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Head injuries are not to be taken lightly—after all, the brain coordinates the majority of activity in our body. Here at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered, we’ve seen firsthand how head injuries can have a dramatic effect on the lives of our clients. If you’ve experienced a head injury, you might be wondering what your future holds and what steps to take next.
That’s where we come in.
The attorneys at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered want to simplify this process for you and provide answers to your questions so you can focus on healing. Recovering from a head injury, especially a traumatic one, is a journey, but you don’t have to go it alone. Below, we’ve addressed common questions you probably have about head injuries and what you can do to ensure your well being.
Head injuries have a variety of causes, which often play a role in the severity of the injury. Common causes of head injuries are falls, motor vehicle accidents, and being struck by or against an object. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury. This means that the accident caused an alteration to brain function.
There are many different kinds of head injuries, ranging in severity.
A concussion—the most common type of traumatic brain injury—occurs when the brain receives trauma from an impact or sudden momentum or movement change. This may stretch blood vessels in the brain or damage cranial nerves. It can take anywhere from a few months to a few years for a concussion to heal. Contact sports like football are often a common cause of concussions, as are other direct blows to the head or whiplash.
A contusion is another name for a bruise. In the context of head injuries, a contusion is a bruise (bleeding) on the brain itself. These are frequently caused by direct impact to the head. If a contusion is large, it may need to be surgically removed.
Coup-contrecoup is a type of contusion that occurs both at the sight of impact and on the opposite side of the brain. The additional contusion on the opposite side of the brain is caused by the force of the brain slamming into the opposite side of the skull.
This type of injury is caused by shaking or strong rotation of the head. Diffuse axonal occurs because the unmoving brain lags behind the movement of the skull, causing tears to the brain structure. Depending on where these tears occurred, a person with this injury may have a variety of brain function impairments. Disturbances in the brain could be temporary or permanent.
Penetrating injuries to the brain occur when the impact of an object forces hair, skin, bones, and fragments from the object into the brain. The area of damage is widened when objects traveling at a low speed through the skull can ricochet inside the skull.
This type of brain injury occurs when the brain does not receive enough oxygen.
This type of brain injury occurs when the brain receives some, but not enough, oxygen to function properly.
Moderate to serious traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) will almost always have very intense effects on the victims who endure such debilitating accidents. These effects tend to have lasting impacts on victims within a variety of routine behavior, which is why these personal injury cases tend to deal with the loss of quality of life.
By going through this list of effects you’ll be able to better understand the many symptoms and side effects associated with TBIs, and the proper treatment procedures as well.
Your brain is always going to immediately work to repair any tissue or internal damage when you’ve sustained a really serious head injury. While some of these restoration processes are effective through the use of direct treatments within the first six months of recovery, there are many instances in which some parts of the brain simply cannot fully heal.
These troublesome cranial areas sometimes will see the progressive decline, which typically results in long-term or even life-long symptoms and general effects. Of course, there are also long-term social and emotional effects that tend to occur within TBI patients that should never be ignored.
The following are some of the long-term effects associated with TBIs:
If there’s anything the medical field knows for sure about TBIs, it’s that there tend to be many different persistent physical problems that occur after these types of head injuries. Here are some of the more common physical complications that TBI patients may potentially face:
Headaches tend to be very frequent, if not daily when someone suffers from a serious TBI. What’s worse is that studies have also shown that migraines and headache symptoms can sometimes become worse as time goes along.
The six-month mark typically tends to be a crucial point in the recovery process in which medical professionals can have a pretty good understanding as to whether or not chronic headaches will continue for years or even forever within a patient.
Headaches are physical symptoms that sometimes even persist after a TBI patient is considered fully recovered, so this is by far one of the most common long-term effects of TBIs.
Dizziness is a very common symptom of TBIs, and about one-third of TBI patients experience dizziness for a minimum of five years after their injury. But, what’s important to know about dizziness is that over time it’s likely to improve.
All types of sensory complaints are very common within serious TBI patients, and there are many instances in which this symptom ends up being a long-term problem. The medical terms for these sensitivities are phonophobia and photophobia, and about 25% of TBI patients undergo these sensitivities even a year after their injury.
These sensitivities, like other long-term symptoms, are lifelong concerns.
