TBI – Back to the Basics

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

A traumatic brain injury is caused when an outside force, such as a blow to the head, damages the skull, or causes the brain to move inside the skull, in turn damaging the brain.

Some brain injuries cause focal, or localized, damage, such as when a bullet enters the brain. Closed brain injuries cause diffuse brain damage, or damage to several areas of the brain. In some instances, both sides of the brain can be damaged, and nerves spread throughout the brain, in what is called diffuse axonal injury (DAI).

How Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Caused?

According to the CDC, the leading causes of traumatic brain injury are:

Falls (35.2%)
Motor vehicle/traffic accidents (17.3%)
Being struck by/against something (16.5%)
Assaults (10%)

Every year in the U.S., almost 1.5 million people are afflicted by, and 50,000 people die from, some sort of brain injury. In addition, around 5.3 million continue to suffer from its effects. The annual cost of brain injury is somewhere between $48-60 billion in medical bills and lost productivity.

What are The Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the physical symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include:

Problems sleeping
Chronic pain
Changes in body temperature
Hormonal changes
Difficulties with balance
Changes in the five senses (touch, smell, taste, vision, hearing)

Intellectual symptoms can be:

Difficulty reading
Memory problems
Difficulty paying attention
Easily misunderstanding information
Difficulty with organization and problem-solving
Peseveration, or getting ‘stuck’ on thoughts and actions

Social difficulties include noticeable changes in personality and anger control (such as verbal outbursts and physical aggression), while emotional changes include anxiety, depression and drug and alcohol abuse.

A mild brain injury can be temporary, and cause symptoms such as headaches, confusion, memory problems and nausea. In a moderate brain injury, such symptoms are more pronounced, although in both cases patients make a good recovery. About 15% of patients with moderate brain injury symptoms have persistent problems after one year.

More severe brain injury can cause life-changing and debilitating problems. Some victims may end up in a coma or in minimally responsive states.

Delayed Symptoms

A traumatic brain injury isn’t always immediately noticeable. For some patients, problems might not be seen for a few days, months or even years after the injury.

In children, this is sometimes because the child has not yet ‘grown into’ a brain injury – in other words, begun making demands on the brain (such as reading) that are affected by the injury. In adults, this may be because the adult has not yet returned to a normal routine. For example, a lawyer who spends a month at home recovering from head trauma might not notice changes in his brain function until after he returns to practice, and finds that parts of his job have become much more difficult, or impossible, to do.

As you can see, traumatic brain injury is serious and sometimes difficult to detect. If you believe you or a loved one has suffered from a brain injury as a result of an accident or someone else’s negligence, act quickly so the brain injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti (877-347-1417) can help you seek compensation for the injury you suffered and reimbursement for the medical costs you incur.

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