Traumatic Brain Injury

What is Traumatic Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. A moderate TBI consists of a loss of consciousness anywhere from 20 minutes to approximately 6 hours and results in a Glasgow Coma Scale of 9-12. A severe brain injury is defined as a brain injury resulting in a loss of consciousness of greater than 6 hours and results in a Glasgow Coma Scale of 3-8.

Symptoms

Cognitive deficits including difficulties with:

Attention
Concentration
Distractibility
Memory
Speed of Processing
Confusion
Perseveration
Impulsiveness
Language Processing
“Executive functions”
Speech and Language

not understanding the spoken word (receptive aphasia)
difficulty speaking and being understood (expressive aphasia)
slurred speech
speaking very fast or very slow
problems reading
problems writing
Sensory

difficulties with interpretation of touch, temperature, movement, limb position and fine discrimination
Perceptual

the integration or patterning of sensory impressions into psychologically meaningful data
Vision

partial or total loss of vision
weakness of eye muscles and double vision (diplopia)
blurred vision
problems judging distance
involuntary eye movements (nystagmus)
intolerance of light (photophobia)
Hearing

decrease or loss of hearing
ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
increased sensitivity to sounds
Smell

loss or diminished sense of smell (anosmia)
Taste

loss or diminished sense of taste
Seizures

the convulsions associated with epilepsy that can be of several types and can involve disruption in consciousness, sensory perception, or motor function
Physical Changes

Physical paralysis/spasticity
Chronic pain
Control of bowel and bladder
Sleep disorders
Loss of stamina
Appetite changes
Regulation of body temperature
Menstrual difficulties
Social-Emotional

Dependent behaviors
Emotional ability
Lack of motivation
Irritability
Aggression
Depression
Disinhibition
Denial/lack of awareness
Causes of Brain Injury (TBI)

Direct penetration of the brain by an object or skull fracture that incidentally impacts the brain will cause brain injury. In addition, serious brain complications can occur without penetration of the brain. These are less obvious cases when the brain accelerates within the skull and abruptly stopped by impacting within the skull. This “ricochet” phenomenon may cause injury to the portion of the brain that initially impacts the skull but it may also cause injury in the opposite side of the brain-this is a “contrecoup” TBI. These types of injuries are commonly seen in auto accidents where the head strikes the interior of the vehicle and/or is quickly accelerated and stopped when the body impacts the seatbelt during the accident sequence.

The duration, severity, direction and type of forces applied to the brain will determine the severity of the TBI. Types of forces include shear, rotational, angular and translational forces.

Mild Brain Injury

It is the belief of many medical professionals that the term “Mild Brain Injury” should not be used as the symptoms and effect on the life of the person suffering from such an injury can be devastating-anything but “mild.”

It is often believed that brain injury is something that occurs only as a result of a high speed and violent collision. However, research has shown that even low speed car accidents or relatively minor head trauma can cause a devastating, long-lasting brain injury. Many times, victims of mild brain injury do not realize they have a brain injury because the symptoms can be subtle and transient. A mild brain injury may not be readily apparent immediately after an accident, yet can still cause a person long lasting disabilities. If you have lost consciousness, even briefly, make sure to see a doctor immediately and notify him or her of this fact.

Berglund & Johnson has very successfully represented many victims who have suffered mild brain injuries in different types of accidents. If you have any suspicious symptoms, please seek medical care immediately to rule out the possibility of a brain injury and call Berglund & Johnson for more information.

If a child was involved in a vehicle collision or was in any way involved in an accident where they hit their head, please seek medical care for that child. Small children have trouble articulating their symptoms and may not recognize their own injuries.

Treatment

Anyone with signs of TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Imaging tests help in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of a TBI patient. Patients with suspected TBI may receive skull and neck X-rays to check for bone fractures or spinal instability. Additional imaging tests may include computed tomography (CT) scan and/or MRI. Other diagnostic tests such as an EEG are routinely ordered by the physician who suspects TBI. Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry (physical medicine), psychology/psychiatry, and social support.

What to do:

Berglund & Johnson is very experienced in handling all types of brain injury cases. Particular expertise is required by the attorney to properly evaluate and prepare the case to make sure the client if fully compensated for their injuries. Please contact Berglund & Johnson Law Offices immediately if you or a loved one may have suffered from a brain injury. If you do not have a doctor or do not have access to a referral, Berglund & Johnson can provide recommendations for highly-qualified physicians who can assist you in receiving the best medical treatment possible. Brain injuries can be long-lasting and, sometimes, have delayed symptoms– a traumatic brain injury can lead to long lasting, irreparable, debilitating disability. It is vitally important that you receive competent medical treatment soon after injury to facilitate the best recovery possible.

Please inform your doctor of all symptoms you have been experiencing as a result of your accident. Berglund & Johnson will work with your doctor and other expert witnesses in the field to establish your legal claim and make sure that you are fully compensated for the injuries you have received.

No matter where you are in Southern California, Berglund & Johnson will help protect your rights to receive a just compensation for the injuries you have sustained as a result of the conduct of other persons or companies. Please call 1-800-4-IF-HURT to consult with one of our lawyers today.

Click here to see a testimonial video from a past brain-injury client.