Traffic accidents, slip and falls, and defective products can lead to a wide variety of injuries. Luckily, some people can walk away unharmed with minor scrapes and bruises, however others are not so fortunate. Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are one of the most serious injuries that a person can suffer from, and unfortunately, they’re all too common here in the U.S.
What is a TBI?
TBIs are injuries to the brain that can range from temporary brain cell dysfunction to long-term damage, bruising, and internal bleeding. They are usually caused by sudden jolts to the head, like those that occur in car accidents, or violent blows to the skull, such as when a person’s head hits the floor during a slip and fall accident. They can also be caused by a foreign object penetrating the skull and injuring the brain tissue.
Causes of TBIs
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading cause of TBIs in the U.S. is falls, which account for about 40% of all reported TBIs. The second leading cause is blunt trauma, and then motor vehicle accidents.
Types of TBIs
TBIs are classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the amount of brain damage. If you suffer a mild TBI, you may or may not lose consciousness, but you will probably be left in a state of confusion immediately following the accident. Many mild TBI victims experience post-traumatic amnesia for less than an hour, which means they won’t remember the accident that caused their injury for a short period of time. This is the least serious type of TBI, and many people often overlook the symptoms and fail to get the medical attention they need right away.
Moderate TBIs are more serious, and you may lose consciousness for a few minutes or even a few hours. Victims can experience post-traumatic amnesia for up to 24 hours following a moderate TBI. Whereas a patient with a mild TBI may still have normal brain imaging results, a patient with a moderate TBI will always have abnormal results.
Victims with severe TBIs have suffered a great deal of brain tissue damage and will also have abnormal brain imaging results, in addition to extreme post-traumatic amnesia that lasts longer than a day. These victims may remain in a coma for days, weeks, or even months. It’s possible that these victims may never recover from their injuries.
Consequences of TBIs
Even if you fully recover from a TBI, you will still have to live with the consequences of this life-changing injury. Physically, mild TBI survivors may experience fatigue, loss of balance, difficulty sleeping, headaches, and nausea. People who have suffered a mild TBI may also find themselves getting easily agitated, confused, and anxious. Cognitive abilities, such as concentration and retaining information, may also decline following a mild TBI.
Moderate and severe TBI survivors face much more grave consequences. These injuries can drastically change a person’s life, and may make it difficult to communicate or control different parts of the body. The ability to see and hear clearly may also be affected after a TBI. Cognitive functioning, including the ability to concentrate, process information, and control impulsiveness, will also be affected. Many victims with severe TBIs will be either partially or completely paralyzed after an injury. Because of all of these physical changes, moderate and severe TBI victims often experience extreme mood swings, depression, and denial of the new life they are forced to live because of their injuries.
Legal Options for TBI Victims
If your TBI was caused by someone’s negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury claim and recover damages. For example, if you suffered the injuries in a car accident where the other driver ran through a red light, or if you slipped on a puddle of water in a grocery store and hit your head, you may be able to prove someone else’s negligence led to your injuries.
A personal injury attorney can review your case to determine if you should file a personal injury claim for your TBI.
Compensation for TBI Victims
Victims can require extensive treatment during their recovery, including surgery, lengthy hospital stays, physical therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health counseling. These treatments are far from free—and if your injury was caused by someone’s negligence, an attorney can help you recover compensation to pay your current and future medical expenses.
Brain injury victims are usually forced to take time off of work for days, weeks, and sometimes months as they recover. If this happens to you, an attorney may be able to help you recover lost wages from the at-fault party’s insurance company. If you expect to miss more work in the future because of your injury, the insurance company should compensate you for both current and future lost wages.
There’s no doubt that a TBI can completely disrupt your life. It’s challenging for victims to deal with the many physical, emotional, and cognitive changes that come along with a TBI. Because of this, many TBI victims are also awarded damages for the pain and suffering they’ve experienced as a result of their injuries. It can be difficult to calculate how much you should receive for your pain and suffering, but the jury will often look at the severity of the injury, how long you will have to live with its consequences, and the changes it has caused in your life.
Brain injury victims are sometimes unable to emotionally or physically connect with others after an injury. If you were married at the time of your injury, your spouse may seek loss of consortium damages. This type of compensation is awarded to individuals who have lost affection, companionship, and physical intimacy because of their spouse’s brain injury.
Brain injury settlements tend to be larger than others because of the severity of the injury, however compensation is never guaranteed. If you have suffered a brain injury that was caused by someone’s negligence, you will need legal representation to recover the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation regarding your case.