According to the CDC, in 2013 there were 2.5 million emergency room visits for TBI. Out of these people, about 282,000 were hospitalized and 56,000 tragically pass away as a result of TBI complications. Young children (0-4 years), teenagers (15-19 years), and the elderly (over 65 years) are at the highest risk for suffering a TBI.
In 2013, the three leading causes of TBI included:
- Falls - The leading cause of TBI. In 2013, falls contributed to 47% of all TBI emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in the US.
- Struck by or against an object - The second leading cause, accounting for 15% of emergency visits, hospitalizations, and deaths in 2013.
- Motor vehicle crashes - At 14% of all emergency visits, hospitalizations, and deaths, motor vehicle crashes are the third leading cause of TBI.
Traumatic brain injuries range from mild concussions to permanent brain damage and death. Symptoms vary depending on the severity of the injury. Some symptoms may surface immediately, but others may not appear until days or weeks after the accident.
Mild Injury Symptoms
Symptoms which may indicate a mild TBI include:
- Temporary loss of consciousness ranging from seconds to minutes
- Sense of confusion or disorientedness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Excessive sleeping
- Sensory impairments such as blurred vision or ringing in ears
- Sensitivity to light or sound
- Problems with memory and concentration
- Mood swings
- Depression and anxiety
Moderate and Severe Injury Symptoms
Symptoms which commonly indicate moderate or severe TBIs include:
- Loss of consciousness for several minutes or hours
- Chronic or worsening headaches
- Chronic vomiting and nausea
- Seizures and convulsions
- Pupil dilation
- Fluids draining from nose or ears
- Coordination problems
- Weakness and numbness in extremities
- Trouble waking from sleep
- Confusion, agitation, and combativeness
- Slurred speech
It's usually a good idea to seek medical care following a heavy blow to the head. You don't necessarily need to wait for symptoms to surface before speaking with a doctor. If you've noticed any of these symptoms in yourself or a family member, you should schedule a doctor's appointment ASAP.
Costs Of Treatment
Recovering from a TBI requires extensive rehabilitation. Doctor's visits and hospital stays are only the beginning steps of a lengthy process. While health insurance may cover these initial medical costs, many victims may face out-of-pocket expenses for further treatments - such as appointments with physical therapists.
No TBI victim or family of a victim should be burdened with these excessive costs. Most brain injuries are the results of preventable accidents. While some injuries may be self-inflicted, many others are caused by the negligence of another person. When this is the case, victims may acquire the compensation they need during a recovery by filing a personal injury lawsuit.
How A Lawyer Can Help
When families are struggling to help an injured loved one recover after a TBI, an experienced personal injury lawyer can be a valuable ally. As we mentioned above, falls and motor vehicle accidents are two of the leading causes of these injuries. In both categories, a large number of injuries are due to negligence.
For example, an innocent victim may suffer a TBI after being hit by a drunk driver. Or they may have fallen and cracked their head on a snow-covered sidewalk that should have been cleared.
These injuries cause enough stress for victims and their families. If you're in this position, you may not consider filing a lawsuit as you're focusing on helping your injured loved one as much as you can. Your lawyer can help to alleviate financial burdens while your family copes with the fallout of a devastating accident.
While a successful lawsuit can't reverse injuries, it can at least ensure that you're able to provide the highest standard of medical care without needing to worry about out-of-pocket expenses. A winning case could provide you with the following forms of compensation:
- Medical expenses
- Past and future lost wages
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium for wrongful death cases