TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURIES (TBI)
The human brain remains susceptible to many different kinds of injury, despite being surrounded by the skull. Several million people in the United States live with the consequences of traumatic brain injury (TBI). They can be caused by skull fractures—open injuries that allow an object to have direct contact with the brain, and closed injuries, which leave the skull intact but cause damage to the brain tissue bumping into the inside of the skull. Accidents capable of injuring the brain also tend to injure the other structures of the head, frequently causing skull fractures, cranial nerve injuries, and the like.
A TBI of any significant severity can leave victims with lifelong mental, physical, and emotional problems. In short, TBI is often a life-altering event for victims. Even a TBI classified as mild may have lingering effects. The 10 to 25 percent of TBIs classified as moderate and severe cause even more severe and long lasting, problems.
Many traumatic brain injuries were not caused by anything the injured person did, but were someone else’s fault. The ability of TBI victims to obtain the best treatment and the most effective kinds of rehabilitation, assistive devices, and other desperately needed help often depends on recovering damages from the persons who caused the devastating injuries.
Profile of TBI Victims and Causes
According to a national database of TBI statistics, most TBI victims are:
- Relatively young (40 is the average age)
- Male (74 percent)
- Moderately educated (63 percent have a high school education or less)
The same database reports the most common causes of TBI as:
- Vehicle accidents (53 percent)
- Falls (24 percent)
- Intentional violence (12 percent).
Physical, Mental and Cognitive Deficits
Physically, TBI can cause a long list of physical problems, including:
- Deficits in vision, hearing, balance and speech
- Loss of coordination and strength
- Muscle spasms
- Paralysis and altered sensation
- Language problems
Short term memory deficits are common and put considerable stress on the victims and those around them. Other cognitive abilities that may be impaired include:
- Mental speed
- Communication of ideas and emotions
Mood and Emotions
TBI is notorious for affecting the personality of victims. In many cases family and friends report that the victim is no longer the person they knew before the injury. Depression and anxiety are common. Other mood and emotional problems may include:
- Emotional outbursts
- Loss of confidence
- Self absorption
- Executive function difficulties
Long Term Outcomes
The ultimate prognosis for TBI victims is difficult to estimate because there is so much variety in:
- The pre-injury abilities of the victims
- The number and severity of the deficits, both physical and mental, caused by the injury
- The ability of victims to compensate for functional deficits
The ability to compensate is itself a function of many different factors, especially the patient’s commitment and perseverance and the effectiveness of the victim’s support system.
Improvements in function and ability are most pronounced during the first year after injury. However, although 62 percent of TBI victims in one national database were employed at the time of injury, only 28 percent were employed one year after the injury.
Not surprisingly, friends and family are stressed by the fact that the person they had always known is simply gone. TBI tends to have an adverse effect on the intimate relationships of the victim’s life, especially marriage. The negative impact on marriages grows as time passes, but couples who had been together longer before the injury occurred tend to be more stable.
Help for Sufferers of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Brain injury cases are often long, always difficult, and necessarily occur at the same time that the victim and family are under tremendous stress from the impact of the injury. Not all law firms are equal when it comes to TBI. At Drake Law, we take only injury cases, and we provide personal attention to all our clients. Our success rate is near 99 percent on the cases we handle, including multi-million dollar verdicts.
Get the help you need from an attorney with 25 years experience in injury cases. Start by calling for a free consultation.