The brain is one of the largest, and most complex organs in the human body. It not only controls processes like thinking, and movement, but also body functions such as digestion and breathing. When the brain's nerve fibers are torn and bleeding in and around the brain, this damage to brain tissue is known as traumatic brain injury or TBI. Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are one of the single most debilitating injuries a human being can experience. Their effects can last a lifetime and are all too often accompanied by permanent lifestyle changes and soaring medical expenses. A traumatic brain injury is unlike any other injury in that the lasting effects of a TBI can affect every aspect of a TBI victim’s daily life. In virtually every case of severe traumatic brain injury, there is a risk of the patient developing post-traumatic epilepsy. In fact, the risk of developing epilepsy following a penetrating head wound has been reported to be greater than 58%. Post-traumatic epilepsy includes seizures developing after TBI that cannot be attributed to anything other than the traumatic brain injury. In general, where there is a focal lesion, there is an increased risk of post-traumatic epilepsy.
Traumatic brain injuries often go undiagnosed, misdiagnosed, untreated, and/or unreported. A traumatic brain injury (also called an intracranial injury) is a wound to the brain which impairs the brain’s ability to function properly and detracts from normal operation. In a traumatic brain injury, a mechanism known as coup-countercoup often takes place. This entails the bruising of the brain and damage to its internal tissue and blood vessels. The bruise created by the trauma is called a coup lesion (pronounced COO). The brain then may jolt backwards striking the skull on the opposite side causing another bruise known as a counter coup lesion.
A person who suffers a head injury and subsequent brain damage may lose some, or even all, of what is arguably the most important of a persons possessions: the mind. The brain controls not only a person’s ability to think and reason, but also the ability to control the body. Losing even a portion of one of these capabilities to brain damage caused by a head injury can be significant, if not devastating for the sufferer and for his or her family.
Accidents involving head trauma are most commonly caused by falls, followed by automobile accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, injuries from sports like skiing, rugby or diving and other physical activities. Rail accidents, defective products, prescription medication and medical malpractice can also result in potentially catastrophic brain injuries. Penetrating or impact injuries from violence or assault with weapons are generally extremely serious if not fatal. Severe head injuries may be prevented or minimized through the use of helmets wherever reasonable like while riding a motorcycle, bicycle, skateboard or snowboard. Sudden acceleration or deceleration, such as in a whiplash-type injury during an automobile accident or a fall can also cause a TBI. As the skull (along with the rest of the body) abruptly speeds up or slows down, the brain can actually strike the inside wall of the skull, resulting in a TBI.
TBI are usually ranked from mild to severe. Mild TBI are marked by a brief change in mental state; severe TBI often result in prolonged unconsciousness and amnesia. Symptoms can be present immediately, or may not show up for hours, days, weeks, or even months. Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may vary greatly, depending on the area of the brain that was injured and the cause of the brain injury consciousness. Post-Concussion Syndrome is a set of symptoms which accompany mild traumatic brain injury. This set of symptoms include anxiety, dizziness, fatigue, headaches, irritability, insomnia, loss of consciousness and memory, and noise sensitivity occurring alone or in combination, psychological and somatic complaints, cognitive impairment, confusion, difficulty concentrating and thinking, dizziness, lightheadedness, vision problems, ringing in the ears, difficulty concentrating, cognitive deficits, concussions, behavioral changes, cranial nerve signs and symptoms and in rare cases dystonia, hematomas, seizures and tremors. Post-Concussion Syndrome may be due to acute cerebral dysfunction or due to psychological response to head trauma. Most of the symptoms generally resolve within six months in most cases, but some persist for years.
Moderate to severe TBI may have more drastic symptoms, such as seizures, slurred speech, numbness or loss of control of extremities, intense headaches and nausea, dilated pupils, loss of coordination, extreme agitation, mood swings, anosmia (loss of smell), bad taste in mouth, depression, anxiety and confusion. If you or someone you love has suffered a head trauma, even one you believed to be minor, and is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
In order to properly rehabilitate you or your loved ones traumatic brain injury, it is critical to locate highly-experienced medical doctors, specialists and a wide variety of rehabilitation therapists as soon as possible following a TBI. Many permanent disabilities caused by this type of injury can be prevented if medical professionals more thoroughly examine the possibility that a traumatic brain injury may present as a result of a simple head injury. Because of the nature of the injury, if you or a loved one has experienced a TBI you should contact a Sacramento traumatic brain injury lawyer immediately. A Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorney can assist people injured and recover financial damages from all liable parties involved for the victim.
National data on TBI causes reveals 35.2% are caused by falls (the leading contributor) across all age groups 17.3% are caused by motor vehicle accidents 16.5% are caused by being struck by or against another object. While only one-half of one percent of people in the US sustain a TBI annually, this number amounts to nearly 1.7 million injuries. Head injuries caused 30% of all injury related deaths in the United States, affecting 50,000 people annually. 5% of head injuries, even mild ones, lead to death, permanent disability or emotional problems. Adults over the age of 75 are the highest risk population for a fatal head injury. Teenagers ages 15 to 19 have the highest risk of head injuries resulting from sports or car accidents. Head injuries cost at least $60 billion a year in medical costs and lost earnings. Nationwide, 52,000 people die each year due to TBI. TBI result in over 1.3 million emergency room visits with 275,000 hospitalizations each year. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that 85% of brain injury patients do not receive any treatment or counseling concerning the long term difficulties caused by brain injury. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that at least 5.3 million Americans with traumatic brain injuries are currently in need of life-long help with their daily needs and activities. Approximately 75% of the traumatic brain injuries that occur each year are concussions or other forms of mild traumatic brain injury.
Primary brain injuries can be divided into two types of lesions: focal and diffuse. Focal lesion is typically associated with blows to the head that produce cerebral contusions and hematomas. Focal injuries can be life threatening. Diffuse axonal injury is caused by inertia forces commonly produced by motor vehicle accidents. These types of injuries can coexist. The common types of primary head injuries include: (i) skull fractures, (ii) epidural hematomas; (iii) subdural hematomas; (iv) intracerebral hematomas; (v) diffuse axonal injury. Although a primary brain injury is the result of direct mechanical damage that occurs at the time of trauma, secondary brain injury occurs after the initial trauma and is defined as the damage to the neurons due to the systemic responses to the initial injury. The severity of a head injury is classified by the Glasgow Coma Scale. On that scale, a score of 13-15 is classified as a mild injury, a score of 9-12 as moderate and a score of less than or equal to 8 is considered severe. Patients who have a Glasgow score less than or equal to 8 should be intubated early. Generally, it is recommended that patients with a Glasgow score of 15 and a history of loss of consciousness be scanned. Once the patient is stabilized, a neurosurgical consultation is required. A CT scan has become the diagnostic procedure of choice in evaluating acute head trauma.
If the victim of a traumatic brain injury is unable to regain consciousness, doctors will classify abnormal states of consciousness in six categories: stupor, coma, persistent vegetative state, minimally conscious state, locked-in syndrome, and brain death (irreversible). Where the posttraumatic amnesia lasts between 1 hour and 24 hours, the injury rating is generally listed as being moderate. Length of unconsciousness greater than 20 minutes, though no longer than six hours indicates a moderate traumatic brain injury. Length of unconsciousness less than 20 minutes, would therefore indicate a mild traumatic brain injury, while greater than six hours of coma duration would generally indicate a severe traumatic brain injury. The severity of a traumatic brain injury is measured by looking at the amount of time it takes (if any) for the accident or battery victim to recover continuous memory. A brain injured victim who is slightly confused for less than five minutes following a head injury will be considered to have a very mild traumatic brain injury, while the brain-injured victim who has amnesia for more than four weeks has an extremely severe traumatic brain injury.
Brain injuries can be categorized as head injuries which can cause brain injuries are either closed head injuries or open head injuries. Closed head injuries occur when a trauma to the skull results in the brain coming into contact with the inside of the cranium. Such contact can result in bruising, swelling, and internal bleeding within the skull. Closed head injuries are those in which the skull is not broken, although the brain may still be injured or damaged. Closed head injuries can be fatal if severe or result in an intra-cranial hemorrhage placing pressure on the brain.
An open head injury occurs when the skull is fractured or pierced in any way, and foreign material or bone matter contacts the brain directly. Open head injuries can pose a significant risk to the victim, as there may be blood loss and the potential for bacterial infection. Open head injuries are those in which the skull is damaged, cracked or penetrated. Some form of injury to the brain is likely to be present with any open head injury, and penetration injuries will frequently result in brain damage or death.
