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What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?

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What is a Traumatic Brain Injury?


A traumatic brain injury (TBI) may occur from neuropathologic dysfunction and damage from the transmission of force to the body or head. The main areas of the brain that are involved in this type of injury are the temporal and frontal lobes. It may affect how the brain functions and presents in a wide array of forms, from a concussion and mild TBI to a vegetative state and even death in some extreme cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 223,000 hospitalizations reported in 2018 were related to traumatic brain injury treatment, accounting for more than 610 hospitalizations a day. A TBI may not only affect the patient; it may also negatively impact the lives of their loved ones.

The experienced attorneys at our law firm are here to help those who have sustained a traumatic brain injury in an accident in California. Call us today to learn how our lawyers can help you and your family and receive free, friendly advice on your TBI case at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.

Retaining legal counsel is crucial to the successful resolution of your case and the recovery of compensation you need to move forward with your life. At our law firm, we have helped clients and their families obtain justice and fair financial recoveries in their personal injury cases since 1982. We are available anytime to meet with you, go over the details of your case, and explain what rights and options you may have in your situation. Contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced TBI attorneys to learn more about how we can help you and your family today.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a TBI?

According to Mayo Clinic, the following are the behavioral, cognitive, mental, physical, and sensory symptoms of a traumatic brain injury:

  • Changes in the sense of smell
  • Clear fluid drainage from ears or nose
  • Combativeness or agitation
  • Difficulty with concentration or memory
  • Dilation in both or one of the pupils of the eye
  • Drowsiness or fatigue
  • Feeling anxious or depressed
  • Loss of balance
  • Metallic taste in the mouth
  • Mood swings or mood changes
  • Numbness or tingling in the toes and fingers
  • Personality changes
  • Problems with communication
  • Profound confusion
  • Repetitive nausea and vomiting
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Sensitivity to sound or light
  • Vision problems

If you experience any of these symptoms following a head injury, it is essential to seek medical treatment immediately.

How Can a TBI Occur?

A brain injury may occur in the following ways:

  • Closed TBI: A closed brain injury may occur when an injury does not penetrate the brain nor cause a break in the skull. This type of injury may be caused by a violent shaking of the brain within the bony skull from a sudden forward and backward movement. This may result in tearing and bruising of blood vessels and brain tissue. Falls and car accidents are the top causes of closed TBI.
  • Penetrating Brain Injury (PBI): A leading cause of mortality in young individuals is a PBI. It may encompass all TBI other than blunt force trauma to the head and is considered the most severe of brain injury cases. It is categorized by low-velocity penetration and high-velocity penetration. In the former, it may impact brain tissue through direct trauma from sharp objects. In the latter, a stretch injury may occur because of a shockwave injury or direct trauma to the tissue surrounding the brain.
What is the Difference Between a Primary Injury and a Secondary Injury?

A TBI may also be characterized by whether it was a result of direct or indirect trauma. A primary brain injury is used to reference sudden and profound trauma to the brain. It may be considered less or more complete at the time of the incident and may occur because of a slip and fall accident, gunshot wound, or traffic collision. In the case of a primary injury, the forces involved may cause direct damage to blood vessels, glia, dendrites, axons, and neurons in a diffuse, multifocal or focal pattern. It may further start a series of alterations in metabolic, neurochemical, mitochondrial, inflammatory, and cellular function.

A secondary brain injury considers the changes that have taken place over a period following a primary brain injury. It may include a variety of changes in blood vessels, tissue, chemicals, and cells in the brain that may lead to further brain tissue damage. Infection, hydrocephalus, increased intracranial pressure, cerebral edema, and hypoxic and ischemic damage are some of the complications from a primary brain injury that may lead to a secondary injury. A reduction in oxygen content or cerebral blood flow may also increase the risk of brain morbidity and dysfunction.

How is a TBI Diagnosed?

A wide array of measures may be utilized to quantify the severity of a traumatic brain injury. The following includes the primary measures for TBI diagnosis:

  • Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS): The most common scoring system to classify the extent of consciousness in a patient presenting with a TBI is the GCS. The scoring system is utilized to measure functions such as motor response, verbal response, and eye-opening. The sum of these numbers is utilized to determine the final GCS grade or score. While each TBI case is different, the brain injury may be classified as mild with a GCS score of 13-15, moderate with 9-12, and severe with 8 or less. There are limitations that must be considered when utilizing the GCS, such as low blood oxygen, shock, alcohol intoxication, and drug use. All of these factors may result in an inaccurate GCS score because they may have an influence over the patient and their level of consciousness.
  • Imaging Tests: A physician may order imaging tests to evaluate a patient for a suspected TBI. This may include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that creates a detailed image of the brain through the use of radio waves. An MRI is generally ordered after a TBI patient has been stabilized or there are no signs of improvement from symptoms reported following the injury. Conversely, a computed tomography (CT) scan may be performed in an emergency to uncover evidence of swelling of brain tissue, contusions, hematomas, hemorrhage, and any fractures. A CT scan creates a detailed image of the brain through a series of X-rays.

