What Exactly is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) can be caused by a wide range of incidents, such as; car accidents, falls, assaults, and being struck by an object to the skull. The brain is remarkably complex, and what could seem like a simple accident could have long-lasting effects. Generally, the brain can be damaged in one of two ways; by external injury, which would leave visible marks, or by internal injury, where the injury is not visible. External injury results when an object strikes the head or, in the alternative, the head strikes the object. Internal injury occurs when the brain moves violently within the skull cavity.

TBI ranges from mild to severe. Even though one common misconception is that a person needs to lose consciousness to sustain a TBI, this is not necessarily true. In cases of whiplash, the brain rapidly accelerates/decelerates within the skull cavity. This often results in impairment of the cerebral nerve cells and fibers.  Car accidents, roller coaster or amusement park rides, during sport activities, or by being punched or shaken are leading causes of whiplash. The damage sustained can be microscopic, leaving modern technology, such as CT scans or MRI scans, incapable of visualizing or diagnosing the injury.

Instead, trained physicians diagnose their patients using the modified Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS is a neurological scale that objectively measures a person’s conscious state following a head injury. It specifically assesses a person’s eye, verbal and motor responses in order to determine the severity of head trauma.

Common symptoms of mild TBI may include: headaches, dizziness, loss of balance, nausea, mood changes, memory or concentration problems, sensitivity to light or sound, blurred vision, fatigue, difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual.

Currently, insurance companies rely on outdated “junk science” to defend against TBI claims. Instead of accepting the diagnosis provided by trained physicians that utilize the modified GCS neurological scale, they instead ask courts and juries to rely on common misconceptions that modern science has debunked, such as: the CT scan or MRI scan did not show visible damage therefore brain injury did not occur, a person must lose consciousness in order to sustain a brain injury, or insurance companies hire doctors that rely on limited facts and ignore an abundance of evidence, such as the circumstances of the head injury and the TBI symptoms affecting a person that manifests subsequent to the incident.

Fortunately, research continues that will lead to further awareness, diagnosis and treatment. The NFL and the Defense Department actively contribute to research efforts in mild traumatic brain injury. Additionally, the Obama Administration recently proposed $110 million in funding to further human brain research. Through these efforts, continued research, and the expertise of experienced brain injury attorneys, insurance companies will have a more difficult time hanging their hats on common misconceptions and antiquated science.

For more information on TBI’s and head trauma, call the the brain impairment attorneys of the Dolman Law Group for a free consultation and case evaluation.

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