Each year, about 2.6 million people suffer some type of brain injury in the US, whether it is caused by trauma, stroke, tumor, or other illnesses. Of those, about 52,000 people die annually as a result of traumatic brain injury, while more than 5 million Americans who have suffered a traumatic brain injury require some sort of long-term assistance in performing daily activities. Traumatic brain injuries are not only dangerous because they can cause death, but also because they are associated with wide variety of very serious symptoms, some of which persist for years after the injury. As such, brain injuries are a very serious public health concern and everyone should be aware of their dangers.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the brain that is caused when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction. This is normally caused by a violent blow or jolt to the head that causes the brain to move back and forth inside the skull. Because the brain heals differently than other body parts, the effects of traumatic brain injury can be very difficult to overcome, if at all. The immediate effects of traumatic brain injuries are split into physical symptoms and cognitive symptoms. The physical symptoms of mild traumatic brain injuries include loss of consciousness for a few seconds to a few minutes, headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness and loss of balance, and fatigue or drowsiness. Cognitive symptoms include blurred vision, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in the mouth, mood swings and mood changes, and memory and concentration problems.
Mild traumatic brain injuries usually cause temporary dysfunction of the brain cells and are treatable by rest and over-the-counter pain relievers, but more severe brain injuries can result in bruising, torn tissue, bleeding, and other serious physical damage that can result in long-term complications. These more severe traumatic brain injuries require surgery and extensive rehabilitation. The physical symptoms of brain damage caused by a traumatic brain injury are split into four categories: physical, perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral.
Physical symptoms of moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries can include:
- Loss of consciousness for several hours
- Persistent headache
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions and seizures
- Dilation of the eyes
- Clear fluid drain from the nose and ear
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
- Perceptual symptoms include:
- Changes in vision, hearing, or sense of touch
- Spatial disorientation
- Inability to sense time
- Disorders of smell and taste
- Balance problems
- Heightened sensitivity to pain
- Cognitive symptoms can include:
- Difficulty processing information
- Difficulty in expressing thoughts
- Difficulty understanding others
- Shortened attention span
- Inability to understand abstract concepts
- Impaired decision-making ability
- Memory loss
- Behavioral and emotional symptoms that can result from a brain injury include:
- Irritability and impatience
- Reduced tolerance for stress
- Flattened or heightened emotions or reactions
- Denial of disability
- Increased aggressiveness
Most Common Accidents that can Cause Traumatic Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury can be caused by any violent force that comes into contact with the head, but the vast majority of traumatic brain injuries are caused by accidents. Some of the most common types of accidents that can result in a traumatic brain injury are highlighted below.
When one vehicle crashes into another, both vehicles come to a stop very suddenly, which causes the occupants of the vehicles to be thrown in the opposite direction from which they were just traveling. This violent movement can cause the occupants’ heads to hit anything inside the car, including the dashboard, steering wheel, windows, or center console. Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of striking one’s head in a vehicle, but they are not always 100% effective.
Riding a bicycle or a motorcycle is more dangerous than riding in a vehicle because bicycles and motorcycles provide very few safety features. Instead, the riders are left completely open to the elements and anything that might harm them. As a result, a cyclist’s head can hit the pavement if they are thrown from their bikes during an accident. Wearing a helmet can help to minimize the risks of traumatic brain injuries, but it cannot eliminate it completely.
When a person slips and falls, they surrender themselves to the mercy of gravity to determine which part of the body will take the force of the blow. If a person falls on a hard surface, their head can very easily strike it, causing a traumatic brain injury. Slips and falls are of special concern for children and the elderly since they are less stable on their feet and are physically weakest.
Boating accidents are similar to car accidents, in that they normally cause the boat to come to a sudden stop, throwing passengers in the opposite direction from which they were just heading. Head injuries can also be caused on boats because they rock back and forth in the water. If a large wave comes up, it can cause the boat to rock violently, throwing the passengers against whatever happens to be nearest to them. In many cases, the passengers can hit their heads and suffer traumatic brain injuries.
Brain injuries caused by sporting accidents have received heavy media attention in recent years, and for good reason. Sports that involve heavy physical contacts like football or rugby carry a high risk of traumatic brain injury due to the violence inherent in the activity. Traumatic brain injuries can be caused by being hit in the head with a ball or piece of equipment, being tackled by another player, or falling and striking the head against a hard object.
Contact a Clearwater Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
If you have been involved in an accident and suffered a traumatic brain injury, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact the attorneys at the Dolman Law Group for a free consultation by calling 727-451-6900.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765