Your brain is the most vital organ in your body. It's responsible for basic functions like eating, breathing, and sleeping. Your brain also makes you feel alive. It connects you with the world emotionally and physically. Everything you touch, smell, taste, see and hear happens in part because of your brain. It helps you think, problem-solve, talk with your friends, and hug your children.
However, this essential organ is very fragile. It has the consistency of gelatin. Fortunately, our skulls protect it most of the time. But what happens when your brain is damaged in a car accident or during a fall at the grocery store? A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may occur.
A TBI is a serious and sometimes life-threatening injury that impacts over 1.7 million Americans every year. In fact, about 150 people die from TBI-related complications every day in the United States.
When your brain is damaged, you experience both physical and emotional deficits. You not only have to recover physically—you also have to recover emotionally. You may never be the same person as you were before sustaining a traumatic brain injury.
TBIs are like broken bones – they can happen by accident or they can occur due to someone else’s negligence. If you believe another party is responsible for your brain injury, you have a right to hold them accountable in the Illinois court system. Our brain injury attorneys may be able to assist you. We help real people recover emotionally and financially after a brain trauma injury. Let us help you get the compensation you deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about TBIs, keep reading. In this article, we’ll discuss the following topics:
- What is a traumatic brain injury?
- What causes traumatic brain injuries?
- What are common symptoms of brain trauma?
- What types of injuries are associated with brain trauma?
- What are my treatment options for TBI?
- What can a TBI lawyer do for me?
What is a Tramuatic Brain injury (TBI)?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a disruption in the normal function of the brain as a result of head trauma. A blow, bump or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury, often cause TBI-related injuries.
Car accidents, falls, and severe sports injuries account for most TBI-related injuries. However, any instance that involves a head injury has the potential to cause a traumatic brain injury.
Symptoms of Brain Trauma to Watch Out For
Traumatic brain injury symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury. There are also TBI signs you’ll notice immediately, while other long-term symptoms go unnoticed for months. If your loved one recently sustained a TBI, watch out for these symptoms:
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Also known as concussions, mild traumatic brain injuries may affect your brain temporarily. According to the Mayo Clinic, they can cause the following symptoms in children and adults. These symptoms may show immediately or weeks later after a traumatic event like a car accident.
- Nausea or vomiting
- Fatigue or drowsiness
- Dizziness or loss of balance
- Problems with speech
- Blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, or changes in smell
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes; or no loss of consciousness but the patient is in a state of confusion or disorientation
- Memory or concentration problems
- Mood changes or mood swings
- Feeling depressed or anxious after the injury
- Sudden difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
Severe Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
Serious traumatic brain injuries often cause long-term complications or death. This brain trauma may result in bleeding, bruising, torn tissues, or other physical damage to the brain.
When the brain undergoes severe damage, the effects are often life-altering. Sometimes, the victim becomes a different person. They’re not the same as they were before the traumatic event.
TBI patients may experience debilitating physical, emotional, and physiological symptoms, including:
- Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours.
- Persistent headache or migraine.
- Repeated nausea or vomiting
- Convulsions or seizures
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in fingers or toes
- Dilation of one or both eye pupils
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior
- Profound confusion
If your loved one is showing any of the above symptoms after a head injury, seek medical treatment immediately. As we’ve mentioned, traumatic brain injuries often cause lasting and sometimes irreversible damage.
What causes traumatic brain injuries?
Traumatic brain injuries occur when your head is bumped, slammed, or jolted against another object. The impact causes your brain to move around in your skull, which results in mild to permanent damage. TBIs can also happen if an object like a bullet penetrates your brain.
Any event that causes a head injury may cause a traumatic brain injury. Some people sustain head injuries, and it’s no one’s fault. Other times, a person, business, or government body is responsible. In these situations, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against the at-fault party for compensation for your damages.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, adults over the age of 75, children younger than four, and young adults between the ages of 15 and 24 are most at risk for a traumatic brain injury.
As personal injury lawyers, we’ve represented people who were hit by a semi-truck or fell in a nursing home. Afterward, they developed symptoms of a traumatic brain injury.
At Shannon Law Group, P.C., we’ve seen the following events cause permanent brain injuries.
Falls in Nursing Homes
It’s a fact: In 2014, falls accounted for almost half of all TBI-related injuries in the United States. Some of these brain injuries happened at nursing homes and long-term care facilities. About 1,800 nursing home residents die every year due to fall-related injuries. The ones that do survive have to undergo surgery and rehabilitation.
These falls are often preventable if employees properly care for residents under their supervision. Many residents are at-risk for falls. The nursing home must prevent this from happening at all costs. If they fail to implement the proper precautions, and the resident suffers a head injury, the resident’s family can file a lawsuit against the nursing home.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
It’s no surprise that auto accidents contributed to 13 percent of all TBI-related emergency room visits in 2014. When two cars collide, our bodies absorb the force of the impact. This force can cause the brain to hit the sides of the skull, resulting in a traumatic brain injury.
When a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist is involved in an accident, they’re at a higher risk of getting a TBI because their body absorbs most of the impact when a vehicle strikes them.
