What Is a “Traumatic” Brain Injury?

traumatic brain injury cases

A traumatic brain injury is among the most dangerous injuries a person can suffer. The brain controls the basic functions of life, like breathing. A serious brain injury can impair your ability to simply breathe and keep your heart beating. Even if these basic functions are preserved, you might suffer from cognitive deficits or physical limitations, which in turn can prevent you from working and completing other daily functions.

Even relatively minor brain injuries can lead to memory loss, slow cognitive functioning, irritability, and other personality changes. These losses can be devastating. They can also be costly, as many brain injury victims require ongoing care and medical treatment for the rest of their lives. The experienced injury lawyers at Arash Law know how to handle traumatic brain injury cases.

We work with a wide range of experts to prove exactly how you were injured, how your life has been changed by your injuries, and what the value of your losses is (including future losses that must be estimated).

We deal with complex technical, medical, and legal issues to ensure that our clients get all the compensation they are owed. For years, California injury victims have trusted our skilled team to protect their legal rights after an accident. Our traumatic brain injury lawyers are here to help you deal with the difficult aftermath of a devastating injury. Learn more about the different types of TBIs, medical treatment for them, the long-term effects of a TBI, who is most likely to suffer a TBI, and the true cost of traumatic brain injuries.

Types of TBIs

Traumatic brain injuries are actually a broad category. It covers many different types of injuries that can occur in the brain and its surrounding structures. What follows are some of the most common types of injuries that result in a diagnosis of TBI.

Skull Fracture

Skull fractures are far more dangerous than other types of broken bones. The skull is vital protection for the delicate brain, so when the skull is fractured, the brain is more vulnerable to injury. Skull fractures are treated with extreme caution. Here are some of the different types of skull fractures a person can suffer:

  • Linear skull fracture – The most simple type of fracture, this resembles a line or a crack. When there are no other complications, a linear skull fracture can be left to heal on its own without surgical intervention. Even when surgery is not required, your doctors will monitor a linear skull fracture very carefully to ensure that it is healing properly without endangering your brain.
  • Depressed skull fracture – This type of fracture causes the cranial bones to be crushed inward toward the brain. Often, surgery is required to elevate the fractured pieces and relieve pressure on the brain. Enhanced precautions are usually necessary to protect the brain (both from the depressed skull fracture and any further injuries).
  • Basilar skull fracture – When the skull is fractured toward the base of the brain, there is a risk that cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could leak, which in turn is likely to cause meningitis. CSF leaks occur in about one out of every five basilar skull fracture cases. Basilar skull fractures are often accompanied by fractures in other facial or cranial bones.
Bleeding on the Brain

bleeding on the brain

Trauma to the brain can cause bleeding, a potentially fatal complication. When bleeding occurs within the brain, it can result in a pool of blood (hematoma) or a bruise (contusion) in vital brain structures. It can also result in massive bleeding (hemorrhage). There are many layers between the skull and the brain itself. Bleeding can occur in any of these layers, and it produces different symptoms and medical complications when it does. Bleeding can also occur within the brain tissue itself.

If a blood vessel ruptures within the brain, you could be left with a bruise. The medical term for a bruise is a contusion. Contusions on the arm or leg might be minor, but when contusions occur in the brain, your body can be affected much more seriously. Contusions are the result of minor blood leaks. If the rupture is more serious, you could develop a hemorrhage.

Bleeding into the ventricles of the brain (intraventricular hemorrhage) is an extremely dangerous condition. Both the loss of blood and the damage to the brain can become life-threatening conditions very quickly. Even treatments for this condition can be dangerous. It is absolutely critical to get immediate medical attention from experienced neurological specialists for any bleeding in the brain.

Secondary Injuries

Many frustrated TBI victims learn that the initial brain injury is not the only injury they will suffer. Because the brain controls so many other vital body functions, injuries to the brain can result in changes to the body’s functioning. These metabolic and physiological changes can last for days, weeks, or even months. Some permanent brain injuries may also cause permanent secondary injuries, such as:

  • Low blood oxygenation (hypoxia)
  • High or low blood pressure (hypertension and hypotension)
  • Poor blood flow to specific parts of the body (ischemia)
  • Swelling in the brain (cerebral edema), which in turn causes high pressure within the skull

One of the most common secondary fatal injuries a TBI victim can suffer is called Second Impact Syndrome (SIS). An SIS occurs when a person has sustained a concussion, then suffers a second concussion before the brain can fully heal from the first one. This quick succession of head trauma can cause rapid swelling in the brain that is often fatal.

The few victims who survive Second Impact Syndrome are left with severe disabilities. Second Impact Syndrome is just one of the many reasons why it is so important to seek medical help any time you suffer trauma to your head. Even a seemingly minor concussion can lead to potentially fatal complications.