Patients’ eyes are sometimes greatly impacted by TBIs, which can sometimes lead to the general inability to focus properly when looking at something close by. TBIs can also lead to visual issues that make a patient’s vision blurry or have double vision.
As TBIs increase in severity, it’s generally more likely for the patient to undergo mental and physical fatigue more easily. Fatigue is a physical ailment that tends to have emotional symptoms as well, which can have a ripple effect on the daily life of a person throughout the TBI recovery process. Light sensitivity and other sensory issues also compound upon fatigue after a TBI.
Around 40% of TBI patients have some kind of late-stage seizures, which is a clear indication of very serious TBIs. When a patient undergoes consistent seizures for a long period of time, it can sometimes be a lifelong concern.
It’s difficult to verify whether or not seizures that occur briefly after an injury are still linked to epileptic attacks years later, but seizures are nonetheless a very serious and frightening long-term effect of TBIs.
There are also many types of psychological and emotional effects associated with TBIs, some of which could potentially develop years after the initial accident.
One of the most common of these issues is overall memory problems, which is known to last for multiple years within about 45% of TBI patients. It’s safe to say that there are mental improvements overtime for all TBI patients, but of course, there are situations in which these types of effects can persist for decades or even a lifetime.
Some long-term, non-physical effects include:
Irritability tends to be a very common effect of TBIs that can develop anytime during the first three years of recovery. A lot of these emotional changes are directly correlated to other physical problems like chronic pain and fatigue, so the longer the physical effects last the more likely patients will see more dramatic emotional effects as well.
This is why treating the most serious physical symptoms of TBIs is so important during the initial recovery stages.
Damage within the brain is always a major concern for serious TBI patients, which can end up leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia later in life. There aren’t any clear statistics about the likelihood of TBI patients acquiring these diseases, but in general, the experts say that TBI patients are at the highest risk of these very debilitating mental disorders.
It should never be surprised that a TBI can potentially have a dramatic effect on a patient’s overall quality of life, and the following are some important factors to consider:
There is no denying the fact that people who’ve suffered from a serious TBI are more likely to pass away due to some related complications to their injury. It’s also very unfortunate that depression and other psychiatric issues lead to higher risks of suicide amongst TBI patients.
Older TBI patients are also more susceptible to serious issues like sepsis, pneumonia, dementia and Alzheimer’s. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) is also something that tends to happen for those who have undergone serious TBIs, which has recently been highlighted as an issue within the NFL and other professional sporting leagues.
But, we must also recognize that medical professionals have done a wonderful job in recent years to decrease TBI patient mortality rates in recent years, and this trend appears to be continuing to improve.
People who suffer from serious TBIs are much more likely to have difficulty getting back in the workforce than those who suffer mild TBIs, and a recent study showed that only about one-third of TBI patients had a full-time job several years after their injury.
This is a big reason why it’s so important to recover all of the necessary damages within a TBI personal injury lawsuit because there almost always is a serious struggle for financial security after these types of injuries.
It’s rather rare that TBI patients are capable of fully participating in the same activities that they did prior to their injury, and what’s very sad is that the many persistent physical ailments to TBIs tend to lead to social isolation. Social isolation has been known to contribute to a loss of quality of life in many TBI patients.
The Brain Injury Association offers information about assistive technologies, alternative medicines, caregiver resources, and more.
Paying for medical expenses after a head injury can be nothing short of daunting, especially if your injuries are severe and require extensive recovery time. Finding the money to finance your recovery can be even more difficult when you’re forced to take time off of work.
Instead of having the added stress of affording your recovery, an experienced personal injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation for your head injury. Depending on the details of your case, this could include damages for:
Dealing with the consequences of a head injury is more than enough burden to bear—you shouldn’t have to worry about your financial future, too. A personal injury lawyer can review your case and help determine the best course of action for you.
Serving Maryland for Over Three Decades
The personal injury attorneys at DuBoff & Associates, Chartered know that this journey won’t be an easy one. That’s why we’re here to help you along the way. Since we opened our doors in 1981, we’ve taken pride in extending our family to include our clients. Above all, we are a law firm that cares, and as a result, we’ve formed lasting relationships with the people we serve. If you are unable to make it into our office, we offer evening and weekend appointments to fit your schedule. Our initial consultations are always free, so you risk nothing by calling.