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A Virginia Personal Injury Attorney Explains Traumatic Brain Injuries

The numbers are a little out of date, but these two sentences from the Centers for Disease & Prevention’s traumatic brain injury and concussions facts page drive home the seriousness of TBIs:

From 2006 to 2014, the number of TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths increased by 53 percent. In 2014, an average of 155 people in the United States died each day from injuries that include a TBI.

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The three leading causes of TBIs are falls, motor vehicle crashes and being struck by objects such as items dropping from overhead or weapons wielded in assaults. Regardless of why a traumatic brain injury occurs, the symptoms can be severe and disabling—sometimes for life.

According to diagnostic criteria endorsed by the National Institutes of Health, mild TBIs produce

  • Headaches
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Tiredness or sleepiness
  • A bad taste in the mouth
  • A change in sleep habits
  • Behavior or mood changes
  • Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking
  • Loss of consciousness lasting a few seconds to minutes1
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Nausea or vomiting

The “mild” designation indicates that the TBI victim will likely stop experiencing debilitating symptoms within days or weeks. Also, everyone who suffers a TBI will experience a different mix of symptoms.

Moderate or severe traumatic brain injuries leave people suffering from some combination of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of consciousness lasting a few minutes to hours
  • Enlargement of the pupil (dark center) of one or both eyes
  • Headaches that gets worse or won't go away
  • Repeated vomiting or nausea
  • Slurred speech
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • An inability to wake up from sleep
  • Numbness or tingling of arms or legs
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased confusion, restlessness or agitation

A TBI can occur even when a person remains conscious and does not suffer a skull fracture or structural damage to the brain itself. The most-severe brain injuries may induce paralysis and permanent cognitive disabilities. A TBI victim may require assistance with the most basic activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating.

Any serious blow to the head can cause a TBI. So can having one’s head snap forward suddenly and with great force, as happens in most car and truck accidents. The injury results from the brain slamming into the inside of the skull, which also means that while a bicycle or motorcycle helmet protects against skull fractures, no helmet provides guaranteed protection against TBIs.

Seeking medical care after any type of accident that could cause a traumatic brain injury is essential. Diagnosing the problem and initiating treatment as soon as possible helps ensure the best outcome. Another reason to go to the doctor or visit an emergency room is that symptoms of TBIs do not always manifest immediately.

EJL

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When a loved one is involved in a serious accident where the victim suffers severe trauma to the head, their loved ones learn a strange new term: TBI. It stands for traumatic brain injury. According to  TraumaticBrainInjury.com, roughly 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from the injury and 85,000 people with TBI suffer a variety of long-term disabilities.

 

{Click here to read more about traumatic brain injury (TBI) statistics}

Brain injuries, also known as closed head wounds, can be caused by a number of incidents, but the three most common are:

1. Car crashes

2. Weapon injuries

3. Slips and falls


Symptoms of TBI can vary from mild to severe. A person may or may not lose consciousness during the event. TBI may lead to dizziness, confusion, vertigo, headaches, fatigue, lightheadedness, blurred vision, ringing ears, and insomnia. On a larger scale, TBI can lead to memory loss, changes in behavior, mood issues, persistent vomiting and nausea, seizures, confusion, attention issues, and inability to concentrate.

Although doctors are learning more about TBI treatment every day, we are still in the initial stages of understanding the condition. Those suffering a traumatic brain injury should seek medical attention immediately, so that any bleeding and brain swelling can be controlled. After that point, patients may receive a number of different therapies, ranging from speech therapy to occupational therapy to physical therapy.

The prognosis for TBI also varies from case to case. Those some might recover fully from their head injury, others may have long-term issues or even permanent disabilities. Often, patients may have issues with sensory perception and processing, cognition, aggression, mental health, expression and understanding.  In the most serious cases and severe cases, patients may be vegetative permanently - unconscious, unaware, and unable to communicate.

To get more information about TBI and the legal rights available to a victim who suffered a brain injury in an accident, take a look at these articles and videos:


 

Richard N. Shapiro
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Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia