What is traumatic brain injury (TBI?)
A traumatic brain injury is caused by physical force to the skull, perhaps as the result of impact during a motor accident, fall or attack. Brain injuries may also be the result of a lack of oxygen to the brain due to certain medical conditions or negligence during a medical procedure; these are known as non-traumatic or acquired brain injuries.
A “mild” TBI is characterized by temporary loss of consciousness, change of mental state, or variations in mood or behavior. “Severe” TBIs can lead to longer periods of unconsciousness, mental health issues, and death.
What causes TBI?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Center for Injury Prevention and Control list the leading causes of TBI as:
- Falls (28%)
- Motor vehicle-traffic accidents (20%)
- Struck by/against events (19%)
- Assaults (11%)
Is a traumatic brain injury always dangerous?
Any kind of impact to the brain is potentially dangerous, although it is usually impossible to predict how much damage has been caused at the time of an accident. TBI cases can become apparent only after a considerable length of time after the initial accident, due to the fact that changes in neurological function can be subtle. It is difficult to assess how a TBI victim will react over a period of time; some make a quick recovery, and others are left facing far more serious consequences.
How can I tell if I have TBI?
Because the brain is such a complex organ, the signs and symptoms of a brain injury may not be noticed until days or weeks after the injury. Traumatic brain injury patients may appear normal to the eye, but exhibit changes in behavior or mental status that range from subtle to extreme. The symptoms of a traumatic brain injury can vary dramatically. Seek medical advice if you experience these warning signs:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe headache
- Inability to move after suffering a blow to the head
What are the possible long-term effects and costs of TBI?
TBI may be responsible for a wide range of changes in the individual’s physical and mental health including:
- Complete or partial paralysis
- Sensory loss or impairment
- Loss of sexual function
- Memory problems
- Learning difficulties
TBI can affect any of the brain’s activities and functions over the long term, including language, movement, thinking, and emotions. These effects may get better or worse over time. Patients may even need long-term assistance to perform daily tasks.
Long-term medical care and daily assistance are very expensive, especially when the TBI patient is unable to work due to his or her injury. Nationally, TBI-related costs add up to tens of billions of dollars. Therefore, you may need a lawyer with knowledge of brain injury cases to help you get compensation now for these long-term costs.
It is not just the TBI patient who suffers in cases where long-term medical care is needed. The financial pressures on family members from supporting a long-term TBI patient can be devastating. Moreover, the psychological and behavioral changes associated with brain injuries may put stress on even the healthiest family relationships.
What is the impact on the family of a traumatic brain injury victim?
Families struggle to cope with the changes in their loved one’s condition. They may have to learn how to care for specific physical disabilities, and the psychological consequences of traumatic brain injury can strain the most loving relationships. In addition to this, medical bills and loss of earnings can result in undue financial pressures.
Where can I get legal advice on traumatic brain injury?
Contact a qualified brain injury attorney at the Virginia law firm of Kalfus & Nachman for a free review of your case. Our lawyers have represented TBI victims in Norfolk, Hampton, Newport News, Portsmouth, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, and other communities. Our convenient office locations can be reached online or by phone at (800) 361-0430.