Today is the final installment of our week-long discussion of traumatic brain injury (TBI), in honor of this month being devoted to national Brain Injury Awareness month. For a Free Consultation with one of our top-rated Chicago brain injury lawyers, call us at (312) 527-4500.
Because traumatic brain injury is caused by a blunt force to the head, often a result of motor vehicle accidents and falls, head protection is one of the most effective ways of reducing the incidence of TBI.
Motorcycle helmets greatly enhance protection for all motorcycle drivers against TBIs, and contrary to popular opinion do not increase the possibility of neck injury. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcycle helmets are estimated to be 37% effective in preventing fatal injuries, and saved the lives of approximately 1,800 motorcyclists in 2007.
Approximately 140,000 head injuries per year are suffered by children involved in bicycle accidents. The single most effective safety device available to reduce TBI and death from bicycle crashes is a helmet. Studies estimate that as many as 85% of these injuries could be prevented by the use of protective helmets. Additionally, be sure that all bicycles are periodically checked for any defects or damage and are properly maintained.
Car safety design and proper care in automobile seating is integral to preventing death or TBI. This point has been made abundantly clear with the recent Toyota sudden acceleration defect recalls, as noted by our Chicago personal injury lawyers in various blog posts.
Air bags have been associated with a substantial reduction in fatalities and severe injury with adults, and side air bags which include head protection can decrease death from side impact crashes up to 45%. With respect to children under 10 years of age seated in the front seat, however, there is a 34% increased risk of death from frontal crashes in cars equipped with dual airbags. Young children should be seated in rear seats with child car seats properly secured according to manufacturer’s specifications where appropriate.
What to do if you believe you have suffered a TBI
First, immediately seek emergency care for your injuries and inform your treating health care professional of any symptoms, however minor you believe them to be. In particular, any loss of consciousness (however brief), memory loss, feeling dazed and confused, headache, vomiting, nausea or seizures are signs of TBI.
Second, document any symptoms and complaints you might have as soon as possible, and again regardless of how minor they may seem. Aggressively pursue treatment of your TBI with the best medical care possible.
Third, understand that TBI is a process, not an event, and that the injury continues to affect the brain for days and weeks after the accident. Symptoms and problems may not show up until well after the accident has occurred, and should be documented and brought to the attention of your health care professional.
Fourth, ask your doctor for the proper tests to diagnose a brain injury. While most doctors will order MRI or CAT scans, these will not show most TBIs. Therefore you should request functional testing such as the Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and/or a Single Photon Emission Computerized Tomography (SPECT) be performed.
Fifth, if problems persist, you may want to see a specialist in brain function, such as a neurologist, neuropsychologist or neurosurgeon. A neuropsychologist, for example, is an expert in brain function, and can conduct tests that help determine the location and extent of any brain injury.
Finally, if you believe that you or a loved one’s head or brain injury was wrongfully caused, it is critical to contact a top Chicago brain injury attorney as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more likely evidence will “disappear,” and you may even lose your right to ever file a claim based on the statute of limitations (i.e., the time in which you must file a lawsuit).
To speak with an experienced Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us at (312) 527-4500 for a Free Case Evaluation.