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Traumatic Brain Injuries: A Closer Look

Steve Wagner

When you hear the words “Traumatic Brain Injury”, what comes to your mind? Most people attribute that diagnosis to something visually disturbing, the kind of injury you might see after a serious car accident or when someone falls a great distance.

Did you know Traumatic Brain Injuries can occur without any sign of external damage to the body?

Every year in the United States, there are an estimated 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries, and an average of 52,000 of those injuries result in fatalities. Here in Indiana, there are approximately 6000 Traumatic Brain Injuries each year, and by that same math, nearly 200 people die in our state as a result of these largely preventable incidents.

Traumatic Brain Injuries can present in mild, moderate and severe forms. According to the Brain Trauma Foundation, about 2% of the population (at least 5.3 million Americans) are living with long-term effects and disabilities caused by a traumatic brain injury.

Leading Causes of TBI’s

The two leading causes of traumatic brain injuries are falls (which make up 35.2% of all TBI’s) and motor vehicle accidents (which account for 17.3% of TBI’s). Injuries that occur as the result of a fall account for 50% of all TBI’s in children and 61% of TBI’s in adults age 65 and older. How many of these injuries could be prevented by proper car seat awareness and installation, or proper care for our elderly in nursing homes and assisted living facilities?

Severe TBI’s

Nearly one-third of all injury related deaths in the United States list a severe traumatic brain injury as a contributing factor or the cause of death in the patient. There are two types of severe traumatic brain injuries: closed and penetrating.

  • Closed: These injuries are caused by the movement of the brain within the skull.
  • Penetrating: Caused by some type of foreign object entering the skull and penetrating the brain.

75% of all traumatic brain injuries are classified as concussions, and though not all concussions are severe, they can all leave lasting damage to the brain, especially if not treated properly or if they are ignored.

Concussions

Traumatic Brain Injuries InfographicConcussions are often classified as mild traumatic brain injuries, but with the latest research being done relating to concussions, their dangers are quickly being realized. According to the CDC, there are over 170,000 sports and recreation related concussions every year.

One of the greatest dangers with sports related concussions is that the signs of concussions can often be hard to recognize, and when a player is injured, they are frequently put back in to play because they feel fine. It’s often aggravation of an existing concussion or a secondary blow to the head that causes long-term, significant brain damage. If proper training were given to coaches and sports teams on recognizing the signs of concussions, and if players were made to wear high-quality protective gear, most of these injuries could be prevented, or at least kept at the mild stage, rather than aggravated to more serious conditions.

Recognizing the Signs of a Concussion

Recognizing a concussion requires awareness of the signs they leave; otherwise, concussions can be easily dismissed. Common signs are:

  • A stunned or dazed look in the eyes
  • Forgetfulness
  • Inability to answer simple questions
  • Blacking out
  • Confusion
  • Increased clumsiness
  • Loss of memory about the event/injury
  • Headaches/dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light and noise
  • Inability to sleep
  • Concentration problems

If you suspect someone has a concussion, asking them to perform simple tasks and answer questions they know the answers to (their name, age, birthday, etc) is a simple way to know how severe the head injury may have been. If you remotely suspect a concussion, seek medical help immediately for further evaluation.

The Cost of TBI’s

Traumatic Brain Injuries are one of the highest medical expenditures in our country. Every year, over $76.5 billion dollars are spent or lost as a result of direct and indirect cost related to TBI’s. Whether it’s through loss of income or loss of productivity, or direct medical diagnosis and treatment, these injuries cost an average of $45,000 per person. Most of us do not have $45,000 lying around to spend on treatment for a traumatic brain injury, and when we factor in how difficult it can be to work with insurance companies, and how hard employers often fight to not pay for the medical needs of their employees, many people get stuck with medical bills they are unable to foot.

My TBI Wasn’t My Fault

Far too often, the TBI’s treated in our emergency rooms are the result of negligence or recklessness of another person’s behavior. Have you been injured by the fault of another person or by the negligence of an employer? If so, you may be eligible for compensation to account for the cost of medical expenses, loss of income, long-term care and more. If you have been involved in an accident and suffered a concussion or other type of traumatic brain injury as a result, the law offices of Wagner Reese may be able to assist you during this difficult time.

We are here to help you fight back against negligence and recklessness; we can help you fight against the other driver, or a lax employer, or help you make a strong case against your insurance company. Whatever your need is, we have over 50 combined years of experience fighting injury cases just like yours. Give us a call for more information on how we can help you, and schedule your free consultation today!

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