Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI Injury): Overview
Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI injury is a primary cause of fatality and disabilities in the United States of America. Over the years, the number of TBI-related victims has significantly increased by 53%. This percentage includes emergencies, hospitalizations, surgeries, and fatalities caused by TBI. On the lone day of the year 2014, almost 150 individuals suffered from TBI as one of death’s primary causes.
TBI victim-survivors may experience the after-effects of the accident for a few days or the rest of their lives. The impact of the accident is directly related to the effects that the victim could experience. The common effects vary on every individual; however, it could be any of the following symptoms or even a combination of the following:
- Visual (e.g., loss of sight, partial blindness, light sensitivity)
- Hearing (e.g., loss of hearing or noise sensitivity)
- Vestibular ( e.g., loss of balance)
- Cognitive and Mental (e.g., loss of memory, difficulty processing information, difficulty remembering or recalling information and important dates)
- Emotional (e.g., mood and personality changes, depression and/or agitation)
Anyone suffering from these issues could have a lasting effect on themselves, loved ones, and the community.
What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury may result when a sudden impact (bump, hit, blow or jolt) occurs to the head and brain and disturbs normal functioning. The severity of a TBI can range from mild to severe. Some TBI cases may even involve invisible traumatic brain injuries or ones that have not yet been diagnosed by a medical professional.
Severe TBI injury cases often have complications and symptoms like bruising and swelling of the brain which could lead to permanent brain damage. Unfortunately, these cases usually lead to extensive disabilities, complications or death.
What Happens To The Brain During An Accident?
The primary injury is the injury that occurs at the moment when the impact takes place. This injury could involve a particular lobe of the brain or the entire brain, depending on the impact. According to the experts, in some severe and catastrophic cases, the skull of the brain could be fractured.
As the brain feels the accident’s impact, the brain moves back and forth in the skull, leading to possible bleeding, bruising, and nerve-tearing. The patient could experience loss of memory, dizziness, nausea, blurry vision, or loss of consciousness after the accident. Most injured workers may do well right after the accident; however, their condition could decline quickly once left unattended and with the passage of time.
Sometimes, after an initial impact happens, the brain experiences a delayed-trauma, where it swells, pushes itself through the skull with a decrease of oxygen-rich blood flow. This injury is called a secondary injury, which is more damaging and fatal than the primary injury.
What are the symptoms of TBI injury?
When an injured worker is suffering from a TBI injury, the effects could range from a wide range of physical to neurological and psychological symptoms. Some of these effects and symptoms usually manifest right after the accident; however, other can takes days, weeks, if not months to develop. That is why it is extremely important to track and journal your symptoms, especially if you have suffered a head trauma on the job.
Here are some examples of traumatic brain injury or head trauma symptoms to look out for if you have been injured at work:
Mild Traumatic Brain Injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Conscious but feeling dazed or confused
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Extensive or chronic fatigue
- Speech problems
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of balance
- Blurry vision
- Ringing in the ears
- Loss of taste or smell
- Light sensitivity
- Noise sensitivity
Cognitive or Mental Symptoms
- Problems with memory and recalling information or important dates
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in mood
- Depressed or anxious
Moderate to Severe Traumatic Injuries
The symptoms for moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries are similar to mild TBI. However, more symptoms are noticeable and observed for these categories that often appear in the first few hours after the accident or the days after.
- Loss of consciousness from minutes to hours
- Consistent headache or severe headache
- Consistent vomiting and/or nausea
- Seizures or convulsions
- One or/both pupils dilated
- Clear fluid flow from ears or nose
- Inability to wake up from sleep
- Weakness or numbness of fine motor skills (e.g., toes and fingers)
- Coordination loss
Cognitive or Mental Symptoms
- Extreme confusion
- Feeling agitated or shows unusual behavior
- Slurred or unclear speech
- Comatose or other consciousness disorders
What are the common causes of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Traumatic brain injuries result due to an impact to the head and brain. Although causes of traumatic brain injuries vary by age, they often lead to the most common causes of temporary or permanent damage and disability that can change your life.
