A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is devastating and can have life-long effects on an individual and his or her loved ones.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), TBIs contribute to 30% of all injury deaths.
Every day in the United States, 153 people die from injuries that include TBI. A TBI can affect anyone at any time.
If you’re dealing with a TBI or helping to care for a loved one who is suffering from one, then you know first-hand the physical, psychological, and social effects such an injury can have.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The trauma to the head and brain results in temporary or permanent brain dysfunction. Some common causes of TBI are falls, vehicle-related injuries, or sports injuries.
Not all bumps, blows, or jolts cause a TBI.
The severity of a TBI can range from “mild” (which may include a brief change in mental status or consciousness) to “severe” (which may constitute a sustained loss of consciousness or memory loss).
Most TBIs are mild and are commonly known as concussions.
What are the Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injury?
In addition to the severity of a TBI, the type of TBI can make a difference in a person’s recovery and long-term prognosis.
Common types of TBIs include:
- Concussion – This injury is a common result of a blow to the head or rapid deceleration. A concussion typically causes an altered mental state, either temporary or prolonged.
- Coup-contrecoup – Bruising or damage to the brain tissue caused by the violent slamming of the skull that causes injury either to the impact side or on the opposite side of where the blow was struck.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury – Similar to a concussion but more serious. Occurs when the brain moves so rapidly that the brain stem can’t keep up causing tears in the connection to the brain.
- Hematoma – The rupture of a blood vessel leading to the collection of blood in brain tissue or open spaces.
- Penetrating head injury – Occurs when an object, such as a sharp instrument or a bullet, breaks through the skull bone and rips through the brain tissue.
- Skull fracture – Fracture of the bones surrounding the brain.
What are Common Causes of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
TBIs can be caused by a number of different situations, but according to the CDC, the most common causes of TBIs are:
Who is at Risk for a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Every American has a 1:160 chance of sustaining a TBI each year.
Men are twice as likely as women to sustain a TBI.
Children under 5 years old, teenagers, and the elderly are the three groups who are at the highest risk.
Recognizing Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can have a wide range of symptoms and characteristics; some which do not become apparent until days or weeks after the trauma has taken place. It takes time to diagnose things like post-concussion syndrome after a car accident.
What Are the Common Characteristics of Mild TBI?
According to the Brain Injury Association of America, some early common symptoms of traumatic brain injury or TBI include headache, dizziness, memory problems, disorientation, nausea, and vomiting. Later symptoms can include additional issues such as fatigue, mood swings, tinnitus, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and depression.
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that is caused by a blow or jolt to the head that affects brain function. Healthcare professionals near you often refer to concussions as mild traumatic brain injuries, but the impact of these injuries can still be quite serious.
Common Characteristics of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injury
Moderate and severe cases of traumatic brain injury often share many of the characteristics of mild TBI, as well as physical and psychological symptoms.
Some physical symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness for a few minutes or a few seconds
- A state of being dazed, disoriented, or confused—loss of consciousness not necessary
- Changes or problems with vision, such as blurred, darkened, or double vision, and even complete blindness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Headaches, including cluster headaches, migraines, or headache that worsens over time
- Drowsiness or fatigue, leading to increased sleep
- Problems speaking
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than usual
- Loss of balance or dizziness
- Convulsions or seizures
- Pupil dilation
- Clear liquid draining from the ear or nose
- Numbness in the extremities – fingers or toes
- Spastic muscles
In some cases, a traumatic brain injury can cause cognitive or sensory symptoms. These symptoms include:
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Sensory problems—for example, bad taste in the mouth, ringing in the ears, or sensitivity to smells
- Memory or concentration problems
- Profound confusion
- Slurred speech
- Strange behavior
Traumatic brain injuries can also cause emotional symptoms, including:
- Increased anxiety, depression, and / or mood swings
- Impulsive behavior
- Becoming easily agitated, angry, or frustrated
- Increased egocentric behaviors and lack of empathy toward others
If you experience any of these symptoms after your accident, it is crucial that you seek medical attention right away. A TBI requires prompt attention and immediate diagnosis.
Long-Term Consequences of Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries
Moderate to severe TBI can have a wide range of long-term consequences for injury victims that can have a lasting impact on quality of life. Some examples of cognitive problems that can be caused by traumatic brain injury include memory problems, trouble concentrating, and a decreased attention span. These injuries can also cause long-term problems ranging from seizures and chronic pain to sleep and mood disorders.
The Cost of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries can cost you in more ways than one. You may need funds to take care of yourself — both for the immediate effects of the injury as well as the future potential consequences. This is why traumatic brain injuries can be some of the most complex and expensive injuries to deal with.
According to the Florida Department of Health, the median cost for hospitalization alone was $37,515 for non-fatal traumatic brain injuries in 2011. Unfortunately, the cost of moderate to severe TBI can be considerably higher due to additional medical expenses and loss of income. TBI victims also often face considerable pain and suffering, as well as a long-term impact on their quality of life. Discover the average settlement for a traumatic brain injury in Florida.
Help from Experienced Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyers
You may need the help of a traumatic brain injury attorney near you, who will stand up for your rights if you’ve been severely injured in an accident that was not your fault. Call Abrahamson & Uiterwyk today at 1-800-538-4878 to discuss your case with a member of our injury law team.
If you’ve been involved in a car accident in Hardee County, it is essential to reach out to a Hardee County, FL auto accident lawyer at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk for guidance and representation.
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