A traumatic brain injury, commonly referred to as a TBI, happens when you have a sudden hit to the head or if something should pierce your head. You might remain conscious or you could be knocked out. TBIs may happen in sports, vehicle accidents, if something falls on your head or even if you hit your head when you fall.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of 2014—the newest published statistics—about 2.87 million people suffer from TBIs in the United States. Of those, 837,000 were children. Of the 2.87 million people who suffered TBIs, 288,000 needed hospitalization, including 23,000 children; and 56,800 died as a result of a TBI, including 2,529 children.
Traumatic Brain Injury Symptoms
According to the CDC, unintentional falls are the cause of 47.9 percent of TBIs while being hit by something and motor vehicle crashes resulted in 17.1 percent and 13.2 percent of TBIs, respectively. TBIs are categorized as mild or moderate to severe. As part of the diagnosis, doctors look at symptoms to determine how severe the TBI is.
You may have suffered a mild traumatic brain injury if you:
- Lose consciousness for up to a few minutes;
- Feel confused, dazed or disoriented without losing consciousness;
- Have blurred vision;
- Have become sensitive to light;
- Vomit or exhibit nausea;
- Have a headache after you hit your head;
- Have become sensitive to sound;
- Notice ringing in your ears;
- Notice a change in your ability to smell;
- Feel tired;
- Find it difficult to concentrate;
- Have a bad taste in your mouth;
- Seem to be having problems with talking;
- Have mood changes/swings that you never had before you hit your head;
- Are sleeping more than you usually would;
- Feel anxious or depressed;
- Have a hard time sleeping; or
- Lose your balance or feel dizzy.
You may exhibit one or more of these signs, but not necessarily all of them.
Moderate to Severe TBI
You may be suffering from moderate to severe TBI if you have any one or more of the symptoms of mild TBI plus any one or more of these symptoms:
- You are very confused;
- Your speech is slurred;
- You lose consciousness for at least several minutes, possibly for hours;
- You are agitated and may become combative;
- You exhibit behavior that is not usual for you;
- You go into a coma;
- You have a headache that won’t go away or a headache that continually gets worse;
- You have seizures or other convulsions;
- You can’t stop vomiting or experiencing nausea;
- Your movements are not coordinated;
- It’s difficult for you to wake up;
- One or both of your eyes are dilated;
- Your fingers and/or toes feel numb or weak; and
- You have clear fluid draining from your ears or nose.
Even if you believe you are suffering from a mild traumatic brain injury, you should get checked out by the emergency room or your doctor as soon as possible. TBIs could lead to more serious complications in the next hours, days, or even months or years.
Diagnosing Traumatic Brain Injuries
Doctors use several procedures to diagnose TBI in addition to reviewing your symptoms. The tests include:
- The Glasgow coma scale: The doctor checks for several of the above-listed symptoms, checks to see if you only open your eyes when asked and evaluates the ability to move your arms when painful stimulation is introduced.
- Notes the amount of time you may have been unconscious, what your GCS score was and if you had memory loss that lasted for more than 24 hours.
- A formal evaluation of your speech and language skills.
- Neuropsychological and cognitive test results.
- CT scan or MRI.
- Checking the pressure inside your skull.
Retaining an Accident Attorney
If you suffered a TBI, you should always consult with an attorney. While insurance companies will settle with you, you may not get enough to cover your medical expenses. Keep in mind that an insurance company is always going to look out for its bottom line, since it is a business operated to make money. Even your own insurance company will try to pay you the least amount possible.
A personal injury lawyer will ensure that you get the compensation you are entitled to, and that is important with TBIs because these injuries could be long-term or even permanent. As part of your case, The Law Offices of George Salinas can investigate the facts of your injury and review your medical records with the help of doctors with extensive experience in traumatic brain injury symptoms.
If the insurance company will not come to a reasonable settlement amount, or if the damages you are entitled to are higher than the insurance company’s coverage, we are prepared to take your case to court to recover from the at-fault person’s insurance company or the at-fault party directly, depending on the situation.
Depending on the injuries you are suffering and whether the incident or accident caused the death of a loved one, you may be entitled to special, general, and/or punitive damages. Special damages are also known as economic damages because they have a specific cost attached to them. They may include medical expenses and lost wages now and in the future.
General damages are also referred to as non-economic damages. These damages include pain and suffering, loss of use of a limb, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship and/or consortium, and disfigurement.
Punitive damages are only available if the at-fault person’s actions were grossly negligent or were meant to intentionally harm you—such as when a drunk driver or distracted driver hit you.
Call Our Brain Injury Attorneys for Help
If you or a loved one are suffering from a traumatic brain injury that you sustained in San Antonio, we know the frustrations you feel. Our experienced brain injury lawyers can answer any further questions you have, evaluate your case, and provide you with a plan for how to proceed. You can reach us at (210) 225-0909 or email us through our online contact form.