This month is National Brain Injury Awareness Month: a month where the Chicago brain injury attorneys of Passen & Powell, together with others nationwide, focus on raising awareness of these surprisingly common injuries, and work to prevent and treat the often devastating consequences. In honor of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, this month we will publish a series of articles on some of the types and causes of brain injury, the effects and treatment, and the common legal claims that arise from such injuries.
Today, we take a look at brain injury more generally, before diving in to some of these issues in depth. There are two major categories of brain injury: traumatic brain injury, often referred to as TBI, and non-traumatic brain injury.
TBI is thus sometimes called acquired brain injury, or simply referred to in common parlance as a head injury. Traumatic brain injury is, as its name implies, is a brain injury that results from trauma, generally an accident or an act of violence. Common situations that lead to traumatic brain injuries include automobile accidents, truck accidents, workplace injuries such as construction accidents, sports injuries, boating and diving injuries, and simple falls. The single most common cause of TBI, however, accounting for more than half such injuries, is motor vehicle accidents.
TBI can range from very mild to extremely severe, depending on factors including the seriousness of the injury or blow to the head. Mild forms of traumatic brain injury include concussions, often caused by sports or falls. Mild TBI can result in nothing more than a temporary disorientation or dizziness (such as “seeing stars”), or a short loss of consciousness (“blacking out”). Even mild forms of TBI, however, should be taken seriously – an individual who experiences these symptoms after a blow to the head should, at the very least, refrain from vigorous activity for a day or two. As our experienced brain injury lawyers are well aware, the failure to take mild TBI seriously can result in further, more severe, brain injury.
Severe forms of TBI can result in symptoms up to and including permanent disability or death. Victims of severe traumatic brain injury often experience, in the short term, a prolonged loss of consciousness. In the long term, these injuries can lead to memory loss, personality changes, and permanent brain damage. After suffering a traumatic brain injury, victims can have lingering problems with everything from mental processes (cognititive abilities, processing information and problem solving, recall, and judgment) to physical function and motor skills. These injuries thus often lead to substantial medical bills, and years of treatments and therapy – which may or may not result in full recovery, depending on the individual and the severity of the injury.
TBI can often lead to legal claims. The victims of TBI may have a case against those who caused, or failed to prevent, the circumstances that lead to the blow to their head. If you or a loved one is the victim of TBI, an experienced brain injury lawyer can help you evaluate your unique situation, and decide whether to take legal action, and against whom. If your injury was caused by negligence or recklessness, legal action can help you to recover the substantial expenses associated with treating severe TBI.
Non-traumatic brain injury, by contrast, covers brain injuries that do not result from a blow to the head. The most common cause of non-traumatic brain injury is oxygen deprivation, which can result from (among other things) cardiac arrest or stroke, near-drowning. Non-traumatic brain injury can also be caused by illness, aneurysm, poisoning, or drug use.
Like TBI, non-traumatic brain injury may or may not lead to legal liability. Non-traumatic brain injuries resulting from simple bad luck are not actionable in court. If negligence or recklessness leads to a non-traumatic brain injury – such as a doctor’s negligent failure to diagnose a condition that then causes such an injury, then the victim and her family may have a legal claim. If you or a loved one have suffered a non-traumatic brain injury, an experienced Chicago brain injury attorney can help you determine whether to take legal action.
For a free consultation with a Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500.