A traumatic brain injury is generally caused by a blow or jolt to the head. Injuries can range from minor concussions to serious or fatal head injuries. The brain is the most complicated part of human anatomy. Doctors and scientists still do not fully understand the brain and how brain trauma can affect an individual. Brain injuries are among the most complicated injuries anyone can suffer. Even a minor blow to the head can result in life-changing consequences.
What are Brain Injuries?
The brain is a powerful tool; however, the brain is also very sensitive. The brain is encased in the skull and covered by thin membranes. It is also protected by cerebrospinal fluid to cushion the brain from jolts to the head. A serious blow to the head or penetrating head wound that interferes with normal brain function may be considered a traumatic brain injury (TBI).
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), almost 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffer a TBI every year. That amounts to 138 dying every day from a brain injury. Of those, over 50,000 people die from their injuries. 1.3 million people seek emergency medical treatment, and 275,000 are hospitalized for their injury. Injuries can range from minor to life-threatening.
A mild brain injury, such as a concussion, may result in a temporary change in mental status, including temporary loss of consciousness. The symptoms of a concussion can last for a couple of minutes, days, or even weeks. In some cases, the signs of a concussion may have delayed onset days after injury. Repeated concussions can increase the severity of symptoms and require more time to recover. Symptoms include difficulty thinking clearly, irritability, sleeping problems, blurry vision, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, feeling tired, anxiety, or balance problems.
Many people who experience a concussion or mild brain injury for the first time may not think they need to seek medical attention. Some individuals may not recognize they have suffered an injury. However, if there is any question whether you may have suffered a brain injury, you should seek medical advice.
Brain Injury Accidents
The leading cause of traumatic brain injuries is falling accidents. Falls account for almost 40% of brain injuries. This includes slipping and falling on an icy sidewalk, slipping on a wet floor, falling off a bicycle, trip and falls, falling from a ladder or scaffolding in the workplace, knocked over by a dog, or falls down the stairs. Any type of fall that ends with the head landing on the ground or striking another object can lead to a brain injury.
Motor vehicle accidents, bike accidents, and motorcycle accidents are also major causes of traumatic brain injuries. Being struck by an object and falling debris is a common form of TBI in the workplace. Fights and assaults account for almost 10% of brain injuries. For young people, sporting injuries from football, hockey, or other contact sports can also lead to brain injuries.
Medical Treatment for Brain Injuries
Evidence shows that medical treatment for brain injuries may be on the rise. Between 2002 and 2006, there was a 14% increase in ER departments and almost a 20% increase in hospitalization related to traumatic brain injuries. There was a 61% increase in fall-related brain injuries for children and a 46% increase in ER visits for fall-related brain injuries among adults 65 and older.
Because the brain is so complicated, doctors evaluating a brain injury use a number of different tools. The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a neurological tool used to evaluate consciousness and assess comas. It consists of evaluating eye, verbal, and motor response. The response level of the patient is given a number value from a minimum of 3 (deep coma) to a maximum of 15 (fully awake).
Doctors may use other tools, including neurocognitive tests on learning, concentration, or memory, CT scans, or MRI scans. In many cases, a doctor may want to observe a patient over time to determine if there is a change in their neurocognitive function, awareness, or consciousness. It is important for patients to try not to rush recovery of a brain injury. Rest and reduced physical and mental activity may be necessary to a full recovery.
Washington DC Brain Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, you should talk to an experienced DC personal injury attorney about getting compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Whether the injury was minor, or life-threatening, your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and help you through the claims process. You should not have to suffer due to someone else's negligence. Do not hesitate to call Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.