Traumatic Brain Injury is one of the categories of Head and Brain Injuries. It is normally the easiest to diagnose and has the most impact on a person’s life. It happens when there is an event that causes the brain to move around inside the skull or the skull is broken and the brain is directly injured. The brain moving inside the skull can occur during a motor vehicle accident and is a result of whiplash. It is also found in babies that have been shaken violently and is known as Shaken Baby Syndrome.
On average 1.4 million people suffer from a Traumatic Brain Injury every year. It can affect anyone at any age or stage of life. Men have twice the risk of women of sustaining a TBI. Children from the ages of 0-4 and 15-19 are most at risk of TBI. Senior citizens over the age of 75 are most at risk of being hospitalized and dying from a Traumatic Brain Injury. African Americans have the highest death rate related to TBI.
There are multiple types of Traumatic Brain Injury. They include Diffuse Axonal Injury, Contusion, Concussion, Coup-Contrecoup Injury, Second Impact Syndrome, Penetrating Injury, Shaken Baby Syndrome, and Locked-In Syndrome. The types are discussed below.
KEY STRATEGY – If your loved one has been diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury, find out the type of injury and write it down. It is in their best interest for you to keep your own notes on their injury and treatment.
Diffuse Axonal Injury – This type of injury is commonly seen in children with Shaken Baby Syndrome and people that have been in a car accident. It is caused by shaking or rotation of the head that causes the brain to move within the skull. Nerve tissue is torn and the brain may release chemicals that cause more injury.
Contusion – This is caused by a blow to the head. A contusion is defined by bleeding on the brain that may sometimes need to be removed with surgery.
Concussion – A concussion can occur for many different reasons. A wound that penetrates the brain, shaking, whiplash or a blow to the head can all result in a concussion. The blood vessels in the brain are stretched and the nerves are damaged. It can be hard to diagnose this type of Traumatic Brain Injury as it may not always be revealed in diagnostic testing.
Coup-Contrecoup Injury – This type of injury has contusions on opposite sides of the brain. The brain is moved from a blow or force which causes an injury at the impact site and where the brain hits the skull on the other side.
Penetration Injury – Anytime the skull and brain are penetrated by an object a TBI can occur. This can happen from a knife, a bullet, or any sharp object.
Second Impact Syndrome – A second brain injury could be caused by the symptoms of the first brain injury. This recurrent traumatic brain injury may happen before the brain has healed from the first injury. The brain may swell causing more damage.
Shaken Baby Syndrome – Abuse to a baby can result in Shaken Baby Syndrome. Violent shaking of an infant or small child can cause the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. Bleeding in the brain and swelling can cause permanent damage and death. Only leave your child with a trusted caregiver. If you feel the need to shake your baby in an attempt to get them to stop crying, set the child down in a safe place and walk away for a few minutes.
Locked-In Syndrome – Due to a traumatic brain injury a person may not be able to control any part of their body except for their eyes. They are often conscious and have the ability to think.
Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment
The faster a traumatic brain injury is treated, the better the outcome is for the patient. If you think that a friend or loved one has suffered a brain injury call 911. Some signs of a TBI are a loss of spinal fluid from the nose and ears, dilated pupils, someone wanting to fall asleep, a loss of consciousness, a change in vision, and dizziness.
Once they are at the emergency room the doctors will assess the situation and decide on a course of action. Diagnostic tests such as MRI, CAT scan, and EEG may all be used. Surgery or medications may be used to treat the patient.
Long-term care may be needed depending on the severity of the Traumatic Brain Injury. A move to a nursing home or rehabilitation facility may be necessary.
KEY STRATEGY – Calling 911 immediately after an accident may minimize the amount of brain damage done.
Legal Options for Brain Injury Patients
A properly trained attorney can help you and your family navigate this difficult time. It is important to find a neurolaw attorney that has expertise in Traumatic Brain Injury. An attorney that is listed by the Brain Injury Association of America and who has attended seminars in TBI is an absolute must. If an insurance company asks you to sign something then you will want the advice of a trusted attorney.
Legal Examiner contributors Murray & Murray (Sandusky, Ohio) and Michigan Auto Law (Detroit, Michigan) are both qualified brain injury law firms.
An attorney can help you apply for Social Security benefits as well as bring a lawsuit against the party responsible for a Traumatic Brain Injury. They should have access to the best experts in the nation that can testify on your behalf. They will know the correct testing and investigations that need to take place in order to build a strong case on your behalf.
An attorney can also help with rebuilding your life. They should be able to send you to experts that can teach you coping strategies. They will also know the best therapists and facilities that can restore function and abilities.
KEY STRATEGY — An excellent attorney can be your confidant and guide following a Traumatic Brain Injury. Finding one as soon as you can make a huge difference in your recovery.