At the Crow Law Offices, we not only understand the complexity a traumatic brain injury presents, but we will ensure that the financially responsible parties understand the injury and damages to make sure the victims receive proper compensation. It is important to contact our traumatic brain injury attorneys at once so we may begin laying the foundation for the eventual settlement of your TBI case, which will provide the substantial financial resources that a brain injured individual, family member or loved one will require over his or her lifetime. The management of the brain injury case requires a multidisciplinary approach between our brain injury lawyers, you or your family members treating physicians and specialists, social workers and case managers that will be crucial in determining the insurance company's willingness to pay the proper compensation which a Sacramento traumatic brain injury victim is entitled to under the law.
Although certain physical and mental impairments may be diagnosed immediately after the accident or impact causing the TBI, the full extent of physical and/or mental damage resulting from a TBI can take months or even years to appear and much longer to properly rehabilitate. As a result, do not settle your TBI injury claim with an insurance company or other party prior to speaking with our Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorneys regarding your legal rights associated with this complex and very expensive injury. Because insurance companies all have significant experience with the costs related to a traumatic brain injury, insurance companies will routinely attempt to settle TBI cases quickly and oftentimes before complete and accurate diagnosis is made by a victims physician or medical team. Therefore, it is very important to consult our Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorneys who understand TBI's, as well as the significant medical expenses associated with a TBI victims long term medical care and recovery.
It may be possible to file a claim on behalf of a loved one if he or she was catastrophically injured and is no longer able to care for themselves. You may be eligible to file for financial compensation to cover a lifetime of medical costs and living expenses as well as for loss of future wages and pain and suffering. The defendant's insurance company and their attorney's will spend whatever and do whatever it takes to prevent you from obtaining compensation. The defendant would rather spend money on their lawyers than spend money to prevent accidents and to ensure the safety and security of you and your family. Contact an experienced and skilled Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorney who will hire investigators, preserve evidence, consult experts, and communicate with witnesses, to help protect the victim’s rights. An experienced attorney can help determine the types of damages a victim of a closed-head injury or other brain injury may be entitled to receive.
Brain injury cases are especially challenging and expensive. To increase the chances of a successful result, selecting a Sacramento brain injury attorney with exceptional experience and resources is essential. Evidence needs to be secured or preserved promptly and the underlying facts may need to be investigated without delay. Acting promptly to secure an effective lawyer’s services after a head injury is important to help protect your rights.
Your lawyer will arrange for the testimony of experts, some of whom may already be treating the head injury. Examples of the medical related experts your Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorney might consult include:
The extent of temporary or permanent brain injury damage will depend on a number of factors, including the force that caused the traumatic brain injury, the location of the blow or penetration, the age and sex of the victim and the victims overall health prior to the accident. Regardless of the perceived extent of the injury it is vital to seek prompt medical attention after a head injury, with a neurologist if possible. Doing so may lessen the likelihood of permanent brain damage and give the best chance for rehabilitation.
The standard of care of any hospital emergency room when you show up at the emergency room with a head trauma is to perform a CT scan. MRIs also can be ordered. Neither of these two tests is especially sensitive or good at detecting any mild and most moderate brain injury. Doctors and researchers are experimenting with different types of MRIs in order to detect mild or moderate traumatic brain injury. Diffuse Tensor Imaging is one type of MRI for this. Diffusion Tensor Imaging, compared to other types of imaging techniques like CT, MRI, EEG, may be an effective tool for the early detection of microstructural changes in the nerves, and in predicting the prognosis of patients during the recovery after traumatic brain injury.
Neuro-imaging, including CT scan, MRI (functional as well as T-3 and other strength ratings, gradient echo and other software applications), SPECT scan and PET scans are often used as diagnostic tools for the purpose of rating moderate traumatic brain injury.
A common traumatic brain injury severity measurement tool is a scoring system known as the Glasgow Coma Scale. To use this scale, the traumatic brain injury victim is observed and subjected to various stimuli to see what their eye-opening, verbal and motor responses are.
Some with severe head injuries will need surgery to remove or prepare hematomas (ruptured blood vessels) or contusions (bruised brain tissue). About 50% of people with a severe brain injury will need to undergo surgery to remove bruised brain tissue (contusions) or to repair ruptured blood vessels. A wide variety of rehabilitative care is often used over the course of the patient's life in order to attempt to improve motor function. Some of the necessary life-saving surgeries include craniectomy, which involves decompression and evacuation, carries the risk of seizure. However, the risk of seizure following such life-saving procedure is outweighed by the benefit of the procedure itself.
The following are some of the categories of damages that a brain injury victim may obtain:
If you or a loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury, you are in need of immediate assistance. A Sacramento traumatic brain injury attorney from the Crow Law Offices have the experience, knowledge and resources necessary to assist people injured recover financial damages from all liable parties.