Living with a traumatic brain injury is not a piece of cake. About 1.5 million Americans suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year.
A TBI can be demanding in numerous aspects of an individual financially, emotionally, physically, and cognitive-wise. It can also weigh you down that you can't think of taking legal action for negligence.
Sometimes the symptoms appear, and sooner or later they disappear, and you are okay. However, this is not always the case.
A severe TBI can rob you and your family of enjoyment of life. It's more trouble because it makes you dependent and steals your authentic self. It has the potential to erase all happiness you've ever known.
Do not be another statistic. At this time, we understand what you are going through; we want to help take the burden off your shoulders. Call our Columbus injury attorneys, and we'll review your case to see if we can help.
What Are the Most Common Head Injuries?
Types of injuries range from severe to mild injuries. The common types of head injuries are:
A concussion is a head injury due to a sudden change in movement, an impact on the head, or shaking. Concussions are dangerous if a person has had one or several before. Although a concussion cannot be detected via an imaging test, it can be a severe injury.
Concussion symptoms include disorientation, memory loss, lack of concentration, and headaches.
The bruising of brain tissue is known as brain contusion. Bruising occurs due to breaking and leaking blood vessels in the brain due to an impact on the head. It may happen during sports like rugby or football. It is also possible when someone slips and falls then hits the ground with their head. Additionally, when someone hits the steering wheel in motor vehicle crashes, it might significantly impact the head.
The symptoms of contusions range from agitation, emotional symptoms, tiredness, confusion, or loss of consciousness. A contusion can cause mild to severe injuries. In extreme contusion cases, there could be swelling of the brain leading to insufficient oxygenation.
Penetrating Brain Injuries
These kinds of injuries happen when an external force or object pierces through the skull. When the objects penetrate, fragments of the skull or skin may contact the brain.
The impact of the force by the object can cause severe brain damage.
Common causes of penetrating injuries are:
- Gunshot wounds
- Sports-related injuries, e.g., in boxing or wrestling
- Slip-and-fall leading to a cracked skull
- Penetration of an object in a motor vehicle accident
Penetrative brain injury is often fatal due to intracranial hemorrhage, requiring emergency care.
Anoxic Brain Injuries
Anoxic brain injuries occur when there is insufficient oxygen supply in the brain. Brain cells begin dying after 4-5 minutes if the brain does not get sufficient oxygen. The death of the cells leads to brain injury.
Blockage can happen due to trauma, heart attack, stroke, or a blood clot. Other times, anoxic brain damage may be due to suffocation, choking, carbon monoxide poisoning, drowning, poisoning, or any situations that cause oxygen deprivation in the blood.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
This kind of brain injury occurs when the brain moves due to respective head movement. In diffuse axonal injury, the movement is so intense that the brain stem may suffer tears in its connection to the spinal cord. The tears can be microscopic, causing different degrees of brain damage.
DAI is a severe head injury and can cause life-long effects or even death. The symptoms of diffuse axonal injury vary depending on the extent of the damages or tears.
Hypoxic Brain Injuries
Hypoxic brain injury also occurs when the brain has insufficient oxygen. The inadequate supply may be due to suffocation. Some causes of suffocation include:
- Intake of carbon monoxide
- Cardiac arrest
- Suffocation through hanging
- Suffocation via drowning
- Exposure to poisonous gases
Hypoxic-ischemic brain injury is one example of hypoxic brain injury.
Second Impact Syndrome
It occurs when a head injury happens to the same person before they heal from a previous injury.
The second impact causes more severe injuries than the first. Even if you do not feel injured, you should seek medical attention immediately.
What Are 4 Types of Skull Fractures?
The four types of skull fracture are:
Basilar Skull Fracture
It involves breaking the bone at the base of the skull. Patients with basilar fractures may have fluids draining from the ears or nose. It requires expert advice and close hospital observation.
Diastatic Skull Fracture
It is a common type of fracture in newborns and occurs along suture lines in the skull. When it happens, the suture lines widen.
Depressed Skull Fracture
It is usually sunken and without a cut. It may require surgery for correction.
Linear Skull Fracture
In this kind of skull fracture, the skull bones break, but they do not move. Linear fractures do not require an intervention; instead, they are observed for a few days.
How Common are TBIs?
