Five Things You Should Know About Traumatic Brain Injury
The recent settlement of the NFL Players Union with the National Football League Owner’s over head injuries has cast a new spotlight on closed head injuries. What are they and what significance do they have in personal injury cases?
Closed head injuries are also sometimes called “traumatic brain injuries” (“TBI”). As the name suggests, the brain may be subjected to dangerous trauma in many kinds of incidents. Frequently the trauma is thought to be “minor,” if there is no fracture of the skull or other serious sign of injury.
Doctors now understand that even mild or moderate impacts to the brain can have serious long-term consequences. For this reason our office is screening all new personal injury clients to see if there might have been a traumatic brain injury. The reason is simple: even where injury victims say they are okay, serious damage to the brain may have been done. This is because the brain is a rather fragile organ which rests inside of a hard structure (the skull). The forces of rapid acceleration or deceleration (not to mention a direct blow to the head) can cause the brain to push up against the inside of the skull. We now know that this can cause injury to the brain cells which may never heal. For this reason, we are screening our clients and asking the following kinds of questions. If you have been in an accident you may want to ask yourself or your loved ones similar questions:
1. Was there a direct blow to the head?
2. Even if there was no direct blow to the head were there other signs of significant trauma in the accident (such as significant property damage to the vehicle, something broken inside the passenger compartment, etc.)?
3. After the accident was there temporary amnesia or confusion about what had just occurred?
4. Did the injury victim suffer any type of cognitive problems such as forgetfulness, disorientation, dizziness, etc.?
5. Did the victim suffer other symptoms such as double vision, headaches, falls, depression, etc.?
Since the symptoms are so unusual and may not be in one part of the body, head injury victims frequently discount their problem or fail to make the connection to their accident. This can be a big problem for a number of reasons. First, there are treatments for head injuries, but they are best if begun immediately. Of course, if a person fails to obtain a diagnosis, treatment cannot begin. Starting treatment well after the accident can cause the prognosis to be very poor. Second, an attorney representing any injury victim will want to see documentation of the problem early on in the case. Even if a diagnosis comes late in the case for innocent reasons (for example, the injured person forgot to report the symptoms), insurance companies will frequently claim that the injury is not related to the accident.
If you feel like an accident may have caused some of the symptoms discussed above or that there is any chance of a closed head injury or traumatic brain injury, you should seek the immediate assistance of a competent healthcare provider and personal injury attorney. Our office can help point you in the right direction and make sure that all of your interests are properly protected. For more information, please contact the Jeff Brooke Team.
Traumatic Brain Injuries: Symptoms and Causes
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a specific type of head injury that causes damage to the brain. TBI can be caused by car accidents and in other situations in which another person may be responsible. As a Virginia Beach personal injury attorney, Jeff Brooke has first-hand experience helping victims with traumatic brain injuries. Attorney Brooke understands how important it is to identify traumatic brain injury early on, regardless of the cause.
What is Traumatic Brain Injury / TBI?
TBI can have many different causes. It generally is the result of a sudden, forceful blow or jolt to the head. TBI can also be caused by rapid and sudden acceleration or deceleration. In normal circumstances, the brain floats in a fluid that protects it from the bone of the skull. When these situations occur, the brain collides with the inside of the skull, which can cause bruising, bleeding, and torn nerve fibers.
The severity of TBI varies greatly, depending on which part of the brain is affected. The brain controls not only our thoughts, but also our motions, behaviors, senses, and sensations. Because of everything the brain controls, TBI can have different physical and psychological affects, depending on the nature and severity of the injury.
Symptoms of TBI
One of the dangers of TBI is that signs and symptoms can be very subtle and may not appear for days or weeks after an injury. The injured person may look fine but feel or behave differently. Age is a factor as well. Children and elders can manifest symptoms in ways that are not the same as an average adult.
In any case where TBI is suspected or possible because of a blow to the head, medical diagnosis is imperative. Symptoms can be cognitive, behavioral, or physical. The most common symptoms of TBI include
- Mental confusion
- Weakness or numbness in arms or legs
- Blurry vision, dilated pupils, sensitivity to light
- Slurred speech
- Difficulty concentrating
- Persistent headaches, dizziness, fainting
- Abnormal laughing or crying, aggression, moodiness, or irritability
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of sense of smell or taste
Infants and young children with TBI often can’t express how they feel and may show symptoms by becoming irritable or listless or crying frequently. All of the symptoms can vary from mild to severe, depending on the nature and seriousness of the damage. If any of the symptoms occur in a person who was in a situation where TBI may have occurred, the most important step to take is seeking immediate medical attention.
Causes of TBI
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most common cause of TBI is a fall. The real risk when a fall occurs — whether at home or somewhere else — is that TBI may not be immediately apparent. Anytime a fall occurs, it’s important to be on the lookout for symptoms of TBI in the days and weeks after the fall.
Motor vehicle accidents cause almost as many traumatic brain injuries as falls. The highest incidence of TBI in road accidents is among teenagers. Bicycle accidents also often can cause TBI. Other causes of TBI include firearm assaults, child abuse and domestic violence, and work-related and industrial accidents.
Talk With a Virginia Beach Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident or another situation where someone else may be responsible — such as a premises liability or slip-and-fall circumstances — Virginia Beach personal injury attorney Jeff Brooke is here to help. Attorney Brooke has substantial experience helping victims of traumatic brain injuries recover the damages they deserve. The Jeff Brooke team is here to assist you and your family too. Contact us by phone at (866) 915-2996 or by using our online contact form.