Guide to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Cases Within Personal Injury Law

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Guide to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Cases Within Personal Injury Law

Guide to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Cases Within Personal Injury Law

Dec 29, 2020

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) typically results from a violent force or jolt initiated to the head or body. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) define a traumatic brain injury as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.” The CDC warns that people of all ages are at risk for sustaining a TBI, particularly children and older adults.

A traumatic brain injury can result from any direct blow by a blunt force tool, such as a baseball bat or hammer, or any object capable of penetrating the brain tissue, such as a bullet or shattered portion of skull. On a case-by-case basis, TBIs can vary significantly in terms of severity. A mild traumatic brain injury may affect one’s brain cells on a temporary basis, and recovery may be possible through rehabilitation. More severe TBIs resulting in bruising, torn tissues, internal bleeding, and various physical damage to the brain can result in long-term complications or even death.

According to the Mayo Clinic, when analyzing symptoms of traumatic brain injury, patients can have myriad physical and psychological effects depending on the severity of the injury. Some symptoms manifest immediately following the accident, while others may be more prolonged, taking weeks or even months to present. The Mayo Clinic has outlined some symptoms relative to specific types of traumatic brain injury (e.g. mild, moderate, severe, and those affecting children).

Traumatic Brain Injury Statistics – How Common is TBI?

According to MedScape, Traumatic brain injury is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and the leading cause of death in persons aged 1-44 years, with approximately 2 million traumatic brain injuries occurring annually. A National Institutes of Health survey estimates that each year 1.9 million people experience a skull fracture or intracranial injury. Firearms account for the largest proportion of deaths from traumatic brain injury in the United States. Tragically, each year close to 20,000 people sustain gunshot wounds to the head.

If you experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury, don’t wait to file a claim. Contact our expert attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

What Degrees of Traumatic Brain Injury Exist?

TBI is typically categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. There is also a specific classification for TBI affecting children.

Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

Signs and symptoms that may be evident in a mild traumatic brain injury can include:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness (either for a few seconds up to a few minutes)
  • No loss of consciousness, but a dazed, confused, or disoriented state
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fatigue or drowsiness
  • Problems with speech
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Dizziness or loss of balance

Sensory symptoms

  • Sensory problems, such as blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, or changes in the ability to smell
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Memory or concentration problems
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Feeling depressed or anxious

Moderate to Severe Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include any of the signs and symptoms of mild injury, as well as the symptoms below which commonly appear within the first hours to days following a head injury:

Physical symptoms

  • Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
  • Persistent headache or headache that worsens
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
  • Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
  • Inability to awaken from sleep
  • Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
  • Loss of coordination

Cognitive or mental symptoms

  • Profound confusion
  • Agitation, combativeness, or other unusual behavior
  • Slurred speech
  • Coma and other disorders of consciousness

Children’s Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Symptoms

Infants and young children with traumatic brain injuries might not be able to communicate. Additionally, children may exhibit headaches, sensory problems, and confusion. In a child with traumatic brain injury, the following may be observed:

  • Changes in eating or nursing habits
  • Unusual or easy irritability
  • Persistent crying and inability to be consoled
  • Changes in ability to pay attention
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Seizures
  • Sad or depressed mood
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of interest in favorite toys or activities

What Are The Most Common Causes of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

While it may seem logical that car accidents would be the leading cause of TBI, in actuality the CDC has confirmed that, as of 2014, slip and falls accounted for almost half (48%) of all TBI-related emergency department visits. Moreover, falls affect children and adults much more frequently than the rest of the population.

The CDC’s 2014 Statistics Indicate:

  • Almost half (49%) of all TBI-related emergency department visits among children 0 to 17 years old were due to falls.
  • Four in five (81%) TBI-related emergency department visits in older adults (those aged 65 years and older) were caused by falls.

The second leading cause of TBI-related emergency department visits entailed being struck by (or against) an object. Such incidents accounted for approximately 17% of all TBI-related emergency department visits in the U.S. in 2014.

Additionally, over 1 in 4 (28%) TBI-related emergency department visits involving children less than 17 years of age were due to an object directly striking the child or the child being pinned against the object.

Falls and motor vehicle crashes were the first and second leading causes of all TBI-related hospitalizations (52% and 20%, respectively).

Intentional self-harm was the first leading cause of TBI-related deaths (33%) in 2014.

Some Additional Causes of TBI Identified by the Mayo Clinic Include:

  • Vehicle-related collisions – Collisions involving cars, motorcycles, or bicycles – and pedestrians involved in such accidents – are a common cause of traumatic brain injury.
  • Violence – Gunshot wounds, domestic violence, child abuse, and other assaults are common causes. Shaken baby syndrome is a traumatic brain injury affecting infants that is caused by violent shaking.
  • Sports injuries – Traumatic brain injuries may be caused from a number of sports, including soccer, boxing, football, baseball, lacrosse, skateboarding, hockey, and other high-impact or extreme activities. These injuries are particularly common in youth.
  • Explosive blasts and other combat injuries – Explosive blasts are a common cause of traumatic brain injury in active-duty military personnel. Although how the damage occurs isn’t yet well-understood, many researchers believe that the pressure wave passing through the brain significantly disrupts brain function.
  • Child Abuse – This is the most common cause in children under age four.

