When an accident causes broken bones and torn ligaments, victims have the benefit of knowing that their injuries will likely heal with time. Unfortunately, a victim who suffers a head injury cannot rely on the same assurances, since no two brain injuries are the same. Even when a head injury is minor, physicians may not be able to tell the victim how long the effects will last, whether his symptoms are permanent, or if he will need lifelong treatment—making the costs of care almost as much of a burden as the injury itself.
Types of Brain Injuries and How They Are Treated
Over two million people suffer some form of traumatic brain injury every year, with the effects ranging from mild to severe. The uncertain prognosis and wide range of required treatments make brain injuries particularly costly to victims and their families, especially if therapies are not covered by standard health insurance. Patients undergoing rehabilitation may require physical therapy, speech therapy, assistive devices, or ongoing emotional support—increasing costs at a time when many brain injury victims are unable to work.
Some common head injuries that may affect brain function include:
- Concussions. A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury that causes a temporary interruption in normal brain functioning. Patients often suffer headaches, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, blurred vision, nausea, or trouble sleeping. The condition usually resolves with time and rest.
- Contusions. A severe head injury may result in a bruise of the brain tissue known as a contusion. Symptoms vary depending on the location of the contusion in the brain, but may include speech, coordination, and movement problems. If not treated quickly, a contusion may cause the brain to swell and increase pressure inside the skull.
- Hematoma. The rupture of small blood vessels (hemorrhages) can cause blood to pool inside the skull, placing pressure on the brain. The problem may be corrected through surgery or medication, although patients may suffer adverse effects (such as seizures, amnesia, anxiety, and sleep disruption) during recovery.
- Skull fractures. A blow to the head may cause a fracturing of the skull or a penetrating injury where a foreign object becomes lodged in the brain. Patients will often need surgery to remove bone fragments, and must be monitored carefully to ensure that brain swelling is controlled to avoid herniation.
- Child brain injuries. Children are at particular risk of brain damage after a head injury because their bodies are still developing. Without proper treatment, a child who has sustained a brain injury may suffer cognitive problems, developmental problems, or permanent mental or physical disabilities.
- Death. Some head injuries are simply so severe that the brain cannot recover. Family members of fatal brain injury victims should always seek the advice of an attorney, since families may be able to get justice through a wrongful death claim.
Common Causes of Brain Injuries
A brain injury can occur any time a person is struck by or collides with an object, and can result in temporary or permanent brain damage. While the initial impact may be the cause of damage, many victims suffer secondary brain damage as a result of brain swelling or bleeding that occurs in the hours and days after the accident.
Brain injuries can result from a variety of trauma, such as:
- Slips & falls. Falls are to blame for nearly a third of all brain injuries nationwide, many of which result from owners failing to fix dangerous conditions on their properties.
- Car accidents. Motor vehicle crashes cause one out of every five traumatic brain injuries, including coma states lasting for six hours or more.
- Truck accidents. The size and weight of a commercial truck can have a catastrophic impact on a victim as his or her head strikes the steering wheel, window, or dashboard.
- Motorcycle accidents. Bikers who suffer head trauma in an accident may need therapy to re-learn how to speak, walk, and perform daily tasks.
- Bicycle accidents. Even if cyclists are wearing an approved helmet, their heads may not be fully protected from impact with a car’s hood or the road surface.
- Pedestrian accidents. A person struck while walking has no protection from hard surfaces and vehicles, and a head injury could result in lost motor function and impaired mental abilities.
- Aviation accidents. While less common than motor vehicle accidents, head injuries on private or commercial flights may cause behavioral and cognitive changes, robbing family and friends of the person they used to know.
Our injury attorneys fight tenaciously for clients who have suffered brain injuries in Tennessee. We negotiate with insurance companies to get you the maximum amount of compensation you need to recover—and we do not collect anything from you until after your case is won. Simply fill out the short contact form on this page or request a free copy of our book, The 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make With Your Tennessee Injury Case.