When considering serious health problems in the U.S., head injuries, or what are sometimes referred to as traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are not among the top that most would think of as a problem. However, TBI’s are more serious and more prevalent than most know. In the U.S. alone, each year, more than 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries occur and are associated with a significant number of deaths and/or the cause of permanent disabilities for individuals.
In the United States, there are four leading causes for traumatic brain injuries: falls, auto accidents, impact (struck by an object or striking an object or person such as sports collisions), and assaults. Almost 1 in 5 TBIs result from an unknown origin or other causes, but more than half are the result of falls and auto accidents. Auto accidents lead the list for causes of traumatic brain injuries that resulted in death, almost 1 in 3.
Head and brain injuries can have serious long-term effects, and the results of traumatic brain injuries can be life-altering. Proving the effects of these injuries in court can often be difficult, but we utilize our specialized neuropsychological testing facilities to identify and treat these brain injuries and gather the evidence we need to secure the largest amount of compensation possible.
Visit our frequently asked questions page for more information or call Wagner Reese, LLP at (888) 204-8440 to discuss your specific situation.
ABI & TBI
There are several categorizations of brain injuries. Different brain injuries result in similar yet varying symptoms. Two types are traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and acquired brain injuries (ABIs).
What Is an ABI?
Acquired brain injuries happen when the brain is being harmed from the inside of the body, without the catalyst of an external force. This affects the brain on a cellular level, due to exertions of extreme pressures. The most common ABIs are brain injuries that result from near-drowning events or childbirth injuries. In both instances, the victim experiences a critical lack of oxygen. The two types of ABI are anoxia and hypoxia. Hypoxia is when insufficient oxygen reaches the brain. Anoxia is even worse: no oxygen whatsoever reaches the brain.
Another example of ABI is exposure to toxic chemicals. This can cause brain damage, with primary examples being lead poisoning and carbon monoxide poisoning. Lastly, brain injuries can result from infections, strokes, and tumors. Each of these attacks and affects the brain in its own certain way.
What Is a TBI?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that a traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is caused by “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.”
Common incidents that lead to a TBI include car accidents, sports injuries, falls, or other hard blows to the head. Symptoms can take time to manifest themselves, so it is not always readily apparent when someone has suffered a TBI. Treating a brain injury quickly is imperative for the victim’s long-term recovery.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) can occur when the brain accelerates and decelerates regardless of whether or not the outside of the head is impacted. These impact and non-impact TBIs can result from whiplash accidents, falls, or car accidents that result in the brain being knocked around inside the skull. Brain injuries can be long-lasting and sometimes difficult to prove, especially when there are no outward physical signs of the injury. TBIs have different categorizations based on the type of damage incurred by the brain.
Types of Brain Injuries
- Concussion: A well-known type of TBI, is a “concussion” injury. It is a closed head injury that is the result of an impact or blow to the head that affects how the brain functions typically. A concussion can be recovered from quickly or may take days or weeks for the individual to return to normal. An individual that sustains a concussion may experience difficulty with thinking, concentrating, headaches, nausea and/or vomiting, changes in their normal mood, and changes to their normal sleep habits.
- Contusion: A brain bruise from direct impact. Large contusions, often require surgery, especially when there is brain swelling.
- Coup-Contrecoup: A TBI where the impact was hard enough to jar the brain into shifting and creating contusions on both sides of the head.
- Diffuse-Axonal: Nerve tissue tears as the brain does not keep up with the movement of the skull. Diffuse-Axonal TBIs are often caused by shaking or strong rotational forces. Shaken Baby Syndrome is the most recognized cause of this type of TBI. Victims of a diffuse-axonal injury typically lose consciousness.
- Penetration: An object, such as a nail or bullet, physically penetrates the head and brain.
Leading Causes of Brain Injuries
Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Although risk levels vary, all demographics are vulnerable to TBIs. Birth injuries can cut off oxygen to the newborn, resulting in a TBI. Elderly individuals are particularly susceptible to slip-and-falls in which they hit their head.
Other common causes of TBI include:
- Sports injuries
- Workplace accidents
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Firearms injury
- Medical errors
- Motorcycle, car, or truck accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Childbirth complications
- Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
With brain injuries, symptoms vary widely based on the severity of the injury. A mild TBI is when the victim loses consciousness or suffers disorientation for less than 30 minutes. Symptoms can go overlooked, especially with sports injuries such as concussions, which fall into this category. They are still dangerous, as 15% of victims are affected for over a year following the accident. A TBI affects more than just the physical function of a person. Emotional changes can be wrought by a blow to the head.
