Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
One type of injury that can occur during a range of accidents – as well as injuries in various sports – are traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Often, one will hear of head injuries in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and other types of accidents. The terms used for these types of head injuries include:
- head injuries
- head trauma
- blunt force head trauma
- fractured skull
- bleeding on the brain
These types of accident injuries happen for various reasons. In vehicle accidents, factors such as the speeds involved, as well as other attributes of vehicle crashes such as the impact force often contribute to or cause accident injuries that involve the head, neck, spinal cord and brain.
McHenry County Accidents Resulting In Head Injuries
Head injuries have happened in many McHenry County accidents and sports injuries. On this site, various McHenry County crashes that have resulted in head injuries have been summarized. A sample of these crashes show that such head injuries have happened in a range of accidents, including a single-car crash in Ringwood and a car rollover accident in Lake in the Hills.
Description Of TBI
The NIH (National Institute of Health) NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) page titled “NINDS Traumatic Brain Injury Information Page“ has a description of TBI, as described as:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI), a form of acquired brain injury, occurs when a sudden trauma causes damage to the brain. TBI can result when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, or when an object pierces the skull and enters brain tissue. Symptoms of a TBI can be mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of the damage to the brain. A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include headache, confusion, lightheadedness, dizziness, blurred vision or tired eyes, ringing in the ears, bad taste in the mouth, fatigue or lethargy, a change in sleep patterns, behavioral or mood changes, and trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking. A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.
Whenever someone has a significant head impact, it is recommended that a (very) prompt and thorough medical exam is performed to assess whether a TBI or other serious injury has occurred. Of note, many types of head injury symptoms – even in head injuries that are serious if not potentially life-threatening – can take (many) hours to become apparent to the person injured. Typically, a visit to the emergency room may include testing for bleeding on the brain and other potentially problematical health conditions.
As noted by on the NINDS TBI page mentioned above:
Anyone with signs of moderate or severe TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure. Imaging tests help in determining the diagnosis and prognosis of a TBI patient. Patients with mild to moderate injuries may receive skull and neck X-rays to check for bone fractures or spinal instability. For moderate to severe cases, the imaging test is a computed tomography (CT) scan. Moderately to severely injured patients receive rehabilitation that involves individually tailored treatment programs in the areas of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech/language therapy, physiatry (physical medicine), psychology/psychiatry, and social support.
Of note, there doesn’t have to be an “open wound” or penetration of a person’s skull in order for a serious traumatic brain injury to occur. [“Open vs. “Closed TBI” is further discussed on the Northeastern University “Types of TBI” page.]
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a page titled “Concussion Danger Signs” in which “Danger Signs & Symptoms of a Concussion” is discussed.
Preventing Head Injuries In Vehicle Accidents
There are various steps that can be taken to reduce the possibility of getting a head injury resulting from an accident. Among the best preventative measures that can be taken is the wearing of a seat belt. Vehicle airbags can also prevent potential head injuries.
For children and infants, proper occupant safety devices such as appropriate (and properly adjusted) car and booster seats are among actions that can be taken to reduce the possibility of various accident injuries.
Other recommendations for avoiding head trauma stemming from vehicle accidents includes avoiding certain types of “high-risk” driving, such as (excessive) speeding, distracted driving, drunk driving, and driving while intoxicated on drugs.
Preventing Concussions And Other Brain Injuries By Wearing Helmets
While there is no guaranteed steps one can take to prevent a head injury, there are certain actions that one can take to reduce the likelihood of a concussion or other traumatic brain injury. As far as participating in sports, general recommendations as well as those tailored to specific sports are seen on the CDC’s “Concussion Prevention” page.
As to vehicle accidents, as seen in motorcycle accident statistics as well as descriptions of many motorcycle accidents, motorcycle riders are especially at risk for potential head injuries during accidents. Motorcycles lack the type of structural protection that an enclosed vehicle, like a car or truck, has. Also, ejections from motorcycles often happen. One way for motorcyclists to reduce the likelihood of a head injury during a crash is by wearing a certified, properly-fitted motorcycle helmet. The importance of wearing a motorcycle helmet is further discussed on the “Illinois Motorcyclist Safety And Helmet Use” page.
Bicyclists are also at risk for head injuries that happen during a crash. They can also greatly reduce the possibility of a (serious) head injury during an accident by wearing a helmet. The benefits of wearing a bicycle helmet is seen in the July 12, 2014 post titled “Bicycling Helmets And Their Importance Regarding Head Injuries.”
Impacts Of Head Injuries On Health
The short- and long-term impact that head injuries have on one’s health is a subject that has been receiving increasing attention. Depending on the type and severity of head injury, mental functions, emotions, memory, and other conditions can be impacted. The CDC discusses the subject on its “Complications of Concussion” page. An excerpt:
Concussion may cause a wide range of short- or long-term complications, affecting thinking, sensation, language or emotions. These changes may lead to problems with memory, communication, personality changes, as well as depression and the early onset of dementia.
The page then discusses a wide range of potential complications of concussions, including post-concussion syndrome and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).
Serious brain injuries can cause various semi-permanent as well as permanent impairments. Rehabilitation can take years to regain certain functions.
An article that discusses one man’s recovery after a traumatic brain injury is discussed in the Men’s Health issue of September 2016, titled “The Crash, the Coma, the Comeback.” The article discusses one man’s recovery from a serious brain injury that he suffered after a car rollover accident. After coming out of a coma, the man had a long recovery period with various impairments.
Legal Steps To Take If You Have Had A Head Injury
Should you be involved in an accident, there are many steps you should take as soon as possible in order to protect both your health and your legal rights, which includes your ability to potentially receive accident injury compensation.
As mentioned above, from a medical perspective it is highly recommended that you get a thorough medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident, especially one in which a significant head impact has occurred.
From a legal perspective, it is highly recommended that you speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after being injured in an crash. There are many reasons for this. In short, the lawyer can provide you with the actions that you should take in order to protect your legal rights. The personal injury lawyer can tell you whether the filing of an accident lawsuit is appropriate.
Due to the nature of traumatic brain injuries and other serious accident injuries, it is important that those who have been injured seek appropriate compensation for these injuries. There can be many substantial direct and indirect costs stemming from such injuries. Some of these costs can be ongoing in nature. As such, those who find themselves incurring such expenses will want to seek the maximum amount of compensation in order to offset the various injury costs and other hardships, which can include the inability to work (temporarily or permanently) as well as temporary and permanent mental and physical impairments.
Generally speaking, there are various forms of accident injury compensation. These forms include, but are not limited to, compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Physical and vocational rehabilitation costs
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Compensation for permanent impairments (loss of function)
- Out-of-pocket costs
- Costs of fixing and/or replacing a damaged vehicle, in the case of a vehicle accident
Tony Elman, Lead Trial Attorney of Chicago’s Elman Joseph Law Group, offers a free legal consultation to those that have been injured in an accident. Tony can tell you the actions that you should be taking in order to maximize your potential accident injury compensation, as well as provide you with an idea as to what levels of compensation may be reasonably expected for your accident injuries (i.e. “how much your case may be worth.”)
He also offers this free legal consultation to individuals who represent those who have died as a result of an accident. For these types of fatal Illinois accidents, the filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate.
Tony Elman can be contacted directly at (773) 392-8182 at any time. Elman Joseph Law Group has handled over 10,000 Illinois personal injury cases over the last 25+ years. We have established a reputation for notable successes in both court verdicts and settlements for our clients.