TBI is a leading cause of death in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also a major cause of disability among children and young adults.
Every year, 230,000 people survive hospitalization due to a TBI. 50,000 people succumb to head injuries every year, while about 80,000-90,000 people start the initial stages of long-term disability.
What are the Most Common Symptoms of Head Injuries?
The symptoms of TBI depend on the seriousness and the type of injury. An injury can be severe, moderate, or mild.
The symptoms of mild TBI can include:
- Memory problems
- Changes in behavior or mood
- Difficult in concentration and comprehension
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Bad taste in the mouth
- Ringing in the ears
- Tired eyes or blurred vision
- A brief loss of consciousness
If you have suffered a severe or moderate traumatic brain injury, you may exhibit symptoms of mild TBI. You may also show the following signs:
- Dilation of the pupil or an abnormal eye pupil in one or both eyes
- Difficulties in waking up from sleep
- Loss of coordination
- Frequent nausea or vomiting
- Seizures or convulsions
- Constant migraines
- Slurred speech
- Weak or numb legs or arms
- Increased confusion
What Causes Battle Signs?
Battle signs happen due to a broken skull or bone due to a serious impact on the head injury. The impact may be due to:
- Head injuries sustained from bike riding accidents, especially when not wearing a helmet
- Falls due to slips
- Injuries sustained from sport, e.g., boxing, football, soccer, rugby, etc.
- Physical violence
- Motor vehicle crashes
- Bicycle accidents without a helmets
Most of the causes of battle signs can be reduced or prevented through wearing protective equipment, using safety belts, and appropriate wearing of helmets.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
TBI is an abrupt brain injury due to external force like a bump or blow to the head. The impact interferes with the brain's normal functioning. TBI can be a penetrative or closed head injury. Penetrative is when an object pierces the skull, while a closed head injury is when the impact is within the skull.
Who Might Get a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Anyone can get a head injury. However, the people likely to suffer traumatic brain injury include:
- Newborns and children aged up to 4 years
- Adults above 60 years
- Young adults, especially those aged 15- 24
Sportspersons involved in contact sports are also at a high risk of sustaining head injuries.
What Are the Top Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)?
Traumatic brain injury can occur in different places. Some causes are least expected especially when people enjoy themselves out in recreational activities. Some causes result in severe and permanent brain damage because of the impact. Others may only result in a mild head injury.
The following are common causes of traumatic injuries to the brain:
Slip and Falls
Slip and fall accidents are common accidents we experience in our daily activities. You may suffer a head injury by falling in the house, bathroom, staircase, tree, ladder, etc. Young children and adults are more likely to experience these accidents.
Motor Vehicle Collisions
Accidents involving vehicles, bicycles, motorcycles, and pedestrians are common causes of head injuries.
Acts of violence, including assault, child abuse, domestic violence, or gunshot wounds, are causes of traumatic brain injury. Gunshot wounds are a leading cause of TBI. It often leads to permanent damage or death. Shaking infants violently can also lead to shaken baby syndrome.
Sports like hockey, skateboarding, lacrosse, baseball, football, boxing, soccer, and other high-impact or extreme and contact sports are likely causes of head injuries, especially in youth.
Explosive Blasts and Other Combat Injuries
Explosives are common on battlefields. When they explode, the loud bang causes a lot of pressure into the ears of the military personnel. The noise can disrupt the functioning of the brain.
The aftermath of an explosion may result in objects like shrapnel causing bodily harm to the head. Shrapnel may cause penetrating wounds to the head.
How Can Traumatic Brain Injury Be Prevented?
TBIs can lead to permanent disability. The causes of traumatic brain injury can be reduced through the following tips:
Seat Belts and Airbags
Wearing a seat belt in a car will reduce the chances of hitting the steering wheel in an emergency stop or a collision.
Avoiding Alcohol and Drug Use
Drugs and alcohol increase the risks of an accident. When accidents occur, there is a high chance of a head injury. Therefore, steering from substance abuse is a positive step in preventing these possibilities from coming to life.
Wearing helmets while riding motorbikes, skateboarding, or recycling reduces the risks of head injuries. Also, when riding horses or participating in contact sports, wear appropriate head protection gear.
Pay attention to your surroundings, especially when crossing. Avoid using your phone when crossing the road, which can lead to falls and accidents on the road.
