In recent years, brain trauma has become a high-profile issue. However, many of us still don’t understand the broad spectrum of injuries that the term traumatic brain injury (TBI) covers, which ranges from concussions to life-threatening diffuse axonal and penetrating injuries.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of a TBI, you need to understand the implications of these injuries as well as your medical and legal options. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A TBI involves damage to the brain from an impact such as a jolt, blow, or penetration. To understand how even relatively minor impacts to the head can cause serious injuries, you need to know the basics of brain anatomy.
Your brain is made up of billions of nerve cells and tissues, and this delicate collection regulates all your body’s functions, from thought and movement to unconscious activities like digestion. The brain floats in cerebrospinal fluid with a thick, bony skull protecting it. While the outside of your skull might feel relatively smooth, the inside is covered in grooves and ridges.
When you strike your head, your brain can bounce off the skull repeatedly, causing swelling, bleeding, and other damage. If an impact cracks or pierces your skull, debris can pierce the brain’s tissues, causing even more severe injuries. Trauma can also disrupt your body’s production of neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that help your brain communicate with the rest of your body.
“When you strike your head, your brain can bounce off the skull repeatedly, causing swelling, bleeding, and other damage. If an impact cracks or pierces your skull, debris can pierce the brain’s tissues, causing even more severe injuries. “
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There are many types of TBIs, including:
Concussions are the most common kind of TBI. When your head moves rapidly back and forth, the resulting forces can cause microscopic damage to your brain cells. This type of damage, which can be hard to detect, is called a concussion.
While many people recover quickly from a concussion, others experience post-concussive syndrome and require treatment for a year or more. Concussions are technically considered “mild” traumatic brain injuries or mTBIs, even though they can still cause severe symptoms.
Sometimes called a coup-contrecoup injury, a cerebral contusion involves mild bleeding or bruising inside the brain. Depending on the severity of the bruising, victims may experience dangerous amounts of swelling and blood clots, and the injury may require surgery.
One of the most serious types of TBI, a penetrating injury occurs when an object cracks the skull and pierces the brain’s tissue. Victims typically require surgery and intensive medical and are at an increased risk of infection.
Diffuse axonal injuries (DAIs)
A DAI is a potentially life-threatening injury that occurs when fibers in your brain are stretched and broken, disrupting your brain’s communications with the rest of your body. Studies also suggest that milder DAIs can cause headaches, confusion, dizziness, and fatigue. Compared to other types of TBI, a mild or moderate DAI is difficult to identify on a traditional CT or MRI scan.
The location of your brain injury can affect your symptoms. For example, trauma in your frontal lobe can impact your speech, personality, and thinking. With an occipital lobe injury, you might experience vision problems. And temporal lobe damage may lead to short-term memory loss.
Doctors grade TBIs based on their severity at the time of the initial injury. However, just because a TBI is classified as “mild” or “moderate” according to these criteria does not mean its effects are insignificant. Some people with “mild” TBIs end up with life-long problems, while others get well in a matter of days or weeks.
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How Long Does It Take for a TBI to Heal?
Brain injuries do not heal like other injuries, and no two brain injuries are alike. Brain tissue can’t repair itself as easily as other tissues. Rather than simply creating new brain cells, the brain has to “rewire” itself after suffering damage. While some TBI victims quickly recover from their injuries, others require intensive medical care and rehabilitation.
Typically, most of a TBI victim’s recovery happens in the first six months. The quality of your care and rehabilitation will also impact the speed of your recovery. For example, a rigorous, multidisciplinary rehabilitation program will typically offer better results than a single round of occupational therapy. However, even with the best treatments available, it can take a year or longer to recover from a TBI, and many victims face permanent impairments and limitations.
Even a Mild TBI Can Have Life-Changing Effects
A serious TBI can result in death, paralysis, and permanent brain damage. However, milder traumatic brain injuries can also have a serious impact on a victim’s life. Medical research shows that a mild or moderate TBI can cause:
- Personality and mood changes that affect your personal and work relationships
- Decreased ability to concentrate and focus
- Memory loss
- Ringing in your ears
- Blurred vision
Symptoms may appear right away, or they may take days or even weeks to show up, depending on the nature of your injuries.
Unfortunately, CT scans and MRIs sometimes fail to identify some types of brain injuries, including microtrauma and axonal damage. We regularly meet with crash victims who have serious TBI symptoms but receive a lesser diagnosis like post-concussive disorder. At Crosley Law, we’ve used cutting-edge technology to identify and explain our clients’ TBI symptoms, even when doctors initially failed to identify a TBI with diagnostic tests.
TBI Victims Should Demand Compensation for Their Injuries
After a TBI, you might experience a wide range of expenses and losses, which will usually include extensive medical bills and lost wages. Other damages are harder to calculate and may involve your lost cognitive function, damaged relationships, and decreased quality of life.
Unfortunately, insurance companies are very skeptical of TBI claims, especially if it took time to diagnose your condition or if your MRI and CT scans came back “normal.” If you’ve been denied compensation or you’re getting the run-around from the insurance company after suffering head trauma, you should contact Crosley Law right away.
When we work with a TBI victim and their family, we carefully investigate their claims. This typically involves a review of their medical records, consultations with medical experts, and a detailed calculation of their damages. To learn more about the value of your claim and your legal options, contact us and schedule your free case evaluation.
Crosley Law: We Fight for Brain Injury Victims in Texas
If you’re struggling with the aftermath of a serious TBI, you don’t have to handle your claims alone. Contact Crosley Law to get a free, no-risk assessment of your case. We have extensive experience handling TBI claims and a track record of success. To learn more, complete our online form or call us at 210-LAW-3000 | 210-529-3000.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.