderate or severe TBI because they will immediately lose consciousness. But, since mild TBI victims may not ever lose consciousness, it can be difficult to tell when these victims are in need of immediate medical attention. In addition, many of the mild TBI symptoms may not set in until hours or days after the accident. For these reasons, it’s recommended that you seek medical attention as soon as possible any time you are involved in an accident where you hit your head or jerked your head back and forth quickly.
How Are TBIs Treated?
A doctor cannot treat a mild TBI, so many victims wonder why it’s so important to seek medical attention. Even though there is no treatment for mild TBIs, a doctor still needs to evaluate and monitor your condition to ensure it does not get worse. A doctor may also be able to prescribe you medications to treat some of the symptoms of a mild TBI, such as insomnia, pain, and anxiety.
Treating a moderate or severe TBI involves much more than simply monitoring a patient. Doctors will need to focus on stabilizing the patient’s condition before moving any further with treatment. This means ensuring the patient has enough oxygen and keeping the patient’s blood pressure down.
Many moderate and severe TBI victims will need surgery right away when they arrive at the hospital. Surgery is often performed to remove a piece of the skull, which reduces the pressure inside the brain cavity and alleviates swelling of the brain. If the skull is fractured, a surgeon may need to repair the fracture as soon as the patient arrives in the emergency room.
Every TBI victim’s recovery is unique. There are no guarantees when it comes to recovering from a moderate or severe TBI. Some patients regain consciousness, while others will never emerge from their comas. Even if a patient regains consciousness, they will most likely need extensive rehabilitation and physical therapy to relearn certain skills they have lost due to brain damage. Some TBI patients notice a huge improvement in their condition after rehabilitation and physical therapy, while others only see minor improvements.
How to Recover Compensation For TBIs
TBI victims can incur thousands and sometimes even millions of dollars in expenses. In fact, it is estimated that the lifetime cost of caring for a severe TBI victim can be between $600,000 and $1.8 million. The vast majority of TBI victims cannot afford these expenses, which is why the law allows personal injury victims to recover compensation from the party that caused them harm.
For example, let’s say you are involved in a car accident that was the other driver’s fault. If you sustained a TBI in the car accident, the other driver’s insurance company is responsible for compensating you for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. But unfortunately, recovering the compensation that you deserve is no easy feat, especially if you attempt to do so without the help of an attorney.
Have you suffered a TBI due to the negligent acts of another person? If so, contact Carpenter & Zuckerman right away to discuss your case. Our team of personal injury attorneys will fight tirelessly to recover the compensation that you deserve. Let us handle the legal aspect of your case so you can focus solely on recovering from this devastating injury.
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