The Mayo Clinic also notes that traumatic brain injury frequently results from penetrating wounds, severe blows to the head with shrapnel or debris, and falls or bodily collisions with objects following a blast.
Some accidents, such as explosions, natural disasters, or other extreme events, can cause both closed and penetrating TBI in the same individual.

Car Accidents and Traumatic Brain Injury Classifications

With motor vehicle crashes being the second leading cause of all TBI-related hospitalizations, let’s examine what types of brain injuries are commonly sustained following car accidents.

Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) After Car Accidents:

Firstly, let’s examine the primary types of TBI found in car accident cases. The two major types of TBI are identified as either open or closed. Diagnosing whether a TBI is open or closed depends on whether or not the skull is broken. A broken skull is classified as an open TBI.

Open TBI, also referred to as penetrating, occurs when the scalp/skull is broken, fractured, or penetrated. For example, if a foreign object (e.g. shrapnel) penetrates the skull, enters the brain, and damages specific parts of the organ (such as the soft tissue), that would be classified as an open TBI. In such an unfortunate incident, the result is localized brain damage occurring along the route where the foreign object penetrated. Following an open TBI, symptoms can vary dramatically depending on the specific portion of the brain that sustained damaged.

A closed TBI results when the skull is not broken following an outside force impacting the head. In a closed TBI, however, the skull may be fractured or penetrated. Such an example can occur when a driver’s head strikes the windshield or dashboard during a car accident, but without breaking the skull. In such examples, damage can often be widespread or diffuse. Depending on the extent of the damage to the brain, symptoms following a closed TBI can vary on an individual basis.

Specific Types of Brain Injuries Frequently Resulting From Car Accidents

After enduring a car accident, many drivers and passengers unfortunately suffer life-altering injuries that can impact their ability to care for themselves, earn a living, and lead a fulfilling life. If your injuries sustained via a car accident were the result of another drier’s negligence, you may be eligible to recover significant financial damages for various expenses and the resulting effect on your quality of life. Such TBI car accident injuries can include:

  • Concussions: The CDC defines a concussion as “a type of traumatic brain injury-or TBI-caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.”
  • Brain contusion: Brain and cerebral contusions are defined by the UCLA Health System as “scattered areas of bleeding on the surface of the brain, most commonly along the undersurface and poles of the frontal and temporal lobes.” According to UCLA, such contusions occur when the brain strikes a ridge on the skull or a fold in the dura mater (the brain’s tough outer covering.)
  • Brain hemorrhage: WebMD defines a brain hemorrhage as a “type of stroke that is caused by an artery in the brain bursting and causing localized bleeding in the surrounding tissues.” This type of bleeding commonly kills brain cells.
  • Brain aneurysm: They Mayo Clinic defines a brain aneurysm as “a bulge or ballooning in a blood vessel in the brain” that can often look like a berry hanging on a stem. A brain aneurysm has the potential to leak or rupture, causing bleeding into the brain (i.e. hemorrhagic stroke). A ruptured brain aneurysm typically occurs in the space between the brain and the thin tissues covering the organ. This type of hemorrhagic stroke is referred to as a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  • Brain tumor: According to the Mayo Clinic, a brain tumor is a “mass or growth of abnormal cells” in one’s brain. Many various types of brain tumors exist. Some are noncancerous (benign), and some are cancerous (malignant). Brain tumors can begin in the brain (primary brain tumors), or cancer can begin in other parts of the body and spread to the brain (secondary, or metastatic, brain tumors).The speed at which a brain tumor grows can vary greatly from patient-to-patient. The growth rate, as well as the location of the brain tumor, largely determines how it will affect the function of one’s nervous system. The Mayo Clinic contends that brain tumor treatment options depend on the type of brain tumor the patient has, as well as its size and location.
  • Penetrating brain injury: Medscape defines a penetrating brain injury (pTBI) as a wound in which a projectile breaches the cranium but does not exit it. The morbidity and mortality associated with penetrating head injury remains high.
  • Anoxic brain injury: WebMD defines anoxic brain injury as occurring when one’s brain does not receive any oxygen. Lack of oxygen for a few minutes can cause cells within brain tissue to die. Heart attack (cardiac arrest), head injury or trauma, drowning, drug overdose, or poisoning can all cause anoxic brain injury.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Treatment and Rehabilitation Options

Traumatic brain injury treatment and rehabilitation can vary dramatically depending on type and severity. The National Institutes of Health has outlined various treatment options to assist patients in recovering from TBI, with a focus on reducing or eliminating specific physical, emotional, or cognitive problems associated with said injury. The prescribed treatment option can depend on what area of the brain sustained the injury, as well as the severity. The NIH recommends the following treatment options for varying degrees of TBI:

