What Causes Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs)?

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A woman holds her injured head after a car accident.

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are often caused by car accidents or falls. Still, they can also result from other events, such as a gun injury or other personal injury accidents. Concussions are the most common type of TBI.  After taking a severe blow to the head, your brain may hit your skull, leading to brain damage. TBIs vary widely in severity and may recover within a few days or lead to permanent brain damage or death in severe cases.

Who Do Traumatic Brain Injuries Affect?

Any individual can suffer from a TBI at any age, from infancy through adulthood. However, most TBIs occur in individuals above 65 when falls and balance issues become more likely. In addition, professionals and individuals who perform certain activities have a higher risk of suffering from a TBI. These include:

  • Athletes
  • Construction Workers
  • Military
  • Police

Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Common?

One of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States is TBIs. In 2014, the CDC reported that TBIs were a top factor in nearly 3,000,000 hospitalizations and 56,500 deaths.

What Causes a Traumatic Brain Injury to Occur?

After receiving a violent blow to the head, your brain may change energy and chemical use to compensate for the injury, which may present as headaches, light and sound sensitivity, and confusion. When the TBI is mild, the changes will generally be short and not permanently damage the brain. However, in the case of more severe injury, changes may be longer and can result in brain cell damage. In addition, if the brain swells and expands inside the skull, swelling may lead to more extensive brain damage.

What Are the Leading Causes of Traumatic Brain Injuries?

The top causes of traumatic brain injuries are:

  • Falls
  • Domestic violence
  • Assault
  • Child abuse
  • Shaken Baby Syndrome
  • Gun injuries
  • Attempted suicide
  • Car accidents
  • Sports
  • Workplace or military injuries
  • Recreational activities

What Are Common Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms?

Symptoms from a TBI will vary widely depending on the severity of the injury. A key indicator of the severity of the damage is the loss of consciousness after a blow to the head. Some people may only feel slightly dazed, while others may become entirely unresponsive, such as in comas or persistent vegetative states.

After experiencing a mild TBI, you may experience several symptoms, including:

  • Mood or behavioral changes
  • Memory problems or confusion
  • Seizures or convulsions
  • Blurred vision or dilated pupils
  • Fatigue, fainting, dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Agitation
  • Sensitivity to light and smell
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Speech slurring
  • Inconsolable crying in children

How Is a Traumatic Brain Injury Diagnosed?

A traumatic brain injury will be diagnosed by examination and discussing your symptoms with your doctor. Your provider will also want to know more about what caused the injury. Depending on the severity of symptoms, a neurological evaluation may evaluate memory, motor, and sensory functioning, and thinking. In addition, imaging tests may be ordered, such as a CT or MRI, to look for any brain swelling or bleeding.

How Is a Traumatic Brain Injury Managed or Treated?

Individuals who have only suffered from a mild or moderate TBI may require minimal treatment, which will likely include a short rest from sports, work, or school, with symptoms expected to improve within a few weeks. However, those who have suffered from severe TBI may require more intense treatments, such as:

  • Counseling
  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation

While some treatments may ease your symptoms and quality of life, some symptoms may persist for years or become permanent.

What Are the Complications of a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Severe to moderate TBIs can cause brain damage and disabilities that are permanent. Patients with TBIs are also at a higher risk of developing:

  • Epilepsy
  • Anxiety, depression, and PTSD
  • Increased risk of dementia, Alzheimers, and movement disorders
  • Chronic traumatic encephalopathy

How Can I Prevent a Traumatic Brain Injury?

Most TBIs are not preventable and occur without warning due to an accident. However, you may take some steps to avoid incidents that commonly lead to TBIs, such as:

  • Monitoring medicines, especially medicines that may make you feel drowsy, lethargic, or dizzy;
  • Get regular eye exams to prevent falls due to impaired vision;
  • Always use seat belts behind the wheel and never drive under the influence;
  • Use a helmet when skiing, biking, snowboarding, playing hockey, football, or when riding motorcycles, ATVs, scooters, and horses;
  • If walking is impaired, use a walking assistance device such as a walker or cane.

What Is the Prognosis for People With Traumatic Brain Injuries?

After suffering from a TBI, recovery time is highly individualized and depends on the nature and extent of your injuries. Individuals with mild TBIs typically improve rapidly and may return to their pre-injury functioning levels within several weeks. Some individuals with mild TBIs never seek treatment. However, with a moderate to severe TBI, permanent changes to thinking and behavior may be experienced. Factors that influence an individual’s recovery include:

  • Additional injuries sustained during the fall or accident
  • Age
  • Previous history of head injuries
  • Stress
  • Support levels

Typically, individuals with lower stress levels and strong support from family and friends may see faster recoveries from symptoms after a head injury. Additionally, older individuals or individuals who have had multiple head injuries may take longer to recover than younger individuals or individuals who have ever experienced a head injury. If experiencing stress and other mental health symptoms due to a TBI, counseling is an effective method of reducing post-TBI symptoms.

When Should I Call the Doctor About Traumatic Brain Injury?

If you have had a fall or accident and have injured your head, you should contact a medical professional immediately if you experience:

  • Memory loss or confusion
  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Inability to wake up
  • Extreme irritability or mood changes
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Severe headache that does not go away

 Tatum & Atkinson Are Here to Help After a Traumatic Brain Injury

If you or a loved one has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, contact an experienced attorney from Tatum & Atkinson to help you understand the law relating to your injury and fight the insurance company for the compensation you deserve. TBI can be a significant disruption to your life. Let us answer your questions and get you on a path to healing.

Call Tatum & Atkinson: The Heavy Hitters at 1-800-LAW-0804 or fill out our online form, and a personal injury lawyer will be in touch with you soon.