This is the first article of a five-part series to help our client’s understand traumatic brain injuries, or as they are often referred to as “TBI”. Viper Law Group handles a number of cases that involve TBI and the devastating consequences that accompany a traumatic brain injury. TBIs are often overlooked after a car or motorcycle accident, fall or other head injury occurs. Until recent attention by the National Football League and others, traumatic brain injury victims were not given the proper care they needed. As the interest and study of traumatic brain injuries continue to rise, this newfound awareness must be coupled with education. As members of society but also leaders in litigating cases with these injuries, this Viper Law Group five-part series of articles is intended to provide information from basic to more nuanced.
In order to get a general understanding of TBIs, we must take a look at some national statistics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 2.5 million emergency department visits, hospitalizations, or deaths were associated with TBI in 2010 alone. About 40% of those were attributable to falls, which disproportionately affect children under 14 years of age or adults over 65. Being hit with an object, also called blunt trauma, was the second leading cause (15%), followed by motor vehicle crashes (14%), and assault (10%). TBI contributed to the deaths of more than 50,000 people. Our firm has dealt with both minors and adults who have suffered TBIs from both falls and car and motorcycle accidents. The prevalence and rising number of these injuries mean we must understand them.
As our firm continues to treat clients with these injuries, we also continue to educate in a effort to not only understand but prevent these injuries. Understanding a few key terms can be very helpful to make sure that a victim is properly diagnosed and treated. Viper Law Group hopes that through these articles we can harness education as the key to early detection and prevention. When a patient is seen by a healthcare provider after a TBI, the Glasgow Coma Scale is used to determine the severity of the initial head injury. A healthcare provider will assess certain key indicators upon examination to determine where the injured person falls on the Scale. Physicians are trained to assess a patient’s eye opening and visual responses, verbal ability, and motor responses, assigning points for various reactions. The higher the patient scores the greater their function, or a milder injury, and a lower score indicates the patient suffered severe damage.
A concussion is by far the most common type of TBI. A concussion is caused by some sort of blow to the head that forces movement of the brain within the skull. It is technically classified as a closed-head injury because the victim’s skull is not penetrated. The real issue with clients that we see come into our office is that concussed victims may or may not lose consciousness, and the injury may not be immediately obvious. After a car or motorcycle accident or a fall, we often times see clients who come into our office who experienced a closed-head injury but did not lose consciousness, that they recall, after their accident or fall. This presents a real issue when our clients go for initial treatment after an injury. A TBI is often not recognized by the patient or their Doctor. This coupled with the fact that the amount of force required to sustain a mild head injury resulting in a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury or “mTBI” is not as great as one would think, and the symptoms are often delayed or ignored. If you have had a concussion some of the symptoms may include headache and dizziness, nausea, tiredness, or lack of concentration. Concussions are not usually life-threatening, but their effects can be very serious and long-lasting. If you have experienced a concussion after a car accident, motorcycle accident or a fall contact the Arizona brain injury attorneys at Viper Law Group today.
Cognition, or thinking skills, are commonly affected by TBIs and mTBIs. A victim who has suffered a TBI or mTBI’s ability to concentrate is decreased, and information is processed more slowly. Their memory may be disrupted, and their accomplishment of even simple tasks may be hampered by lack of problem solving abilities. We have had clients who suffer cognition deficits of all ages and all walks of life. We have found through our work in this area that this can be difficult to detect in high-funtioning and highly intelligent individuals. Without Physicians who are experts in this area, these clients can suffer cognition deficits without being identified. Our firm utilizes a team of Physicians who are traumatic brain specialists who are able to evaluate our client’s cognition.
Lethargy, or sleepiness, is a common symptom of moderate head injury. This is caused by swelling of the brain inside the skull. A victim of a moderate head injury may lose consciousness for 20 minutes to 6 hours. Although the victim is not alert, they can be aroused with effort. On the other hand, a severe head injury will result in a coma, or an unconscious state, lasting more than 6 hours. The victim does not respond to visual or audible stimulation and cannot communicate. This is different from a vegetative state, in which the victim may experience wake and sleep cycles and respond to stimulation.
Our team of Physicians use a variety of tools to diagnose traumatic brain injuries. However, diagnosis of most head injuries will involve computerized tomography or they are commonly referred to as a CT scan. CT scans combine x-ray views from a variety of angles, which are then pieced together to provide cross-sectional views of the inside of the body. It is very helpful in observing internal injuries, such as those within the skull.
If you or a loved one exhibits any of these symptoms after some sort of head trauma, it is critical that you get evaluated for a TBI. Once the initial diagnosis and prognosis for recovery are established by your Physician, it is important to consult with an experienced traumatic brain injury attorney to determine if the injury was due to someone else’s negligence. If you exhibit these symptoms after a car or motorcycle accident, or a fall and have not had an evaluation yet, contact our firm and our team of Physicians can determine if you have suffered a TBI. The attorneys at Viper Law Group understand the medical nuances of traumatic brain injury so we can obtain just compensation for victims. We are Arizona brain injury attorneys that are available to speak to you during a free case evaluation and consultation regarding a traumatic brain injury. Call us today at 480-818-4855.