Mild TBI Treatment:

A common type of mild TBI is concussion. Such an injury may simply require rest rather than extensive treatments. The NIH recommends patients follow their healthcare provider’s instructions, including complete rest and a gradual return to normal activities. Returning to normal activities too soon can lead to TBI symptoms manifesting, potentially causing the healing process to be prolonged. The NIH notes that even everyday activities, such as working on a computer or reading, can leave the brain fatigued following a TBI. A patient who has sustained a concussion may need to avoid such activities or take regular breaks to allow the brain to rest.
Moreover, the NIH confirms that use of alcohol and other drugs after TBI can slow recovery and increase the chances of re-injury, thereby increasing the chances of long-term problems, including permanent brain damage and even death.

Emergency TBI Treatment:

Emergency care for TBI tends to prioritize stabilizing the patient and keeping them alive. This can include ensuring the brain receives enough oxygen, controlling blood and brain pressure, and preventing further injury to the head or neck. Once the patient is stable following an emergency treatment, additional and more focused care for TBI can begin.

In severe TBI cases, surgery is commonly required to reduce damage to the brain. Some types of surgery may include:

  • Removing blood clots/pools. Bleeding in the brain (or between the brain and skull) can lead to large blood clots, sometimes called hematomas. These clots can damage brain tissues via increased pressure on the brain.
  • Repairing skull fractures. Setting severe skull fractures or removing pieces of skull or other debris from the brain area can help induce the healing of both the skull and surrounding tissues.
  • Relieving pressure from within the skull (i.e. intracranial pressure or ICP). Increased pressure from swelling, blood, and other things in the skull damage the brain. A TBI patient’s ICP is monitored during emergency care. In some cases, making a hole in the skull or adding a shunt or drain is needed to relieve pressure inside the skull and allow excess fluid to drain.

TBI Therapy:

The NIH stresses the importance of various types of therapy to help patients recover from TBI. Therapy can help TBI patients recover functions and relearn skills. Rehabilitation can involve numerous kinds of therapy for physical, emotional, and cognitive difficulties. Rehabilitation can also be useful for certain activities, such as daily self-care, driving, and interacting with others. Depending on the injury, the NIH indicates such treatments may only be required briefly, immediately following the injury, or occasionally throughout a patient’s life. In some cases, treatment may be required on an ongoing schedule.
Therapy can take place initially in the hospital, and can continue in a variety of places, including rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, homes, schools, and outpatient programs.

TBI rehabilitation therapy may include:

  • Physical therapy to increase physical strength, balance, and flexibility, as well as restoring energy levels
  • Occupational therapy to learn (or relearn) how to perform daily tasks, such as getting dressed, cooking, and bathing
  • Speech therapy to aid patients in the ability to form words, speak aloud, and generally communicate – this can include instruction for using special communication devices, and treatment of trouble swallowing (known as dysphagia)
  • Psychological counseling to learn coping skills, work on interpersonal relationships, and improve general emotional well-being – this may involve medication as a method to address chemical imbalances resulting from TBI
  • Vocational counseling to help patients return to work and community living by finding appropriate employment opportunities and navigating ways of dealing with workplace challenges
  • Cognitive therapy to improve memory, attention, perception, learning, planning, and judgment

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

When to Hire A Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Lawyer

TBI victims can face grueling recovery periods due to catastrophic injuries. If a severe accident that was the result of someone else’s negligence left you with a TBI, you have rights under the law. You could be facing a lifetime of medical expenses, rehabilitation, pain and suffering, lost earning capacity, lost wages, disability, and much more. You need a dedicated advocate with decades of experience successfully fighting for injured victims to ensure your case is handled properly.

At Dordulian Law Group, we will fight to recover the maximum financial damages award for your TBI case, utilizing our expertise, past success, knowledge, and determination to secure justice for the tragic harm you’ve endured. Don’t settle for an inexperienced catastrophic injury or TBI attorney who advertises on TV, claiming to be the answer to all your problems. With those mega firms (also known as settlement mills), you’re just a number.

With DLG, you’re a member of our extended family, and we will fight with everything we have to ensure you can focus on your recovery while we handle the mounting bills and myriad stressors that come with a TBI accident.

Our Founder and President, Samuel Dordulian, spent 13 years as a Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, fighting to ensure our community was safer and victims of crime received the justice they deserved. Today, Dordulian represents personal injury victims like those who have experienced TBIs, helping them recover the financial damages necessary to ensure they can move forward with life and put the unsettling incident in the past where it belongs. Dordulian has helped personal injury victims recover over $100 million since founding DLG, and he places the highest priority on each and every case he represents.

If you would like to speak with one of our TBI and personal injury law professionals, please contact us online or call 855-804-9636. We’re here to answer any questions you may have and help you better understand your rights under the law following a TBI. There are no upfront fees, and you never have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses when you choose DLG. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your TBI case.

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