The Signs of a Traumatic Brain Injury and What You Should Do Next
Did Someone You Love Develop A Brain Injury After An Accident?
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most serious injuries a person can sustain and can have life-altering consequences. Read on to learn more about the types of traumatic brain injuries, their symptoms, how to treat them, and what you should do if you believe you or a loved one suffered from a traumatic brain injury.
What Is A Traumatic Brain Injury
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is most often caused by a direct blow to the head or body, though brain trauma can happen without an impact. The degree of injury depends on several different factors, but traumatic brain injuries are often classified as mild, moderate, or severe. Mild traumatic brain injury can affect your brain temporarily, while more serious TBI may result in damage to the brain like bruising and bleeding, which can lead to life-threatening complications or even death.
Even mild traumatic brain injuries can cause severe and alarming symptoms that should never be ignored. Even if you have no other symptoms afterward, if you experience any sort of jolt or blow to your head or body, you should see a doctor in order to determine if you sustained a TBI. Sometimes, symptoms can take days or longer to present themselves.
What Causes A Traumatic Brain Injury?
Some of the most common causes of brain injury are:
- Sports – in many sports, especially contact sports like football, extreme sports like skateboarding, or other high-impact sports, head injuries are common. Recently, there has been more media attention paid to brain damage from sports, and contact sports, especially in childhood, should be limited.
- Falls – falling from a height or down the stairs, or slipping on water or ice can cause you to hit your head, resulting in a TBI.
- Violence – gunshots to the head can cause bullets or shrapnel to pierce the skull and brain. Active duty combat personnel sometimes experience brain injuries when close to an explosion, which are thought to be caused by pressure waves.
- Accidents – car and motorcycle accidents are one of the most common causes of TBI. Drivers and passengers in the car sometimes sustain a TBI due to whiplash, while other times, they may hit their head during the collision. Pedestrians or bicyclists hit by cars can sustain TBIs as well.
Most people believe that TBI is caused only by an impact to the head, like in the case of a fall, a sports injury, or an accident, but this isn’t always the case. While the majority of TBIs are caused by the examples above, people can experience a traumatic brain injury due to whiplash. Though there isn’t any impact between an object and the victim’s head, the sudden jolt back and forth can cause the brain to move within the skull.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Traumatic Brain Injury?
One of the most immediate symptoms of a TBI is a loss of consciousness (i.e. “blacking out”) immediately after the injury. This loss of consciousness can be extremely brief, lasting only a few seconds, or can last for hours in more severe cases. Dizziness, headaches, nausea, and mental confusion can persist in the days after the TBI occurs. Traumatic brain injuries can be notoriously difficult to recognize because victims often chalk symptoms up to another cause. Headaches and dizziness can be ignored, and mood changes or confusion are often seen as “just having a bad day.” But in reality, these symptoms are serious and should never go untreated.
People who sustain traumatic brain injuries will often have changes in behavior as well, ranging from mild to extreme. Look out for disruptions in sleeping patterns, like sleeping much more than usual, or difficulty sleeping. Mood swings, trouble with speech, sensitivity to light and sound, and coordination or balance trouble are also common. In the case of a more serious TBI, victims may become unusually aggressive or combative, extremely confused, or may experience seizures or convulsions. Anxiety and depression are also common in those who suffer from a TBI, and can lead to distressing or worrying thoughts or feelings.
People who suffer from TBIs may also notice that they can no longer function in a work or school setting because they can’t concentrate on their work, or experience blurred vision, or other sensory challenges. TBI victims often most take time off from work or school to recover, which can result in lost income or other unforeseen problems.
What Are The Types Of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Here are some of the most common types of TBI:
- Concussions are often caused by a sudden, violent impact to the head, which causes the brain to strike the skull. These types of injuries are the most common type of TBI. Even mild concussions can result in post-concussion syndrome, which leads to persistent dizziness, confusion, anxiety or depression, memory loss, and an inability to concentrate. The brain may need a long time to recover from a concussion, and some people can have symptoms months or years after the initial injury.
- A contusion is an injury to the brain that causes bleeding in the brain or bruising of brain tissue. If swelling occurs due to a contusion, surgery is needed promptly to reduce the swelling of the brain. The symptoms that one experiences after a contusion are directly related to the part of the brain that gets damaged and how badly it gets injured.
- Diffuse axonal injuries are often seen without a direct impact to the head. Forces like acceleration can cause the brain to lag behind the movement of the skull, resulting in torn tissue. Sometimes during a car accident, the head gets shaken or twisted violently, which may lead to a diffuse axonal injury. Often, those who suffer from this type of injury are overlooked because they didn’t receive a direct impact or blow, but this type of injury is serious and can even be fatal.
- Penetrative damage occurs when a foreign object like a bullet or shrapnel enters the brain tissue through the skull. Depending on the force of penetration, these types of injury are often the most serious and can result in death.
How Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Treated?
The course of treatment for a TBI often depends on the type of TBI sustained. In some cases, surgery is needed to reduce brain swelling or remove a foreign object or blood clot. These conditions are life-threatening, and, if left untreated, will result in a coma, vegetative state, or death. More mild TBIs like a concussion must be treated on a case-by-case basis. Often, a doctor will recommend that the victim get an MRI or CT scan, though it’s not possible to see all TBIs using these methods.
Those who suffer from concussions are often prescribed plenty of rest and over the counter pain medications to treat any discomfort, however, symptoms can worsen in the days and weeks after the initial injury. Doctors recommend a gradual return to normal activities, which, for some, means a disruption in their work and everyday lives. And in the case of a more serious TBI, patients may lose some abilities and will need rehab therapy to regain them. Some people experience a loss of mobility or may forget how to do common activities.
Symptoms like anxiety, depression, or mood swings can be treated with prescription medication, and cognitive behavioral therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy may be needed for victims to regain any lost function. But in reality, the science of the brain is still being researched, and these treatment methods aren’t always effective.
Those who are victims of traumatic brain injuries may be unable to engage in activities they once could, and may need long-term therapy or care.
What Should You Do In The Case Of Traumatic Brain Injury?
If you suspect you or a loved one has experienced a TBI, the first thing to do is get medical treatment. A doctor can properly diagnose a TBI and determine what kind of long-term treatment plan you’ll need. If ignored or left untreated, sometimes brain injuries can get worse, so medical care should absolutely be your first step. Sometimes, victims of TBI recover quite quickly, but this isn’t always the case. In some instances, the victim may have long-lasting symptoms like dizziness, or head or neck pain, even after only a mild TBI.
It’s important to document what happened and how the brain injury was sustained. This can serve as evidence in a lawsuit. A traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you make sure you receive all the money you deserve. If you need long-term medical care or need to leave your job after a TBI, you should receive money to help pay for your care and living expenses.
Contact A Florida Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury, don’t wait to contact a lawyer. These types of injuries can be life-altering, and no one should have to suffer from an extreme financial burden on top of an injury. A lawyer who specializes in TBI will have the knowledge and experience necessary to work with physicians, insurance companies, and their defense lawyers, so you know you’ll be getting the best representation on your side.
Shiner Law Group understands the seriousness of a traumatic brain injury and is proud to bring years of expertise to your case. Our Florida law group can help fight for you so you can get the compensation you deserve and get back to living your life. Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our expert lawyers.