A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a severe injury that happens when a person suffers a hard impact to the head. TBIs can seriously disrupt normal brain function, such as by decreasing cognitive ability.
A TBI can be spotted by looking at its symptoms. The symptoms of a TBI vary based on how severe the TBI is. The Alzheimer’s Association identifies two types of TBIs: mild and severe. The symptoms and effects of a TBI depend on which category of TBI you have suffered.
Signs of a Mild TBI
A mild TBI, known commonly as a concussion, is the less serious of the two types of TBI. While several concussions together can cause severe lifelong impacts, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), usually, having only one concussion is not a long-lasting problem.
The symptoms of a concussion include:
- Memory loss of the time immediately preceding the injury
- Dizziness or blurred vision
Signs of a Severe TBI
Severe TBIs are commonly spotted by the fact that they often cause the victim to be unconscious for more than a full day (24 hours). These severe TBIs can have long-lasting and serious symptoms, such as brain hemorrhaging or spinal cord injuries causing extreme pain.
Severe TBIs are often devastating. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), after five years, more than half (52%) of people suffering from severe TBIs either became worse or died after five years. This means that more than half of the people who suffer severe TBIs will never again return to how they were before the injury.
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy
Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a serious brain condition that scientists believe is caused by repeated concussions or a single very serious TBI. Scientists still do not know much about CTE and cannot technically diagnose it until after death. However, doctors will notice that a person is suffering from some kind of brain injury.
According to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, common symptoms of CTE are:
- Mood and personality changes
- Aggressive behavior
- Short-term memory loss
- Extreme confusion, such as getting lost in your own neighborhood
CTE is dangerous because it usually takes 10 years after the original injury or injuries for the symptoms of CTE to present themselves.
Treatment for TBIs
There are a few ways to treat TBIs, but many of the treatment methods are incredibly expensive and time-consuming. Mild TBIs (concussions) typically do not require much treatment.
However, severe TBIs can require years of treatments, varying hospital stays, and even require you to hire in-home care workers. This is because the treatment for severe TBIs is essentially the same treatment that is used to treat Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia.
Cost of Treatment for Severe TBIs
Severe TBIs are very expensive to treat. The CDC estimates that the average lifetime medical cost for a person suffering from a severe TBI can range from $85,000 to $3 million. Overall, Americans spend more than $75 billion every year in treatment costs for traumatic brain injuries.
People who suffer severe TBIs not only have to worry about devastating medical issues but face possible bankruptcy from the exorbitant cost of medical treatments for TBIs.
If you suffered a TBI and someone else was to blame, there are legal remedies that you can take advantage of. While no legal remedy can reverse the medical damage, legal remedies can help you pay your medical debt and have additional money to make your life more comfortable.
If your TBI was someone else’s fault, you can sue them. If you successfully sue the party that caused your TBI, you can recover damages. The at-fault party can compensate you for your medical bills or lost wages, or even future lost wages if your brain injury hampers your ability to work into the future.
You can also recover damages for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
When Are Legal Remedies Available?
Legal remedies are available when your TBI was someone else’s fault. When you sue someone, you have to prove that someone else was at fault by proving negligence. Negligence is proven when you can prove the existence of four elements: duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Duty means that the person who injured you is legally required to take care not to hurt you. The most common way that negligence cases arise is through car accidents.
In general, all people have a duty to take reasonable care not to hurt anyone else. This means that all people must act in a manner that a reasonable person would have acted in the same or similar circumstances.
A breach is when a person fails to act with reasonable care. In car accident cases, for example, this can be shown by showing that the other person was speeding, distracted with their cell phone, or driving recklessly. The “breach” is what most people would consider a “negligent act.”
The third element that must be proven is that the other person’s breach of duty was the cause of your damages. Causation shows that “but for” the other person’s actions, your injuries would not have happened. This is typically not a difficult element to prove.
Damages are exactly what they sound like. You must prove that you have been injured in some way and that your injury can be redressed with money. This is usually the easiest element to prove because it is pretty obvious when someone is hurt.
Your medical bills, lost wages, travel costs to the hospital, and pain and suffering, are all damages that you can present evidence of to meet this element.
The final thing you must show (usually) is that you were at least less than 50% at fault for the accident. If the accident was more than 50% of your fault, you cannot recover. However, if you were even 49.9% to blame, you could still recover some of your damages.
The Shelly Leeke Law Firm team is knowledgeable about the severity and impacts of TBI on the injured and their family. Request a free consultation today to learn more about how we can help you find some closure for this injury.