The Three Degrees of Traumatic Brain Injuries
At one time or another, we have all taken a knock to the head. Sometimes, the result is a bruise or a headache. Other times, we see stars for a moment. These injuries are easily absorbed by the body and usually do not result in permanent injuries. However, the brain is a complex structure, and a severe head injury can affect every area of your body and mind. There are typically three degrees of brain injuries: mild, moderate, and severe, and the type of injury you suffer may determine your future.
Definition of Traumatic Brain Injury
A “traumatic brain injury” is medically defined as an injury to the head/brain that “occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.” Traumatic brain injuries can result in an array of symptoms, which generally fall into three categories: physical, sensory, and cognitive. These symptoms can include the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- General loss of coordination
- Extreme confusion
- Unusual or aggressive behavior
- Slurred speech
The nature and extent of these symptoms will depend on the severity of the injury as well as your age. Young children, whose brains are still developing, may experience more symptoms and trauma from a brain injury that would not have had the same effect on an adult. In fact, traumatic brain injuries are the leading cause of death and disability in children in the United States, and many of these injuries are the result of auto accidents.
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
Brain injuries are said to medically occur when, as the result of trauma, there is some change in your mental facilities. Your brain injury is considered mild if your symptoms generally fall into the following categories:
- Brief loss of consciousness (a few seconds or minutes)
- Dazed or confused
- Normal testing and brain scans
Generally, you will recover quickly from a mild traumatic brain injury, but it is still important to monitor your symptoms and avoid further head injuries. Any future injuries may be more severe as the result of past disruption in the brain.
Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury
A brain injury is considered moderate if (1) a loss of consciousness lasts more than a few minutes and up to a few hours, (2) you are dazed and confused for a few days or weeks, and (3) you experience physical or mental impairments, including changes in behavior. Even with a mild traumatic brain injury, these impairments can become permanent because even a slight stretching or disruption of the sensitive neurons in your brain can affect your physical and mental function. Although cognitive brain therapy can help you compensate for these impairments and live a normal life, you are still entitled to compensation for the permanency of your injuries. Examples of permanent mild traumatic brain injuries include the following:
- Persistent headaches
- Suicidal thoughts
- Visual symptoms
- Progressive dementia
Further, studies indicate that even moderate traumatic brain injury can lead to premature death.
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Severe traumatic brain injuries are the most life-threatening, and they typically result when there is a severe, crushing blow to the head or when an outside item, such as shrapnel, penetrates the brain. Such injuries can result in death, long-term coma, a vegetative state, loss of memory and cognitive function, and loss of motor skills. Most individuals who suffer from severe traumatic brain injuries will never return to work or be able to function in a normal capacity. Although these individuals may make some recovery with intensive brain and physical therapy, it is a life-altering event. Further, those who suffer from severe traumatic brain injuries have a higher risk of developing epilepsy, dementia, depression, and Parkinsonism.
Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury
Unfortunately, automobile accidents are one of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries in the United States. Whiplash, which results when the head snaps forward and then back after impact, disrupts the neurons in the neck and brain stem and can lead to traumatic brain injury. Depending on your positioning in the vehicle, your head may also impact the steering wheel, seat, or another object in front of you after a serious crash, which can lead to a crushing injury and long-term coma.
In fact, one of the most fatal types of traumatic brain injuries, “Diffuse Axonal Injury,” is commonly seen in car crashes. This type of injury occurs when the brain, which sits in fluids, is shaken back and forth violently within the skull, crashing itself against the bone. This can cause the brain tissues to shear, which results in swelling, decreased blood flow, and brain death. If not treated immediately, this injury can be fatal, and even if it is treated quickly, the swelling and damage done to the brain can lead to long-term effects such as loss of physical and cognitive function. It is estimated that, over the course of your lifetime, the treatment and care needed to aid someone who has suffered a severe traumatic brain injury can exceed $5,000,000.
Contact a Clearwater, Florida, Brain Injury Attorney Today
Traumatic brain injury litigation is some of the most complex personal injury litigation attorneys undertake, especially because the long-term effects of many injuries cannot be seen until years later. For example, if you develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease as a result of a past traumatic brain injury but have already settled your case, there is little you can do to help your family seek compensation for your care. It takes a team of experts and a plethora of medical, economic, and occupational knowledge to ensure you get the full compensation you deserve after a traumatic brain injury. Further, it is important to ensure that your family is provided with all the help they need as they care for you during this difficult time. Dolman Law Group is your premier traumatic brain injury firm in the greater Tampa Bay area, and its attorneys are here to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Contact them today at (727) 451-6900 for a free, no-risk consultation.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 3375