A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is one of the most serious injuries an individual can sustain, and it is unfortunately more common than most people realize. Statistics show that TBI affects about 2 million U.S. residents every year, 50,000 of whom do not survive and 275,000 of whom require hospitalization.
Traumatic brain injuries occur when a violent jolt or blow causes the brain to slam against the skull, thus impairing its function. Brain injuries can either be open or closed. Open brain injuries (also known as penetrating brain injuries) occur when an object strikes and breaks through a person’s skull, penetrating the brain. In a closed brain injury – such as a concussion – the skull does not break.
Causes of TBI
Contrary to the common belief that TBI occurs only when a person sustains a blow to the head, TBI can also occur when the brain is forcefully jarred in different directions, as in the case in abrupt deceleration or a whiplash.
Common causes of TBI relevant to the personal injury space include:
- Automobile and trucking accidents
- Bicycle and motorcycle accidents
- Trips, slips, and falls
- Severe whiplash
- Work/construction site accidents
One of the most common misconceptions surrounding TBI’s is that the victim must be struck on the head or knocked unconscious in order to have suffered an injury to the brain. According to a study done by Ezriel Kornel, M.D., F.A.C.S., and Michael Freeman, Ph.D, whiplash (which often occurs in motorcycle and automobile accidents) caused TBI in over 23% of cases. Whiplash can even result in a cerebral hernia, known as Chiari Malformation, in which the bottom part of the brain (the cerebellum) protrudes through the base of the skull.
Doctors classify brain injuries as mild, moderate, or severe depending on such symptoms. As fragile as the brain is, even mild cases can turn out to be life-threatening, so learning to recognize the symptoms of TBI is essential.
Common TBI Symptoms
Those who suspect they may have sustained a brain injury should seek medical care immediately, as early treatment may help improve the long-term prognosis. Unfortunately, brain injury symptoms can be difficult to identify. Medical professionals may even have difficulty diagnosing brain injuries upon examination and testing. It is common that early characteristics of a TBI are missed or not yet fully developed. It is vital to keep a close watch for these signs of TBI after an accident:
- Constant headache
- Memory loss
- Coordination problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Sensitivity to light
- Vision problems
- Change in personality or temperament
- Numbness & tingling
Long-Term Effects of TBI
TBI injuries are devastating and can impact the ability to live a normal life. TBI symptoms vary by individual, and it is difficult to predict whether they will improve or worsen over time. Some of the long-term effects and symptoms include:
- Cognitive Defects – Short or long-term memory loss, coma, shortened attention span, judgement and problem-solving deficits, loss of time and space perception
- Motor Sensory Complications – Paralysis (full or partial), weakness, poor coordination, loss of endurance, spasticity, trouble swallowing, tremors, seizures
- Behavioral and Psychological Effects – Mood swings, anxiety, depression, agitation
- Communication and Language Problems – Difficulty speaking, reading, writing, planning, thinking, communicating, or identifying objects
- Sensory and Perceptual Defects – Change or loss of vision, hearing, sensations, tastes, touch, smell
- Functional Complications – difficulty with day-to-day activities such as dressing, bathing, organizing, walking, driving
- Epilepsy – 2% to 5% of ABI victims experience seizures
- Social and Psychiatric Changes – Problems interacting and understanding social situations, decreased motivation
- Loss of Life
Financial Impact of TBI
Not only do TBI victims potentially face long-term and life-altering effects of their injury, but they are often saddled with tremendous medical costs that can last a lifetime. Although it is impossible to put a price on the emotional turmoil a brain injury causes, the following summarizes recent statistics on the financial impact of TBIs:
- The direct and indirect medical costs associated with treating TBIs in the U.S. total approximately $48.3 billion across all patients.
- The lifetime costs of treating severe TBI could easily reach $4 million for an individual.
- The overall productivity lost as a result of TBI-related deaths is approximately $1.1 billion every year.
Can I file a lawsuit related to a TBI?
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury due to someone’s negligence, then you may be entitled to compensation. A traumatic brain injury attorney at Thompson Law will help establish the following factors in your case:
- Duty of care – everyone has a legal obligation to observe reasonable levels of care so as not to harm others.
- Breach of duty – this occurs when an entity or an individual breaches its duty of care.
- Causation – that the defendant’s negligent behavior was responsible for the injuries you sustained.
- Damages – that you incurred tangible or intangible damages.
An example of a valid cause of action in an accident-related TBI is that of a drunk driver who runs a red light and t-bones another car, causing a traumatic brain injury for the other driver. (The drunk driver had a duty of care for other drivers on the road. His decision to drive drunk and run a red light breached that duty of care. The fact that the other driver was injured and that the injury resulted from the crash satisfies the elements of the cause of action for negligence against the drunk driver.)
What compensation can I expect to recover in a lawsuit for an accident-related TBI?
Thompson Law has handled countless cases in which we have successfully represented clients with a wide array of accident-related personal injuries, including TBIs. Our goal is always to secure for our clients the best settlement amounts that the law will allow. Some of the factors that add into a settlement for a TBI are:
- Medical expenses – some of the medical expenses you may have incurred as a result of TBI include diagnostic tests, hospitalization, rehabilitation and therapy, ongoing treatment and observation, and long-term care.
- Pain and suffering – you may be eligible for monetary compensation if you have suffered physical and emotional pain as a result of TBI.
- Reduced quality of life – if the TBI caused total or partial disability, you may receive compensation for the inability to take part or enjoy some of the activities you once did.
- Lost wages – victims of brain injury may need to take time off work for treatment and recovery. Apart from the lost wages, you may also be compensated for your inability to earn in the future.
- Wrongful death – the family of a person who died from a TBI resulting from the negligent actions of another party may be able to receive compensation for wrongful death. The family can also file a lawsuit for unique losses such as loss of companionship or pain and suffering.
- Legal fees
Brain injury cases often require rigorous investigation and research due to their complex nature. 844-308-8180 has an experienced legal team that will walk you through various legal options and ensure that your personal injury case is correctly valued. Having handled numerous TBI cases, we know how TBI can affect your life as well as that of those you love. Thus, we will fight to get you the best settlement the law will allow. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.