Arizona Attorneys Discuss Indications of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
When you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you may think of only the injury itself as traumatic, or you may not understand what the term means at all. But a TBI is not only traumatic because it causes a physical trauma to your brain or skull. It is also because of the damage that occurs to your life, and to your physical and mental faculties.
TBIs are defined by the amount of intracranial force that is exerted on the brain, causing bruising, inflammation, tears, and other damage. But there are many different ways that you can suffer a traumatic brain injury. This includes being hit in the head, hitting your head while slipping and falling, being struck by a projectile or other instrument, or any other type of accident that causes a blow to the head or causes intracranial damage.
The most significant problem with TBIs is that they can be missed because they frequently do not come with outer signs of injury and can cause death or permanent damage before you are able to get help. More importantly, you may not be able to prevent these accidents because they are frequently the result of accidents caused by negligence.
What Qualifies as a TBI?
Traumatic brain injuries do not have to crack open the skull to qualify as traumatic. Trauma to the head and brain may include concussions and other blows to the head that cause injury and the development of symptoms related to brain and head injuries.
Indicators of TBIs
Suffering a TBI can change your life in an instant. A severe TBI may result in immediate death. Indefinite comatose states are also telltale signs of a severe TBI. However, not all brain injuries result in death or coma. For the different levels of injury, there are different symptoms for which you should be on the lookout, which include:
- Losing consciousness, even for just a few seconds
- Disorientation or confusion after being struck in the head
- Headache, dizziness, loss of balance, vomiting, or nausea
- Difficulty concentrating or remembering things
- Becoming overly sensitive to light, sound, and smells
- Sudden changes in mood
- Problems with the senses, such as ringing in your ears, blurry vision, or a bad taste in your mouth
- Sudden changes in the way you feel, like becoming anxious, depressed, overly drowsy, or fatigued
- Changes in your sleep patterns like sleeping too much or having an unusually difficult time going to sleep
- Severe confusion that merits attention
- Losing consciousness for more than a few minutes
- Severe changes in behavior, like severe agitation, unusual behaviors, becoming combative, slurring speech, losing coordination, and more
- Becoming weak or numb in the toes and fingers with no other cause
- Headaches that will not go away
- Seizures, convulsions, or shaking
- Drainage from the nose or ears, especially clear liquids
- Nausea and vomiting that will not cease
- All additional symptoms of mild TBI
Severe TBI, as previously indicated, typically lead to coma or death, though they may include the symptoms of moderate traumatic brain injuries.
How TBI Symptoms for Children May Differ
If you have a child, it is important to note that symptoms for children who have suffered a TBI may be different from the standard symptoms exhibited by adults. Because children often cannot tell you what is wrong - headache, confusion, trouble breathing, or hearing - it is important to watch out for the following symptoms:
- Easy to irritate, crying without stopping
- Change in eating habits; for babies, change in nursing habits
- Inability to pay attention past the norm
- Depression or being unusually sad
- No longer wanting to play with toys, or friends, or engage in activities
Remember, if your child has hit his or her head and is acting strange, it is important to see a doctor right away for an examination and treatment.
How You Might Suffer Brain Trauma
When you think about the idea of suffering a TBI, you probably think it could never happen to you. But the reality is that these injuries can happen to anyone. No matter how careful you are, if another person acts negligently, his or her actions could cause you to suffer a serious injury to your skull and brain. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services (AZDHS), around 9,760 people are admitted to the emergency room each year for intracranial injuries. Countless more are admitted to the emergency room for TBI caused by a lack of oxygen. There are many different ways that these types of accidents can occur. Some of the most common ways brain injuries happen in Arizona include:
- Car crashes that cause the victim to sustain injuries via whiplash, hitting their head on the dashboard or another part of the vehicle, or by having their head crushed in the course the accident.
- Swimming accidents and other drowning accidents. Slipping and falling at the pool or in the tub can cause a fracture to the skull. However, victims of drowning incidents at these sites and other locations with water - lakes, streams, rivers, ponds, etc. - may also sustain additional injuries caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain over more than 30 to 45 seconds, which is considered to be a significant amount of time for the brain to go without air.
