What You Didn’t Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries
If you fall and break your arm, the symptoms and limitations you will experience as a result of that break are relatively clear-cut; you will be in pain and unable to use your arm for a few months. When it comes to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), however, the symptoms, diagnosis, and limitations experienced as a result can be vastly different depending on the severity of the injury and the area injured. Doctors will often not be able to tell you how a TBI might manifest later in life or if you will make a full recovery. Accordingly, TBI cases can be difficult to litigate, especially when they involve calculating what you will need to improve your future quality of life.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A “traumatic brain injury” is medically defined as an injury that “occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction.” This can include a violent blow or jolt to the head, such as hitting your head against your windshield, which causes the soft tissues of the brain to impact the skull. Generally, there are three classifications of TBIs:
- Closed Brain Injury: Occurs when the head either “snaps” back and forth or collides with another object, such as the steering wheel or windshield of a car, and damages brain tissues or nerve endings. Such injuries generally cause varying degrees of disability;
- Open Brain Injury: Occurs when an object, such as a piece of metal or glass from a windshield, penetrates the skull and injures the brain. However, such injuries tend to be in only one area of the brain, and as such, medical science can often predict the resulting disabilities;
- Acquired Brain Injuries: This is the general term for any brain injury that you are not born with but occurs by natural means, such as being struck by lightning or having a stroke.
Depending on the type of TBI you suffered, few people understand the array of symptoms one can experience because they manifest differently in each person. These symptoms generally fall into three categories: physical, sensory, and cognitive, and they include the following:
- Loss of consciousness
- General loss of coordination
- Extreme confusion
- Unusual or aggressive behavior
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty moving parts of your body
What many don’t know is that some of these symptoms often go unrecognized as signs of TBI. If you were involved in a car accident and are taking pain medication, you may blame your nausea and slurred speech on the medication, your headache on lack of sleep due to the pain, and difficulty moving your limbs as the result of whiplash or nerve trauma.
Diagnosing a Traumatic Brain Injury
There are times when a TBI can actually be easy to diagnose, such as when you lose consciousness, are in a coma, or have a clear open brain injury. In those cases, the doctors will know what tests to perform to determine the nature and extent of your injury and what parts of the brain (and in turn, the body) the injury is likely to affect most. In other cases, however, such as when you hit your head on the window after a car accident but did not lose consciousness, or were shaken as a baby and as a result have symptoms of shaken baby syndrome, are harder to diagnose. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to request that doctors perform a CT scan, MRI, and certain neurological testing to determine whether you have suffered a traumatic brain injury. In this case, doctors will be able to see which parts of the brain are malfunctioning so that you can work on rehabilitating those specific areas. You should also be sure to see a doctor who is specialized in head and spine injuries.
Traumatic Brain Injuries and Car Accidents
Did you know that car accidents are one of the top reasons people suffer from severe TBIs? In fact, TBIs are actually the leading cause of death and disability in children here in the United States, and many of these injuries are the result of an auto accident. Whether you’re a pedestrian who was knocked to the ground or it was a car-on-car collision, TBIs can be fatal. One type of TBI that is common after a serious car accident is called “diffuse axonal injury,” and it occurs when the brain, which sits in fluids, moves back and forth violently within the skull, crashing itself against the bone and killing cells. This can cause the brain tissues to shear, which results in swelling, decreased blood flow, and brain death. If this injury is not immediately treated with surgical intervention, it often proves fatal, and even if it does not cause a wrongful death, victims can suffer from the impacts of the injury for life. If you have experienced a TBI, always discuss the effects of such with medical and economic experts to determine the financial impact of the injury on yourself and your family before you make the decision to settle with an insurance company.
Contact a Tampa Bay Traumatic 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 for years to come. For example, if you develop early-onset Alzheimer’s disease as a result of a past TBI 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 TBI. Further, it is important to ensure that your family obtains all the help they need as they care for you during this difficult time. The Dolman Law Group is your premier TBI 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.