Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is often heard in discussions of car accident injuries, motorcycle accidents, and other types of injuries. Often, the terms used for these types of injuries include “concussions,” “head injuries,” and “head trauma.” These types of injuries can happen in accidents involving vehicles due to the speeds involved, as well as other attributes of vehicle crashes, including unpredictability and the force of impact.
The CDC has a page for traumatic brain injury which has a variety of statistics and discussion of this injury subject.
As seen on this page:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States. Each year, traumatic brain injuries contribute to a substantial number of deaths and cases of permanent disability. In 2010 2.5 million TBIs occured either as an isolated injury or along with other injuries.
As to how TBI occurs, the page provides the following explanation:
A TBI is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI. The severity of a TBI may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
Mayo Clinic also has a page for Traumatic brain injury in which it provides a similar explanation, as well as a number of other resources regarding TBI.
Whenever someone sustains a significant head impact, it is recommended that a thorough medical exam is performed to assess whether a TBI has occurred. Of note, many types of head injury symptoms – even those that are serious if not potentially life-threatening – can take (many) hours to become apparent to the person injured. Typically, a visit to the emergency room may include testing for bleeding on the brain and other potentially problematical health conditions.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page titled “Concussion Danger Signs,” in which “Danger Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion” is seen.
Preventing Concussions and Other Brain Injuries
As to how to prevent concussions and other brain injuries, various recommendations can be seen on the CDC “Concussion Prevention” page. As seen on this page, general recommendations as well as sport-specific preventative tips are provided. Of note, as seen in many statistics the wearing of certified, properly-fitted helmets is among the best preventative measures when participating in many activities, including bicycling and motorcycling. As seen in many statistics as well as descriptions of accident injuries, bicyclists and motorcyclists are especially at risk for head trauma injuries, for many reasons. One post that discusses the benefits of wearing a bicycle helmet is seen in the July 12, 2014 post titled “Bicycling Helmets And Their Importance Regarding Head Injuries.”
With regard to riding a motorcycle, the importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet as a means of avoiding possible head trauma during a motorcycle accident is discussed on the “Illinois Motorcyclist Safety And Helmet Use” page.
As far as driving a car or other vehicle, there are various steps that can be taken when one is traveling to reduce the chance of incurring a head injury. Preventative measures that can be taken include:
- wearing seat belts
- avoiding drunk driving
- avoiding distracted driving
- avoiding speeding, especially excessive speeding
Short- And Long-Term Impacts Of Head Injuries
How concussions impact short- and long-term health – including mental functions, emotions, memory, and other conditions – increasingly is a subject of discussion and debate. The CDC discusses the subject on its “Complications of Concussion” page. An excerpt:
Concussion may cause a wide range of short- or long-term complications, affecting thinking, sensation, language or emotions. These changes may lead to problems with memory, communication, personality changes, as well as depression and the early onset of dementia.
The page then discusses a wide range of potential complications of concussion, including post-concussion syndrome and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
In cases of severe head injuries, there is the possibility of incurring various permanent impairments and disabilities. Here is a description of disabilities, as seen on the NIH (National Institute of Health) NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) page titled “NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page“:
Approximately half of severely head-injured patients will need surgery to remove or repair hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue). Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition (thinking, memory, and reasoning), sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication (expression and understanding), and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness). More serious head injuries may result in stupor, an unresponsive state, but one in which an individual can be aroused briefly by a strong stimulus, such as sharp pain; coma, a state in which an individual is totally unconscious, unresponsive, unaware, and unarousable; vegetative state, in which an individual is unconscious and unaware of his or her surroundings, but continues to have a sleep-wake cycle and periods of alertness; and a persistent vegetative state (PVS), in which an individual stays in a vegetative state for more than a month.
Legal Steps To Take If You Have Had A Head Injury
If you are involved in an accident, there are many steps you should take to protect both your health and your legal rights, which includes your ability to potentially receive accident injury compensation.
As mentioned above, from a medical perspective, it is highly recommended that you get a thorough medical exam after any significant accident, especially one in which head trauma has occurred.
From a legal perspective, it is highly recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after an accident. There are many reasons for this. In short, the lawyer can provide you with steps that you should take, as well as what you should not do.
Due to the nature of head injuries and other serious accident injuries, it is important that those who have been injured seek appropriate compensation for these injuries, as the many direct and indirect costs of such injuries can be both very substantial as well as ongoing. Generally speaking, there are various forms of accident injury compensation. These forms include, but are not limited to, compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical and vocational rehabilitation costs
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for permanent impairments (loss of function)
- Out-of-pocket costs
Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of the Elman Law Group based in Chicago, offers a free legal consultation to those that have been injured in an accident (or for individuals who represent those who have died as a result of an accident.) Tony can tell you the actions that you should be taking in order to maximize your potential accident injury compensation, as well as provide you with an idea as to what levels of compensation may be reasonably expected for your accident injuries (i.e. “how much your case may be worth.”)
Tony Elman can be contacted directly at (773) 392-8182. Elman Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois personal injury cases over the last 25+ years. We have established a reputation for notable successes in both court verdicts and settlements for our clients.