March 2022 is Brain Injury Awareness Month. Brain Injury Awareness Month is an annual event sponsored by the Brain Injury Association of America. It’s a time dedicated to focusing attention on ways to prevent and treat traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). The slogan for this year’s Brain Injury Awareness Month is “More Than My Brain Injury.”
TBIs and Acquired Brain Injuries
A traumatic brain injury is a type of acquired brain injury (ABI). An ABI is a brain injury that occurred after birth and is not the result of a hereditary, congenital or degenerative medical condition. There are two kinds of ABIs: traumatic and non-traumatic. (Examples of non-traumatic brain injuries include illnesses such as cancer, aneurysms, and impairments caused by oxygen deprivation.
Causes of TBIs
A TBI is an ABI caused by an external force or trauma. TBIs are defined as closed (or non-penetrating) or open (penetrating). There are many ways a person can suffer a TBI. The majority (47.9%) are caused by falls. Other leading causes of TBIs include being struck by or against something (17.1%), motor vehicle accidents (13.2%), and assaults (8.3%).
TBIs are a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Each year 2.5 million people experience a traumatic brain injury. About 80,000 of these people become permanently disabled. There are currently more than 5 million people in the U.S. living with a permanent brain injury-related impairment.
Types of Brain Injuries
Depending on the type of impact, a TBI can result in bleeding, bruising, and destruction of nerve fibers known as axons. What’s worse, the brain often begins to swell in response to the injury. The brain tissue is pushed up against the skull, leading to more bleeding and inhibiting blood circulation. If the swelling is not alleviated, the brain can become starved of oxygen and other nutrients, causing brain cells to die. The death of brain cells causes many symptoms of TBIs.
Common types of TBIs include:
- Concussions (the most common type of TBI)
- Penetrating brain injury
- Brain hemorrhages
- Coup-contrecoup brain injury
- Second impact syndrome
- Diffuse axonal injury
- Intracranial hematomas
TBIs are classified according to the severity of the brain injury. Doctors use a tool called the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to measure the severity of a TBI. It uses a scoring system based on an individual’s level of consciousness after their TBI.
The GCS consists of 15 points. The higher the score, the higher the level of brain function. There are four levels to the GSC:
- Mild TBI: 13-15 pts
- Moderate Disability: 9-12 pts
- Severe Disability: 4-8 pts.
- Persistent Vegetative State: 0-3 pts.
Symptoms of TBIs
A wide range of symptoms are associated with TBIs:
- Cognitive deficits include memory loss, shortened attention span, confusion, coma, decreased awareness of self and others, and difficulties with problem-solving.
- Regulatory disturbances such as headaches, fatigue, dizziness, loss of bowel and bladder control, irritability, anxiety, and depression.
- Motor deficits can consist of paralysis, weakness, tremors, problems with swallowing, and poor coordination.
- Perceptual or sensory deficits are changes in vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.
- Functional deficits impair an individual’s ability to perform average daily activities like dressing, bathing, eating, or operating a vehicle or other type of machinery.
- Communication and language deficits often include problems with reading, writing, speaking, and the ability to work with numbers.
- Impaired social capacity can result in social difficulties such as problems with social interactions, interpersonal relationships, making and keeping friends.
Treatments for TBIs
Treatment for TBIs depends on the severity of the injury. Mild TBIs may only require close monitoring, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications. More severe TBIs may require surgery to remove blood clots, repair skull fractures, and stop bleeding in the brain. Medications such as anti-seizure drugs may be prescribed to limit secondary brain damage.
Physical, emotional, and cognitive rehabilitation and therapy may be needed to help those with TBI recover functions and skills.
The Legal Options of Those Who Have Suffered a TBI Due to Car Accidents
There are many legal options available to individuals who have suffered a TBI in New Orleans or Louisiana as a result of a car wreck or other accident caused by the negligent actions of another. Depending on the circumstances that caused the TBI, the victim may be entitled to compensation for the damages caused by their injuries, including:
- Past, Present and Future Medical Expenses
- Past, Present and Future Lost Wages
- Future Loss of Earning Capacity (no longer work in same job/field)
- Past, Present and Future Pain and Suffering
- Past, Present and Future Loss of Enjoyment of Life
- Past, Present and Future Mental Anguish
- Loss of Consortium (typically by spouse/children)
Individuals can obtain this compensation by filing a personal injury claim.
If You’ve Suffered a TBI in a Car Accident, Contact JJC Law Today
The New Orleans car accident lawyers at JJC Law are here to see you get the compensation you deserve for the losses caused by your TBI or other personal injuries. Contact us through our website, or call us at (504) 513-8820 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who is experienced in handling personal injury claims involving traumatic brain injuries.