Treatment for TBIs

The sooner you receive treatment for your traumatic brain injury, the better your prognosis is likely to be. Treatment of TBIs should start early and can last a long time. What follows are the common stages of TBI treatment.

  • Emergency Medical Care – As soon as you suspect that you might have a brain injury, it is important to get medical attention right away. Call an ambulance if you need one. In the case of serious accidents, first responders might even recommend air evacuation in order to get you to the right treatment center as soon as possible. Get whatever emergency medical care you need. Do not wait to see a doctor, as this could make your condition much worse. Get the care you need now.

    Later, your attorney will worry about sorting out payment for these services between your own health insurance carrier, the defendant’s insurance company, and Medicare or Medicaid (if you are subscribed). Payment should be the last thing you worry about when deciding to get emergency medical care.

  • Hospitalization or Surgery – Serious brain injuries will often require some type of surgery or even a series of surgeries. Surgeons might repair damage, relieve pressure on your brain due to swelling, or perform other life-saving procedures. Neurosurgeons might be required for complex or technical procedures.

    Again, do not worry about the expense of these procedures (which is significant). Delaying treatment will only make your condition worse, and it could impair your legal rights, as well. Follow all your doctors’ recommendations for any necessary medical treatment.

  • Rehabilitation – With some brain injuries, you are able to be discharged home from the hospital. Rehabilitation of these injuries might consist of outpatient visits with an occupational or speech therapist. But there are many serious brain injuries that prevent a person from being safe in their own home. In these more serious cases, a patient might be discharged to a rehabilitation facility instead. Some of these acute and subacute rehabilitation programs are designed to treat symptoms and relearn skills quickly so that you can get home as soon as possible.

    More serious injuries might require a transitional program that takes more time to rebuild old skills. Behavior management programs can also help deal with the symptoms of a TBI in order to help facilitate better daily functioning. In the most serious cases, a brain injury victim might not ever be able to live on their own.

    They might have to live in a long-term rehabilitation facility or participate in a day program while their loved ones are at work. Some independent living programs work to develop the skills that allow brain injury victims to live safely on their own, but this option is not always available in serious brain injury cases.

  • Ongoing Medical Management – Whether you are in a residential rehabilitation program, receive care in your own home, or are able to live without assistance, you will still need ongoing medical management of your brain injury, which may include:

    • Follow-up visits with your primary care doctor and primary neurologist
    • Visits to any recommended specialists (neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, etc.)
    • Ongoing neurological rehabilitation
    • Medication, imaging, etc.
    • Coordination of care between your neurological providers

You might also require mental healthcare related to personality changes, depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All of these costs are part of the medical bills caused by the defendant, and they are all subject to compensation in a personal injury lawsuit.

the long term effects of a tbi

The Long Term Effects of a TBI

Damage to the brain can cause many different long-term effects in the body. A negligent defendant who causes your TBI must pay not only for your immediate medical treatment but also the costs associated with other long-term medical conditions. Some of these conditions can never be fully healed. In this case, you are entitled to compensation for the pain and suffering of living with these conditions for the rest of your life. These changes can include:

  • – Sensory changes to your vision, smell, or taste, including new sensitivities
  • – Cognitive changes, such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and slow mental processing
  • – Increased tiredness or low energy and motivation
  • – Sleep changes or difficulties

TBIs can also cause very serious changes in mood, personality, and behavior. These changes might start with minor increases in irritability or increased frustration. But over time, a person can suffer from chronic depression and anxiety or other serious mood disorders. A person can also develop mental health conditions as a result of the accident itself (as opposed to the brain injury).

Many accident victims, for example, experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They may have constant thoughts and memories of the accident or vivid flashbacks and nightmares. Victims of car accidents often find themselves unable to get back on the road, and other accident victims may have trouble visiting the scene of the accident. These are very real conditions with very real costs. You are entitled to compensation for the cognitive symptoms, personality changes, and mental health disorders that develop as a result of a TBI.

TBIs in Children

Children are especially vulnerable to the effects of traumatic brain injuries. If the brain is injured while it is still young and developing, it may never be able to form properly, meaning that a child could go through life with permanent mental disorders, physical disabilities, or other devastating conditions as a result of a TBI. Child victims of brain injury are entitled to compensation for all the losses they will suffer over their entire lifetime as the result of early brain damage.

Who Is Likely to Suffer a TBI

TBIs can happen in many different ways. While anyone could be involved in a car crash or household accident, there are some people who are more likely than others to suffer traumatic brain injuries. What follows are some of the most common TBI cases our brain injury lawyers see in our legal practice.

