Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur from a variety of situations, but the more common include trips and falls, recreational sports, motor vehicle accidents, and gun violence. TBIs range from mild to severe. Sometimes, a person can fully recover from their TBI with no long-term effects. Other times, a patient may suffer from permanent disabilities.
What Is a TBI?
A TBI occurs when the brain suffers a traumatic, violent blow or shake. It can also happen when an object penetrates the skull and hits the tissue of the brain. A mild TBI can affect a person’s brain cells for a few days or weeks, while a more serious one could be life-threatening, result in tears of the brain’s tissues, permanently damaged cells, and often leave a person with life-long complications.
No matter how it happens or how you feel afterwards, a TBI is nothing to brush off. Anyone that has suffered head trauma should visit their local emergency room. Often, victims of a TBI do not realize that they have one until a few hours or even days later – and in some cases, not seeking medical treatment right away could result in death.
How Do You Know If You Have a TBI?
TBIs exhibit a variety of symptoms, and not all people experience the same symptoms. Likewise, a more severe TBI may have more exaggerated symptoms than someone suffering a minor TBI.
Symptoms Common after a Mild TBI
If you suffered a mild TBI, then you are more likely to encounter:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Sleep Issues
- Speech Difficulties
- Loss of Consciousness (Please note that you don’t have to lose consciousness to have a TBI)
- Blurred vision
- Mood Changes
- Sensitivity to Sounds or Light
- Memory Issues
- Anxiety or Depression
Symptoms of a More Serious TBI
A more serious TBI, such as a moderate to severe TBI, often has symptoms right away. However, there are instances where symptoms may come on gradually, especially in cases of a brain bleed. These are very serious injuries that can be fatal if medical treatment is not received right away.
Some symptoms of a more serious TBI can include those from a mild TBI as well as:
- Persistent Headache
- Uncontrollable Vomiting
- Fluid Draining from the Ear
- Pupil Dilation
- Numbness and Tingling in Extremities
- Inability to Wake from Sleep
- Coordination Issues
- Slurred Speech
- Unusual Behavior
What Are the Most Common Causes of TBI?
TBIs happen daily in the United States, and most victims of a TBI have no idea that they have a serious injury until they seek medical attention. This is why it is imperative for you to go to the emergency room any time you have head trauma. A physician can do precursory tests to rule out any brain trauma and even catch injuries before you show symptoms.
TBI causes are vast, but they all start with a specific mechanism. The mechanism will depend on the type of accident, but can include:
- Gun Violence – Gun violence is a common cause of traumatic brain injuries, and it is considered a penetrating injury. Unfortunately, most TBIs caused by gunshot wounds are fatal. There are instances where a person can live, but they are often left with long-term deficits and may never be the same following their injury.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – Car accidents are traumatic on the entire body. The force alone can create a violent whipping motion from the body, and that whipping motion can force the brain to move violently side-to-side and strike the sides of the skull. Being struck by an airbag or other objects in the car can also lead to minor or severe trauma – depending on the speed and the object involved. Regardless, it is not uncommon to see a TBI from a motor vehicle accident. Even a low speed accident can result in a minor TBI, especially if the airbag deploys.
- Slips, Trips, and Falls – A trip and fall is more than scrapes and bruises, and sometimes a person may suffer from a serious TBI without even knowing it. For example, you are walking on an icy sidewalk and slip. You land on your back, striking your head against the concrete. While you are not bleeding and you feel okay, you could have a mild concussion or possibly a more serious TBI. Any time you hit your head, it is imperative that you seek medical treatment – even if you feel okay at the time. It is better to have a medical professional rule out any serious trauma than risk it.
- Being Struck by an Object – Being struck by an object is another reason for TBIs in the United States. Whether it is something falling from above or something thrown at you, these can lead to very serious injuries.
- Sports and Recreational Activities – Even sports without physical contact carry a risk for a traumatic brain injury. Other sports have a higher risk, especially those with physical contact such as football, rugby, or hockey. Recreational activities can also put you at risk for TBI, such as snowboarding, cycling, and boating.
Seeking Compensation for a TBI
After suffering a serious brain injury, you may have long-term financial damages that you should not have to burden – especially when someone else caused those injuries. When a TBI stems from someone’s negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and losses through a personal injury claim.
While you could file a claim with the other party’s insurance company or file your lawsuit in court, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who has experience handling these types of cases.
Traumatic brain injury claims are highly complicated, and you need medical experts who can testify to how the TBI has affected your life, give a prognosis, and justify the amount of compensation you seek.
To explore your options, speak with an attorney from Hames, Anderson, Whitlow & O’Leary. Our personal injury lawyers have helped victims and their families recover compensation following serious traumatic brain injuries – and we can help you too. Schedule your consultation by calling our office today or ask us a question online.