A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, occurs when a sudden blow or bump to the head interrupts the normal functioning of the brain. These injuries may be caused by an object penetrating the brain tissue or a jolt that shakes the brain forcefully within the skull.
Most brain injuries are not outwardly visible, but all should be taken seriously. Even a mild traumatic brain injury can leave victims with lingering deficits that disrupt their ability to work and get back to daily life. Moderate to severe TBIs may result in lifelong disabilities, even if the individual looks perfectly fine.
In Georgia, approximately 50,000 people suffer brain injuries each year, and more than 3,000 of these injuries lead to permanent disabilities. Overall, an average of 150,000 Georgians live with permanent disabilities due to TBI. Nationwide, around 166 people died and 610 were hospitalized from a traumatic brain injury in one recent year.
Did you or someone you love suffer serious brain damage? A Columbus traumatic brain injury lawyer can help you pursue compensation if someone else is responsible for the accident. Let an experienced catastrophic injury attorney like David Bence of Bence Law Firm, LLC review your case in a free consultation. Call or contact us now.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
The brain is your body’s central command center. It sends signals controlling your thoughts, emotions, memories, movement, motor skills, speech, temperature, and every nerve impulse needed for your body to function properly. A traumatic brain injury happens when a violent jolt to the head disrupts that process. For example, hitting your head on the steering wheel in a car accident or suffering a gunshot wound could lead to a TBI.
Every brain injury is unique. The location of the TBI, how long it took to get medical treatment, and any complications that occur during treatment can impact a person’s ability to recover from their injury fully. Individual differences, even at the microscopic level, make it difficult for doctors to predict how well a patient will recover from a traumatic brain injury.
Signs and Symptoms of TBI
Not all brain injuries are detected right away. In fact, traumatic brain injury symptoms may not even show up on imaging tests taken at the hospital. For this reason, individuals must monitor themselves carefully in the hours, days, weeks, and months after a head injury. Common symptoms of a TBI include:
- Loss of consciousness (though not always)
- Headaches, especially those that worsen over time
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
- Lack of coordination
- Mood swings
- Depression, anxiety, or personality changes
In severe cases, a traumatic brain injury victim may remain in a vegetative state or a minimally conscious state, permanently unable to care for themselves.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
TBIs fall into two main categories:
- Penetrating: An object (e.g., a bullet) pierces through the skull into the delicate tissues of the brain
- Closed: The rattling of the brain within the skull damages the organ’s tissues, nerves, and blood vessels
Examples of brain injuries include:
- Concussion: The mildest form of TBI, a concussion is a low-velocity injury that usually produces temporary deficits. Contrary to popular belief, a person can sustain a concussion without losing consciousness.
- Contusion: The force of impact from a head injury can lead to bleeding or bruising on the brain, known as a contusion.
- Hematomas: Blood clotting from a contusion creates a hematoma, which can cause swelling and life-threatening damage to brain injury victims.
- Coup-contrecoup: A TBI that occurs right at the point of impact is called a coup injury. A contrecoup injury happens when the brain slams into the opposite side of the skull, resulting in injuries on both sides of the brain.
- Diffuse axonal injury: Caused by a sharp or strong head rotation, a diffuse axonal injury involves the shearing or tearing of nerve fibers within the brain.
Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries
The leading causes of traumatic brain injury include:
- Slip and falls: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls account for half of all TBI-related hospitalizations. Falling from a ladder, down the stairs, on a cracked sidewalk, or a slippery floor can result in traumatic brain injuries.
- Motor vehicle accidents: Collisions with cars, trucks, and motorcycles are common sources of TBIs, where victims may hit their heads on the dashboard, pavement, or get struck by flying objects or debris.
- Gunshot wounds: Sadly, gun violence contributes to many traumatic brain injury hospitalizations every year.
- Bicycle accidents: While helmets can greatly reduce the chances of suffering a traumatic brain injury in a bike accident, they cannot provide universal protection.
- Pedestrian accidents: The most vulnerable road users are the ones on foot. Pedestrians have no head protection if they’re struck by another vehicle, increasing the likelihood of catastrophic head injuries.
- Sports injuries: TBIs are widely associated with football but are possible in many sports activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, horseback riding, gymnastics, hockey, and soccer.
Violence: Shaken baby syndrome is a tragic pediatric traumatic brain injury. Shaking an infant roughly can permanently damage developing brain cells.
Traumatic Brain Injury Treatment
Depending on the severity of the injury, a TBI victim may need treatment from many different specialists as they recover. Rehabilitation may involve working with some or all of these providers:
- Respiratory therapists
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech-language pathologists
- Vocational rehabilitation counselors
- Social workers
Compensation After a Traumatic Brain Injury
The lifetime costs of living with a traumatic brain injury can range from $85,000 to $3 million, according to researchers from the Northwestern University School of Medicine. If another party is responsible for your head injury, you need a Columbus TBI attorney right away.
Georgia law allows you to pursue financial compensation, also known as damages, from the party at fault for your injury. A successful traumatic brain injury claim could provide money for:
- Past, current, and future medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Reduced earning capacity
- Assistive medical equipment, home renovations to accommodate your disability, and home health care or nursing services
- Pain and suffering
- Lost quality of life
- Lost enjoyment of life
- Emotional distress
Because many TBIs are considered “invisible injuries,” insurance companies often try to undervalue or dismiss these types of claims. Hiring a severe brain injury lawyer in Columbus to defend your rights can improve your chances of securing the compensation you deserve for your losses.
Contact a Dedicated Columbus Brain Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one is a TBI victim, get help from a Columbus traumatic brain injury lawyer at Bence Law Firm, LLC. We offer the top quality and aggressive representation you’d expect from a big firm, but with the personalized attention and care that you need as you recover from your injuries. Contact us today for a free case review.