From car accidents to falls, sustaining a traumatic brain injury is more common than you may think – and the results can be devastating. People who suffer a traumatic brain injury may be left with serious, long-term health issues that affect their ability to live, work, and care for themselves and their family.
In 2019, there were approximately 166 traumatic brain injuries per day in the United States, according to data compiled by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Today, we look at some of the common causes, as well as the risk factors for, and symptoms of, traumatic brain injuries.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
A traumatic brain injury, or TBI as it is often called, is an injury that affects how the brain works. According to the CDC, a TBI may be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head. This can occur because of a fall, an assault, or even whiplash during a car accident.
A TBI can also be the result of a penetrating injury such as a gunshot, a stab wound, being hit in the head with an object, or a head injury in which a piece of the skull breaks off and enters the brain.
The severity of traumatic brain injuries can vary depending on the specifics of each case, including how the injury occurred and which part or parts of the brain were impacted. There are three main types of traumatic brain injury: a mild TBI or concussion, a moderate TBI, and a severe TBI.
What are the most common incidents that cause TBIs?
There are numerous situations which could cause and result in a TBI, but the most common include:
- Motor vehicle crashes;
- Sports-related injuries;
- Acts of violence, including assault, sexual assault, child abuse, and gun shots;
- Explosive blasts on worksites; and
- Combat-related injuries.
What are the signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury?
Signs and symptoms of a traumatic brain injury may be immediately apparent or may take days or weeks to appear. If a TBI is suspected, it is imperative that the injured person seek medical care as soon as possible. While this may seem obvious depending on the cause of the injury, even a seemingly minor fall or bump of the head can cause a traumatic brain injury. If signs or symptoms of TBI do not present themselves right away, valuable treatment time may be lost.
The signs and symptoms of a TBI can vary, but may include:
- Mild TBI or concussion – A mild TBI or concussion may present with physical symptoms such as a headache, nausea or vomiting, fatigue or drowsiness, problems with speech, or dizziness or loss of balance. A person who has suffered a mild TBI may experience blurred vision, sensitivity to light or sound, ringing in the ears, a bad taste in their mouth, or changes in their ability to smell. Additionally, their cognitive function may also show signs of a mild TBI. They may lose consciousness for a few seconds or even a few minutes. They may feel dazed, confused, or disoriented; they may struggle with their memory or concentration; experience mood changes or mood swings, including feelings of depression or anxiety; or they may have trouble sleeping or sleep more than usual.
- Moderate or severe TBI – A person suffering from a moderate or severe traumatic brain injury may have any of the symptoms of a mild TBI as well as a loss of consciousness for anywhere from several minutes to hours, a persistent headache or a headache that worsens, nausea or repeated vomiting, convulsions or seizures, a dilated pupil or pupils, clear fluid draining from the nose or ears, an inability to wake up from sleep, a loss of coordination, or weakness or numbness in their fingers and toes. They may be extremely confused, agitated, combative, or exhibit other unusual behavior, may have slurred speech, or may experience a coma or other disorders of consciousness.
It is important to note that traumatic brain injury may present with different symptoms in children, especially young children and babies.
Who is most at risk of suffering a TBI?
While anyone can suffer a traumatic brain injury, some individuals are at greater risk of having a TBI. This includes:
- Children, especially those under the age of four;
- Infants and newborns;
- Young adults ages 15 to 24; and
- Males in any age group.
What if my TBI was caused by someone else?
A traumatic brain injury can be the result of another person or entity’s negligence. For example, if you experience a TBI due to tripping and falling because of a broken sidewalk or a poorly lit or maintained walkway, the property owner may be at fault. Or, for instance, if you suffer a traumatic brain injury in a car accident that was caused by another driver, the driver or owner of the car may be liable. In either of these situations, the person or entity responsible for your TBI may be held liable. You may be entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and physical, mental, and emotional suffering.
If you or a loved one has experienced a TBI, it is important that you speak with a personal injury lawyer who is knowledgeable about traumatic brain injuries. The experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP stand ready to assist you. We fight to secure settlements for clients suffering from traumatic brain injuries caused by other people’s negligence. To schedule a free, remote consultation, please call us at 310-474-1582 or complete our contact form today.
Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
For more than three decades, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has built a reputation as one of California’s leading law firms. Founded by a family of attorneys spanning three generations, John McNicholas and sons, Patrick and Matthew, have tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict on behalf of clients. Learn More about McNicholas & McNicholas