A staggering two million brain injuries are reported in the United States each year, and that number is only going to grow larger because traumatic brain injury (TBI) has now been named the signature wound of the war in Iraq.
Brain injuries are very difficult to treat and to diagnose because the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries often mimic those of other medical problems. Many times, people may think they’ve only suffered a mild concussion, but in actuality, they may have suffered a very serious brain injury with long-term effects.
For these reasons, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately after you sustain any type of head injury, regardless of how serious it appears to you. Only after an involved battery of diagnostic tests can doctors adequately diagnose TBI’s and decide which course of treatment, if any, may help treat the injury.
According the National Institutes of Health, traumatic brain injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of TBI vary and are classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the extent of the brain’s damage.
Some of the most common symptoms of TBI (from mild to severe) include:
- Blurred vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood changes
- Memory problems
- Concentration problems
- Attention problems
- Headache that gets worse and never goes away
- Dilation of one or both pupils
- Slurred speech
- Weak/numb extremities
- Loss of coordination
- Persistent confusion, restlessness, agitation
Questions About Brain Injuries
Absolutely. While some people will lose consciousness or get “knocked out” momentarily, you can still suffer a traumatic brain injury while maintaining consciousness. While you won’t necessarily see stars, most likely the head trauma will leave you with a dazed or confused feeling.
Though you may look and feel fine, the signs of a concussion are not always easily observed. Some, but not all of the following are likely to occur:
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Changes in attention or concentration
- Persistent headaches
- Slowness in thinking, acting, or speaking
- Loss or decrease in sense of taste or smell.
While some symptoms are likely to appear right away, others may take weeks to emerge.
It is always a good idea to seek medical attention after a blow to the head. Since it can take hours or even days for symptoms to appear, you may not realize you have a serious injury until substantial damage has been done. By getting the injury examined, you can receive the prompt treatment you need to minimize the damage caused by your brain injury.
First, seek immediate medical attention from a professional familiar with the treatment of people with traumatic brain injuries. DO NOT assume it will improve by itself.
If your brain injury was caused by the negligent actions of another, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your damages. Once you have received the necessary medical treatment, you should consult an experienced brain injury lawyer who can protect your rights.
Jim Leach Attorneys at Law is familiar with the complexities involved when protecting the rights of someone who is suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Our TBI lawyers‘ focus is first on listening to you and evaluating your legal situation. No two cases are alike, and we cater our legal strategy to address the unique issues surrounding your accident. After years of dealing with insurance companies, we are familiar with how they operate and how they determine the settlement and trial value of your individual case. Our attorney will fight aggressively to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by a brain injury, so medical professionals will try to stabilize a TBI victim to prevent further injury. The most important concerns include:
- Making sure oxygen is properly supplied to the brain and rest of the body
- Maintaining good blood flow
- Controlling blood pressure
Approximately 50 percent of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or bruised brain tissue. Sometimes the effects of brain injury can be catastrophic. More serious head injuries can result in:
- Coma, a state in which a person is totally unconscious, unresponsive and unarousable.
- Vegetative state, where a person is unconscious and unaware of his surroundings but continues to have a sleep-wake cycle and periods of alertness.
- Persistent vegetative state, in which a person stays in a vegetative state for more than a month.
Brain injuries can be caused by many personal injury events including:
- Falls from heights
- Sports injuries
In certain cases, victims of TBI may be entitled to recover compensation for current and future medical costs, loss of current and future earnings, pain and suffering, and punitive damages. Also, families of victims may receive compensation if they must change their lifestyle to care for their injured loved one.
For more information, please visit our Brain Injury Questions page.
If you or a loved one has suffered or died from a traumatic brain injury, please contact our West Virginia brain injury lawyers today to schedule your initial consultation. We represent brain injury victims throughout West Virginia and Southern Ohio including the communities of Belpre, Parkersburg, Wheeling, Athens, Morgantown, Charleston, and Huntington.