Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
Unfortunately, it happens all too often. You slip on a puddle in your local supermarket and crack your head open on a nearby shopping cart. Or somebody plows into you and, unfortunately, your head smashes into the dashboard. Or, your child plays football and receives a concussion after a helmet to helmet hit.
In each case, you’ve suffered a “traumatic brain injury.” What’s that? “Traumatic brain injury (TBI) occurs when an external mechanical force causes brain dysfunction. Traumatic brain injury usually results from a violent blow or jolt to the head or body,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Given recent publicity regarding head injuries in sports, I have devoted this article to explaining exactly how TBI’s happen, the effects, and what can be done.
How These “Violent Blows to the Head” Happen
According to the federal Center for Disease Control (CDC), the leading causes depend on age. In general, however, they are falls, objects hitting people in the head, motor vehicle accidents, and assaults.
How Often Do TBIs Occur?
According to the CDC, TBIs caused around 2.5 million emergency room (ER) visits and hospitalizations in 2010. Unfortunately, about 50,000 souls died as a result.
Between 2001 and 2010, TBI-related ER visits went up by 70%, hospitalizations by 11%, but, fortunately, deaths dropped by about 7%.
During the same period, TBIs, including concussions, resulted in about 250,000 children aged 19 or younger going to the ER for recreation-related and sports injuries.
Determining Severity of a TBI
Doctors classify TBIs as follows:
- Mild TBIs, also called concussions, usually don’t knock people out or do so only for a short time, and the symptoms usually end quickly.
- Moderate TBIs result in unconsciousness that lasts longer than 30 minutes. This type of injury has similar symptoms as the mild variety, but they’re more serious and last longer.
- Severe TBIs render their victims unconscious for longer than 24 hours, and the symptoms are acute.
What to Do When Someone Gets a TBI
Alz.org advises that people seek medical assistance even if they experience only mild symptoms.
Go to the ER, however, if the following occurs:
• The person is unconscious for more than one minute or so. They repeatedly vomit, have seizures or their symptoms get worse.
• The individual falls from more than three feet up, ejects from a vehicle or is struck by a motor vehicle.
• Inability to remember how the injury happened
• Failure to remember events occurred directly prior to or up to one full day after the accident
• Disorientation and confusion
• Blurred vision
• Vomiting and nausea
• Ringing in ears
• Difficulty in speaking coherently
• Changes in emotions or sleep patterns
How Do You Pay the Bills?
If someone else injured you, maybe you can make him pay for your medical bills. If you caused your own TBI, however, or it was an “act of nature,” you’ll be responsible for your own medical treatment.
When considering how to proceed, ask yourself if the accident happened because someone actively caused it or if he didn’t prevent it when he could have. In either case, think about bringing a legal case against that individual.
Here are some examples: If someone ran a red light and slammed into you, they’re probably at fault. On the other hand, if you ran the light, you suffer the consequences.
Say a tree fell, smashed into your car and caused a TBI. The fault depends upon if it was an “act of nature” or the owner should have known it was damaged and dealt with it.
What to Do If Someone’s Negligence Injured You
Maybe you believe someone else’s negligence caused your TBI or possibly you’re not sure. In either case, find an attorney who’s experienced in handling brain injury cases. Of course, if you caused the problem, skip this step. We at McCready Law has successfully resolved many brain injury cases, and we offer free consultations. If you want one, simply call us at (773) 779-9885.