Help for Brain Injury

legal help for Brain Injury Victims

traumatic brain injury victims

A traumatic brain injury, otherwise termed a TBI, is the result of a violent jolt or blow to the head. A TBI may also be the result of an object penetrating through brain tissue. These injuries may be categorized as closed brain injuries or penetrating brain injuries.

Depending on the severity of the head injury, the effects a traumatic brain injury victim experiences may be temporary or long-term. However long or short these effects may last, a traumatic brain injury will still greatly affect the quality of life and daily activities of those affected.

Traumatic Brain Injury 101

Levels of Severity

Sometimes contingent on which the manner the traumatic brain injury occurred, TBIs may be categorized into three levels:

Mild Injury

A mild brain injury happens when the head is hit with enough force to cause the brain to move around inside the skull. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this sudden movement may cause stretching and damage of brain cells and chemical changes in the brain.

A mild TBI is often characterized by a brief loss of consciousness, confusion, or disorientation. But the loss of consciousness is not always a prerequisite to feelings of confusion or disorientation. Traumatic brain injury victims must still seek the diagnosis of a health care provider.

Due to the nature of a mild injury, medical tests may not always show evidence of an injury to the brain. Therefore, doctors will often closely observe the victim’s mental functioning in order to make a diagnosis.

Moderate Injury

Moderate TBIs may cause a loss of consciousness that may last a few hours and a feeling of confusion that may last several weeks. Complications from a moderate TBI may be long-lasting and permanent. These complications often affect the physical, cognitive, or behavioral functions of the victim.

Individuals that sustain a moderate TBI may need to undergo treatments such as cognitive rehabilitation therapy to address these complications.

Severe Injury

The most severe traumatic brain injuries occur when the head is subject to a crushing blow or penetration by an object. These types of injuries can be life-threatening and may often result in the victim’s inability to return to their previous way of life or regain normal brain function.

Closed head injuries may also result in severe brain damage. Severe head injury may be caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, or violent assaults.

Victims of a severe traumatic brain injury must seek immediate medical care from a health provider.

The CDC states that statistics for brain injury victims per state reports that states located in the Northeast had the lowest TBI-related deaths, and states in the South had the highest rate of TBI-related deaths from 2016-2018. The state of California recorded over 15,000 TBI-related deaths during this period.

Four Kinds of Brain Injury

Brain injuries are not alike. The possible complications and treatments required to treat these injuries will depend on the manner in which the injury was acquired, the location, and the severity of the injury. These brain injuries may be categorized into four kinds:

  • Concussion – Also known as a minor brain injury, a concussion is commonly caused by a sudden impact on the head, shaking, or whiplash. Brain function tests may not readily detect a concussion. However, these injuries must still be considered serious, and treatment must be taken seriously.
  • Brain Contusions – A contusion is more commonly known as a bruise. A brain contusion, therefore, is a bruise to the brain itself. Just like bruises on the skin, brain contusions are also caused by the bleeding and swelling of the brain caused by the breaking and leaking of small blood vessels. This leaking causes fluid buildup, causing pressure within the brain.
  • Penetrating Brain Injuries – As previously mentioned, a penetrating brain injury is caused by an object piercing through brain tissue. This type of brain injury is caused by an external force or object that is strong enough to break through the skull. Penetrating brain injuries are common in slip-and-fall accidents that cause the skull to crack, gunshot wounds, or motor vehicle crashes in which debris breaks the skull.
  • Anoxic Brain Injuries – This type of injury occurs when the brain is deprived of sufficient oxygen needed to function properly. After just a few minutes without the proper amount of oxygen, brain cell death may begin to occur. Anoxic brain injuries are often caused by a block in disrupting the flow of blood to the brain.

What to Expect After a TBI?

After sustaining an injury, traumatic brain injury victims may experience cognitive difficulties, physical symptoms such as constant headaches, seizures, sleep disorders, and emotional difficulties, such as sudden mood changes.

These new changes and effects can be jarring and difficult for victims and their loved ones to handle. Therefore, an early diagnosis is a key factor in treatment, to ensure crucial problems are addressed as soon as possible. A lingering untreated injury is dangerous in the event that a second injury occurs shortly after. This is known as a second impact syndrome (SIS). Non-fatal SIS may result in life-threatening conditions.

Your health care provider may need to run a series of exams, such as neuropsychological tests or brain scans to get a fuller picture of your brain health. Once the severity of your injury is determined, a team of doctors will assess the forms of treatment needed during the patient’s acute care period.

Your doctor may prescribe a different medication to prevent blood clots. The traumatic brain injury victim will need to be monitored for increased intracranial pressure (ICP).

If you suspect your loved one has sustained a TBI, here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:

  • Persistent headaches
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Loss of memory
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Ringing in ears
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Mood swings
  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Displays unusual behavior, agitation, or combativeness

If your loved one is displaying any of these symptoms following a blow to the head or an accident, they must see a health care professional as soon as possible.

Long-Term Effects of a TBI

The CDC reports that an estimated 5.3 million Americans are living with a disability as a result of a TBI. Some TBI symptoms may become prolonged effects. Other long-term effects of a TBI include the following:

  • Amnesia (concerning the traumatic incident)
  • Anxiety
  • Mood disorders
  • Car sickness or motion sickness
  • Change in or a loss of taste or smell
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sense of pressure in the head
  • Easily distracted
  • Trouble reading
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Some heartbeat irregularities or changes in blood pressure
  • Slurred speech
  • Tired for no reason

Some research has shown that the risk factors for dementia and cognitive decline are much higher in traumatic brain injury victims with a medical history of a severe TBI. There is also a clear association between brain injury and depression.

Post-TBI depression is a common problem among traumatic brain injury victims. Approximately half of TBI patients experience depression within the first year following their injury.

If you or a loved one is suffering from the effects of a traumatic brain injury, you must get the help you need. At the California Brain Injury Help Center, we can help you get the medical care you need. If your injury was the result of an accident, we provide legal help for brain injury victims and the legal representation you will need. 

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