How to Prevent Falls
The following preventive measures will help reduce slip-and-fall incidents in the house:
- Exercising regularly
- Going for regular vision checkups
- Improving the lighting in the home
- Installing handrails on both sides of staircases
- Removing area rugs
- Placing a non-slip mat in the shower or bathtub
- Decluttering the floor and the staircase
How Is a TBI Managed or Treated?
The treatment for traumatic brain injury depends on:
- Type of head injury
- Size or extent
- Severity of injury
- Location in the head
The primary treatment for mild TBI is rest. You can take counter medication if you experience a headache. You should also avoid doing heavy duties. In case you experience prolonged symptoms, contact your health care provider immediately.
Treatment of moderate to severe TBI requires emergency medical attention. The medical personnel will first stabilize you to prevent additional damage and ensure sufficient blood supply and manage your blood pressure.
When you stabilize, treatment may involve:
- Surgery to minimize damage to the brain, for instance :
- Relieving intracranial pressure
- Removal of the dead brain or damaged tissues
- Repairing skull fractures
- Removal of intracranial hematomas, i.e., epidural hematoma and subdural hematoma (clotted blood)
- Medicines for treating head injury symptoms include stimulants, relaxants, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, and anti-anxiety medication.
- Rehabilitation therapies for treating respective symptoms. They include cognitive, vocational, psychological, counseling, speech, and occupational therapy.
Some TBIs lead to permanent disabilities. Therapies help improve the quality of life for the survivors, avoiding secondary damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety.
What Are the Complications of a TBI?
Complications may arise immediately or after a traumatic brain injury. You are likely to encounter more complications if your damage is severe.
Your awareness, responsiveness, and alertness may change. There are different states of consciousness, they include:
- Coma- Severe brain damage will likely result in a coma. The survivor may recover after some days.
- Vegetative state- Due to widespread damage to the brain, the survivor may be unaware of surroundings. They, however, respond to reflexes and make sounds.
- Minimally conscious state- The survivor can comprehend some signs in this state and slowly begins to gain awareness.
- Brain death- When there is severe damage to the brain, it may lead to TBI-related deaths. Brain death can not be reversed.
There are several physical complications relating to TBI. They include:
- Seizures that can degenerate into epilepsy
- Hydrocephalus- Cerebrospinal fluid may build up in the brain
- Infections- If it is a penetrative wound, bacteria may attack the wound and cause complications.
- Blood vessel damage- Blood vessels may not transport blood due to clotted blood.
- Headaches- People with brain injuries tend to experience frequent headaches after some time. The headache may last for an extended period.
When brain damage occurs at the base of the skull, it can cause cranial nerves damages. The condition may lead to:
- Loss of hearing
- Swallowing problems
- Loss of vision or double vision
- Loss of taste and smell
- Paralysis of facial muscles
- Neurologic deficits
TBIs can affect your intellectual ability, e.g., learning, reasoning, concentration, and memory loss.
Degenerative Brain Diseases
TBI can lead to several degenerative brain diseases like:
- Alzheimer's disease- Contributes to loss of memory and thinking ability.
- Parkinson's disease- Causes difficulty in movements and tremors.
- Dementia pugilistica — Mostly occurs due to repetitive impact on the brain, e.g., due to boxing.
How Is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Diagnosed?
Some head injuries may be mild such that you are asymptomatic. If you hit your head or had an accident, it will help if you see a doctor immediately to offer professional medical care.
These are some of the things your healthcare provider will do to make a diagnosis:
- The physician will ask for details of your injury
- They will inquire of any symptoms you might have
- They may conduct a neurologic exam
- May perform imaging tests, like Magnetic Resonance Imaging or CT scan
- The physician may perform a test on the severity of the TBI using the Glasgow coma scale. They will test your ability to move, speak, or see.
- May perform a neuropsychological test to see your mental status.
Our Columbus Injury Attorneys May Be Able to Help With Your Traumatic Brain Injury Lawsuit
Traumatic brain injury lawsuits are complex cases. If you've suffered such an injury due to someone else's negligence, consider reaching out to an experienced lawyer to see if they can assist you in recovering compensation. Call Babin Law, LLC and schedule a case review with one of our Columbus injury attorneys.