If you have experienced a blow to the head, it is possible you may have a traumatic brain injury (TBI). These brain injuries can be caused by a variety of incidents, including motor vehicle accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, work-related accidents, and dog attacks. If you have a head injury, contact a Los Angeles head and brain injury attorney today so you can receive the compensation you deserve.
What Are the Major Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
Traumatic brain injuries are devastating, long-lasting traumas that occur when the head or body receives a violent blow or is jerked suddenly, causing serious damage to the brain and interrupting the flow of messages to other parts of the body. Specific areas of the brain can be damaged, producing specific symptoms depending on what part of the brain was harmed. For example, if the part of the brain that controls emotion was damaged, the injured person may experience mood swings and/or depression.
The brain is not just injured in violent accidents – the damage can be the result of a seemingly mild blow to the head. Because of how serious head and brain injuries can be, it’s important to seek medical attention as quickly as possible after your accident. The rough and jolting conditions that create a traumatic brain injury can occur in a number of situations, including:
- Car accidents – Whether you are in a severe or seemingly minor car accident, a serious head injury could be the result.
- Truck accidents – Since trucks are much bigger than most cars, getting into a truck accident often leads to severe injuries. TBIs are common wounds.
- Motorcycle and bicycle accidents – Motorcyclists and bicyclists aren’t as protected from harm as car drivers. If they are in an accident with an automobile, they usually come away with worse injuries than the people inside the cars.
- Slip-and-fall incidents – A slip-and-fall accident may not seem serious at the time, but even a “minor fall” could cause a traumatic brain injury. This is why it’s important to get medical attention as soon as possible if you’ve hit your head.
- Dog bite injuries– If a dog attacks you, you may trip while trying to run away or it may knock you down. A head injury is a possibility.
- Workplace accidents – While most workplaces work at creating a safe environment for their employees, accidents can still happen. If you injure your head while at work, go to a doctor immediately.
Additionally, there are two types of traumatic head injuries: open and closed. “Open” traumatic injuries are when an object penetrated the skull and entered the brain itself, while “closed” traumatic brain injuries (TBI) indicate the victim experienced a violent, but non-penetrating, blow to the head.
Open Traumatic Brain Injuries
An open TBI can occur when a piece of metal or another sharp object hits a passenger during a car accident with enough force to impale the skull. This can cause the brain to swell as well as other extremely dangerous conditions. Symptoms from an open traumatic brain injury can vary. The symptoms depend on which parts of the brain were injured and how much of the brain was injured.
Closed Traumatic Brain Injuries
A closed TBI could have extensive damage that can spread to other parts of the brain. Closed TBI's are typically seen in sports injuries, but can also occur during an accident. Closed head injuries often happen when brain tissues hit the inside of the skull during an impact. This can lead to brain damage, like bruising, swelling, and bleeding.
Head Injuries and TBI Symptoms to Look Out For
TBI injuries can cause a wide variety of devastating physical, sensory, and cognitive or mental symptoms. Many symptoms may not appear immediately after the accident occurs. This is why it is very important to seek medical help immediately after head trauma, even if no symptoms are evident yet. Whenever symptoms do appear, be sure to take careful note of what they are.
Each case of TBI is unique and serious, no matter how few or mild the symptoms may seem. No matter how the head injury may appear, you should seek medical attention immediately. Here are the most common TBI symptoms:
- Loss of Consciousness – This can range from a few seconds to several hours, depending on the severity of the head injury.
- Disorientation or Confusion – Someone with these symptoms is conscious, but isn’t sure what’s going on.
- Persistent Headache – A headache that is caused by a head injury will likely grow increasingly worse over time.
- Nausea and Vomiting – These symptoms are often the result of a concussion.
- Drowsiness or Fatigue – Having trouble staying awake can be a symptom of a head or brain injury.
- Irregular Sleep Patterns – Difficulty sleeping, sleeping more than usual, or the inability to rouse from sleep can all indicate that someone may have a head injury.
- Dizziness or Loss of Balance – The inner ear can be damaged thanks to a head injury. A damaged inner ear throws a person’s equilibrium off, leading to dizziness and loss of balance.
- Loss of Coordination – A head injury can slow a person’s reaction time and make it difficult to navigate without assistance.
- Dilation of the Pupils – Dilated pupils are a clear indication of a concussion.
- Convulsions or Seizures – After a traumatic brain injury, the electrical function of your brain may be thrown off. The result of this can be a seizure.
- Numbness or Weakness in the Fingers and Toes – If your hands or feet are numb, this could be a sign you are recovering from a concussion.
- Clear Fluids Draining From the Nose or Ears – A head injury that creates a fracture at the base of the skull can lead to cerebrospinal fluid leaking from the nose or ears.
If a victim of a head injury is showing any of these symptoms, it should be assumed they have a TBI and they should be helped to a hospital immediately.
Additional Brain Injury Symptoms
Victims of a traumatic brain injury may also experience sensory-related symptoms, such as sensitivity to light or sound, a ringing in the ears, blurred vision, changes in the ability to smell, and a bad taste in the mouth, as well as cognitive or mental symptoms, including:
- Memory problems – A severe brain injury can lead to either temporary or long-lasting memory loss or difficulties
- Trouble concentrating – If the part of the brain that is in charge of focus is damaged by a TBI, the person will have trouble paying attention to one thing or prioritizing certain tasks.