Common accidents or workplace injuries that result in TBI injury are the following:
- Falls. The injured worker could have fallen from a building, construction site, bed, work ladder, stairs, or anything from a certain height that badly hit and impact the head.
- Vehicular Accidents. Vehicular accidents include any collisions that involve cars, motorcycles, bicycles. Any accidents involving the pedestrian is also a part of this category.
- Violence. This cause involves gunshot wounds, physical abuse, hazing, child abuse, rape, or other assaults. These can all result in a TBI injury.
- Sports Injuries. Due to the extreme background and nature of sports, traumatic injuries are often found to be the result of injuries incurred from playing the following: soccer, boxing, football, basketball, skateboarding, hockey, lacrosse and baseball, amongst others. These are most common to the younger generation.
- Combat Injuries. One of the most common combat injuries that military personnel often encounter is from explosive blasts. Although it is still a question about how it could damage the brain, researchers believe that it may be because of the pressure wave that disrupts the entire cognitive function. However, traumatic brain injuries are often the result of severe wounds and blows with shrapnel or debris and collisions of foreign objects to one’s body after the blast.
What are the types of Traumatic Brain Injuries?
It is a type of mild traumatic brain injury that can cause quick unconsciousness to the patient. It does not usually lead to permanent brain damage or injury.
Contusion refers to the bruised area of a particular part of the brain caused by an impact known as coup or contrecoup injuries. Coup injuries are often termed for injuries that are directly under the area of the impact. In contrast, contrecoup injuries are the injuries found on the opposite side of the impact.
Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI)
Diffuse axonal injury refers to the stretching of the nerve cells on a cellular level. When the brain moves back and forth in the skull, it often results in bleeding and tearing of the nerve axons. Nerve axons are responsible for connecting the brain’s nerve cell to one another. Once an axonal injury happens, it stops the regular transmission of information in the brain and results in a significant change in the person’s ability to be awake.
Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (tSAH)
Traumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage refers to the bleeding of a space that surrounds the brain. This space has a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) responsible for protecting the brain from possible harm. The traumatic SAH usually happens during the first injury, as tearing occurs with the small arteries. The blood that comes out spreads over the brain, and it usually causes more complications.
A hematoma is a formed blood clot that occurs after a blood vessel ruptures. When the blood happens to escape the bloodstream, it then thickens and forms a clot. Clotting happens as the body’s natural response to stop the bleeding. The size of a hematoma could be small or large. There are a variety of symptoms that can be experienced depending on the clot’s location.
If the clot is found between the skull and the dura lining, it is called an epidural hematoma. In comparison, the clot found between the brain and the dura is called a subdural hematoma. However, the clot that forms within the brain tissue is called an intracerebral hematoma. Surgeries usually do the removal of large clots.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Traumatic Brain Injury?
Once a person is brought into the emergency room, the doctors will then be informed about the symptoms and how the accident occurred. The doctors work on an overall assessment to identify the condition of the patient. Moreover, the Glasgow Coma Score (GCS) will check the patient’s consciousness level. The assessment involves asking and finding out the ability to 1) open and close eyes, 2) respond when asked orientation questions, and 3) follow instructions. If the patient is unable to keep up with instructions due to being unconscious, the doctor will conduct a pain stimulation threshold to check the patient’s response. By identifying the total GCS score, the severity of the injury can then be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
To further examine the condition of the patient, the doctors will undergo the following diagnostic imaging tests:
- Computed Tomography (CT). It is an X-ray that provides detailed images of the brain’s anatomical structures. A CT scan helps reveal if the brain has bleeding, fractures, blood clots, and the severity of the injury. Moreover, the result of a CT scan helps doctors in making decisions regarding the patient’s condition.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). With the presence of a magnetic field and radiofrequency waves, a detailed view of the brain’s soft tissues is possible. In general cases, a dye is injected into the patient’s bloodstream. MRI can show a more detailed overview of the brain that cannot be viewed on a CT scan.
- Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS). It provides relevant information about the brain’s metabolism. The results taken out from this test can identify the patient’s ability to recover from the sudden injury.
What are the available treatments for TBI Injury?
Patients who experience mild traumatic brain injury need ample rest and medicines to relieve persistent headaches. Moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries, on the other hand, needs to be monitored in a hospital’s intensive care unit. In some cases, patients do not require surgeries, but nurses and doctors keep them stable. The treatment aims to ensure the prevention of secondary injury complications and the patient’s possible rehabilitation to its recovery. Despite the extensive research, doctors can only control the brain swelling, yet they have not found a way to prevent it from happening.
Neurocritical care is the intensive care unit for patients who are suffering from a severe brain injury. Most patients who are suffering from severe traumatic brain injuries are unconscious. They are either paralyzed or comatose, as they have severe injuries from the other parts of their bodies. The neurocritical care unit has a specialty-trained doctor who oversees the patient’s medical and neurological care. The patient’s condition is checked hourly by the nurses, and at times, they are awakened to perform the necessary assessment regarding brain function.
- Sedation and pain-killer. Patients who are suffering from a head injury necessarily have to be sedated with medications. Moreover, pain-killers help them feel comfortable as they tend to be suffering from other serious injuries. The medications can then be easily turned off if there is a need for a brain function assessment while awake.
- Intracranial Pressure Control. The medicine used to control the pressure within the brain is hypertonic saline. It helps release extra water from the brain cells to the bloodstream and allows the kidneys to take it out of the blood.
- Seizures Prevention. Most patients who have mild to severe traumatic brain injuries experience seizures a week after the injury. Thus, these patients are given medications to prevent seizures from happening.
- Infection Prevention. Despite the safety measures done by the doctors and nurses, the risk for infection always exists. The devices that are placed on the patient’s body for monitoring can be a source of microbe. In case an infection is found, it will be forwarded to the laboratory to analyze the cause. Moreover, in case it is proven to exist, an antibiotic will be prescribed to the patient.
To repair skull fractures, bleeding vessels, remove large clots, and relieve intracranial pressure, surgery may be necessary. These surgeries often include Craniotomy, Decompressive Craniectomy, Tracheotomy, and Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy Tube (PEG). Surgeons do these to help the holistic recovery of the patient. Although not all patients need surgeries during the first few assessments, the need to do so may come after. Thus, constant monitoring should take place.
In some cases, rehabilitation is required to further speed up the recovery process. The primary goal of rehab is to ensure the patient’s ability to adapt to social and personal endeavors. Depending on the patient’s condition and needs, rehab can be any of the following: speech, occupational and physical, including psychiatric and social support.
What are the possible complications of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Regarding consciousness, awareness, and responsiveness, the patient with moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries could experience prolonged or permanent effects such as coma, vegetative state, minimally conscious state, or worst, brain death.
Aside from frequent headaches and vertigo, an injured worker may experience recurrent seizures, which is called post-traumatic epilepsy. Cerebrospinal fluid may also fill in the spaces in the brain, which causes the brain to swell. The injured worker could also be prone to infections by tearing the brain’s protective layers due to the existing wounds. Moreover, the blood vessels may also be prone to damage due to traumatic brain injury, which leads to blood clots, stroke, and other complications.
It is usual for patients to experience any of these complications for weeks to months after the accident; however, it is commonly referred to as post-concussion syndrome if it has mixed complications for an extended period.
Intellectual and Communication Problems
For injured workers who went through a significant brain injury, the changes in their cognitive skills may be imminent. The inability to focus and process their thoughts may also be observed. A traumatic brain injury could affect every individual’s cognitive and executive functioning skills: reasoning, memory, judgment, attention, problem-solving, decision-making and planning, to name a few.
