Brain Injuries Devastate Injury Victims and Their Families
According to the Missouri Brain Injury Advisory Council (MHIAC), more than 14,000 people in Missouri seek treatment for traumatic brain injuries each year. Traumatic brain injuries, also known as TBI, claims more 1,300 lives a year in Missouri.
Often caused by a blow or jolt to the head, a traumatic brain injury disrupts brain function and may temporarily or permanently affect the victim’s thought processes, memory, speech, hearing, physical activity, learning ability and emotions. Depending on the severity, a head injury may be one of the most serious a person can sustain. The consequences for the victim and his or her family may be both devastating and permanent.
If you or a loved one has sustained traumatic brain injury as a result of the carelessness, recklessness or intentional act of another, contact St. Louis TBI lawyer Christopher Dixon to schedule an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Tramautic Brain Injury Causes
Many different types of accidents or incidents can lead to traumatic brain injury. Some of the most common causes are:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Sports-related incidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Assaults and other violent acts
- Explosions and blast exposures
Traumatic Brain Injury Classifications
Traumatic brain injury is typically classified as mild, moderate or severe. Physicians use assessment tools such as the Glasgow Coma Scale and Ranchos Los Amigos Scale to measure the severity of the injury.
Mild traumatic brain injury: A mild TBI may be diagnosed if a victim remains conscious or loses consciousness briefly after a blow or jolt to the brain. The victim may also experience dizziness, headache, confusion, lightheadedness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, lethargy, irritability, mood changes or fatigue.
Moderate traumatic brain injury: Symptoms of a moderate TBI are similar to those of a mild traumatic brain injury but are more intense and longer lasting. These symptoms include loss of consciousness lasting 20 minutes to six hours.
Severe traumatic brain injury: When an individual suffers a severe TBI, he or she is unconscious for more than six hours, and immediate lifesaving measures are required.
Traumatic Brain Injury Care
Depending on the severity of traumatic brain injury, medical care needs may be extensive. If there has been bleeding in the brain or the brain has been damaged, a neurosurgeon may need to remove the blood or damaged tissue. If the brain swells, a portion of the skull may need to be removed to make room for the expanding tissue, or a device may have to be implanted in the skull to monitor pressure in the brain cavity.
A TBI victim may also require rehabilitation and therapy. A severe traumatic brain injury can leave a person unable to walk, talk or care for him- or herself. A severe TBI may also leave a person in chronic pain or with impaired thinking or sexual function.
Family members of TBI victims may also need support and care to cope with a variety of emotions, including grief, depression, fatigue, frustration and anger.
The medical and life care costs associated with TBI can be overwhelming. If an injury was caused by the negligence or intentional act of another, you may be able to demand compensation for your losses. Missouri traumatic brain injury attorney Chris Dixon can help you understand your legal rights. For more information, call 314-409-7060 or 855-402-7274 (toll free), or fill out our online contact form.
Traumatic Brain Injury (Intracranial Injury)
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) or intracranial injury is internal damage to the head region which is generally caused by a sudden external force or impact. Almost 50% of traumatic brain injuries are caused by motor vehicle accidents. This damage can either be focal or diffused, depending on the impact and its intensity. The injury can also be categorized as either a closed head injury or a penetrating head injury, depending on whether there is the presence of an open wound.2
How Brain Injuries Happen
Pedestrians and people under the age of 75 riding on 2-wheeled vehicles are among the most common classes of people who tend to suffer a traumatic brain injury. Almost half of intracranial injuries are caused by vehicular accidents are associated with alcohol intake. It is also associated with persons not wearing a proper helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle. Mechanisms of TBI are described as follows:
- Concussion. It is the most common and minor TBI. It pertains to any minor injury or inflammation to the head or brain due to the vehicular accident.
- Depressed skull fracture. Being the skull is the first major defense of the brain from external environment, it is also prone to injury. Any crack or breaks on the skull can lead to serious brain damage or infection.
- Contusion. It is a specific area of the brain where there are damaged brain tissues and ruptured blood vessels. It happens when a part of the brain is damaged due to a skull fracture or directly from the sudden impact from the accident.
- Hematoma. When a major blood vessel is affected or damaged due to an impact, it can lead to bleeding into or around the brain tissue. It can either be epidural (between skull and dura), subdural (between dura and arachnoid membrane), or intracerebral (within the brain) hematoma depending on what specific brain layer is involved.
- Anoxia/Hypoxia. On the other hand, absence or decreased blood supply to the brain due to disrupted blood vessels. It can mostly be observed in persons with open wounds or significant blood loss. Brain anoxia can lead to death in just a few minutes.
According to the World Health Organization (2002), traumatic brain injury is the leading non-fatal injury caused by vehicular accidents worldwide, affecting 85.3 in every 10,000 population and almost 25% of all vehicular injuries.3
Symptoms of Traumatic Brian Injuries
Symptoms can either be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the affected brain mass.
Aside from evident concussion, open wounds or hematoma, there are also other symptoms that can be observed. These symptoms are relevant most especially when the brain damage is gradually worsening silently. Major symptoms include:1
- disorientation with unwillingness to be examined or moved, expletive talking, and irritability if disturbed silent, disinterested, sluggish mental state (abulia) with blank facial expression alternating with irascibility
- a reduced ability of the general senses or mild generalized weakness on one side of the body
- confusion and inattention, poor performance on simple mental tasks, and fluctuating or slightly flawed orientation
- repetitive vomiting, frequent involuntary eye movements, drowsiness, and inability to balance
- diabetes insipidus or excessive thirst and excreting severely dilute urine even when the person doesn’t drink many fluids
TBI’s of this degree are often complicated or worsened by drug or liquor intake, and clinically inapparent spine injury may also be present. 2
Results in the neurological examination can determine what part of the brain with TBI is affected. Confirmation of traumatic brain injury can be done using imaging tests such as X-ray, CT scan and MRI.1
Treating Injuries to the Brain
Treatment and management of the diverse symptoms of TBI requires the identification and treatment of persistent headache, depression, insomnia, irritability, and lightheadedness. Medical consult and prescribed medications must be done immediately to prevent further harm.
A clear rationalization of the problems that may follow the injury showed a reduction of subsequent complaints. Care and a support systems are advised to avoid prolonged use of drugs that produce dependence. Persons after minor or moderate TBI report difficulty with memory or with performing complex cognitive tasks at school or work may also need reassurance that these problems usually improve over 6–12 months.
Serial and quantified neuropsychological testing can also be done in order to adjust the environment to the patient’s current abilities and to document improvement over time. Cognitive or mental exercises are also proven useful to some extent. Previously physically active individuals usually have a better recovery.
Brain Injury Prevention
When driving, traffic regulations must be obeyed at all times.4 Wearing a seatbelt when riding in car or wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle or motorcycle can reduce possibility of acquiring TBI. Using a child safety seat or booster seat for children can also reduce the risk.
Hiring a Brain Injury Lawyer
Injury victims and their families suffering from a traumatic brain injury face great difficulty. Medical bills are often large and reach well into the future. Victim’s of brain injuries caused by the negligence of another have the constitutional right to present their case in front of a community jury.
Under Missouri law, the negligent individual must reimburse the injured party for the harms and losses they caused. Missouri traumatic brain injury lawyers will fight for full reimbursement of all harms and losses. Call brain injury lawyer Christopher R. Dixon today to discuss your case for FREE, at (314) 409-7060 or toll-free at (855) 402-7274.