It’s a leading cause of death and disability in America. It’s one of the most difficult injuries to predict, with a wide variety of symptoms that may last a few weeks or a lifetime. While this injury affects people of all ages, those older than 75 or younger than five years of age are most likely to receive emergency room treatment because of it.
Traumatic brain injuries lead to the deaths of about 155 people in the United States each day, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, and can leave long-lasting impacts not only on injured individuals, but on their families and communities as well.
As explained by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, traumatic brain injury is an acquired brain injury that occurs when sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. It can be caused when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and penetrates the brain tissue. Some common traumatic brain injury symptoms such as:
As noted by the Brain Injury Association of America, the brain is made up of several different parts, each of which enables certain bodily functions. The difficulties that one might encounter during recovery from a brain injury differ depending on which part of the brain was injured. Here is a look at the functions served by each part of the brain and how an injury to that area may affect an individual:
Two events may occur after a person sustains a brain injury. First, the brain tissues react to the trauma through a series of biochemical responses. These responses then flood the brain, damaging and destroying brain cells. Depending on the severity of the injury, the injured person may also lose consciousness or experience coma, respiratory problems, or reduced motor functions. Approximately half of all severe brain injuries require surgeries to repair broken blood vessels in the brain or to remove damaged brain tissue.
The CDC reports that falls account for nearly half of all traumatic brain injuries, and disproportionately affects the oldest and youngest of the population. 81 percent of the traumatic brain injury-related visits to U.S. emergency departments by individuals over the age of 65 are the result of falls. Nearly half of the emergency department visits related to brain injuries and involving children 17 years old or younger were due to falls.
Another leading cause of brain injuries is being struck by an object. This cause accounts for around 17 percent of all brain injury-related emergency department visits. More than a quarter of brain injury-related emergency department visits in children 17 years old or younger involved the child getting struck by or against an object.
The two most common causes of brain injuries resulting in hospitalization were falls and motor vehicle accidents, accounting for a respective 52 percent and 20 percent of brain injuries requiring hospitalization. Hospitalization rates were higher among brain-injured patients aged 75 or older, or 4 years old or younger. For individuals aged 15 to 44 years old, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of brain injuries requiring hospitalization.
Brain injury-related deaths are also highest among those 75 years and older. Falls are the leading cause of brain injury-related death in those over 65. Self-harm was the most common cause of death for brain-injured individuals between the ages of 45 to 64.
The brain is unable to heal itself, which means that a person may never fully recover from a brain injury. Even though functions may stabilize, those that are controlled by the portion of the brain that was injured may continue to present challenges for the brain injured person for life.
The impact of a brain injury on a person’s ability to function properly is not in direct relation to the severity of the injury. Even those suffering “mild” brain injuries may experience permanent disability.
Some of the unconscious states that may be experienced by brain injured people include:
Waking up after a loss of consciousness or a consciousness disorder is not as neat or easy as it is portrayed on television and in movies. It is often a period of irritability or agitation for the injured person, as well as post-traumatic amnesia, which causes confusion, disorientation, and the inability to recall recent events.
Those who do not suffer from a consciousness disorder such as those listed above, may experience other disabilities, which become more pronounced as the level of severity of the injury increases. Some disabilities commonly experienced by brain injured people include:
Brain injuries increase the likelihood of other conditions, including:
Head and brain injuries are some of the most serious cases we handle. Sometimes just a small bump to the head can lead to life-threatening complications. If you or a loved one has sustained a head injury—even a minor one—you should seek medical attention immediately to check for internal damage.
Head and brain injury cases we handle are frequently caused by auto accidents, semi-truck wrecks, motorcycle accidents, slip and fall, medical malpractice, birth injuries, pedestrian accidents, construction/workplace accidents, shaken baby syndrome/other child injuries, or other personal injuries. Remember that severe brain injuries can be immediately apparent, but sometimes the damage can take months or even years to fully reveal itself. If you or a loved one has suffered a head or brain injury due to the negligence of another, contact our brain injury lawyers for a free case evaluation.
A brain injury is not always immediately apparent. Swelling or other effects could be delayed or can slowly worsen over time—sometimes taking months or years to fully develop. If you sustained other injuries in the accident, it is also possible the brain injury could be overlooked by your treating physician. If you sustained a bump to the head—even if you think it was minor—follow up with a physician to check for internal damage.
Head and brain injuries vary widely in severity and the lasting effects they cause. Concussion, swelling, contusion/hemorrhage, brain bruising/bleeding, and blood clots are a few of the diagnoses a head injury victim could sustain. Long-term effects of head and brain injuries can include personality and mood changes, loss of concentration, headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, blurred or double vision, memory loss, impaired judgment, loss of workability, paralysis, coma, seizure, and in the most severe cases, death. Regardless of the seriousness, all head and brain injuries should be treated with extreme care.
If you have been affected by a severe head or brain injury due to the negligence of another, you are entitled to compensation for the medical expenses incurred treating your injury. You may also be able to collect lost wages for missed work or even future lost income if your ability to work has been affected by the injury. Additional damages you may be entitled to include future medical expenses, long-term care and rehabilitation, or the cost of adaptive equipment. If your loved one was the victim of a head or brain injury that results in death or severe permanent disability, your family may be entitled to seek compensation for the loss of financial support, pain and suffering, loss of consortium (companionship), punitive damages, or you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Never accept any payment from the insurance company before consulting with an experienced brain injury attorney – especially if you or your loved one has suffered a catastrophic head or brain injury. If you accept compensation now, you may be giving up your right to file additional claims in the future. Only an experienced brain injury lawyer can help you determine the full value of your case in terms of past, present, and future medical bills, past, and future lost income, and additional losses for you and your family. Call our brain injury attorneys immediately to investigate your case to ensure you get all the compensation you are entitled to.
The statute of limitations for filing a head/brain injury claim varies depending on the type of case. If you were injured in a car or semi accident, you will typically have two years to file suit. Other types of claims generally allow one year to file. Either way, time is of the essence! You should contact a brain injury lawyer immediately so the evidence can be preserved and you can begin putting your life back together by getting the medical treatment you need! Rest assured we are committed to you and we will look out for your best interests.
The Law Firm of Flora Templeton Stuart works on a contingency fee basis. That means we only get paid if you get paid in your head or brain injury case. Call Warren and Barren County, Kentucky personal injury attorney Flora Templeton Stuart at (888) 782-9090 for a free initial consultation twenty-four hours a day/seven days a week.