In recognition of National Brain Injury Awareness Month, throughout March our Chicago brain injury lawyers are taking a closer look at the various types and causes of brain injuries. Today, we look at traumatic brain injury (otherwise known as TBI), a name for a wide spectrum of potentially life-altering brain injuries.
Traumatic brain injuries are, just as they sound, a brain injury caused by trauma: a sudden accident resulting in a blow or injury to the head. TBI can result from anything from a trucking accident to a fall, a diving or sports accident to an act of violence. Depending on the severity of the blow to the head, a traumatic brain injury can result in anything from mild, temporary symptoms to permanent disability and death.
TBI can be either an “open” or “closed” head injury, depending on the type and severity of the accident. A closed head injury refers to a blow to the head which does not penetrate the skull, and generally results in damage to the brain (often the frontal and temporal lobes) as brain tissue, and the blood vessels within that tissue, are bruised and torn. Closed head injury TBIs also cause damage to the parts of nerve cells which link cells together, and to other parts of the brain and body. An open head injury occurs when the skull is penetrated – for example, a gunshot wound. In this type of TBI, the injury is generally only to the part of the brain which is penetrated – but depending upon the level and location of penetration, these injuries can also result in severe, permanent disability and death.
The symptoms of TBI are not always immediately evident. A victim of traumatic brain injury may not begin to show the effects of that injury until well after the blow to the head occurred – sometimes months or even years later. And whenever these symptoms manifest, they are often not obvious to a casual observer, unlike physical serious disabilities (for instance, a wheelchair is immediately obvious, while an diminished ability to reason is not). Those with extensive knowledge of and experience with traumatic brain injury, such as the Chicago brain injury attorneys, thus often refer to TBI as an “invisible injury.”
The invisibility of brain injury is further compounded by its ability to elude diagnostic imaging. Some types of damage from TBI are visible through such testing (CAT scans and MRIs), such as bruising, bleeding, and tearing. But damage to the parts of nerve cells which provide linkage is often invisible to scans and imaging. This type of injury can thus only be detected and evaluated based upon the symptoms and disability which it causes.
Depending on the location and extent of the TBI, differing symptoms can be present. Because the brain affects every portion of an individuals functioning, so too can an injury to the brain manifest in every area: symptoms of TBI can be physical, cognitive and behavioral. Cognitive and behavioral symptoms can include problems with thinking, reasoning, or judgment, with language, memory, concentration, learning, emotions, impulse control, sleep issues, aggression, lack of inhibition or increased impulsiveness, depression, anxiety, and/or sensation problems (vision, hearing, taste, touch, or smell). These factors are often present, to some extent, even with mild forms of TBI. The physical manifestations of TBI likewise vary, but can include headaches, difficulty or disability with motor functions, dizziness or loss of balance, nausea, seizures, and pain (often neck pain).
Traumatic brain injury can also increase the risk of chronic and degenerative diseases. Victims of TBI are more likely to develop such varying conditions as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and epilepsy. And new evidence has emerged showing that many diagnosed cases of Lou Gehrig’s disease may, in fact, be the ongoing consequence of TBI, rather than an independent disorder.
Our Chicago brain injury attorneys have experience with the many and varied symptoms and consequences of traumatic brain injury. We understand that these very serious injuries are often life-altering, and require significant time, energy, and resources to overcome. That is why it is crucial that a victim of TBI whose injuries may have resulted from the negligence of another individual or company contact an experienced professional who can help evaluate his case. A top-rated brain injury attorney can help you determine whether the parties responsible for your injuries can also be held financially responsible, and made to compensate you for your injuries and their effect on your life.
For a Free Consultation with a top brain injury lawyer at Passen & Powell, call us today at (312) 527-4500.