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What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

As a Clearwater personal injury attorney, I am often retained to represent individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury can simply be defined as an injury to the brain caused by trauma to the head. Certain traumatic brain injuries are easy to identify. For instance, a fractured skull, a brain bleed, or if an individual is in a coma due to an impact to the head we can be certain they have suffered a traumatic brain injury. However, oftentimes an individual will suffer what is termed a “mild” or “moderate” brain injury. Such injuries are more difficult to identify and involve subtle problems with emotions, memory, thinking, and concentration among others. In fact the Center for Disease Control identifies a myriad of factors and issues that may relate to suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Obviously, the more factors an individual suffers from the greater the likelihood that he/she clinically presents with a traumatic brain injury that must be correlated with diagnostic study.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury include

  • Headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Orientation Issues
  • Concentration problems
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Attention difficulties
  • Blurred vision
  • Uneven gait
  • Emotional ability
  • Loss of initiative
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep disturbances

Head injuries have received increased media attention over the last two years due to the rash of concussion suffered by professional athletes (particularly football players in the NFL). These injuries can be very subtle and often go undiagnosed. Further, the amount of impact necessary to result in a brain injury is not as much as one would imagine. I have referenced the website braininjury.com for the following excerpt: “How much force is necessary to cause permanent brain damage is under study, and hence still unclear. Over the years, professional boxers suffer permanent brain damage. The force of a professional boxer’s fist is equivalent to being hit with a 13 pound bowling ball traveling 20 miles per hour, about 52 g’s. Plopping down into an easy chair can generate up to 10 g’s. So, it seems that somewhere between 10 and 50 g’s is the threshold to permanent brain injury. This does not mean that accelerations over 50 g’s have to cause permanent brain damage. Football players are subjected to 200 g’s, and Indy race car drivers have been subjected to 80 g’s without permanent injury, but they were wearing helmets.

Football players and race car drivers also protect their heads from being whiplashed. Whiplash seems to be particularly damaging to the brain. Woodpeckers smack their heads against trees with 1200 g’s of force without suffering brain damage. Part of the reason is that they keep their heads in the plane of their body; the head does not rotate in a “yes-no” manner during the pecking. If there were some way to stabilize the head when driving – akin to wearing a mail suit from the Middle Ages – more people would walk away from automobile accidents without serious brain injury.”

There are two main methods that a brain is susceptible to significant trauma. If an individual’s head strikes an object the cerebral cortex can become contused/bruised or in the event where the head is whiplashed it is very possible that the deep white matter may suffer an axonal tear. When the axons are stretched or torn they can be damaged for good. Many attorneys fail to recognize that their clients may have indeed suffered a brain injury and instead focus on the more obvious general orthopedic ailments. This often occurs in cases in which the client did not suffer a significant closed head injury (i.e. their head did not strike an object and they did not lose consciousness). Failing to lose consciousness does not rule out the possibility that a traumatic brain injury occurred.

It is essential that if you have been injured in a car accident and are presenting with signs of a traumatic brain injury (as listed above), it is prudent to consult with a Florida brain injury lawyer.

Matthew A. Dolman, Esq.
Clearwater personal injury attorney
2358 Drew Street
Clearwater, Florida 33765
P: (727)451-6900
F: (727)451-6907

If you are in the need of a personal injury attorney in the Clearwater, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Largo, Pinellas Park, Bradenton, Sarasota, St. Petersburg or Trinity areas, contact me at [email protected]