What is a Brain Injury?
A traumatic brain injury is caused by a blow or jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The skull itself can withstand a forceful external impact without fracturing. However, many times the brain moves around violently inside the skull. An injured brain inside an intact skull is known as a closed-head injury. Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a traumatic brain injury. A traumatic brain injury may be "mild", where a brief change in mental status or consciousness is noted, to "severe", which typically involves an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
Falls and motor vehicle-traffic crashes make up almost half of the leading causes of traumatic brain injuries. Approximately 1.4 million people sustain a traumatic brain injury each year in the United States. Of those people, 50,000 victims die and 235,000 victims are hospitalized. Approximately 1 million are treated and released from an emergency department.
Because the brain controls movements, behaviors, thoughts and sensations, a brain injury can affect many different aspects of our physical and emotional well-being. Most symptoms of a brain injury appear immediately or shortly after a blow to the head. However, in many cases, the symptoms are subtle and easy to miss. Those of a mild brain injury can include a brief period of unconsciousness, headache, confusion, dizziness, sensory problems, mood changes, memory or concentration problems. In a more moderate to sever head injury, these symptoms become more severe; persistent headache, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, increased confusion or agitation.
If you or a loved on has suffered a blow to the head or a jolt such as an acceleration-deceleration trauma (whiplash resulting from a car crash), you should consult with your physician. Anyone with signs of moderate or severe brain injury (convulsions, weakness or numbness in the extremities, repeated vomiting, or slurred speech) should seek emergency medical care. These types of brain injuries can quickly become life threatening.
As with all claims, a Statute of Limitations restricts the time in which to file a lawsuit. It is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after an injury to discuss your potential claim and protect your rights.
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