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Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuits

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Settlements, compensation and hiring a traumatic brain injury lawyer

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as acquired brain injury, refers to sudden physical trauma to the brain. In many cases, TBI is caused by car accidents or industrial accidents, which sometimes occur due to negligence on the part of one of the drivers or the employer, respectively. When negligence or wrongful actions lead to injuries or wrongful death, victims and their families are sometimes able to gain compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of income and other factors by filing a claim for car accident injury.

TBI is an American epidemic. Each year, 1.5 million people suffer brain damage and other head injuries, and 52,000 people die as a result, making traumatic brain injury the number one cause of death and disability among Americans between the ages of one and 44.1 If someone you know has suffered a traumatic brain injury, personal injury lawyers with experience litigating TBI cases can help you determine if you are eligible for compensation to assist with medical bills and other expenses.

Types of TBI

The effects of traumatic brain injury vary depending on the type and severity of injury to the brain. There are two main types of TBI resulting from head damage: closed head brain injury and open head injury (penetrating).

Closed Head Injuries

Closed head injuries occur when victims hit their head on an object, such as a dashboard or windshield, with extreme force. The impact can cause damage to the area of the brain that absorbs this force (focal trauma) as well as other areas (diffuse brain injuries) sometimes resulting in a skull concussion. Diffuse brain injuries often cause communication difficulties, because the areas of the brain most susceptible to damage due to movement are those that affect communication.

In addition to communication problems, closed head injuries can also lead to problems with:

  • Voice
  • Swallowing
  • Walking
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • Smell
  • Memory
  • Cognitive (thinking) ability

Open Head (Penetrating) Brain Injuries

Open head injuries occur when something, such as a bullet, pierces the skull. This type of traumatic brain injury damages the area of the brain near the point of penetration; it is less likely to cause damage to other parts of the brain (diffuse injuries). Open head injuries often lead to infection when bone fragments, dirt or other foreign objects are trapped inside the skull.

TBI Causes

Traumatic brain injury is most often caused by motor vehicle accidents. Because collisions so often occur due to speeding and reckless driving, traumatic brain injury lawsuits that stem from auto accidents often come down to proving negligence on the part of the person who was speeding or driving recklessly.

Other common causes include:

  • Industrial Accidents
  • Sports injuries
  • Slips and falls
  • Playground accidents
  • Violent crimes
  • Child abuse

Different age groups are more prone to certain types of traumatic brain injury. Among infants, toddlers and the elderly falls are the most common cause. Sadly, violent shaking is also a common cause of TBI among infants. Adolescents and adults are more apt to sustain traumatic brain injuries due to auto accidents.2

TBI Symptoms

Depending on the severity of the injury, patients can experience a variety of traumatic brain injury symptoms. The chart below shows the symptoms of mild, moderate and severe traumatic brain injury, as identified by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). Patients with moderate to severe TBI can have the same symptoms experienced by mild traumatic brain injury patients, but may also experience additional symptoms.

Mild TBI Symptoms Moderate to Severe TBI Symptoms
(in addition to mild TBI symptoms)
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tired eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral changes
  • Mood changes
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of concentration
  • Problems with attention
  • Trouble thinking
  • Headache that worsens or does not subside
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Inability to wake up
  • Dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Weakness or numbness in the extremities
  • Coordination problems
  • Increased confusion
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation

TBI Treatments

People who sustain traumatic brain injuries are advised to seek immediate medical attention. While nothing can be done to reverse permanent brain damage, steps can be taken to ensure that additional damage does not occur. By monitoring a patient closely, doctors can attempt to control his or her blood pressure, ensure sufficient blood flow and make sure that the brain and body receive an adequate supply of oxygen. These traumatic brain injury treatment measures minimize the risk of brain swelling and further brain damage.

In addition, victims of moderate to severe TBI frequently require rehabilitation. This may include:

  • Speech and language therapy
  • Physical therapy (physiatry)
  • Occupational therapy
  • Social support
  • Psychological and/or psychiatric help

Unfortunately, rehabilitation can be extremely expensive, and insurance rarely covers the entire bill. This is one reason the families of those who have sustained traumatic brain injuries seek legal help. A traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you gain compensation for rehabilitation as well as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other expenses.

TBI Complications and Prognosis

The long-term prognosis of traumatic brain injury patients depends on the severity of the injury. A patient's level of disability also depends on age, health and location of the injury. Half of all patients with severe TBI need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels (hematomas) or bruised brain tissue (contusions). The following chart shows some of long-term problems associated with mild, moderate and severe traumatic brain injury.

Mild to Moderate TBI Severe TBI
Cognition Problems Sensory Processing Communi-
cation
Behavioral/
Mental Health
Stupor

Unresponsive state

Coma

Moderate vegetative state

Persistent vegetative state (PVS)
Thinking

Memory

Reasoning
Sight

Hearing

Touch

Taste

Smell
Expression

Understanding
Depression

Anxiety

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


TBI Legal Issues

Plenty of injuries are the result of accidents that no one could have predicted; however, some people suffer traumatic brain injuries in auto accidents and other incidents where another person's negligence or wrongful actions are to blame. If you believe this may apply to a traumatic brain injury sustained by someone you know, you should contact a personal injury attorney to determine your legal rights. A traumatic brain injury lawyer will research the latest developments in this area of law; advise you as to your options and help guide you through the complicated legal process associated with your traumatic brain injury lawsuit.

Sources:
1 The Brain Trauma Foundation.
2 National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD).
3 The Brain Trauma Foundation.
4 Brain Injury Resource Foundation.




Did You Know?

Males are twice as likely as females to suffer a traumatic brain injury.
Source: The Brain Trauma Foundation