Everything You Need to Know About Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Individuals in New Orleans who experience traumatic brain injury (TBI) due to the negligence of others have more than just a physical condition. These victims also experience psychiatric symptoms as well. Psychiatric conditions can occur after suffering from a physical injury even when the physical injury may be improving. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are two of the more common psychiatric conditions that occur after a traumatic brain injury. Individuals who experience a TBI are thought to be at higher risk for developing depression and/or PTSD.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain.” A TBI can lead to mild side effects such as blurred vision, brief confusion, or a headache. The most severe TBIs can result in permanent and life-altering physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.
No two brain injuries are alike. It is impossible to tell what the effects of the injury will be on the victim. However, anytime the brain is damaged, there is the potential for devastating consequences. The severity of the damage will depend on the force of the impact and the presence of bleeding in the brain. If the damage is repairable by a doctor or surgeon, then the risk of severe and permanent injury is lessened.
Some of the most common impairments that can result from a TBI include:
- Communication difficulties in speech and language
- Emotional deregulation and difficulty expressing and managing strong emotions
- Loss of sensations such as smell, taste, and touch
- Cognitive delays in memory, processing, and reasoning
The statistics indicate that there are about 1.7 million people that suffer a traumatic brain injury every year in the United States, with a staggering 5.3 million people living with the damaging effects of the trauma every day. Although there are steps you can take to prevent a TBI, anyone is at risk of experiencing a blow to the head that leaves permanent damage.
There are several types of head injuries that can create a brain injury. A skull fracture is one example. A skull fracture will create bleeding, swelling or bruising. The fracture may not be visible to the naked eye. Another issue is an intracranial hemorrhage. This is when a blood clot or bleeding takes place inside the skull, causing damage to the brain.
A traumatic brain injury can also include a cerebral contusion, where the cerebellum is affected, causing attention and memory problems. A concussion can also take place, where the individual is unaware of their surroundings for a temporary amount of time, feeling confused, disoriented or experiencing memory loss.
A TBI can be classified into two basic categories – severe or mild. Learning about each one can help a person understand the impact they may have.
Mild Brain Injuries
A brain injury in New Orleans is classified as mild if the victim suffered a loss of consciousness or suffers from disorientation and confusion for a period of less than 30 minutes. While most doctors are going to order a CAT scan and MRI when a brain injury is suspected, the person suffering the injury typically has cognitive issues such as frustration, mood swings, attention deficits, memory problems, issues thinking and headaches, which can be easily overlooked. Even though this is referred to as a “mild” brain injury, the effect on the person or their family can be devastating. A brain injury lawyer can help the victim and family members better understand the rights they have to recover compensation in these cases.
Severe Brain Injuries
This type of brain injury occurs when a person loses consciousness for a period longer than 30 minutes and when memory loss after the penetrating skull injury lasts for more than 24 hours. Some of the deficits that may occur with this type of injury includes impairment of higher cognitive functions to a complete comatose state. If a person does survive this injury, they may have limited function in their legs or arms, the inability to think, talk or communicate and emotional issues.
For many people who suffer a severe brain injury in New Orleans, constant and ongoing care is required. This can create a financial burden for their family, which is why the services of a brain injury attorney should be sought. They can ensure the victim or their family receives the monetary compensation they deserve for the injuries suffered.
How Motorcyclists and Car Drivers Can Prevent a Traumatic Brain Injury
Auto and motorcycle accidents are some of the top causes of traumatic brain injuries. If you are not wearing a seatbelt when involved in a car accident, you may end up hitting your head. Forceful impact to your head will usually lead to significant brain injuries. Most of the brain injury attorney firms out there handle a number of TBI cases each year caused by car accidents.
When it comes to preventing TBIs for motorcycle drivers, the first line of defense is a quality helmet. If you fail to properly protect your head with a helmet, you may receive a brain injury in the event of an accident. Many states have strict laws regarding the use of motorcycle helmets. Motorcyclists caught without a helmet can face very stiff fines. Rather than putting your health at risk, you will need to find a quality motorcycle helmet to wear each time you ride your bike.
