Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI typically results from a strong jolt or blow to the head or body. Symptoms and classifications vary greatly depending on the damage done to the brain tissue. Mild TBI may cause temporary damage, while a more serious TBI can have devastating long-term effects or death.
What Are the Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury?
Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the level of damage suffered. Some of the most common are memory loss, loss of consciousness, persistent headache, seizures or convulsions, inability to wake from sleep, consistent vomiting or nausea, and more. Each level of injury will present different symptoms, although some signs will be present in multiple levels of TBI and vary in severity.
It is essential to understand that some symptoms may not appear immediately. It can take hours, days, or even weeks for symptoms to become apparent or troublesome. If you experienced a blow to the head, it is crucial to have professional medical attention to rule out severe injuries that may not be apparent.
What are the Main Levels of TBI, and How Are They Measured?
The Glasgow Coma Scale, or GCS, is generally used to determine the severity of a TBI. The GCS was developed in the 1970s as a practical way to assess levels of consciousness. It helps to objectively place a patient on a scale to monitor and determine the depth and duration of the TBI they are suffering from.
Mild levels of TBI are typically scored between 13 and 15. Moderate levels score in the 9 to 12 range, and severe TBI scores between 3 and 8.
The GCS helps to monitor the patient, objectively treat them, explain the depth of the injuries to loved ones, and more.
What are the 8 Levels of TBI?
Concussions are the most common type of TBI. You may have heard of them relating to sports or experienced one at some point. A sharp jolt to the head or a violent shake of the body can sometimes result in a concussion. Research is evolving on the severity of concussions and how to treat or monitor them, as they can sometimes lead to long-term complications.
A brain hemorrhage is bleeding in the brain (either on the surface of or deeper within) that can’t be controlled. They can be sub-categorized as focal brain injuries, which means they are typically in a specific portion of the brain rather than throughout. They can be fatal if not treated promptly and accurately.
Hematomas are pockets of blood outside of the blood vessels. Hematomas in the brain (also called intracranial hematomas) can lead to death or serious injury if left untreated and can be classified as intracerebral (within the brain), subdural (within the layer that protects the brain), or epidural (between the skull and the brain).
A contusion, simply put, is a bruise. Side effects from contusions on the brain can vary greatly depending on the location, size, and whether medical professionals can treat it with or without surgery.
Penetrating brain injuries occur when a sharp object penetrates the skull and the brain. In most cases, this results from a gunshot. However, car accidents can cause items, such as metal or glass, to penetrate the skull and the brain.
Second impact syndrome refers to a recurrent injury within a short time of the previous TBI. This happens when the brain suffers a second traumatic event while it is still healing from the first injury. This second injury can result in lasting or fatal consequences.
Diffuse Axonal Injuries, or DAI, are considered one of the most severe brain injuries. They result when the brain has been shaken or twisted inside the skull, sometimes leading to connecting tissues and fibers of the brain being sheared or compromised. This injury interrupts messages that the brain sends via neurons, leading to loss of function for the patient.
Coup and Contrcoup, or “blow” and “counterblow,” are another deep level of TBI. These can occur when the head is slammed up against a stationary object. The original “blow” is caused to the front of the brain when the head initially hits the object, and the “counterblow” occurs when the brain rebounds to the back of the skull. In car wrecks, this can happen even if airbags deploy.
What Steps Can I Take to Protect Myself or My Loved One Who Has Suffered a TBI?
Treatment for a TBI can be lengthy and expensive. If you or a loved one suffered from a TBI and are left wondering how to recover financially and physically, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself and your family. Maybe you choose to pursue compensation for personal injury. Perhaps you decide to research Social Security benefits or both. Below is a brief list of items you can gather that will be useful.
Keep thorough records of every visit or therapy appointment with the doctors. Consider a daily journal of symptoms, functional limitations, or pain levels. Also, keep a log of the time missed from work or other enjoyable activities based on the injuries sustained or the treatment necessary.
How Can a Lawyer Help?
It is essential to have the above-listed research completed if you choose to pursue compensation. Documenting these items as they happen rather than looking back and remembering details during an already trying time can benefit you and your family.
Working with an experienced lawyer can help you recover the compensation you deserve after a TBI. We have multiple years of experience helping clients and their families pursue an outcome that helps lighten the financial and emotional strain that TBI can have on a family.
Contact our office at (210) 340-8877 today.