According to a recent article in The Washington Post, traumatic brain injury (TBI) is the leading cause of death and disability in young adults in the developed world. The second leading cause of death for those ages 15 to 24 is suicide. Now research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association proposes that at least some of the cause could be from traumatic brain injuries. [More on that below.]
The severity of brain damage depends on the type of brain injury. For example, a mild brain injury may only be temporary. This TBI may cause headaches, confusion, memory issues, and nausea.
With a moderate brain injury, the symptoms may be longer lasting and more pronounced. In both circumstances, most patients will typically make a strong recovery. But unfortunately, 15% of those who experience a mild brain injury will have persistent problems after a year.
Finally, if an individual suffers a severe brain injury, he or she may experience life-changing and severely debilitating problems. This may be in the form of cognitive, behavioral, and physical disabilities which are described below. In the most serious of cases, those patients in a coma or a minimally responsive state may be dependent on the care of others for the remainder of their lives.
Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are destructive and in many cases permanent injuries that typically happen when a person receives a violent blow to the head or a jolt to the body that results in serious damage to the brain. TBI is the result of an external force that causes the brain to move inside the skull or damages the skull. This movement damages the brain.
In the United States every year, roughly 2.6 million people have some sort of brain injury. Many are the result of trauma that is caused in the following situations:
- Automobile accidents;
- Motorcycle accidents;
- Bicycle accidents;
- Blows to the head;
- Sports injuries;
- Falls or accidents;
- Physical violence; and
- Accidents in the workplace.
Closed and Open TBIs
There are also two types of traumatic brain injuries: open and closed. An open traumatic brain injury happens when an object penetrates the skull and enters the brain itself, like a bullet wound.
A closed head injuries usually results in diffused brain damage. This means that the damage occurs in several areas of the brain. Both sides of the brain may be damaged, and the nerves could be stretched throughout the brain. This is known as diffuse axonal injury or DAI.
Symptoms of Brain Damage
There are numerous symptoms of traumatic brain damage, and they fall into four primary categories:
- Cognitive, which includes difficulty processing information, trouble expressing thoughts, a shortened attention span, impaired decision-making ability, and memory loss;
- Perceptual, which may mean a change in vision, hearing, or sense of touch, an inability to sense time, disorders of smell and taste, issues with balance, and an elevated sensitivity to pain;
- Physical symptoms can include, persistent headaches, extreme mental and physical fatigue, paralysis, tremors and seizures, light sensitivity, sleep disorders, slurred speech, and loss of consciousness; and
- Behavioral/emotional symptoms, such as irritability and impatience, a lack of stress tolerance, sluggishness, flattened or heightened emotions or reactions, denial of disability, and increased aggressiveness.
Other Medical Conditions
There can also be other medical conditions associated with traumatic brain injury. These include:
- The inability to walk;
- The inability to swallow food and water (known as dysphagia);
- Problems with balance and equilibrium that frequently show up as dizziness, vertigo, blurred vision, and unsteadiness in walking;
- The loss of fine motor skills;
- Decreased breathing capacity; and
- An altered sense of smell and taste.
TBI and Suicide
Researchers at the Danish Research Institute of Suicide Prevention recently found that of the 7.5 million people in Denmark, more than 34,500 deaths between 1980 and 2014 were by suicide. About 10% of the people who took their own lives had also suffered a medically-documented traumatic brain injury. The statistical analysis was done using the Danish Cause of Death registry.
This study found that those with mild TBI had an elevated suicide risk by 81%. However, individuals with severe TBI had a higher suicide risk that was more than two times the rate or double the risk of someone with no TBI.
The study found that three factors most strongly predicted the risk of suicide:
- The severity of the traumatic brain injury;
- An initial incidence happening in young adulthood; and
- A discharge from a hospital for a TBI in the previous six months.
A forensic psychiatrist at the University of Oxford who also has studied TBIs and health risks, including mental health issues in large Scandinavian populations commented that, “What is important in this study is that we can say that these risks are also found when TBIs are sustained in childhood.”
