Your Legal Options After Sustaining a Traumatic Brain Injury
People who are involved in traffic crashes, slip and fall accidents, work-related accidents, or suffer any other form of violent impacts or trauma, can be at risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) due to an impact, jolt, or blow to the head.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and fatalities rose by 53 percent from 2006-2014.
In 2014, falls accounted for 48 percent of all TBI-related emergency department visits, followed by being struck by or against objects (17 percent).
Among TBI-related hospitalizations, falls accounted for 52 percent of cases, and traffic crashes 20 percent respectively.
Concussions are the most common type of TBI
The most common and usually minimal type of TBI is a concussion, which occurs when the brain is bounced around or twisted in the skull as the result of an impact or sudden jolt of the head or neck. This results in damage to the brain cells and can create minor chemical and/or tissue changes to the brain, which can result in the various types of side-effects addressed below.
According to the National Institutes of Health, concussions are caused by only two types of forces: contact and inertial. Contact occurs when a person’s head strikes or is struck by an object. Inertial force occurs when a person’s head moves rapidly (is jerked) without contact with an object.
Inertial force concussions can be caused by whiplash – which occurs when a person’s head rapidly jerks back and forth in a whip-like motion and the brain is rocketed back and forth against the walls of the skull. Whiplash is usually caused by rear-end motor vehicle collisions or head-on collisions.
Concussion symptoms can often be delayed and can appear days after an accident. They usually include:
- Headaches or head pressure
- Loss of consciousness
- Confusion or brain fog
- Dizziness or disorientation
- Tinnitus or ringing in ears
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Changes in personality or perception
- Slurred speech
- Delayed responses to basic protocols or problems because the victim has to concentrate harder to find the answer
Even though concussion symptoms may go away completely, one effect is clear: the victim is now more susceptible to another concussion from trauma than somebody who has never had a concussion before.
Other types of TBIs
While concussions are often recoverable, some TBIs can cause permanent complications or brain damage. Those who sustain TBIs are at risk of only making partial recoveries. Others aren’t as fortunate.
- Intracranial hemotomas: This type of TBI occurs when blood vessels in the brain are ruptured, resulting in an accumulation of blood in brain tissue and empty spaces. Intracranial hemotomas can result in blood clotting outside, between, or within brain tissue.
- Skull fractures: This type of TBI involves damage to the skull and can result in linear cracks, breaking or crushing parts of the skull, or leakage of cerebral spinal fluid at the base of the brain.
- Contusions and coup-countrecoup: This occurs when a bruise is sustained on brain tissue and can cause linear anterior-posterior lesions to form on the point of impact.
- Diffuse axonal injury: Rotational force results in twisting or tearing of tissue that connects brain cells.
- Secondary injury: Those who sustain TBIs are at risk of sustaining a second one, especially if they haven’t yet recovered from the first. Secondary TBIs are often more severe than initial TBIs.
- Penetrating injury: Penetrating TBIs occur when a person’s head is pierced by an object. These types of TBIs are typically rare, accounting for only 1-2 percent of all head injuries.
Complications that can arise from TBIs include:
- Chronic headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Seizures and convulsions
- Disrupted sleeping patterns
- Slurred speech
- Weakness or numbness in limbs
- Dilated pupils
- Compromised memory and cognitive function
- Difficulty in ability to process basic or past tasks/projects that were never a problem
- Changes in mood and personality; depression
- Compromised sensory and motor function
Depending on the severity of a TBI, recovery could be a costly and lengthy process. That’s why you should speak to an experienced Maryland personal injury lawyer as soon as possible if you were injured due to someone else’s negligence.
Even if your head injury is minor, you should always seek immediate medical attention. Then contact the Law Offices of Stuart L. Plotnick, LLC to discuss your legal options.