Traumatic brain injuries are among the most devastating injuries that a person could suffer. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons defines a traumatic brain injury as a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, the head suddenly and violently hitting an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. This disruption of brain function can have a profound impact on the quality of life of the sufferer.
Traumatic brain injuries are a common occurrence in injury cases where there is some form of head trauma. According to the CDC, there were nearly 3 million emergency visits, hospitalizations and deaths in the United States related to TBIs. Thankfully we’ve gotten better and preventing TBI-related deaths. Unfortunately, however, the rate of ER visits related to TBIs has been increasing. The best way to prevent a TBI from getting worse is to seek appropriate treatment. But before you can get appropriate treatment, you need to be properly diagnosed.
What Causes a Traumatic Brain Injury?
As the name implies, a TBI is caused when the brain suffers from a traumatic injury. There are many causes of TBIr:
- Falling: Tripping, slipping, and falling are common causes of TBIs, especially in children or older adults who don’t have the dexterity or motor control to protect their heads when falling.
- Sports Accidents: Playing certain sports is commonly associated with head trauma. Getting tackled in football, falling off a skateboard and striking your head, or getting checked in hockey are all frequent culprits. While violent sports–such as boxing or football–carry a higher risk of causing trauma, TBIs frequently occur in sports with less routine physical contact, such as soccer or baseball.
- Vehicle Accidents: Traffic collisions often result in head trauma and TBI. Modern safety standards have decreased the likelihood of serious injury, but they have far from eliminated it. The risk of TBI is greater for drivers in motorcycles, ATVs, or in other vehicles in which drivers have no protection between themselves and the road.
- Work Accidents: In the workplace, TBI-inducing accidents are typically caused from slips and falling objects. However, each workplace is different and has its own unique risks. Construction workers, for example, frequently suffer TBIs as a result of falling debris, or from mishandled explosives or gear.
- Physical Altercations: Punching and kicking in the midst of a physical confrontation can easily cause TBI. So can the striking of a victim’s head on the ground when she is pushed or knocked over.
- Self-Harm: Unfortunately, self-harm is the leading cause of traumatic brain injury related deaths.
These are common causes of TBIs. But anything that can strike the head or push the head into another object with force can cause a TBI.
What Are the Different Types of Brain Injury?
Below are some of the common ways in which TBIs are categorized.
- Open and Closed TBIs
Open TBI: An open TBI happens when the skull is broken or fractured. A gunshot wound is an easy to understand example, as the bullet has to pass through the skull to damage the brain. But these injuries can happen from a fall or any other form of head trauma so long as there is enough force to damage the skull itself as well as the brain.
Closed TBI: A closed TBI is a traumatic brain injury in which the skull remains completely intact. With a closed TBI, the brain itself and the tissue that surrounds it are injured without the bone breaking. Closed TBIs can be accelerating (caused by movement of an unrestrained head moving at a high speed) or non-accelerating (where the head is restrained). A common type of closed TBI is concussion. Concussions are commonly associated with a range of potential cognitive symptoms, such as memory loss, nausea or a lack of coordination that are short lasting immediately following the blow to the head.
- Area of Brain Damage:
Contrecoup: A contrecoup injury is one that occurs on the opposite side of the brain from where the impact was. A contrecoup injury typically occurs when a moving head strikes a stationary object.
Coup: A coups injury is a brain injury on the brain just below where the impact occurred. While trauma is the cause of the coup, the coup itself is associated with swelling or bruising of the brain. A coup injury typically occurs when a moving object strikes a stationary head.
Coup-Contrecoup: A coup-contrecoup injury refers to an injury of the brain that happens both under the site of impact and on the opposite side from where the trauma occurred. This happens because the impact rocks the brain so that it strikes the skull. For example, a blow to the forehead can cause the brain to rock backwards and strike the back of the skull from the inside.
What Are the Signs That I Might Have Suffered a TBI?
If you have suffered a blow to the head and are worried that you might have suffered a TBI then be on the lookout for the following physical symptoms:
- Blurred Vision
- Lack of Appetite
- Loss of Vision
- Ringing in the Ears (Tinnitus)
Psychological symptoms that can result from TBI are:
- Lack of Concentration
- Short Term Memory Loss
Along with psychological and physical symptoms, TBIs are also commonly associated with the following emotional symptoms:
- Mood Swings
- Unexplained and Unusual Changes in Personality
How Can I Get Compensation for My TBI?
TBI can be expensive to diagnose and treat. Patients with TBIs are typically sent to a slew of specialists and are sent for extensive and costly imaging. In addition, symptoms of traumatic brain injury can be long-lasting, or even permanent.
If your TBI was the result of a workplace accident, a motor vehicle collision that was someone else’s fault, or it was caused by other negligent or intentional conduct, you should not have to face the costs of a TBI alone. Gideon Asen can help you determine whether you have a potential claim. If you do, Gideon Asen will make sure you are fully and fairly compensated for your injuries. Please call us at (207) 288-7931 to see how we can help you to deal with this difficult experience.