Tips on Avoiding Fall Accidents
Another very common cause of traumatic brain injuries are slip and fall accidents. These types of accidents commonly occur in the workplace and can cause a lot of bodily harm. By doing things like using handrails when walking up a flight of stairs, you will be able to avoid slipping and falling. If the slip and fall accident you are involved in was caused by unsafe work conditions, you need to seek out the help of an experienced brain injury lawyer. They will be able to help you build a case and get a settlement to cover both your medical expenses and the pain and suffering you have sustained.
Gun Safety is Important
Gun accidents cause a number of traumatic brain injuries each year. If you own guns, you will need to take the time to ensure they are locked away safely and stay out of your children’s hands. Getting a quality gun safe is the first step in reducing the chance of a traumatic brain injury due to gun accidents. You will also need to remember to store your guns without ammunition in them. Storing the guns and ammunition in two different places can reduce the chance of an accident occurring.
The severity of the brain injury will dictate the physical and mental effects an individual will face, in the short-term and long-term.
Physical effects can include:
- Lack of Energy
- Blurred Vision
- Speech Issues
- Problems Sleeping
- Hearing Loss
- Balance Difficulty
Mental Effects may include:
- Lack of focus
- Impaired decision-making
- Concentration difficulties
- Memory loss
Traumatic brain injuries are some of the most severe injuries that a person can sustain. TBI can leave victims with permanent emotional, physical, and cognitive damage that significantly affects the way they lead their everyday lives. Many survivors of TBI never regain the abilities they had before the accident, leaving them unable to work and live as they did previously. The long-term effects of TBI vary greatly and depend on factors such as the severity of the injury and the part of the brain that was injured.
Victims may experience any of the following long-term effects and symptoms after sustaining a TBI:
- Cognition: memory loss, problem-solving, judgment, attention, reasoning
- Motor Impairments: paralysis, lack of coordination, seizures, or spasms
- Perceptual Difficulties: vision, smell, touch, or taste sensation deprivation
- Behavioral Issues: anxiety, depression, uncontrollable mood swings
- Speech and Language Challenges: difficulties communicating with writing, reading, and speaking
- Social Changes: social anxiety, difficulty understanding social cues
- Functional Living Skills Deficits: dressing, bathing, cleaning, organizing, eating
In the state of Louisiana, there are frequent accident events that typically cause a TBI. The majority of traumatic brain injuries today are the result of falls. Dangerous falls that produce a TBI are especially prevalent among adults over the age of 65. If you or a loved one sustained a fall in a public place because of wet floors or other unsafe conditions and suffered a TBI, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your injuries.
Motor vehicle and motorcycle accidents also account for a high percentage of the traumatic brain injuries reported. A TBI occurs when the brain is jostled, causing it to make contact with the skull. The force of a car or motorcycle crash can cause the brain to push forcefully against the skull resulting in bleeding, swelling, and bruising.
Other common accidents that can lead to traumatic brain injuries include:
- Sports or other recreational activities
- Violent attacks and assaults
- Military bombings
When a catastrophic accident or attack occurs, you must seek medical attention immediately to determine if a brain injury is present. A doctor will perform the necessary examinations to identify the type of head or brain injury that you sustained. The mechanism by which the brain injury occurs will affect the prognosis and rehabilitation required after the traumatic brain injury. For instance:
- Open Head Injury: Open head injuries involve the penetration of the skull from a foreign object such as a bullet.
- Closed Head Injury: Closed head injuries involve sharp blows to the head that do not penetrate the skull. They typically occur in car crashes or slips and falls.
- Toxic: Toxic brain injury can occur from ingestion or exposure to strong chemicals such as carbon monoxide, pesticides, or other solvents.
- Hypoxia/ Anoxia: Hypoxia (reduced oxygen to the brain) and anoxia (no oxygen to the brain) can cause permanent and severe damage to the victim’s cognition and memory.
- Diffuse Axonal Injury: Diffuse axonal injury occurs when a person abruptly decelerates from their forward motion, causing the soft brain tissue to contact the skull, causing contusions, swelling, or bleeding.
- Tumors: Tumors growing on or near the brain can cause pressure on the brain or damage to the areas of the brain where the tumor is located.
- Infection: Viruses like meningitis and encephalitis can cause severe brain damage.
A traumatic brain injury can be treated. In mild cases, pain reliever is provided and rest will help relieve symptoms. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed along with rehabilitation. In severe cases, rehabilitation will involve working with specialists to assist in relearning physical and mental skills. Such skills can be lost during the injury and rehabilitation may take months or years to see functions relearned in their entirety.
