A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a “bump, blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
A TBI can range in severity from mild to severe. A mild TBI is one that results in only a temporary change in mental state. A severe TBI can be either a closed or a penetrating injury. A penetrating severe TBI occurs when an object actually pierces the skull and enters the brain. A closed-head severe TBI occurs when the brain is jarred enough that it actually moves inside the skull, suffering damage when it slams against the bone.
A TBI can result from numerous types of accidents. The CDC lists falls as the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries, representing 32.5 percent of all TBIs each year. Car accidents are not far behind, accounting for 17.3 percent of TBI cases each year. While car accidents account for fewer TBIs each year than falls, they are often more severe. Car accidents are responsible for 31.8 of all fatal TBIs each year, according to the CDC.
Traumatic brain injuries are far more common than many people realize. In fact, the CDC considers TBI to be a serious public health problem in the United States. On a yearly basis, approximately 1.7 million people suffer a TBI. That means that on average someone suffers a TBI every 15 seconds. Even more shocking, someone dies and another person becomes permanently disabled because of a TBI an average of every five minutes.
Each year, TBI is a contributing factor in 1 in 3 deaths by injury in the United States. Not surprisingly, children under the age of 14 and older individuals are particularly susceptible to TBI accidents.
Common Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Because a TBI can be caused by so many different events and can range in severity, there is also a wide variety of symptoms that a victim might suffer.
Some common symptoms of TBI include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Sleep problems
- Nausea or vomiting
- Balance problems
- Inability to concentrate
- Blurred vision
- Nervousness or anxiety
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Unexplained mood swings
- Unusual sensitivity to sound or light
- Tired eyes
- Ringing in the ears
The signs and symptoms of a TBI often do not show up immediately following an accident. For this reason, anyone who has been in a car accident, suffered a fall or received a blow to the head should have a complete medical examination as soon as possible. If you begin to exhibit the symptoms of a TBI even weeks after an accident, seek medical help immediately.
Treatments for Traumatic Brain Injuries
The first step in treating a TBI is a proper examination. This is often conducted in an emergency room following a car crash, fall or other accident. The Glasgow Coma Scale is frequently used to determine the likelihood that a patient has suffered a brain injury. The test focuses on a patient’s ability to follow directions, remember information, and move their eyes and limbs.
Unfortunately, even the advances in medicine over the last century have not provided doctors with a way to reverse brain damage once it has occurred. For this reason, catching a TBI early is the key to preventing any further damage to the brain. In some cases, surgery is needed to relieve pressure on the brain or to decrease swelling inside the skull.
Once a TBI patient has been stabilized to prevent further damage to the brain, the focus usually shifts to physical, occupational and speech therapy, as well as psychological and social support. It is likely that a TBI victim will have lifelong effects if the injury was moderate to severe.
Compensation for Traumatic Brain Injuries in Washington State
A TBI can have a catastrophic effect on the victim and the victim’s family. Estimates show that the average cost of treating TBIs is around $150,000. For a young adult TBI victim who requires lifetime care, the cost estimate is over $4 million. If the victim requires a stay in a rehabilitation facility, it can cost more than $1,000 per day.
For most families, the financial aspect of a TBI cannot be ignored. If someone else was at fault for causing the accident that resulted in the TBI, he or she could be held financially responsible for the costs associated with treatment, lost earnings, pain and suffering and other damages.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury caused by someone else’s negligence in Yakima or elsewhere in Washington State, our experienced TBI lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. Contact the Mariano Morales Law Firm today by calling (509) 972-0493 or by using our online contact form. Your initial consultation is free of charge. If we handle your case, we receive payment only if we obtain a settlement or verdict for you.