  • Members of the Armed Forces – TBIs are a common outcome of military service. Many members of our armed forces have suffered TBIs while in combat, and sadly, many have not received the comprehensive treatment they need to recuperate from their injuries. In spite of the terrible prevalence of TBIs among military members, researchers have been able to study TBIs and achieve many important treatment breakthroughs from the data collected through the VA.

    Some of the most effective TBI treatments have been developed as a result of generous military members who were willing to participate in brain injury studies. These veterans deserve the best possible medical treatment, as well as compensation for the lifelong effects they will suffer. Arash Law is proud to work with veteran clients in order to protect their legal rights.

  • Football Players – TBIs among football players have become a common news item in recent years. Researchers have long known that the repeated injuries likely to be sustained on a football field are highly correlated with TBIs. These football TBIs cause long-term, devastating brain damage. Even young players who only play in high school can develop permanent injuries from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

    Researchers have found higher rates of CTE among college and professional football players, but even young players who only play for a few years can suffer from this devastating condition. Luckily, there is a lot of attention being called to the problem of brain injuries amongst football players. Professional football players are speaking out, and increased media coverage has also started real discussions about the change needed in sports organizations.

    Even youth football leagues are implementing new safety equipment and rule changes that are designed to reduce the risk of TBI while playing football. These are important changes, but until there is universal change within football programs, brain injuries will continue to be common. Football players at any level should consult with an experienced TBI lawyer about their legal rights after sustaining a head injury.

  • Anyone Who Plays a Contact Sport – Football is not, of course, the only sport that can lead to TBIs. Other contact sports can be equally dangerous. Soccer, basketball, boxing, and hockey also have high rates of TBI and CTE among players. Many high-profile athletes have suffered the devastating effects of repeated brain traumas. Mohammad Ali famously developed symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease that his doctors believed to be related to the brutal blows to the head he repeatedly took over the course of his boxing career. Ali was just one of thousands of athletes across the country who have suffered the effects of chronic brain damage.

  • People Who Work in Dangerous Professions – Some jobs are simply more dangerous than others. When your profession has a higher rate of injury and death than other jobs, you are more likely to suffer TBIs while on the job. Those who are injured while on the job have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim. They may also have other legal claims: for example, against the manufacturer of defective safety gear or heavy machinery.

    It is important to consult with a TBI lawyer about all your potential legal claims after suffering any type of brain injury while on the job. If you only file for workers’ compensation, you could miss out on compensation to which you are legally entitled. So what are these dangerous jobs? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the American occupations with the most injuries and fatalities in 2019 were:

    • Fishing and hunting workers
    • Logging workers
    • Aircraft pilots and flight engineers
    • Roofers
    • Individuals involved in construction trades
    • Refuse and recyclable material collectors
    • Driver/sales workers and truck drivers
    • Structural iron and steelworkers
    • Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers
    • Grounds maintenance workers

Be sure to consult with a TBI lawyer after any injury that occurs on the job. After any workplace accident, you need an injury lawyer who is on your side to protect your right to file all potential legal claims.

Wrongful Death Claims and TBIs

Sadly, there are too many TBI cases that are fatal. Surviving family members and legal heirs have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the person (or company) whose negligence caused the fatal TBI. It is important to exercise this right. When survivors demand accountability for fatal accidents, companies are forced to implement safer practices, making the roads, workplaces, and athletic fields of California safer for everyone.

Some TBIs are serious enough to cause the victim to die right away. In other cases, the TBI might leave the victim in a coma for months or even years before they pass away. Survivors still have a wrongful death claim under these circumstances, so it is important to consult with a TBI lawyer about your legal rights. The victim has a personal injury claim while they live.

If they eventually pass away as a result of the TBI, the surviving family members can maintain a wrongful death claim. The timing of these legal claims can be complicated during a prolonged coma or vegetative state. There are also different areas of compensation available in each claim. Protect your loved ones’ legal rights by consulting with a TBI attorney as soon as possible.

People Who Work in Dangerous Professions

The best traumatic brain injury law firm in California is Arash Law. Our brain injury attorneys have decades of experience, and we have collected over 500 million dollars for clients all across the Golden State. Our California injury lawyers serve clients in San Francisco, Riverside, Sacramento, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, Sherman Oaks, and throughout the state. You don’t have to spend hours online searching for a “TBI lawyer near me.” Call (888) 488-1391 to schedule your free consultation. The sooner you hire an attorney who knows TBI cases, the better protected your legal rights will be.

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DISCLAIMER: Information provided on this blog is not formal legal advice. It is generic legal information. Under no circumstances should the information on this page be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal action. Always obtain a free and confidential case evaluation from a reputable attorney near you if you think you might have a personal injury lawsuit.

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