- Abrupt mood swings or changes – The part of the brain that controls emotions can be damaged by a TBI, leading to mood swings.
- Depression – This is a sign that the part of the brain that controls emotions was damaged by a TBI, causing the person to experience more sad emotions than normal.
- Anxiety – Dealing with and healing from a TBI can put the injured person under a lot of pressure, which often leads to anxiety.
- Profound Confusion – Confusion after a TBI is typically a result of a person losing either long-term or short-term memories.
- Unusual Behavior – TBIs can lead to uncharacteristic behavior, including agitation or combativeness.
- Slurred Speech – Also known as dysarthria, slurred speech happens when the muscles necessary for talking are injured in a TBI.
- Coma – If someone has experienced a severe TBI, they may enter a coma. This happens when the brain is so damaged it can’t send the normal signals necessary to keep the body operating properly.
Seeking immediate medical attention to assess a potential TBI after an accident is essential, particularly if you decide to pursue compensation for your brain injury.
Steps You Should Take After a Traumatic Brain Injury:
There are steps you must take to ensure your own safety after you’ve been in an accident. These precautions will also help you prove your case if you decide to seek compensation for your physical and emotional injuries.
If you decide to seek compensation for your injury, here are three steps to take as soon as you are injured:
Seek Medical Attention Right Away
Regardless of how you injured yourself, you should seek medical attention right after your accident. Head injuries are serious and it may not be immediately apparent how harmful the damage is. Your health and well-being should be your number one concern.
Take Careful Note of the Injury and Your Symptoms
Ask your doctor to help you make a comprehensive list of your injuries and how they are connected to the symptoms you may be experiencing. This information is invaluable to helping a brain injury attorney win your case.
Keep Copies of All of Your Medical Records
If you plan on pursuing compensation, your medical records and a doctor’s account of your injuries will help your brain injury attorney get you compensation for your head injury. This compensation can help cover medical bills and support you as you recover.
How Traumatic Brain Injuries are Diagnosed
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) should be treated right away. Medical attention should be sought immediately, even if a TBI is only suspected. Medical professionals diagnose brain injuries by:
- Asking for details about what symptoms you are experiencing and how the injury occurred.
- Giving a neurological exam so they have a clearer understanding of your injuries.
- Taking a look at your brain with the help of imaging tests, like MRIs or CT scans.
- Conducting neuropsychological tests to better understand the brain damage caused by the accident.
Once they know the full extent of the damage done to the brain, they can diagnose how severe the TBI is and advise treatment. As we’ve said above, symptoms of a TBI may not be apparent until a while after the accident, so it is important to seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
The recommended treatment for Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) changes depending on the severity of each case. TBIs can be categorized into two broad groups: mild and severe brain injuries.
Treating mild TBIs involves getting plenty of rest and giving the brain time to recover. Mild pain relievers like aspirin can usually be taken to relieve headaches. The best thing to do is to carefully follow the doctor’s instructions—don’t try to resume regular activities too soon.
Caring for severe TBIs requires extensive medical treatment. The first step is to stabilize the patient by managing their blood pressure and ensuring enough blood and oxygen are getting to the brain. Once stable, the patient may require surgery to fix any internal problems. The doctor may prescribe medicine to prevent blood clots and other issues that could worsen the situation.
Living With Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) can also cause a range of long-lasting effects that can make it difficult to carry out day-to-day activities—including holding a job—and can seriously curtail a person's ability to live independently. While some of these effects may fade over time, other TBI symptoms may become permanent.
Those who are still experiencing effects from a TBI should contact a brain injury attorney and see if they can seek restitution for their injury. TBIs can create problems for an entire lifetime, and getting the best treatment is often expensive. Brain injury lawyers help ensure the victim receives the compensation they deserve so they can afford the care that they need.
In the case of severe TBIs, there are often long-term effects that remain even after medical treatment. A few common ones are:
- Physical impairments – Many of these impairments require the use of medical mobility aids, such as walkers, motorized scooters, or wheelchairs.
- Cognitive disabilities – These disabilities can impair attention, memory, and executive functioning.
- Communication issues – This includes difficulty speaking, writing, or hearing.
- Emotional trauma – Caused by the injury itself or exacerbated by new and frustrating life circumstances.
- Behavioral impairments – Causing the victim to behave in ways they wouldn't have, prior to the accident.
- Spasticity – The change in muscle movement and tone, as well as reflexes and sensation, may make it difficult to speak, eat, swallow, and eliminate waste.
- Seizures – Caused by electrical disturbances in the brain, seizures can occur immediately following a TBI or develop over time, causing strange body movements – including chewing or fumbling movements – as well as strange sounds, tastes, and images; inability to speak or comprehend speech; and sudden exhaustion or dizziness.
So many victims of traumatic brain injuries require special equipment and care when recovering from their accident. Such equipment and care can be quite expensive. Not being able to afford this necessary care is often why some people decide to pursue compensation for their injuries. A brain injury attorney can help you get the compensation necessary to ensure your health and well-being.
Contact a Traumatic Los Angeles Brain Injury Lawyer Today
Learning to live with the loss from a traumatic brain injury can be difficult. Steinberg Injury Lawyers' skilled legal team understands this and is dedicated to working diligently to ensure that you receive the financial award you need to have the best care—and the best chance of recovery—possible. Call 800-989-6385 to speak to one of our Los Angeles Brain Injury Lawyers, and schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.