What You Should Know About Traumatic Brain Injury
By Zachary Mushkatel on March 15, 2016
Many medical experts describe traumatic brain injury – mild TBI in particular – as being a “silent epidemic.” Victims often fail to realize that they suffer from the condition. Those around them may miss the signs as well.
As a result, many TBI victims go without the medical attention they need. Also, the public fails to truly understand the prevalence of TBI in our country.
In light of this issue, and in honor of National Brain Injury Awareness Day on March 16, 2016, we assembled several facts about TBI. We believe that knowing what TBI is, how this injury occurs and how to recognize it can protect your health and save your life or the life of a loved one.
What Is Traumatic Brain Injury?
The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) estimates that 2.4 million people in the U.S. suffer from some form of TBI. The injury results from some kind of bump, blow, violent jolt or shaking to the head. Depending on the type and severity of the injury, TBI can alter the brain’s physical, motor and sensory functions.
The BIAA lists several types of TBI, including:
- Concussions – Caused by a direct blow or violent shaking of the head
- Contusions – Bruising or bleeding in the brain caused by a blow to the head
- Diffuse axonal injury – Caused by strong shaking or rotation of the head
- Penetrating Injuries – Caused by a knife or other sharp object
- Anoxic brain injury – When the brain is deprived oxygen
- Hypoxic brain injury – When the brain receives some oxygen but not enough to maintain function
- Open head injuries –When the injury involves skull fracture
- Closed head injuries – When the injury occurs within the skull and involves swelling in the brain.
Any of these types of TBI can impact a person in significant ways, including:
- One’s behavior and personality
- One’s ability to remember names, dates, and places
- One’s ability to communicate and understand what is being said to them.
Brain injuries can also impair the brain’s ability to regulate vital body functions, such as temperature, breathing and heart rate.
What Are Common Ways Traumatic Brain Injuries Occur?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability, accounting for an estimated 30 percent of all personal injury deaths in the U.S.
TBI can occur as the result of any of the following:
- Slip, trip and fall accidents – According to the CDC, fall accidents account for nearly 40 percent of all brain injuries and are the leading cause of TBI-related deaths in the United States. Falls in nursing homes remain an increasing concern as they continue to increase in frequency. In many cases, those falls result from nursing home abuse or neglect.
- Auto accidents – The CDC states that car accidents are the second-leading cause of death due to TBI.
- Being struck by or against an object – These accidents account for nearly 20 percent of brain injuries.
- Construction accidents – Workers in the construction industry face an increased risk of TBI due to dangerous job site conditions and job-related hazards.
- Sports accidents – The CDC states that youth sports programs account for roughly a quarter of a million TBIs among children under the age of 19 every year in our country. Many of these injuries result from the failure to provide young athletes with proper equipment and teach them safe techniques. Youths can face serious health risks if an injury such as a concussion is not recognized by coaches or trainers, and the athletes are put back into action when they should be getting treatment and rest.
How Do You Recognize Traumatic Brain Injury?
Even a seemingly minor accident can result in TBI. For this reason, any person who has been involved in a car crash, slip and fall or other accident should be aware of the signs and symptoms of TBI. Friends and family members should be on the lookout as well.
While some signs and symptoms may appear immediately, others may take days or even weeks to appear. The Mayo Clinic describes these indicators as:
- Severe headaches
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness and loss of balance
- Excessive sleepiness and inability to stay awake
- Impaired vision and hearing
- Being unable to remember details of the accident
- Irritability and mood swings
- Bursts of anger or rage.
Anyone with a suspected head injury should seek medical attention immediately.
Can You Take Legal Action If You Suffer Traumatic Brain Injury?
Accidents resulting in traumatic brain injuries often are not “accidents” at all. Instead, they result from another person’s careless or reckless conduct.
Under Arizona law, those who suffer injuries due to the negligent actions of another may be entitled to recover damages or compensation for the costs and expenses related to the injury. These damages can include:
- Medical expenses (including ongoing treatment and physical therapy)
- Lost wages and future losses in income
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish and loss of quality of life
- Temporary and permanent disability
- Punitive damages
If you believe that you or someone you care about has suffered a brain injury as the result of another’s negligence, contact Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC.
We provide aggressive and effective legal representation to personal injury victims and their families in Phoenix and surrounding areas in Arizona, including Glendale, Surprise, Peoria, Scottsdale and Sun City.
To learn more about how we can assist in your brain injury case, please call us today or reach us through our online form. Our initials consultations are free. We can review your case, answer your questions and help you to understand the legal process that may lie ahead for you.
Zachary Mushkatel is an Arizona native who earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Arizona in 2001 and his law degree from the University of Minnesota Law School in 2004. After serving as a public defender, he entered into private practice and, ultimately, joined forces with Mathis Becker to form the law firm known today as Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC. In addition to criminal law, Mushkatel practices civil litigation, with a focus on estate litigation and personal injury cases. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Surprise Regional Chamber of Commerce and Sun Valley Lodge, and he is an executive officer and member of the Board of Directors for the West Maricopa County Bar Association.