Birth Injuries Caused by Medical Malpractice
Every year, thousands of children are born with brain injuries because doctors and medical professionals made mistakes during the birthing process. The damage is often permanent, leaving the child disabled for the rest of their lifetime. Birth injuries like cerebral palsy are sometimes caused by a TBI.
When you think of TBIs, you may think of football players or car accidents. But they happen at work, too. Traumatic brain injuries are one of the most common and costly work injuries. According to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an alarmingly high number of workers sustain TBIs while on the job every year. From 2003 to 2010, about 25 percent of all construction worker deaths were caused by brain injuries.
What Can a TBI Lawyer Do for Me?
If you or someone you loved sustain a traumatic brain injury, our attorneys understand what you’re going through. While we can’t undo the wrong that was done, we can fight on your behalf in the Illinois court system. Our traumatic brain injury lawyers make a difference in the lives of real people like you. How? By helping them recover emotionally and financially after a serious head injury.
We will help you recover any and all damages you’ve sustained as a result of your traumatic brain injury. This includes both economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages are easy to calculate, such as medical bills or lost wages. Non-economic damages are subjective, and they’re awarded in a jury trial. How much should you be compensated if you endure depression and anxiety every day due to your brain injury? That’s non-economic damage.
We promise that if you hire us to represent you, our lawyers won’t stop until we hold every single responsible party accountable for their actions. We’ll immediately investigate your case and file it in the proper venue, so your rights to compensation are preserved. We’ve found that the best way to get our clients the compensation they deserve is to file their cases in the court system. If the defendant doesn’t offer a fair settlement for your brain injury, our team is prepared to try your case in front of a jury.
Lastly, our attorneys and staff will keep you up-to-date all the time. We hold ourselves to high standards at Shannon Law Group, P.C. You’ll never go months without hearing from us, unlike some high-volume firms.
We would be honored to speak with you about your TBI case. Call us now at (312) 578-9501 to schedule your free consultation.
What types of injuries are linked to brain trauma?
Trauma can lead to serious physical injuries in the brain. These injuries can have lasting side effects, and they are often associated with a TBI diagnosis.
A contusion in the brain is a bruise to the organ itself. A contusion may cause bleeding and swelling inside the brain around the area where the head was injured. Most patients with bruising to the brain have a head injury with a loss of consciousness. Swelling typically develops around contusions within 48-72 hours after the traumatic event. In extreme cases, the patient may undergo surgery to remove the cerebral contusion.
A concussion is a traumatic injury to the head. Patients with concussions rarely lose consciousness, though. This injury impacts your brain function temporarily, and its symptoms last for a few days to a few months. It can cause headaches and problems with memory, concentration, balance, and coordination. Most people make a full recovery. However, concussions can result in conditions like post-traumatic headaches, vertigo, or post-concussion syndrome.
Diffuse axonal injury (DAI)
Diffuse axonal injury is a type of traumatic brain injury. According to John Hopkins Medicine, DAI is the tearing of the brain’s long connecting nerve fibers called axons. This type of head injury occurs when the brain shifts and rotates inside the skull upon impact. As a result, the axons tear, and the brain is damaged. DAI may result in the patient being comatose. Several other parts of their brain may be damaged as well.
Coup contrecoup injury
When your head strikes a fixed object, you may sustain two head injuries: one under the site of impact (coup injury) and one on the opposite side of the area that was struck (contrecoup injury). When these injuries happen at the same time, it’s called a coup contrecoup brain injury. This shaking of the brain due to the impact can cause contusions, hematomas, and diffuse axonal injuries.
Penetrating Brain Injury
A penetrating brain injury is serious and life-threatening. As the name suggests, it happens when an object enters the skull and pierces the brain. These types of brain injuries often occur due to gunshots, auto accidents, falls, sports injuries, and more.
Hematoma (Blood Clot)
This injury happens when blood pools within the skull. There are three types of hematomas. A clot that forms between the skull and the brain is called an epidural hematoma, while a clot that gathers between the dura and the brain is called a subdural hematoma. Lastly, a clot that forms deep within the brain tissue is called an intracerebral hematoma. It’s commonly caused by brain trauma as a result of a car accident or fall. They’re potentially deadly and may require surgery to remove the blood clot.
Treatment options for Severe Brain Injuries
When you have a concussion, your doctor will tell you to go home and rest. If you start vomiting or lose consciousness, then you should come back in.
So, what should you expect if you have a serious brain injury? You may be prescribed the following treatments:
- Rest. All types of brain trauma heal better when you rest. Avoid normal activities like working on a computer and concentrating hard. Your brain may need several breaks throughout the day as well.
- Surgery. In some cases, surgery helps reduce damage to the brain immediately after the trauma has occurred. When there’s bleeding in the brain (hematoma), doctors will remove blood clots or pools of blood to relieve pressure. If the skull is fractured, pieces of the skull may be removed surgically.
- Rehabilitation. Rehabilitation therapy helps people with TBI recover skills and functions they lost as a result of their injury. This treatment may include therapy for cognitive, physical, and emotional difficulties.
- Medications. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help you cope with common TBI symptoms, from anti-anxiety medications to stimulants.