Brain Injury Victims May Need to Be Hospitalized
Traumatic brain injuries,1 or TBIs, are most commonly sustained in motor vehicle, motorcycle, and other types of serious accidents. The length of time it takes for a patient to recover from a traumatic brain injury depends primarily on the severity of the injury sustained and the way in which the injury was sustained. Depending on the severity of the traumatic brain injury, a patient’s recovery time may range anywhere from six months to two years following the date of the injury.
If you or someone you love has sustained a traumatic brain injury in a car, motorcycle, or bicycle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to monetary compensation under the law. Our experienced Tampa personal injury lawyers have the medical knowledge and legal expertise to help you win your case and obtain the monetary compensation you need and deserve.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
TBIs are brain injuries that are usually caused by external trauma or blunt force applied to the accident victim’s head. The trauma associated with closed-head TBIs causes the accident victim’s brain to actually move about inside the head and come into direct contact with the front or back of the skull. This movement may cause damage to the brain’s neurons and axons (i.e., the brain’s “internal hardware”) and can prevent them from functioning correctly and doing their jobs. This may lead to myriad symptoms, the most common of which are short- and long-term memory losses.
Approximately 1.5 million American suffer from traumatic brain injuries on a yearly basis.2 This translates into approximately one traumatic brain injury every 21 seconds. In many cases, the TBI victim is not aware of the seriousness of the injury until long after sustaining it. On average, the longer a TBI victim waits to seek treatment, the more serious and irreversible the symptoms, injuries, and damages. The most serious TBIs can have significant and lifelong impacts on the victim’s health and well-being.
Common Symptoms Associated with Traumatic Brain Injuries
Symptoms of short-term, less serious traumatic brain injuries often manifest themselves immediately. At other times, the symptoms may not manifest themselves for weeks or months after the victim sustained the TBI.
Common symptoms associated with short-term, mild traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty sleeping
- Difficulty focusing or concentrating
When a TBI victim experiences a late onset of symptoms, he or she may not know of the injury or may not know how serious it is. Symptoms of more long-term traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Long-term memory losses
- Slurred speech
- Long-lasting confusion or disorientation
- Loss of consciousness
- Extreme mood swings (especially when the victim did not experience these before)
- Loss of the senses (especially taste or smell)
Seeking Immediate Hospitalization or Medical Treatment Following a Blunt Head Injury
Immediately after sustaining any kind of head injury in a car, motorcycle, or bicycle accident, the first thing an accident victim should do is to seek follow-up medical care at a hospital as soon as possible. This is true even when the accident victim does not believe that he or she was all that seriously injured in the accident.
A hospital will be able to conduct the necessary medical examinations, tests, and imaging studies (such as X-rays and MRIs) to determine whether the accident victim sustained a TBI – and if so, the probable extent and severity of the injury or injuries sustained. The hospital may then be able to provide treatment to the accident victim and make recommendations for follow-up care if necessary.
In more serious traumatic brain injury cases, an accident victim may be able to start treating at the hospital immediately after sustaining the injury or injuries. Unlike other organs in the human body, the brain is an extremely complex organ. Also, unlike other bodily organs, scientists are only recently beginning to understand the complex functions of the brain, and as such, the long-term effects of traumatic brain injuries can be difficult for doctors and other health care providers to predict.
Because every person’s anatomy is different, brain swelling and other internal brain conditions may vary from person to person. These variations usually depend upon a person’s age and pre-injury abilities, as well as their pre-injury levels of brain functioning. As a result, recovery periods for traumatic brain injuries can sometimes be difficult for health care professionals to gauge or predict.
Three Stages of Recovery Following a Serious Traumatic Brain Injury
Early detection and treatment of traumatic brain injuries are key to achieving the best long-term results, and early hospitalization following a serious head injury is essential. The three stages of recovery following a TBI, which often take place in a hospital setting, include the following:
- Coma – During a coma, the accident victim is unconscious, is unable to respond to the world around him or her, and is unable to communicate with anyone.
- Vegetative State – During the vegetative state, an accident victim may alternate between asleep and awake and may briefly respond to sounds or visual stimuli.
- Minimal Consciousness – During this phase, the accident victim may have a limited ability to respond to auditory or visual stimuli and cues. The most significant improvements in functioning are typically made during the six-week period following the injury. Improvements after two years are minimal to none.
Contact a Tampa Personal Injury Attorney Today to Discuss Your Case
Traumatic brain injuries can be devastating and can have lifelong impacts on an accident victim as well as the accident victim’s loved ones. It is essential that you seek follow-up medical care at a hospital following any head injury – even if you do not believe that you sustained a serious injury. Traumatic brain injuries are unpredictable, and symptoms can manifest themselves weeks or months later. Early detection and treatment at a hospital can prevent these symptoms from worsening and can allow you to start on the road to recovery.
An experienced and compassionate Tampa personal injury attorney will be able to advocate on your behalf during negotiations with insurance companies and in court if necessary. To schedule a free consultation or case evaluation with a personal injury attorney at Dolman Law Group, please call us or contact us online.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765