The brain is one of the most complicated human body organs. Your memories, thoughts, behaviors, emotions and actions rely on proper brain function. A serious impact or injury can lead to traumatic brain injury—also known as TBI—and it can change your entire life.
What is a traumatic brain injury?
TBI is defined as a blow, jolt or penetrating head injury that results in permanent loss of proper brain function. Not all head injuries result in TBI. It can be tricky to determine the severity of such an injury. Symptoms range from “mild,” such as a brief change in mental status or consciousness, to “severe” in which an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia happens. TBI can result in short or long-term problems with brain function.
A brain injury can occur in different ways, such as:
- Skull fractures
- Blunt force trauma to the head
- Sudden acceleration or deceleration
Injuries can occur though various accidents. Violent assaults, work-related accidents, car accidents, motorcycle accidents, construction accidents, blasts from explosives, and slip-and-fall accidents can cause brain injury.
How many people suffer TBI?
In the United States, 1.7 million people sustain a TBI each year, according to brainline.org. Of the many victims:
- 275,000 are hospitalized
- 52,000 die
- 1.365 million are treated and released from an emergency room, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2010.
A study by the National Institutes of Health found that 85% of brain injury patients do not receive treatment or counseling for long term difficulties caused by brain injury. The high cost of rehabilitation services has placed treatment out of reach for many victims.
Should a TBI victim seek medical or legal counsel?
Following a head injury, the victim may not realize a severe injury has happened. More often than not, it is family and friends who noticed changes in speech, behavior, memory and problems completing daily life tasks. These are symptoms that a traumatic brain injury has happened.
Facing life with a traumatic brain injury is frightening. There are so many things to consider; medical costs, housing issues, home modifications to help with your new limitations or disabilities, transportation, financial planning, counseling for behavioral issues, and more.
It is important that the TBI victim receive proper medical diagnosis and treatment. Highly specialized head injury rehabilitation is necessary for recovery. A good personal injury attorney can review the legal aspects of seeking compensation for your permanent impairment, and coordinate your medical treatment so that you can recover to the fullest extent.
If you, a friend or relative have concerns regarding a traumatic brain injury, contact an attorney experienced in brain injury cases to learn more about legal compensation and medical options.