Traumatic Brain Injury And Cognitive Disability
Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) occur when the brain is jarred, penetrated, or slammed within the skull, resulting in bleeding, bruising, or other damage. A TBI can lead to many weeks, months, or even years of memory loss, confusion, difficulty speaking, and other debilitating and frustrating complications. As a victim of a traumatic brain injury, you almost certainly have out-of-pocket medical expenses, lost income, and other damages that should be addressed in a personal injury claim or lawsuit. For those who have suffered an extreme injury that may result in cognitive disability for the short or long term, it is important to maximize compensation for future expenses and lost earning capacity, as well as loss of joy of life and pain and suffering. Whether you have a detailed diagnosis from a doctor or you have only had a preliminary consultation with an emergency department physician, Preszler Injury Lawyers may be able to help.
Brain Injuries in Canada
There are 1.5 million Canadians living with brain injuries, according to Brain Injury Canada. An additional 160,000 victims suffer brain injuries each year. While some brain injuries are non-traumatic in nature and acquired by strokes, substance abuse, and other illnesses, the majority are caused by traumatic events such as the following:
- Traffic collisions including car collisions, truck collisions, pedestrian collisions, bicyclist collisions, and motorcyclist collisions
- Trip, slip and falls
- Child abuse
- Shaken baby syndrome
- Domestic violence
- Gun violence
- Sports injuries
- Explosive blasts
Symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury
- Loss of consciousness
- Memory loss
- Emotional changes including mood swings and depression
- Fluid leakage from the ears or nose
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Loss of motor skills
- Inability to sleep
- Inability to smell
- Taste strange tastes
- Buzzing in the ears
- Dilated pupils
- Slurred speech
- Abnormal behaviour
Long-Term Cognitive Effects of a Serious TBI
Traumatic brain injuries can last for years or be permanent. Each victim’s recovery process differs. Some people may only suffer some minor dizziness and headache from a moderate concussion, while others may feel drowsy, confused, and depressed for months afterward. In very serious cases, a victim’s cognitive ability may be temporarily or permanently impaired. Emotional and cognitive changes can affect TBI victims in the following ways:
- Caring for children or other loved ones becomes more difficult or impossible
- Relationships are strained, and making new relationships is challenging
- Holding a job becomes difficult to impossible
- Career advancements are passed over the victim
- Advanced education becomes more challenging or impossible
- Difficulty being involved in social activities
- Inability or difficulty to read or write
- Inability to comprehend reading
- Memory is poor and the inability to focus or pay attention
- Confusion of non-complex tasks or conversations
- Ability to speak is impaired
- Abstract thinking becomes difficult or impossible
The Six Types of Traumatic Brain Injuries
- Diffuse Axonal Injury—A strong shearing force causes Diffuse Axonal Injury (DAI) due to stretching or tearing of axon bundles. This type of rotational force or sudden deceleration is common with falls or traffic collisions. Diffuse axonal injury is the most common type of serious TBI.
- Coup-Contrecoup Injury—Some impacts are so forceful that they cause the brain to slam back into the other side of the skull, causing an injury at the opposite location as the first impact site. For example, a driver who hits his or her head on the steering wheel could suffer a secondary injury at the back of the skull due to the brain’s inertia. Coup-contrecoup injuries are very serious, as they effectively double the injured brain tissue.
- Concussion—A concussion is the mildest form of brain injury, which can take just minutes to heal in some cases. More commonly, it takes days, weeks, or months to recover from even a mild concussion. Concussions are caused by a blow to the head or sudden acceleration or deceleration. A second concussion followed shortly after a first adds serious complications and risk of permanent brain damage or death.
- Second Impact Injury—As previously mentioned, a second brain injury that occurs shortly after the first, or when the first TBI is still healing, carries a serious risk of death. In fact, having a second TBI within months of the first, depending on the severity of each, can cause severe complications including neurological disability, vegetative state, and death.
- Brain Contusion—When the tiny blood vessels in the brain rupture due to a blow or other force, the injury is called a brain contusion. Brain contusions or brain bruising occur in various types of other brain injuries, such as coup-contrecoup injuries or severe concussions. In the majority of cases, a contusion forms on the opposite side of the head from the blow, just like a coup-contrecoup injury.
- Penetration Injury—The physical penetration of the brain from a foreign object often results in death. However, in many other cases, the patient makes a full or partial recovery. Penetration injuries can occur in falls, traffic collisions, and gun violence.
Secondary Brain Injury—Hypotension, Hypoxemia, and Brain Swelling
Victims of severe brain injury—comatose patients whose condition renders them unable to open their eyes or respond—are at risk of secondary brain injury in the hours and days following their initial TBI. These secondary injuries include hypotension, hypoxemia, and brain swelling, which is why seeking medical attention immediately following a TBI is crucial for-well being and, in some cases, survival. Even if the victim survived the primary TBI, a secondary injury could exacerbate their degree of cognitive disability, cause them to remain in a permanent vegetative state, or cause death.
CONTACT PRESZLER INJURY LAWYERS TODAY
Traumatic brain injuries can have tragic consequences. For those who end up having to live with TBI complications for months or years, being fairly compensated is even more important due to potential job loss or inability to work full time. For help, call Preszler Injury Lawyers today at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free consultation.