By its very name, the term traumatic brain injury, or TBI, sounds like something extreme and therefore rare.
But as we will see in today’s article, while brain injuries are extremely serious and sometimes life-threatening, people tend to underestimate just how vulnerable the brain is to impact and collision, even in everyday accidents.
What Is a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)?
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a traumatic brain injury as “a disruption in the normal function of the brain that can be caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head, or penetrating head injury.”
The CDC goes on to note that “everyone is at risk for a TBI, especially children and older adults.”
The Mayo Clinic adds the following: “Mild traumatic brain injury may affect your brain cells temporarily. More-serious traumatic brain injury can result in bruising, torn tissues, bleeding and other physical damage to the brain. These injuries can result in long-term complications or death.”
Perhaps the most important takeaways from these descriptions are that:
- TBIs can be caused by something as ordinary as a bump or jolt to the head, and
- Even a mild TBI can cause serious symptoms until the patient recovers.
Is a Concussion Considered a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Yes. A concussion is, in every instance, a traumatic brain injury and should be treated accordingly.
The last decade has brought about a tremendous new wave of understanding regarding concussions — how they happen, their impact on the brain and the whole body, the need for treatment, and the potential for long-term repercussions.
On the whole, medical experts now understand that concussions are much more serious than was believed several decades ago.
Whole generations of schoolchildren and adults may have foregone critical treatment after sustaining TBIs in the form of concussions while playing contact sports, after a fist fight, from falling, in a car crash, and so on.
If you believe that you or your child has suffered a concussion, you should pursue immediate medical treatment. Do not assume that you can “sleep it off” or take ibuprofen “until it goes away.” While many concussions are temporary and most patients can expect a full recovery with proper treatment, simply ignoring a concussion can be extremely dangerous.
In all concussions, the brain itself has been impacted and injured. Seek treatment from a physician right away.
What Kinds of Accidents Cause a Traumatic Brain Injury?
As Bakersfield brain injury attorneys, we see TBI associated with a number of common personal injury accidents, including:
- Auto accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents
- Construction accidents
- Birth injuries
- Oil field accidents
- School sports injuries
- Assault and battery
- Dog bites (e.g. the animal knocking down the victim)
- Defective product accidents
- Falling object injuries
These are only common examples. The brain is highly susceptible to injury. In fact, at several points along the human skull, the layer of protection is no thicker than a credit card. Accordingly, it is possible for traumatic brain injury to occur in almost any personal injury accidents.
Common Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
Concussions can be difficult to identify on your own because the symptoms may be vague, slow to develop, or hard to recognize. Different people may experience different symptoms of TBI. However, some of the more common signs include:
- Feeling dazed or confused
- Feeling disoriented
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Changes in sleep patterns, focus, memory, or concentration
- Changes in mood or personality
- Dizziness / loss of balance
- Sensitivity to light, sound, or smells
- Other sensory issues: blurry vision, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, reduced sense of smell, etc.
More serious signs or symptoms include:
- Any previously listed symptom that is especially profound or getting worse
- Clear fluids draining from the eyes or ears
- Dilated pupil(s)
- Convulsions or seizures
- Weakness or numbness in fingers or toes
- Loss of coordination
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness for several minutes or more
- Inability to wake form sleep
Small children and babies do not always know they are experiencing unusual symptoms, or they may not be able to communicate them. Look for the following signs:
- Persistent or inconsolable crying
- Change in eating habits / nursing habits
- Loss of interest in usual activities or favorite toys
- Seeming to be unusually sleepy, irritable, depressed, or sad
- Change in ability to pay attention
Not everyone who experiences a concussion will lose consciousness. People with minor concussion may lose consciousness for only a few seconds, or they may not lose consciousness at all. In fact, the majority of concussion victims never lose consciousness.
The Relationship Between Whiplash and TBI
Whiplash is the single most common injury in auto accidents, and it can occur in a wide range of other personal injury accidents too.
Whiplash and traumatic brain injuries can go hand in hand. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are rocked quickly back and forth. In addition to straining the muscles, ligaments, and surrounding structures, this same jolting motion can jostle the brain. For this reason, it is critical that all auto accident victims be examined by a medical doctor (M.D.) soon after a crash.
Every Brain Injury Is Unique
We hope to have shed some light on what a traumatic brain injury is, how you can get one, and just how urgent (and not unlikely) the situation is.
Remember: no two accidents are quite alike. Your experience of brain injury may not look like anyone else’s. Always put your health first and do not hesitate to get medical attention after any impact to your head.
At The Law Offices of Mickey Fine, We Will Fight to Maximize Your Compensation (with No Upfront Cost to You)
If you have suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of someone else’s careless or negligent behavior, you may be entitled to financial compensation under California personal injury law.
To learn more about your rights and options, please call our personal injury lawyers and schedule a free, no-obligation case review right away.
We will never charge a fee for our services unless we get you money first. The initial consultation is absolutely free. Call 661-333-3333 or contact us online.