As part of our annual honoring of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, throughout March our experienced Chicago brain injury lawyers are examining the different categories and causes of brain injuries. In this article, we take a closer look at one of the two major categories of brain injury: traumatic brain injury, also known as TBI.
As suggested by their name, traumatic brain injuries arise from trauma: a blow to the head. This blow to the head, in turn, can be caused by any number of circumstances, from trucking accidents and other motor vehicle accidents to falls, diving accidents, and assault. TBI can be mild, such as a concussion or seeing stars, or extremely severe, resulting in permanent disability or death.
TBIs fall into two categories of underlying head injury – open and closed head injuries. As its name implies, open head injuries are those where the trauma penetrates the skull, such as in a gunshot wound. With open head injuries, the damage is typically localized, to the area of the brain which is penetrated, and which immediately surrounds the penetrated area. Depending on the amount of penetration and the location of this injury, however, open head injuries can lead to severe injuries, permanent disability, and death.
Likewise, closed head injuries are caused by a blow to the head which does not penetrate the skull. The blow bruises and tears the tissue of the brain, often in the frontal and temporal lobes. This, in turn, causes injury to the nerves which link brain cells together, which can then spread throughout the brain.
At times, the symptoms of TBI are obvious immediately after the injury – the victim can black out, or become disoriented, for example. But at other times, the symptoms of a traumatic brain injury do not manifest until days, months, or even years after the fact. Symptoms can also be novel to or unrecognized by most observers. When a victim breaks his leg, he is unable to walk, something which everyone can understand. When a victim suffers a traumatic brain injury, however, he may have difficulty reasoning, difficulty speaking, or personality changes – injuries much more difficult to recognize and understand. Experienced professionals, such as the Chicago brain injury attorneys of Passen & Powell, thus often refer to TBI as an “invisible injury.”
Brain injury can also be “invisible” because it can fail to register on diagnostic imaging. Some types of TBI damage appear on CAT scans and MRIs, including tearing and bleeding. But others, such as the damage to nerve cells connecting brain cells, do not show up on these imaging types. Thus, TBI often must be diagnosed by examining the victim’s symptoms.
Symptoms of TBI vary from victim to victim, and can be behavioral, cognitive, or physical. But typical symptoms include reasoning or judgment difficulties, language problems, memory deficiencies, difficulty concentrating, learning disabilities, aggression, impulse control problems, depression and anxiety, difficulty seeing, hearing, tasting, or smelling, headaches, reduced motor function, balance problems, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, seizures, and pain (particularly neck pain).
Moreover, TBI, particularly repeated TBI, can lead to an increased risk of several diseases, including Alzheimer’s, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s. Researchers have also discovered that Lou Gehrig’s disease, is, in many cases, a misdiagnosed consequence of a traumatic brain injury.
If you or a loved one have suffered a TBI, it is crucial that you speak to an experienced attorney about your condition, its causes, and the symptoms you have suffered. An experienced attorney can help you to determine if another party was responsible for your injuries, and may be legally and financially responsible to compensate you. Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have experience with the various types of TBI, as well as the many forms of symptoms TBI can cause
For a Free Consultation with a top Chicago brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us today at (312) 527-4500.