Traumatic Brain Injury FAQs
At Dolman Law Group, we field questions all the time from people who have suffered a concussion and are concerned about whether it is a serious injury. To help clear up some confusion surrounding traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), we’ve collected some of the most common questions and their answers.
Is a Concussion a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Yes. Concussions are one of the more common TBIs and the one most in the public spotlight, because of the prevalence among professional football players. With a concussion, sudden movement of the head causes the brain to move and impact the inside of the skull. Sometimes, brain tissue bruises, tears, or is damaged.
Are There TBIs Other Than Concussions?
Yes. A traumatic brain injury is an injury caused by trauma to the brain that disrupts your brain’s normal functioning. You can suffer trauma in many ways, from concussive impacts to penetrating injuries. Generally, TBIs are distinguished from other brain injuries like infections, which are called acquired brain injuries (ABIs).
How Do I Know if I Have a TBI?
Only a doctor can diagnose a traumatic brain injury. Nevertheless, common symptoms to watch for include:
- Syncope (loss of consciousness)
- Headaches that don’t go away
- Neck stiffness
- Trouble with coordination
- Lack of balance
- Slurred speech
- Double vision
- Increased sensitivity to noise or light
- Difficulty concentrating
Some of these symptoms might take 24 hours or more to develop. However, if you notice any of them, then get to the hospital or a doctor right away. Your doctor will give you diagnostic tests, such a CT Scan or MRI. A doctor will also use the Glasgow Coma Scale to assess your relative level of consciousness.
Are TBIs Common?
Yes. Each year, almost 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffer a traumatic brain injury. Most people do not require hospitalization, though about 275,000 will be admitted to the hospital for treatment.
I Didn’t Suffer a Blow to the Head. Can I Still Have a TBI?
Yes. Traumatic brain injuries have many causes. Anything that causes the brain to move around in the skull can cause a TBI, so a hard blow to the body can cause also cause an injury, even if the blow did not land directly on your head. For example, it is fairly common for people involved in auto accidents to suffer a concussion even if an airbag or seatbelt prevented their head from striking anything. It is important to pay attention to the symptoms listed above. If you notice any of these symptoms after any traumatic impact, get to a doctor right away.
How Are TBIs Treated?
Treatment varies, depending on the severity of your injury. For a mild concussion, you might only need over-the-counter painkillers to help manage the pain. You should also take it easy for a few weeks since a second concussion can cause even more damage than the initial one. Some doctors might prescribe bed rest, or you might be encouraged to go about your daily routine as best as you can until your symptoms disappear.
More severe TBIs require additional treatment. For example, you might need therapy to help you recover. Many patients with moderate or severe TBIs need:
- Speech therapy to relearn how to talk
- Cognitive therapy to deal with memory loss
- Physical therapy to regain movement
- Occupational therapy to help them learn daily living tasks
How Long Is the Recovery Time?
The answer depends on the severity of your TBI. For example, a mild concussion can clear up after a few weeks if no complications develop. Other concussions might require several months to clear. Moderate and severe TBIs can take much longer to heal, and symptoms might never entirely disappear. Each TBI is different, and recovery times depend on the patient.
- Are There Any Long-Term Disabilities That Result from a TBI?
- There are. Moderate and severe TBIs have caused long-term interference with brain functioning, such as:
- Problems with communication, such as speaking or understanding speech
- Sensory impairments that affect your ability to smell, taste, hear, see, or touch
- Mental health issues, such as altered personality, depression, aggression, socially inappropriate behavior, and loss of impulse control
- Decreased mobility
- Impaired cognition that affects your ability to remember, think, or reason
Of course, not all patients who suffer a TBI will experience these disabilities. In addition, some patients make a full recovery even if they suffer from a disability for a short period of time. Everything depends on the severity of your injury and where it occurred in your brain. Your age and general health are also critical factors that will affect your recovery.
Can I Sue If Someone Else Is to Blame for My TBI?
Yes. A traumatic brain injury—even a “mild” concussion—is a serious injury, and you can hold someone else legally responsible if they are to blame for it. For example, many of our brain injury clients come to us after suffering the following:
- A devastating car accident caused by a distracted, careless, or reckless driver
- A painful slip and fall, or trip and fall, caused by a negligent property owner
- An intentional crime, like assault
Many people also suffer a TBI while playing sports. The rules about whether you can sue for a sports-related injury are more complicated and will require legal analysis of the surrounding circumstances. For example, some rough play is to be expected, so a rough tackle in football or soccer does not necessarily give rise to a lawsuit. However, if a coach neglected the symptoms of a concussion and failed to remove an injured player from a game and seek immediate medical treatment, the coach may be liable.
Speak With a Clearwater Brain Injury Lawyer at Dolman Law Group
If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone else’s carelessness, you may be able to recover compensation for your injury. The brain injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group have years of experience fighting for our clients. We understand the traumatic impacts of these injuries and help our clients recover just compensation so they can move forward with their lives. To schedule a consultation, please call 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765