- Sports accidents can cause a world of hurt for victims who are hit in the head with a sports ball or other object, who are crushed, run into, or thrown to the ground, or who otherwise have their heads struck during the course of game play.
- Slip and fall accidents that cause the victim to hit his or her head on something hard, including a cabinet, a building, or the ground.
- Injuries that are inflicted on purpose during a fight or some other type of altercation.
If You Think That You've Suffered a TBI
It is important to always see a doctor after suffering a blow to the head, even if the injury seems relatively minor. However, if you elect to not visit the doctor right away after a mild concussion or other minor head trauma, you should continue to monitor yourself or the injured party for symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. Symptoms of head trauma may take several hours or up to a day to present, depending on the severity of the injury. Symptoms accompanying a head injury within the past two days indicate the need to visit a doctor. For children, a doctor should always be consulted, no matter how slight the injury may appear.
The Benefits of Surgery
If you've suffered a mild TBI, chances are your brain and your head will heal on their own without significant medical intervention. However, if you suffer a moderate or severe TBI, you may have to undergo surgery.
Surgery is frequently needed in cases where the skull has been fractured or serious intracranial injuries have occurred. When the brain is whipped around inside the skull, pressure can build up and the brain can bleed. Both situations usually require surgery to save the life of the patient and promote healing. A fractured skull allows in bacteria and debris, including skull fragments, which can cut the brain. Surgery is necessary to reduce the risk of death, paralysis, or other permanent damage. Traumatic brain injuries that are caused by projectiles can leave victims with a projectile, such as a bullet or other object, stuck in their brain and requiring removal.
How TBIs Can Change Your Life
Because TBIs result in damage to the brain that is either temporary or permanent, victims should expect their lives to change. For those who suffer a mild TBI, the damage is often only temporary, and discomfort typically lasts only up to six months. However, for those who sustain more serious brain trauma, the damage can last years, if not forever.
Traumatic brain injuries may impact your ability to work and earn a living, take care of yourself, complete simple daily tasks, and remember things for longer than a few days or even minutes in extreme cases. Not being able to remember how to brush your own hair or knowing how to do this action but not being able to complete it can make life frustrating and impossible to bear. These injuries become even more frustrating when you learn that there is nothing you can do about it, or when the person who caused your injuries is not held liable for their negligence.
Why You May Need an Attorney After a TBI Accident
After a TBI, your primary focus will be on recovery. For most victims of traumatic brain injuries, the initial months and years of recovery are the worst, and can also lead to confusion, frustration, pain, and additional suffering. Neglecting to contact an attorney in a timely fashion can make the situation worse when the statute of limitations passes and the victim can no longer seek recourse. For victims of TBIs, it is important to know the reasons you should contact an Arizona personal injury lawyer if you've been injured in an accident caused by another person.
Some of the most important reasons you might want to call an attorney are:
- Your injuries were caused by another person's negligence
- You are unable to get adequate medical care for your injuries
- Your injuries have rendered you unable to work or to care for yourself
- Your insurance company is refusing to pay for your medical expenses
- Your insurance is covering your medical expenses, but the co-pays and other expenses related to your care are too much for you to handle financially
- The at-fault party's insurance is refusing to pay
- You are facing a lengthy recovery that will take months or years to complete
It is most important to remember that if you are injured and not sure whether you need legal assistance, you should call (602) 267-1280 for a consultation. Only an Arizona catastrophic injury attorney can help you decide whether you have a case that should be pursued.
Finding the Right Help After a TBI
If you suffered a traumatic brain injury, it is important to get the right help to ensure that you are able to make it through your recovery mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially. The attorneys at the Breyer Law Offices, P.C. understand that TBIs come with frustration, pain, and many complications and do whatever it takes to help the victim and their family through the difficulties that come with a traumatic brain injury accident and lawsuit. They can help you or your family determine whether the case is worth pursuing, and work hard to negotiate fair compensation to cover your family's losses. For help with your recovery and your lawsuit, contact Arizona catastrophic injury attorneys Alexis and Mark Breyer.