Head Trauma Lawyer Serving North and South Carolina
A brain injury occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. This can happen when the head suddenly and violently hits an object or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. It can be caused by an accident or the deliberate actions of another person. This includes car accidents where another person is at fault, head injuries in a backyard pool where rules are not adequately posted, or cases of battery where another person has struck you. If these actions result in a brain injury, the other party may be liable for you injuries. If you or a loved one has experienced a traumatic brain injury, take the first step to protect your legal rights – contact the personal injury firm of Bice Law today by calling 877-BICE-877 or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a traumatic brain injury attorney. We’ll review your situation free of charge and advise you of your legal options.
There are two types of brain injuries, mild and traumatic. A person with a mild brain injury may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or a few minutes. Traumatic brain injury (TBI), also called intracranial injury, occurs when physical trauma injures the brain. TBI is classified as mild, moderate or severe depending on the extent of the injury and how long a person might have been unconscious. Additionally, severity is measured by loss of memory and a rating on a neurological scale following the injury. TBI can result from a closed head injury or an injury that penetrates the skull and may occur in a specific location or over a widespread area.
TBI is a major cause of death and disability worldwide and the leading killer of people under the age of 45. In addition to the damage caused at the moment of injury, brain trauma initiates chemical reactions within the brain that contribute to damage in the hours and days following the injury.
Major causes of TBI include falls, auto, truck, boating, and motorcycle accidents, injuries from falling objects, sports accidents, and work-related injuries. Prevention includes using seat belts, helmets when riding bicycles or motorcycles, during certain sports, and hard hats in industrial settings. Falls account for 28% of TBI, motor vehicle accidents for 20%, being struck by an object for 19%, violence for 11%, and non-motor vehicle bicycle accidents for 3%. Blast injuries from explosions are another cause of TBI.
The symptoms of a brain injury usually appear immediately or shortly after a blow to the head. In many cases the symptoms are subtle and easy to miss, especially for the person who has been injured.
Signs and symptoms of a mild brain injury can include a brief period of unconsciousness, headache, confusion, and dizziness, blurred vision, ringing in the ears, mood changes and memory or concentration problems.
If the injury is moderate to severe, the list of signs and symptoms grows to include persistent headache, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, slurred speech, dilation of the pupils, loss of coordination, weakness or numbness in extremities, and increased confusion or agitation.
Children with brain injuries can present more serious problems because they may lack the communication skills to report their symptoms. Look for signs such as refusing to eat, the appearance of listlessness, or an increase in crankiness. You should also look for changes in sleep patterns or school performance, as well as a loss of interest in favorite toys or activities.
Problems typically associated with traumatic brain injuries come in two stages. The original impact may bruise portions of the brain or directly sever nerve connections. The second stage of the injury occurs when the tissue at the injury site begins to swell.
It is normal for injuries to cause swelling. In addition to being colorful, the bruised area can become tender and swollen. Unlike other areas of the body, inside the skull there’s no place for this swelling to go, so the pressure on the brain increases. Intracranial pressure must be monitored closely because it can result in additional damage to the brain.
Diagnosing a TBI
In order to diagnose TBI, a doctor will perform a neurological examination and assess the injured person’s vital signs and reflexes. This is an assessment of the patient’s neurological functioning by checking whether the pupils respond normally to light by constricting. This test is part of the Glasgow Coma Scale. Imaging tests such as x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans help to determine the diagnosis and prognosis and what treatments are appropriate. Patients with mild to moderate injuries may receive skull and neck x-rays to check for skull or vertebral fractures.
The best imaging test for TBI is often a CT scan. This type of scan creates a series of cross-sectional x-ray images of the head. MRIs, which can show more detail than x-rays or CT scans, can add information about expected outcome in the long-term treatment of TBI. However, MRI is not used in the emergency setting; reasons for this include the relative inefficacy in detecting bleeding and bone fractures on MRI, the length of time it takes to obtain images, the inaccessibility of the patient to the MRI apparatus, and the presence of metal items used in emergency care that can interfere with the strong magnet of the MRI machine.
Diffuse injuries have more microscopic injury than macroscopic injury and are difficult to detect with CT and MRI, but the presence of these injuries then can be inferred when small amounts of bleeding are visible in the brain. Newer studies such as the Diffusion Tensor Imaging are able to demonstrate the degree of white matter fiber tract injury even when the standard MRI is negative.
Other diagnostic techniques that may confirm a particular diagnosis include cerebral angiography, electroencephalography (EEG), transcranial Doppler ultrasound, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), functional magnetic resonance imagining (FMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET).
Additional neuropsychological tests can be performed to determine the cognitive effects of the injury and aid in recovery and rehabilitation. Tests used to determine neurological outcome include those that assess and measure loss of memory or amnesia, learning, motor abilities, language, attention, and ability to form concepts.
Anyone with signs of moderate or severe traumatic brain injury should receive immediate medical attention. Little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma but medical personnel try to stabilize someone with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. The primary concerns are insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure.
Moderately to severely injured patients should receive rehabilitation involving individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry (physical medicine), psychology/psychiatry, and social support.
A brain injury often erases one’s memory of events that occurred prior to injury. It can also make it more difficult to remember new information and learn new tasks or skills. Some memory problems may go away over time, while others may be permanent.
As TBI victims slowly recover and adjust, some carry cue cards that list coping strategies, such as slowing down, asking questions, paying attention to details, taking a break, and using a step-by-step method. Carrying a calendar or journal for planning and organizing daily activities can serve as a reminder of uncompleted tasks and as a storage site for information that the patient might otherwise forget.
Researchers are studying issues related to the special problems experienced by individuals who have traumatic brain injuries. These new strategies include the use of computer programs and research on the effects of medications on the recovery of speech, language, and cognitive abilities following traumatic brain injury.
Contact the Traumatic Brain Injury | Head Trauma Law Firm of Bice Law
If you have experienced a traumatic brain injury, take the first step to protect your legal rights– contact Justin Bice and the personal injury firm of Bice Law serving both North and South Carolina. You only have a limited time after your injury to file a claim, so act quickly. Call 877-BICE-877 today or submit an online request to get a free consultation with a traumatic brain injury attorney. Results are how we measure success – we’ve built a strong reputation both in and out of the courtroom, and we’ll put our experience and expertise to work on your behalf.