The brain is a singularly mysterious organ. It controls everything about us, from how we think and feel to how we move and interact with the world. Unfortunately, the actions of one careless individual are enough to cause an accident that could result in catastrophic consequences in the form of a traumatic brain injury. What is a traumatic brain injury, and how can you spot the tell-tale symptoms? What are the potential long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury?
The legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C. wants to help you and your family understand how a traumatic brain injury can impact your life.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is an injury to the head that can impact how the brain functions. A sudden and violent jolt to the head or a penetrating injury causes most TBIs. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that traumatic brain injuries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Close to 190 TBI-related death occurs in the U.S. every day.
There are two different types of traumatic brain injuries:
- Closed Brain Injury – Car accidents and sports injuries are common causes of closed brain injuries. These injuries occur when the head quickly accelerates forward and then backward. The violent jolt or blow to the head can cause the brain to collide with the skull resulting in bleeding, swelling, and tissue damage.
- Penetrating Brain Injury – Penetrating brain injuries happen when a foreign material, like a bullet or even a broken piece of the skull, penetrates the brain. Gunshot wounds are one of the most common causes of penetrating brain injuries in the U.S.
Common Causes of Brain Traumas
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest falling is the most common cause of TBIs in the United States. Nearly half of all TBI-related hospitalizations are attributed to falls. However, other violent acts can also lead to traumatic brain injuries. Some of the most common causes of TBIs include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Sports injuries
- Workplace incidents
Violent incidents such as shootings, domestic violence, and assaults are also among the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries.
Signs and Symptoms of a TBI
Traumatic brain injuries come in three degrees of intensity: mild, moderate, and severe. The symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury like a concussion can be subtle and may not manifest immediately after impact. The signs of a severe traumatic brain injury can vary and impact numerous bodily systems almost immediately.
It can be challenging homing in on the signs of a TBI because the brain controls everything we do, from how we think and feel to large and small muscle movements. You may not know it, but an injury to the brain can change how you speak, feel, think, and move. Signs and symptoms of traumatic brain injury may include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Changes in hearing or vision
- Loss of coordination or mobility
- Poor balance
- Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
- Changes in mood
- Memory problems
- Behavioral changes
- Slurred speech
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
If you’ve been involved in an accident where you suspect a head injury, seek medical attention immediately. Swelling and bleeding of the brain can be life-threatening conditions and can only be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals.
Long-Term Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Recovering from a traumatic brain injury can take days, weeks, months, or even years. In cases of severe TBI, the damage to the brain and subsequent complications may be permanent. Unfortunately, because the brain is in charge of just about everything in the human body, the long-term effects of a traumatic brain injury can vary. They may include physical and emotional changes and personality changes.
Determining the extent of potential long-term complications associated with traumatic brain injuries can be challenging. Often, the portion of the brain damaged by the injury gives physicians some indication of the type of long-term effects a victim may experience. However, the brain is a mysterious organ, and researchers continue discovering how the brain works and responds to physical trauma.
Long-term complications from traumatic brain injuries can be categorized in various ways. The physical effects of a traumatic brain injury may include:
- Chronic pain
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of vision
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of coordination
Those suffering from the long-term complications of a traumatic brain injury may also experience significant intellectual issues like changes in their cognitive skills. Examples of long-term intellectual effects can include:
- Memory loss or memory problems
- Learning difficulties
- Problems with reasoning or judgment
- Problems concentrating
- Issues with problem-solving
- Poor decision making
- Difficulties with beginning or completing tasks
- Challenges multitasking
Communication challenges are sometimes lumped together with intellectual changes in the brain and post-traumatic brain injury. Language and communication problems stemming from a brain injury can cause frustration and anxiety and lead to frequent miscommunications between individuals and their family members, friends, or caregivers. Long-term communication problems may include:
- Difficulty understanding the spoken word
- Difficulty understanding the written word
- Trouble following conversations
- Challenges reading non-verbal or social cues
- Inability to use or recall certain words
- Inability to organize thoughts and ideas
Emotional changes are also a potential long-term complication of traumatic brain injury. Often, those recovering from a brain injury may experience the following:
- Mood swings
- Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
Unfortunately, one of the long-term effects of a brain injury that can be the most challenging for people to understand is the behavioral changes that can impact a person. Traumatic brain injuries can dramatically change an individual’s personality, making it hard for them and their family to cope. Examples of behavioral changes that can manifest following a brain injury include:
- Difficulty exercising self-control
- Emotional outbursts
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- Lack of self-awareness
- Obsessive habits
- Child-like behavior
- Egocentric or self-centered behavior
Finally, researchers have also linked traumatic brain injury to numerous diseases and the eventual long-term loss of brain function. Traumatic brain injury may increase a person’s risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life. TBI may also increase a person’s chances of developing Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive condition that causes the muscles in the body to shake, become rigid, and slow their movements. Further studies indicate that individuals diagnosed with TBI are more than 28 times more likely to eventually be diagnosed with bipolar disorder, a serious mental health condition characterized by manic high and low mood swings.
Contact an Experienced New York Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney
Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury following an accident caused by a careless individual? You may recover meaningful compensation for your losses with the help of an experienced New York traumatic brain injury attorney.
The legal team at Finz & Finz, P.C. can review your case and help you navigate this frightening situation with compassion and sensitivity. Contact our office today at (855) TOP-FIRM to arrange a free legal evaluation.