Traumatic brain injury describes physical damage to brain tissue caused by blunt force, concussive force, severe shaking, or penetration of the cranium by a foreign object. Major causes of traumatic brain injury are auto accidents, falls, explosions, athletic injury, and criminal assaults.
In our law practice, we see many TBI victims who were injured in car crashes and slip and fall accidents. In many cases, the injury has been catastrophic, inflicting debilitating physical, mental and emotional symptoms. However, in cases of mild TBI, the victim may not even associate the symptoms with the injury event. The victim may dismiss headaches, mood swings, forgetfulness, insomnia, and agitation as symptoms of stress rather than consequences of a physical injury. If so, the victim may not even include a claim for TBI in his personal injury lawsuit.
It is vitally important to recognize the signs and symptoms of TBI, both to get immediate, necessary medical assistance and to prepare for a possible lawsuit. The Mayo Clinic lists the symptoms for mild to severe TBI as follows:
- Loss of consciousness from several minutes to hours
- Persistent headache or headache that worsens
- Repeated vomiting or nausea
- Convulsions or seizures
- Dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes
- Clear fluids draining from the nose or ears
- Inability to awaken from sleep
- Weakness or numbness in fingers and toes
- Loss of coordination
Cognitive or mental symptoms
- Profound confusion
- Agitation, combativeness or other unusual behavior
- Slurred speech
- Coma and other disorders of consciousness
Unfortunately, even though these symptoms are horrendous, they can be very difficult to prove through standard diagnostic testing. The victim’s case often depends on expert testimony from medical professionals as well as accounts from witnesses who can testify credibly to changes in the victim’s health and mental state. If victims of TBI are to be properly compensated for their injuries, experienced legal representation is essential.