The impact of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) will be felt deeply by both the injury survivor and the survivor’s family. After the initial injury, there will be extensive treatment and rehabilitation in an attempt to restore lost function and get the victim back to a decent quality of life. The process will be painful, expensive, and lengthy.
The goal of recovery and rehabilitation after a traumatic brain injury varies from survivor to survivor. In general, your team of medical professionals and specialists seek to help you regain as much of your normal function as possible. They will then help you to develop the compensatory skills you will need to make up for the function you have lost. Finally, they will strive to help you achieve the highest quality of life possible. As a survivor of a traumatic brain injury, you will have a long and challenging road to recovery. It is essential that you have a dedicated team of medical professionals, specialists, family and friends, and attorneys to help you through. After your injury is treated and the doctors attend to any possible physical complications of the brain injury, you will begin the rehabilitation process. A traumatic brain injury survivor will see several specialists during recovery.
Some of the specialists most likely to be a part of your rehabilitation team include:
- Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a vital member of the brain injury rehabilitative team. He or she will be responsible for assessing the damage that the injury has caused and identifying the most appropriate course of treatment.
- Neuropsychologist: Neuropsychologists are medical professionals who study the changes in brain function after an injury. This doctor will look for changes in thinking patterns, behavior norms, memory, and attention, or communication difficulties. Neuropsychologists work with survivors and their families to better understand the changes and how to cope with them.
- Physical Therapist: A physical therapist will work with the brain injury survivor to relearn movement and coordination skills. They might also help to redevelop the strength and balance required to walk, get out of bed, and do other daily living tasks.
- Occupational Therapist: The occupational therapist will identify the most effective ways to perform daily living skills in light of the deficits the survivor now faces. Some of the everyday living skills an occupational therapist might assist with include shopping, dressing, bathing, or cooking.
Along with your rehabilitation team, you need a brain injury attorney who knows the law and can fight for your rights after a debilitating traumatic brain injury. Don’t hesitate and contact the skilled and compassionate Louisiana attorneys at Cueria Law Firm today.
Legal Options After Traumatic Brain Injury in Louisiana
A traumatic brain injury can leave a family in a state of anguish and confusion. The survivor’s family members will have to take on many new responsibilities after their loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury. There will be many difficult questions to answer. Do we have a case against the party responsible for the injury? How do I find an attorney who will fight hard for my loved one? What are the options for getting financial compensation for medical expenses?
The Louisiana brain injury attorneys at Cueria Law Firm understand all of the new challenges that families will take on after a devastating brain injury. After your loved one gets the medical treatment they need, contact our traumatic brain injury attorneys right away. Our team has the experience and dedication it takes to get your loved one a substantial settlement and the justice they deserve. Don’t go through this alone. Make sure you have the team at Cueria Law Firm on your side, guiding you through this difficult time.
If your loved one has sustained a traumatic brain injury, you may be consumed with the immediate medical care they require and the frightening uncertainties of their future quality of life. It may seem too overwhelming to think about taking legal action right away. However, there are many reasons why securing experts in brain injury litigation is crucial as your family begins the recovery process.
Many brain injury victims and their families are unaware that they have a valid legal claim against another party. An attorney who is well-versed in brain injury law will be able to look at your case and determine if negligence played a part in the injury. There could be substantial compensation available to you that will be indispensable as the medical bills begin to pile up.
Negligence is the basis for many personal injury claims against another person, business, or entity. When one party acts carelessly and causes injury to another, the negligent party is held liable for that injury. The victim must prove, among other things, that they suffered damages due to the negligence of the other party. Damages may include medical expenses, repair or replacement of property, or pain and suffering.
Have you sustained a TBI?
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is critical that you secure experienced brain injury attorneys who can help you get the financial compensation you need for your long-term care and your pain and suffering. At Cueria Law Firm, our Louisiana brain injury attorneys have years of experience defending families like yours who have been victimized by the negligence of another party and left with the damage of a life-altering injury. With the help of the diligent and determined team of legal professionals, you can confidently get on the road to recovery. Contact the attorneys at Cueria Law Firm today to learn how our team might be able to help you get the fair compensation you deserve.