Moreover, language and communication skills are also significantly affected, and these would commonly be the cause of frustration, misunderstanding, and conflict within the family and loved ones. The patients may find it difficult to communicate or understand speech and writing, including nonverbal signs.
Behavioral and Emotional Problems
The behavior of the patient may change as a result of traumatic brain injury. These changes usually include the inability to control oneself physically and verbally, lack of awareness, or inability to overcome social situations. Thus, behavioral problems often lead to emotional changes since having difficulty in socializing and communicating could lead to depression, anxiety, anger, insomnia, irritability, and mood swings.
When patients experience sensory problems, it may be difficult for them to express these problems. Thus, constant monitoring and check-ups are a must. Sensory problems that they may encounter include the constant ringing in the ears, inability to coordinate the hands and eyes, blurred or double vision, or difficulty to balance.
How a TBI Injury Attorney Provide Help and Support?
If there is the suspicion that an injured worker has suffered from a traumatic brain injury or head trauma, the injured worker should immediately be evaluated by a medical professional, preferably in a hospital setting. During the medical evaluation process, the doctors will undergo a series of tests to assess the patient’s condition and the possibility of traumatic brain injury. However, the CT scan and MRI results are not enough to diagnose a patient from suffering a traumatic head injury.
Being successful traumatic brain injury lawyers over the years, we ensure cutting-edge technologies and necessary tests to diagnose a traumatic brain injury. Moreover, we help ensure that you get the medical treatment necessary to help you recover once diagnosed with traumatic brain injury.
ODG LAW GROUP has opened its doors since 2011 to primarily offer legal assistance to fully promote and protect the well-being of the individuals who are in dire need of our help. In helping victims and injured workers suffering with traumatic brain injury, we commit to dealing firmly with your case and protect you from insurance lawyers and doctors who have misconceptions regarding traumatic brain injury. Several medical practitioners believe that traumatic brain injury only results when an object hits the head directly. Thus, it is vital to hire lawyers with a broad knowledge of traumatic brain injuries and the latest scientific technologies continuously evolving.
What are the rights that a victim with TBI Injury has due to an accident or medical malpractice?
If you or your loved ones are suffering from mild to severe traumatic brain injury due to another person’s conduct or negligence, you have the right to receive fair and just compensation. Traumatic brain injuries can have a lasting effect on the injured worker and the family physically, emotionally, and mentally. Thus, once you are diagnosed with TBI, it is nearly impossible to live the life you used to.
The experienced lawyers from ODG LAW GROUP work with the medical and other experts to ensure proper compensation for medical and rehabilitation expenses, disability, loss of earning capacity, loss of life and other significant losses. We ensure to fight with you in your fight for justice.
Why is ODG Law Group The Right Law Firm to Hire for Your Traumatic Brain Injury Case?
Several law firms offer legal assistance to TBI injury patients. Yet, ODG LAW GROUP stands out from the rest of them because of the following top reasons:
Being determined and successful in traumatic brain injuries since 2011, ODG Law group lawyers have proven to fight for just compensation for those who need it the most. TBI injury is a complicated matter; however, with the right lawyers equipped with necessary resources handling your case, proving and defending your traumatic brain injury case is always possible. Moreover, the ODG Law group lawyers not only have the time and resources, but they will put in the effort necessary to work with other specialists and experts to further support and prove your claim.
Handling a TBI injury case may be a complex process, especially when trying to prove the existence of the diagnosis. Thus, you need to hire lawyers who can give the undivided attention that you need. ODG Law Group lawyers ensure that your case will be given the utmost time and preparation. We will guide you through each step of the entire legal process and ensure that you are not left behind.
How to contact the best Brain Injury Lawyers from ODG Law Group, Inc.?
If you wish to ask for a case evaluation regarding a TBI Injury case, feel free to contact us at (818) 975-3080. ODG Law Group would be more than happy to provide you with compassionate and well-deserved legal services every day.