Houston Brain Injury Attorneys
Representing the Victims of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
Not all head injuries result in brain injuries, but brain injuries are almost always caused when significant pressure or force is applied to the head. The level and intensity of the brain injury may vary depending on the severity of the head injury. In some cases, a head injury could result in what is known as a traumatic brain injury. These are commonly a result of falls from high points or being struck on the head by a heavy object.
Over 1.7 million people in the United States suffer from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) each year. Because many of these injuries go unseen, they are sometimes referred to as the "Silent Epidemic."
TBI can include closed head injuries, where there is blunt force trauma to the head and no splitting of the skull, or penetrating injuries where bone fragments penetrate the skull. A penetrating head injury can also lead to infection. Head injuries may or may not result in brain injuries. In many instances, TBIs are a result of equipment collapsing, falling from scaffolding, or getting stuck under debris. These can be from immediate impact to the head, but also caused by secondary factors, such as swelling in the skull, interruption of blood circulation, and damage to nerve fibers.
Understanding the Types of Head Injuries
- Skull Fracture: This can be visible in the form of bleeding, swelling, or bruising; however, they can also not be visible at all.
- Intracranial Hemorrhage: Blood clots and bleeding inside the skull that damage the brain.
- Cerebral Contusion: Contusions to the cerebellum often cause memory and attention problems.
- Concussion: Concussions can cause temporary lack of awareness, disorientation, confusion, and memory loss.
What Are the Effects of a Traumatic Brain Injury?
Depending on the severity of the injury, the physical and mental effects can vary. In general, the effects are greatest immediately following the injury. Mild TBI may result in a short loss of consciousness, while more severe TBI could result in prolonged loss of consciousness.
- Speech problems
- Blurred vision
- Loss of hearing
- Lack of energy
- Difficulty with balancing
- Sleeping problems
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory loss
- Lack of focus
- Impaired decision making
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Mild Cases: Sensitivity to noise and light, depression, memory loss, and attention deficit problems
- Moderate Cases: Motor and cognitive impairment that requires extensive therapy and rehabilitation
- Severe Cases: Victim remains in a vegetative state, coma, or a minimally responsive state that requires full-time attention.
Are Traumatic Brain Injuries Treatable?
Beginning treatment as soon as possible gives patients the best chance for a full recovery. Treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the injury. The mildest injuries can generally be treated at home with over-the-counter pain medication and rest. However, it is important to keep a close eye out for any symptoms that may worsen as time goes by. If symptoms seem to be worsening, you should visit a doctor. Severe traumatic brain injuries can be treated in a variety of different ways. Often, these treatments options are used in conjunction with each other.
Common treatment option for severe brain injuries include:
- Immediate emergency care
Rehabilitation of Traumatic Brain Injuries
Rehabilitation can be a long, slow process involving a number of different specialists. Most people who suffer a serious brain injury will require rehabilitation to relearn basic physical and mental skills that were lost due to the injury. The rehabilitation process could cover months or years.
Common rehabilitation specialists include:
- Physical therapists
- Occupational therapists
- Speech pathologists
- Social workers
- Rehabilitation nurses
Closed Head Injury Claims
Closed head injuries are a kind of traumatic brain injury in which the skull and the dura mater (membrane that protects the brain and spinal cord) remain intact. Closed head injuries can be caused by a number of different traumas, including falls, vehicle accidents, or even proximity to a blast or explosion. Closed head injuries can range from minor to debilitating, even resulting in permanent neurological deficits or wrongful death.
Some common types of closed head injuries include the following:
- Concussions: Temporary disruptions to normal brain function
- Intracranial Hematomas: Blood vessels rupture, causing a pool of blood to form around the brain or between the brain and skull.
- Cerebral Contusions: Bruises to brain tissue
- Diffuse Axonal Injuries: Injuries to the axons (nerve fibers) of the neurons (nerve cells of the brain)
Symptoms of an injury may be apparent immediately after an accident, but because of the brain swelling involved in the trauma, symptoms may not appear for days or even weeks after an initial injury. Symptoms range from moderate to severe, but after an accident, anyone displaying even one symptom of a closed head injury should be given immediate medical attention. Some symptoms of a closed head injury include:
- Slurred speech
- Loss of consciousness
- Possibly coma
During the recovery period, victims of closed head injuries can develop secondary symptoms such as loss of social skills, depression, changes in personality, cognitive disabilities, anxieties, and changes in perception. Depending on the severity of both the initial and secondary symptoms, doctors will decide upon a treatment course that could include anything from physical and cognitive rehabilitation to medication or, in severe incidents, surgery or medically induced comas. While many individuals are able to completely recover from closed head injuries, others will never fully regain their previous levels of physical and cognitive abilities. If you or a loved one has suffered a closed head injury as a result of the negligence of others, you may be entitled to compensation. By speaking with a Houston personal injury lawyer from our office, we can review your case and determine the best possible way to approach your case. Our legal team has recovered many large settlements in the past for our clients, and we are not afraid to go head to head with tough litigators to get you the monetary settlement that you deserve.
Brain injuries are serious and are caused by blunt force trauma to the head. Sometimes trauma can cause the skull to fracture, causing damage to membranes, blood vessels, and the brain. Often in the workplace, workers receive brain injuries after falling or being struck by a heavy object. Mine, offshore, and construction workers are a few examples of workers who may have a higher likelihood of receiving a skull fracture.
There are four different types of skull fractures:
- Linear Fractures: These fractures spread through the entire thickness of the skull, from the outer to inner table. They are usually straight, hence the name. Although all skull fractures are serious, linear fractures are usually not as injurious and are only a cause for serious concern if the fracture comes close to a vascular channel or a suture (joint) in the skull. If this is the case, you may face complications such as a buildup of blood called an epidural hematoma, a type of stroke called venous sinus thrombosis, or an abnormal separation called diastasis.
- Depressed Fractures: In these types of fractures, the blunt force trauma to the head caused some of the skull bone to be displaced inward. They carry with them a higher risk of pressure on the brain which could crush tissue and blood vessels. The internal cranial cavity is protected from the outside environment by the skull. If the skull is fractured by a depressed fracture, it comes into contact with the outside environment and can become infected. These fractures often require surgery to repair it.
- Diastatic Fractures: This type of fracture is common in infants because sutures in the head are not yet fused, but it is still possible that adults can be affected by it. They are usually caused when the fracture line goes across at least one suture of the skull.
- Basilar Fractures: These types of fractures occur at the base of the skull. The signs to watch for are fluid leaking from nose and ears, as well as eye bruising. These fractures may tear the pituitary gland. With that comes the risk of diabetes, impotence, or reduced libido.
Discuss Your Case with a Traumatic Brain Injury Lawyer: (888) 493-1629
If you have suffered a TBI, you should consult with an experienced injury lawyer. Treatment for brain injuries can add up to millions of dollars and many people never fully recover to lead a normal life. If another party was responsible for the accident that caused your brain injury, you could be entitled to compensation. At Arnold & Itkin, we will review the facts of your case free of charge and help you determine what legal options are available to you. We've been successful in recovering billions on behalf of our clients who have been wrongfully injured. Contact an injury lawyer from our firm to make sure you have an attorney who knows the full extent of your injuries and provides the aggressive advocacy you need.