Information for Victims of Traumatic Brain Injury

How the Injury Happens?

Brain injuries can occur when the head strikes an object such as a windshield or the ground at a fast rate of speed, or when a flying or falling object strikes the head. Injury to the brain also can occur without a direct blow to the head, for example in cases of severe "whiplash." When a human head is struck or strikes a hard object, the brain will frequently ricochet inside the skull. Thus, brain injuries frequently occur towards the outside of the brain on the side of the initial impact, as well as on the outside of the brain, directly opposite to the point of the impact.

 

When Do Symptoms for Traumatic Brain Injury Appear?

When an injury to the brain occurs, it can affect the victim’s ability to process and filter information as well as cause physiological symptoms in the body.  Indeed, because the brain is the most critical organ in the human body and filters and analyzes all stimuli from the world. So when the brain is injured, the consequences to the victim can be extremely severe and often unpredictable. Symptoms can become noticeable immediately after an injury or can take up to a month to appear. The most common symptoms observed after a traumatic brain injury include:

 

  • Attention Deficit
  • Bad taste in the mouth,
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Change in personality
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty multi-tasking
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • fatigue or lethargy
  • headache
  • lightheadedness
  • Loss of memory
  • Loss of Sleep
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Severe headache

 

Regardless of when symptoms appear, if you believe you may have suffered from a traumatic brain injury, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately upon the recognition of symptoms.  Oftentimes, immediate medical attention can reduce the likelihood of permanent brain damage.

 

 

TYPES OF BRAIN INJURY
Injuries can occur in a variety of unpredictable manners and are usually classified by the severity of the injury or the mechanism of the injury. They usually derive from “impact” type injuries. For example:

 

1. Closed (also known as a closed head injuries) injuries to the brain are caused by movement of the brain within the skull. Causes may include falls, motor vehicle crash, or being struck by or with an object. In a motor vehicle collision, these types of injuries can occur when the head strikes the dashboard or other interior aspect of the car. The brain upon impact moves slightly within the skull, but the force of the impact on the side of the skull is sufficient to cause damage to the brain.

 

 

2. Penetrating – A severe brain injury caused by foreign objects penetrating the skull. Typical causes are firearms, severe impacts or falls causing crush injuries to the head and being struck with a sharp object. These type of injuries are less common for accident victims and usually result in death.

 

 

THE LOCATION OF INJURY IS IMPORTANT

The location of injury in the brain also has a discernible consequence on the type of symptoms that manifest. For example, injuries to the limbic system can result in emotional changes, loss of smell, or even coma. Injuries to the back of the head (occipital lobe) can result in a variety of visual impairments; loss of depth perception, blindness, double vision, etc. The frontal lobe is the most commonly damaged brain injury for accident victims. Injuries to the frontal lobe of the brain often result in loss of voluntary motor functions. Interestingly, enough, when the brain is damaged in a motor vehicle accident, it will often ricochet inside the human skull. Thus, even though the force of impact comes from the front, victims can suffer damage to their occipital lobe (back of the brain) from the force of the brain slamming against the back of the skull.

 

 

 

 

This same ricochet effect, explains why people sometimes suffer eye damage or black eyes, after being struck in the head. The force of the impact is sometimes sufficient to damage the blood vessels and skin surrounding the eyes and in some cases may even damage the optic nerves or other parts of the visual system.

 

 

For more information you can check out these useful resources:

 

 

Resources for TBI victims:

http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/

http://www.traumaticbraininjuryatoz.org/

http://www.cdc.gov/traumaticbraininjury/causes.html

 

 

Brain Injury in Small Children

It is that time of year again! The book bags have been purchased, new shoes adorn kids’ feet, and paper towels are stacked and classroom-ready. Although the brand new school supplies tend to put smiles on children’s faces, the back-to-school season is undeniably a rough adjustment. After a summer spent enjoying everything that Maryland has to offer, including many days outdoors in the sunshine, the focus required by a day’s worth of school can prove challenging. Add to that the fact that children are asked to work during the evenings to practice math equations or grammar exercises, and the need for focus mounts. Gone are the days of free-range learning, running on playgrounds, and eating when hunger hits. When autumn hits, routine rules the day. For some children the need and ability to focus is further challenged by traumatic brain injury (TBI). If a child you love has suffered from even a minor TBI, here is what science tells us about heading back to school this season:

 

How Does a TBI Develop?

A TBI can occur when an object strikes the head or the brain itself is jolted around within the skull (for example, from the body being whipped around abruptly). The most common type of TBI is a concussion. Most commonly, TBI will occur when a person falls, is involved in a traffic accident, is assaulted, or is injured playing sports. About 1,300 children will suffer from a severe or fatal TBI each year as a result of child abuse. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to developing a TBI even from less impact than necessary in an adult. Concussions are also more common in young children because their heads are disproportionate in size compared to the rest of their bodies.

 

How Common is TBI?

TBIs range from mild to severe and encompass any number of accidents involving the head. For this reason it is one of the most common injuries. In 2009 it is reported that more than 248,000 teens and children went to the emergency room and received treatment for a sports-related TBI. According to the Brain Injury Association of the United States every year TBI in children aged 0 to 14 years leads to 2,685 deaths, 37,000 hospitalizations, and 435,000 emergency department visits.

 

How Does TBI Relate to Focusing?

Researchers measuring the mental functioning of children, with input from their parents and teachers, have found that children who have suffered TBI struggle academically. Not only are their processing speeds slower but their attention lapses last for a longer period of time. Though there is no direct cause-and-effect relationship measured, the correlation between attention lapse and brain injury is apparent. Researchers found that even where brain scans did not identify obvious brain damage, the results were similar for those who had head trauma within the previous 18 months.

 

Going back to school can prove a difficult change of pace for many, but for children with TBI the struggle is even more apparent. Some children may require additional help with their studies. If your child has suffered a TBI due to the negligence of another you may be entitled to compensation. Contact our team at Bob Katz Law today to find out how we can help.

 

Justin P. Katz
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Justin Katz is a personal injury lawyer who represents injury victims in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC