Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is caused by a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. Over 1 million people sustain a TBI each year in the United States and twenty percent of those cases are caused by automobile crashes. You do not have to be traveling at a high rate of speed to suffer a head injury, nor do you have to hit your head on an object to injure the brain. Experts suspect that much of the damage in a TBI happens when the brain’s soft, delicate tissue slams up against the hard, corrugated interior walls of the skull. Nerve fibers can also stretch and rip during the sudden accelerations or decelerations that occur in a car accident. Tiny tears in nerve fibers can lead to cell death days after the original brain injury. Cells that don’t die may never function properly again.
Medical experts refer to TBI as “the silent epidemic” because most of the available statistics underestimate the size of the problem. A TBI can do significant damage without leaving any visible outward signs on the victim, or even on a brain scan. Often the family and loved ones of an accident victim are first to notice the tell-tale signs of TBI. Some of the signs and symptoms of TBI are:
- Persistent headaches or neck pain
- Difficulty in remembering, concentrating or making decisions
- Slowed thinking, speaking, acting or reading
- Getting lost or easily confused
- Loss of energy and motivation
- Mood changes
- Change in sleep patterns
- Blurred vision
Many people who sustain TBI in a car crash don’t know that they have a brain injury, they just know that they “feel different.” Mild to moderate TBI, which can be extremely debilitating to the victim, often does not show up on a typical brain scan that is conducted at the emergency room. Because their brain scan is “normal,” they think that it must be all in their head, or emotional.
Although TBI can not be reversed, there are many medical resources available to help the person better cope with their symptoms and adapt to the person they are now. Medical professionals, such as neurologists, neuro-psychologists and neuro-psychiatrists, with specialized training in TBI offer resources to diagnose and treat TBI.
If you suspect that you or a loved one sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of the negligence of another it is important to seek legal advice from an attorney experienced in presenting these complex, significant claims to insurance companies and juries. Please feel free to contact us.
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