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What Is Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?

What Does TBI Mean?

A traumatic brain injury, or TBI, is defined as a physical trauma to the head that results in a disruption of normal brain function. These can range from mild to severe, but they should all be treated carefully.

Concussions, an injury commonly sustained in minor car accidents or while participating in sports, is considered a mild form of TBI. In general, these are not life-threatening.

Severe forms of TBI can have disastrous and life-changing effects. There are two types of severe TBI: closed, which means the injury is caused by a movement of the brain within the skull; or penetrating, which means the injury is caused by a foreign object entering the skull and damaging the brain.

More About Traumatic Brain Injuries

brain injury lawyer

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as a head injury, closed head injury, or concussion, is an acquired injury to the head caused by an outside physical force. The brain can be injured when a trauma forces the head forward or sideways violently. The force of the trauma can cause the brain to slam into the skull which can cause internal tears and bleeding. The brain is a soft, jelly-like structure that weighs about 3 pounds. The brain is made up of 180 billion cells; one-third of those cells are used to process information.

There are countless connections between these cells. These connections, and the ability to process information, can be impaired or destroyed when brain cells are killed. Brain cells can be destroyed when a trauma tears brain tissue, when oxygen is unable to get to the brain, or when blood is allowed to accumulate on the brain. TBIs can be classified based on the severity, mechanism or other features.

Each year more than 200,000 people are hospitalized with brain injury and survive. Approximately 22% of brain injuries result in death. Falls are the leading cause of brain injury for people 65 years and older. Transportation-related injuries are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury for people aged 5-64. Around 5.3 million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from brain injury.

The leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) in the United States are violence, motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, falls, and sports. Damages can be reduced in vehicle collisions with the use of seat belts, child safety seats, helmets (in the case of collision involving a motorcycle or bicycle), roll bars and airbags.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a TBI, it is important to seek the proper medical treatment as soon as possible. The sooner the injured party receives treatment, the more effective it may be and it can lead to a quicker recovery.

Symptoms of a traumatic brain injury

Damage from a brain injury varies causing physical, behavioral, or mental changes depending on the areas of the brain that are injured. Some common consequences of brain injury include:

  • Social Immaturity
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue
  • Problems in arousal, attention, concentration
  • Problems with judgment
  • Difficulty with speech or language comprehension
  • Decreased motor abilities
  • Visual impairments
  • Sensory loss or impairment
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Sexual problems

Can traumatic brain injuries be treated?

Immediate treatment for TBI depends on the severity of the damage. For the most severe cases, doctors perform surgery to control bleeding in and around the brain.

Follow up care includes monitoring and controlling pressure on the brain and ensuring adequate blood flow to the brain. The outcome of TBI depends on the cause of the injury and on the location, severity, and extent of neurological damage.

Other forms of treatment can be performed by a neurologist or a neuropsychologist depending on the severity of the brain injury. It is important to consult with medical experts as soon as possible.

Do I need to hire a personal injury attorney for my TBI case?

Working with a personal injury attorney can help to secure the entitled compensation. A brain injury can be quite serious and debilitating and therefore cause substantial damages to the victim in terms of medical expense and lost income, in addition to affecting many different aspects of a person's life. Because damages can be very significant, the costs and the complexities of obtaining evidence and fair compensation are great.

It is difficult to prove brain injuries in court. A minor brain injury may not be detected on imaging (MRI and/or CT scans) so proving the existence of the injury itself can be difficult. Also, by waiting too long to file a claim, you may lose your entitlement to compensation or valuable evidence can be lost. By working with an experienced, aggressive Washington brain injury lawyer, the claimant has the best opportunity to obtain fair compensation for their injuries.

What personal injury damages can I seek for my brain injury claim?

A lawyer can help a person recover lost income, past and future medical expenses, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life as compensation.

Because these types of claims are typically refuted by the insurance company, it is important to consult with the proper medical and legal experts to preserve the integrity of your claim.

Chris Davis
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Chris Davis is the founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, WA.