What is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
Living brain tissue is damaged by an external force or motion usually accompanied by an unconscious state, amnesia or a coma. These states of altered consciousness can last shorter (minutes, days), or longer terms (weeks, months or indefinitely). Side effects of TBIs can be physical, speech and language, cognitive and behavioral functioning impairments. Forces from an automobile accident are a common cause for traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Brain Injuries (Head Injuries) Not Categorized as TBI
Traumatic Brain Injuries Categorized
Different levels of TBIs are categorized depending on the severity of the brain’s impacted area(s). For example, there may be no fracturing of the skull from the blunt force impact but one or more traumatic injuries to the brain can be present.
Closed Brain Injury – no foreign object enters through the skull into the brain. A violent blow to the head or sudden, severe motion happens to the brain causing it to ‘slam’ against the skull when it makes contact with another object, for instance the dashboard or windshield of a car. Predicting side effects is not as exact as with open brain injuries, due to extensiveness is not always as definitive and clear.
Open (Penetrating) Brain Injury – a foreign object fractures, and enters through the skull into the brain injuring the brain’s tissue. Predicting disabilities from these types of direct and localized injuries are relatively more exact than in closed traumatic brain injuries.
Most Common Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
A concussion occurs when movement or sudden momentum change causes an impact. The brain’s blood vessels can stretch and damage cranial nerves. For example, direct blows to the head or whiplash type injuries from a car accident.
A contusion is bleeding (or a bruise) to the brain.
A Coup-Contrecoup Injury is one that has contusions to both (opposites) sides of the brain where dual impact “action” occurred.
Diffuse Axonal Injury is common when the head is shaken or a strong rotation of the head occurs.
Severe TBI Potential Effects
Severe, non-fatal TBIs may result in extended amount of unconsciousness (coma) and/or amnesia. One year after patients hospitalized post a TBI, 43% (almost half) are reported to have a related disability.1 As of the year 1999, approximately 5.3 million Americans were living with TBI-related disabilities.2
TBIs can potentially lead to issues ranging from short-or-long term affecting:
The TBI-related deaths percentage (31.8%)3 from automobile accidents, is the highest of all TBI-related deaths among all age groups. Full recovery from serious TBI from head injuries is often unachievable inflicting significant life-long consequences on victims. TBI victims may want to consider getting help from a law firm. Traumatic brain injury lawyers can possibly win a settlement, helping to alleviate the financial burden of relationship and lifestyle changes, and medical expenses.