The brain is the most complicated organ in the body, responsible for just about the entirety of our conscious and unconscious functioning. Modern medicine has only begun to scratch the surface of what makes our brains work – and we’re only recently beginning to truly understand the various ways that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) affect the body and heal.
According to the American Brain Foundation, more than 1.7 million people experience a TBI every year. TBI survivors also suffer from secondary brain injuries that evolve over time.
A traumatic brain injury happens when your head gets pierced, struck by enough force, or “whipped” so hard that your brain’s nerves, neurons, arteries, or veins get damaged. Because brains are so complex and each person is so unique, TBIs manifest in many different ways, from memory loss to personality changes, difficulty communicating, and physical disability. Your injury may interfere with your daily routine, interpersonal relationships, or career.
Even “mild” TBIs like low-level concussions can have profound effects on your life. You may not even realize the full impact of your injury on your life until weeks, months, or years later – after an injury has led to significant mental or cognitive decline. That’s why it’s important to stay vigilant about checking for TBI after an injury or car accident, even if you feel “fine.”
A traumatic brain injury often comes with extensive medical bills. You may need rehabilitative care or long-term supportive care. You may also lose the ability to work during this time – or permanently – which puts an additional financial strain on you and your family. The more severe your injuries, the more significant the effects on your life are likely to be.
If someone else caused your traumatic brain injury, then you have the legal right to hold them responsible for your damages. For example, if you suffered a TBI in a car accident because someone else was driving negligently, a personal injury lawsuit would put responsibility where it belongs and make that person compensate you for your losses.
Which Types of TBI Are the Most Common?
Traumatic brain injuries are generally divided into three main types:
- Closed brain injuries happen when your head is struck or whipped in a way that moves the brain violently inside the skull, damaging or bruising delicate brain tissue. Concussions are the most common kind of closed brain injury.
- Penetrating or “open” brain injuries involve a foreign object piercing through the skull (or sometimes, pieces of the skull itself) and damaging the brain.
- Diffuse axonal injuries (DAI) happen when the brain’s connective nerve fibers (called axons) get torn as the brain moves inside the skull. DAI can cause serious injuries all around the brain and may not always get picked up by MRI or CT scans.
In addition, you can suffer primary and secondary brain injuries at different times.
- Primary brain injuries are sudden and profound. They happen at the time of a traumatic incident or impact such as a car accident or slip and fall.
- Secondary brain injuries develop over time in the hours, days, and weeks after a primary injury. Depending on the severity and type of brain injury, you could experience further destruction of your brain’s cellular, chemical, tissue, or blood structures.
Depending on the conditions of your injury, you may suffer from the following common TBIs:
- Concussions are the most common type of TBI and have historically been considered “mild” compared to other types of brain injuries. But new research has shown that even mild concussions can have serious consequences, especially with repeat and secondary injuries. Concussions happen when your brain rattles or bangs around inside your skull, stretching and damaging brain tissue and causing an array of symptoms.
- Skull fractures can lead to pieces of the skull breaking off and piercing the brain, which can lead to a cascade of other injuries such as hemorrhages.
- Brain hemorrhages involve bleeding in the brain after a traumatic injury. As blood collects, it can increase pressure on the brain and cause oxygen loss in certain areas.
- Brain contusions are bruises that can lead to bleeding and swelling inside the brain, with the potential to affect many areas of functioning. Coup-contrecoup brain injuries are common forms of contusions often seen after car accidents.
- Coagulated blood left over from brain bleeds or intracranial hematomas can increase the risk of catastrophic blood clots in the brain.
- Brain lesions are areas with inflamed or destroyed brain cells that can disrupt your brain’s ability to communicate and function properly.
The most dangerous thing about TBIs is the fact that they can be latent, or hidden. You may have lost consciousness for just a few seconds after a car crash but you may not realize it. Your symptoms may start small and get worse over time – headaches, difficulties in concentration, memory problems – and you may struggle to pinpoint their cause. That’s why even if you walk away from an incident like a crash or fall, you should still get checked out by a doctor ASAP.
Your Legal Rights as a TBI Survivor
Under U.S. law, whoever causes injury or damage to another person or their property is legally responsible for the consequences that result. You can file a personal injury lawsuit to hold the responsible person accountable for your losses.
Personal injury cases that involve traumatic brain injuries tend to have very high stakes because the effects of a TBI are usually so serious. TBIs often cause life-changing or permanent disabilities that require extensive medical treatment or long-term supportive care. Even if the person responsible is insured, their insurance company doesn’t actually want to pay out what you’re fully owed – so they may give you the runaround.
An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the financial compensation and support you deserve to move forward with your life. At Sepulveda Sanchez Law, we take TBI cases on a contingency fee basis so you don’t pay us unless we win for you.
Click here to contact us now for your free case consultation.