In California, a traumatic brain injury could occur in youngsters injured in a skate boarding incident, a tackle football game, or a game of tag at the city park.
A neurologist and professor of neuroscience at the University of California at Berkeley also remarked on the Danish research, emphasizing that people shouldn’t be sent out of ER without a follow-up by a psychiatrist or psychologist.
TBI and California Football
Football has overtaken baseball as America’s favorite pastime. With NFL games on several days a week, it’s no wonder that kids in Pasadena and West Covina want to grow up to be Jared Goff or Joey Bosa.
But as participation rises in California for student sports, football is experiencing a multi-year decline. The risk of head injuries is one factor. The trend in football’s decreased participation trend started in 2014-15. That’s when the public started to become more aware of head injuries and concussions. The Associate Executive Director of the California Interscholastic Federation assumes that some kids are leaving because there are concerns of health and safety.
Football participation has decreased, but other sports have grown in California, with the total number of students in sports at an all-time high (808,557) for the sixth consecutive year. And boy’s football is still the most popular sport, as far as participation numbers. But other sports like soccer continue to see increases.
Even so, a study of college athletes showed that more than 40% of the soccer players had at least one concussion prior to attending college. In contrast, only 30% of the incoming football players in the same study reported having had a concussion.
So you can see that football and soccer can cause TBI. Talk to an experienced TBI in California at the Thompson Law Office about head injuries in sports to see if you can be compensated.
Compensation for Victims of a Traumatic Brain Injury
Whether a traumatic brain injury is sustained from a sports injury, an incident at work, or a road accident, there are many ways in which the brain damage may affect an individual’s life.
A TBI attorney at the Thompson Law Office can help determine the types of damages of which a TBI victim may be entitled. Some of the types of damages that a TBI victim may obtain include the following:
- Pain and Suffering may be awarded to compensate the victim for the short- and long-term deterioration of the enjoyment of life, like headaches, trouble walking, or altered sense of smell and taste;
- Lost Wages may be provided for the time that the TBI victim must miss employment to recover;
- Diminishment of Earning Capacity may be awarded by a jury for the decrease in what the TBI victim can earn or the limited amount and types of work he or she can do after the accident;
- Medical Expenses may be reimbursed for the initial treatment at the emergency room, along with on-going life-supporting services. This can also include tests and monitoring to detect future effects of brain damage that may only be recognized over time;
- Changes Lifestyle are also recoverable to make up for the functions and activities a TBI victim must forego because the brain damage has impaired his or her ability to perform regular activities that added to a quality of life before the injury;
- Future Damages may be added to a TBI award for the likelihood of future medical issues that arise.
- Home Care and Non-Medical Needs may be awarded for the normal activities that a traumatic brain injury victim is not able to do, like cooking, operating a vehicle, and perhaps, attend public events; and finally,
- Punitive Damages may be imposed upon the person responsible for the injury if he or she acted with recklessness, malice, or intent to cause harm.
A traumatic brain injury is a life-altering event—both for the individual and his or her loved ones. These injuries cause a range of lasting effects that can make it hard to carry out day-to-day activities. Some of the effects may lessen in time, but others may become permanent, which can significantly impact an individual’s ability to live independently. Our legal team of brain injury lawyers know this and will work tirelessly to be certain that you or your family member receive the financial compensation required to have the best care and treatment.
A loved one may have suffered injury or death from a sports injury or an apparent suicide. Allow our team to look into your case and determine if there were TBI factors involved. You may be able to receive an award for your loss and suffering.
Thompson Law Office has the brain injury attorneys to help you with your TBI lawsuit. We have heard many traumatic brain injury stories from our clients and we know how to fight your case. Contact California traumatic brain injuries attorney Bobby Thompson if you or a family member has been the victim of a traumatic brain injury. Thompson Law Office has the experience and skills to get you the maximum compensation you need and deserve for your traumatic brain injury settlement.