The human brain is one of the most powerful and mysterious objects known to man. Yet, it is also extremely sensitive. The brain is encased within the skull, protected with a buffering layer of cerebrospinal fluid to protect the brain from a blow to the head. However, when a jolt to the head is severe enough, it can cause a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries can result in a minor concussion, cause permanent brain damage, or even cause a fatal head injury.
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can be extremely complex and are still misunderstood in many ways. This also makes TBIs difficult to diagnose. One of the primary tools doctors have to evaluate a TBI is to simply wait and observe the patient to see if they develop symptoms, or if their symptoms change over time. Because TBIs can be so complex, any accident that results in a blow to the head should be evaluated by medical professionals.
Minor brain injuries may require emergency medical care and hospitalization just to ensure that the injury is not more serious than it initially appears. However, severe brain trauma may require surgery, hospitalization, extended care, physical therapy, ongoing medical treatment, and even in-home care. This can leave the brain injury victim facing tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills.
Common Brain Injuries
Every year, approximately 1.7 million people in the U.S. suffer a traumatic brain injury, resulting in over 50,000 deaths. More than 100 people in the U.S. die every day from a brain injury, while others suffer permanent brain damage.
The causes of common brain injuries vary greatly depending on the age of the victim. According to the CDC, the majority of children up to age four received brain injuries as the result of a fall. Children learning to walk can easily fall over, striking an object with their head or falling down stairs. Young children's heads are also disproportionately large compared to adults, which makes them more prone to land on their head.
Children aged 5 to 14 most commonly receive TBIs from either falls or striking their head against an object of falling. At this age, children are more active, and may be playing with friends, or engaged in sports. Some sports such as football, snowboarding, or hockey see children traveling at high speeds suddenly jolting if they crash into another person or object. Even riding a bike can lead to an accident resulting in a head injury.
For individuals aged 15 to 64, the common causes of brain injuries include assault, motor vehicle accidents, striking an object, or falls. For individuals aged 65 and older, falls are the predominant cause of traumatic brain injuries.
Identifying a Brain Injury
The signs and symptoms of a brain injury vary greatly between individuals. In general, a minor brain injury, such as a concussion, could result in a temporary loss of consciousness or change in mental state. This could last for a couple of minutes or up to a few weeks. In some cases, the change in mental status may not show until a day or two after the initial injury. However, repeated minor injuries may have increased symptoms and side effects, and last for longer periods of time.
Other symptoms of a TBI may include difficulty thinking clearly, trouble sleeping, anxiety, trouble communicating, headaches, blurry vision, memory problems, balance problems, or memory problems.
Medical professionals often use the Glasgow Coma Scale or GCS rating, to quantify the responsiveness level of the patient. This evaluates eye response, verbal response, and motor response. The scale ranges from a minimum of 3 to a maximum of 15, with 3 indicating a possible a deep coma. Doctors also use CT scans and MRI scans to look at the brain, as well as neurocognitive tests.
As a result of a brain injury through any type of accident, the victim may be left with expensive medical bills, be unable to return to work, and suffer continuing pain. The individuals or companies responsible for causing the injury should be held liable for damages. Talk to your attorney about compensation for a brain injury accident in your family.
Philadelphia Brain Injury Attorneys
If you or a loved one suffered a brain injury, you should talk to an experienced Philadelphia 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 contact Gilman & Bedigian today for a free consultation.