SUFFERING FROM A BRAIN INJURY?
Of the many types of injuries that a person can sustain, brain injuries are among the most serious and can leave victims suffering a variety of symptoms ranging from dizziness and headaches to seizures and memory loss.
In some tragic cases, a brain injury victim could remain permanently disabled or even lose his or her life. Treating these types of injuries tends to be both difficult and expensive, making it especially important for those who suffer head trauma in an accident to speak with an experienced Fort Wayne brain injury attorney about their legal options for recovering compensation for their losses.
WHAT IS A BRAIN INJURY?
Brain injuries, which are most commonly referred to as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) can occur in one of two ways. The first involves a person sustaining a sudden blow to the head, which in turn, causes the brain to come into contact with the skull. The second occurs when an object actually pierces the skull and enters the brain tissue, although in some cases, it is a shard of the skull itself that actually lacerates the brain. In both cases, the sudden impact or laceration can lead to the nerve cells in the brain becoming stretched, compressed, or torn. Alternatively, a blow to the head could cause blood to pool between the brain and the skull, a medical condition known as hematoma. These injuries are particularly dangerous because they can compress brain tissue, resulting in permanent brain damage. Bleeding in the brain tissue, also known as a brain contusion, is another common type of TBI that afflicts accident victims who sustain a heavy blow to the head.
LEADING CAUSES OF BRAIN INJURIES
Any type of accident in which the head sustains a blow, or the brain is pierced by an object, can cause a brain injury. There are, however, certain types of accidents that are more likely to result in head trauma. For instance, falls are believed to account for nearly 50 percent of all brain injury-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths. Falls are also much more likely to affect certain members of the population, including children up to the age of 14 years old and adults aged 65 years or older. Another leading cause of brain injury in the U.S. is being struck by or against an object, which are estimated to account for around 15 percent of brain injuries. Car accidents are also responsible for a significant number of brain injuries in people of all ages. In fact, car crashes are responsible for almost 20 percent of brain injury-related fatalities. Finally, intentional self-harm, such as a gunshot, causes nearly 33 percent of TBI-related deaths.
BRAIN INJURY SYMPTOMS
Brain injuries are rated as either mild, or moderate to severe, depending on the extent of the damage done to the brain and the symptoms suffered by the victim. For instance, most people who suffer mild brain injuries do not lose consciousness, although they may suffer from headaches, dizziness, blurred vision, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a ringing in the ears. While these symptoms can be painful and frightening, they are usually only temporary, as mild brain injuries almost always heal on their own if the patient is given time to rest and recuperate.
Moderate or severe brain injuries cause the same types of symptoms, but are also characterized by an increase in severity. For instance, someone suffering from a moderate brain injury may experience headaches that don’t go away or that worsen over time. Many victims also experience repeated vomiting, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, agitation, and even seizures. Although these types of severe symptoms usually manifest immediately after an accident, it is not uncommon for a brain injury victim to begin experiencing symptoms many days or even weeks after an injury. Moderate to severe brain injuries are the most serious type of TBI and almost always require emergency treatment.
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BRAIN INJURY TREATMENT OPTIONS
Unfortunately, little can usually be done to reverse initial brain damage caused by a traumatic accident. For this reason, medical professionals focus on stabilizing brain injury victims and preventing further injury, which usually includes:
- Ensuring that the brain receives a steady supply of oxygen;
- Maintaining adequate blood flow; and
- Controlling the victim’s blood pressure.
Once this has been achieved, doctors will conduct a series of tests to help determine a patient’s diagnosis. These tests include:
- A blood test to evaluate mild TBIs;
- Skull and neck x-rays to check for spinal instability and bone fractures; and
- A computed tomography (CT) scan, which produce better images than standard x-rays, especially of blood vessels and soft tissues.
The results of these tests will determine a patient’s course of treatment. For instance, in severe cases, patients will require surgical intervention to remove or repair ruptured blood vessels or bruised brain tissue. Even after surgery, however, brain injury victims are usually required to undergo additional treatment, with a focus on rehabilitation that involves physical therapy, speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical medicine. Unfortunately, even after receiving treatment, many brain injury victims suffer from permanent disabilities, such as:
- Problems with memory, reasoning, and thinking;
- Issues with processing sound, sight, touch, smell, or taste;
- Difficulty communicating;
- Behavior or mental health problems, including depression, anxiety, mood swings, and even aggression; or
- Impaired motor skills, which includes weakness in the extremities and impaired coordination and balance.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 5.3 million people in the U.S. are forced to live with one of these types of brain injury-related disabilities.
CONTACT OUR INDIANA BRAIN INJURY ATTORNEYS TODAY
Although the very young and the elderly may be more at risk of sustaining brain injuries than others, these members of the population are by no means the only ones affected by brain injuries. If you sustained a brain injury in an accident that was not your fault, please call Delventhal Law Office LLC at (260) 238-8608 to speak with an experienced brain injury attorney in Fort Wayne about your legal options.
AREAS WE PRACTICE
At the Delventhal Law office, our Fort Wayne personal injury attorneys are committed to fighting for the rights and interests of accident victims. If you or a family member was injured because of the carelessness or recklessness of another party, we can help. Our Indiana personal injury lawyers handle a wide array of legal cases, including:
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