For any patient presenting with a brain injury, it is essential for a physician to assess the situation right away. This is especially true in the case of severe TBIs, as any delay in treatment may result in the rapid worsening of consequences.

What Must Be Proven in a Personal Injury Case for Brain Trauma?

A personal injury attorney must determine whether there is substantial evidence to prove that the TBI was the result of negligence. That means the following elements must be satisfied in a civil case:

  • Duty of Care: The other party owed a duty of care to the injured person.
  • Breach of Duty of Care: There was a breach in the duty of care the defendant owed to the injured individual.
  • Causation: The accident-related injuries must be linked to the at-fault party’s breached duty of care.
  • Damages: The traumatic brain injury sustained in the incident resulted in financial losses and intangible harms.

It is essential to collect and preserve all evidence of negligence following an accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury. The emotional, physical and financial hardship that may result from a TBI has the potential to be significant, and the failure to prove that the other party was at fault may leave a claimant on the hook for losses incurred. That is why it is essential to retain legal counsel with experience handling brain injury cases immediately.

What are the Advantages of Hiring a Lawyer for a Personal Injury Claim?

When an injured party is considering whether legal representation is necessary in their personal injury case, it is essential to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages. Without the assistance of an experienced TBI attorney, the claimant may worsen their situation by falling for the defense tactics the insurance company may use as a way of devaluing or denying their bodily injury claim. Following is a list of the benefits of hiring a personal injury attorney to handle a TBI case:

  • Communications: An attorney with years of experience handling bodily injury claims involving TBI will know the best way to develop good communication with the insurance adjuster on your behalf. A lawyer will also know how to overcome the various tactics that insurers may use against claimants throughout the process.
  • Negotiations: Like other types of traumatic injuries involved in an accident case, a TBI may be challenging to prove and may require substantial evidence to demonstrate the full extent of economic and non-economic damages. Even when this is provided, there may be back-and-forth dealings with the insurance carrier. Having an experienced traumatic brain injury lawyer on your side means you will have an advocate dealing with insurance settlement negotiations, counteroffers, and litigation on your behalf.
  • Value of a Bodily Injury Claim: Unlike the insurer, a traumatic brain injury attorney will understand the true extent of damages involved and know the best way how to determine the value of an injury case. A lawyer will work with expert witnesses to calculate economic and non-economic damages to prove the value of the claim.
  • Filing Criteria and Deadlines: A claimant generally has two years from the date of an accident resulting in brain trauma to file a personal injury lawsuit in civil court. This is by the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 335.1. If the case is not filed within the two-year statute of limitations, the right to file suit and seek compensatory damages may be lost. While there are unique exceptions to this deadline, it is essential to retain legal counsel immediately. An attorney needs time to build a strong case and ensure that all filing criteria and deadlines are met.

As you may see, the benefits of hiring a lawyer for a TBI case are endless. From preventing the insurer from placing undue pressure on an injured party to protect them from being taken advantage of by difficult insurance companies, you can depend on an accident attorney to do what is right for you and your future by obtaining the insurance settlement or jury award you deserve. For information on how to find the best injury lawyer to represent you, watch this video.

Contact a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer in California Today

A personal injury case arising from a TBI suffered in an accident may be challenging. A compassionate attorney with years of experience handling these cases will understand the difficulties that may present in the path to recovery and will work hard to obtain the financial compensation you need to get your life back on track. Our legal team has over three decades of experience handling cases like yours. To discuss the details of your case and learn about your rights, give us a call at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 to arrange a meeting with one of our attorneys and receive free, friendly advice on how to move forward in your situation.

Our law firm has worked hard to obtain justice and fair compensation on behalf of those who have been injured through the negligence of others. We are dedicated to protecting the rights and best interests of our clients and their families. When you work with our team of traumatic brain injury attorneys, you will have the time to focus on rehabilitation and being with your loved ones while we handle all aspects of your case. At AutoAccident.com, we have a proven history of verdicts and settlements, and we can help you with your case too. We are only a phone call away, so do not hesitate to reach out for help when it is needed.

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