Symptoms of brain injuries can be both physical, cognitive, and perceptual, and include:
- Sensitivity to light
- Memory loss
- Depression or irritability
- Mood swings
- Change in personality
- Vision problems
- Speech impairment
With severe TBI, speech problems, as well as reading, writing, and listening comprehension problems, are much more common. The physical symptoms are more readily apparent and far less likely to be overlooked. Emotions can be exacerbated or deadened. Length of recovery time varies widely, but the rehab process is often slow, as it can be weeks or months before the victim is back to normal. Sadly, in more severe cases, victims may never fully return to their previous state.
In addition to the symptoms listed above, long-term effects can include:
- Loss of motor control
- Loss of intellectual capacity
- Permanent change in personality
More on Concussions
Concussions are the most well-known TBI in America because of its prevalence in sports at all levels. The National Football League is currently facing an image crisis, as new evidence continues to come out linking the concussions sustained over the course of a career to a degenerative brain disease known as chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
But NFL players are not the only ones at risk. Concussions among high school athletes are on the rise but many say the statistics are low as many cases still go unreported. This is extremely risky because one danger of even mild concussions is second impact syndrome. If another concussion is sustained before the first one is healed, rapid brain swelling could be the result. This is extremely dangerous and can prove to be fatal.
When recovering from a concussion:
- Listen to your doctor. He or she may prohibit you from driving and you may have to miss work, but it is all for your protection and recuperation.
- Rest your brain.
- Avoid fast movements.
- Avoid excessive exposure to light or sound.
- Don’t play sports or do strenuous physical labor.
- Take it slow. Give yourself time to fully heal or you could exacerbate your condition.
One of the myths of TBI is that one must be struck on the head or knocked unconscious to suffer one. In fact, a TBI can result from one of the most common car accident injuries. Whiplash occurs when a rapid acceleration or deceleration quickly moves the head, so quickly that the brain strikes one side of the skull. This is how coup-contrecoup injuries are suffered. In extreme incidents, an axonal tear can occur, where the brain partially rips out of its natural position.
Dementia is a prolonged and permanent decline in cognitive function. People who have suffered a TBI are more likely to be diagnosed with dementia. Dementia has a debilitating impact on a person’s mental and social health.
Symptoms of dementia include:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty concentrating
- Erratic behavior
- Decline in thinking ability
- Insomnia and fatigue
Do I Have a Brain Injury Case?
Any good personal injury lawyer will take a comprehensive look at your situation in determining if you have a brain injury case.
- Type and severity of the accident
- Who was at fault
- Expected recovery time
- If you missed work or if the injury will permanently affect your ability to work
- If it affects your family’s financial security
- If you or your family experienced enough trauma for a pain and suffering case
With years of experience and proven results, our Indianapolis personal injury lawyers can handle your brain injury claim. Call the law firm of Wagner Reese at (888) 204-8440 for your free consultation.
What am I Entitled to?
Traumatic brain injury cases are usually complex and involve a lot of moving pieces. With severe brain injuries, drastic lifestyles changes may be warranted, not just by the victim, but family and loved ones too. Because of this, a broad spectrum of damages can be collected, depending on the circumstances of the case. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Medical expenses
- Hospital bills
- Home care equipment
- Special needs services
- Loss of benefits from loved one’s death (i.e. medical insurance, veterans benefits, etc.)
- Lost wages
- Funeral expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Extended rehabilitation
- Life-long home care
- In-home nurses
- Mental anguish
Facts & Stats
- The CDC estimates that nearly 1.7 million people suffer some type of traumatic brain injury each year.
- TBI’s are a factor in over 30% of all injury-related deaths.
- Nearly 75% of all TBI’s happen in the form of a concussion or other type of mild brain injury.
- Males are more likely to suffer a Traumatic Brain Injury than females.
- Young adults and the elderly are at the highest risk for a TBI
- About 75% of head injuries are concussions and other mild TBIs
- In the majority of concussion events, the victim does not lose consciousness
About Our Indianapolis Traumatic Brain Injury Attorneys
With years of experience handling brain injury cases, the team at Wagner Reese understands the nuances required to succeed in complex brain injury cases. Our medical malpractice and brain injury attorneys in Indiana can help restore the balance of power, providing you the legal support and advice you need so that you can focus on your own health and healing.
Connect with us by submitting our online form, and our attorneys will review your information and respond promptly. If you wish to speak directly with us, please call (888) 204-8440.