Injury Attorneys and Traumatic Brain Injuries: What You Need to Know

Traumatic brain injuries are happening, and being reported, more frequently than ever before according to injury attorneys and the Brain Injury Association.  In fact, more than 1.5 million traumatic brain injuries (TBI’s) occur each year as both isolated injuries or in addition to other injuries.  It also seems that reports of chronic brain injuries are on the rise, leading us to believe that TBI has become a serious public health issue.  Even worse than a single TBI, chronic brain injuries are those suffered by, for instance, football players who repeatedly have injuries to their head.  CTE, or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, is another term is used to describe this occurrence in the medical field.  CTE can be caused by multiple TBI’s, and is defined as a degenerative brain disease that is usually found in athletes who have dealt with long-term effects of head injuries and concussions.  In sports, awareness of CTE has increased in recent years due to several athletes who had committed suicide were found to have suffered from the disease.  Unfortunately, the only way to diagnose CTE is to examine the brain after death.  Even so, there are still no established range of identifying features for the disease.

The root of the problem is the TBI.  TBI’s have the ability to inflict serious and sometimes permanent disabilities on people.  This could lead to impairment of things like motor skills, abilities to speak and visual capabilities.  More severe impact is often noted once the victim has had the time to understand their injury and just how serious it is, and they are usually left with feelings of emptiness and depression.

According to the Brain Injury Association, When a head injury occurs and a TBI is suspected, there are three criteria that may be met:  1) documented loss of consciousness; 2) failure to recollect the actual traumatic event that occurred; and/or 3) presence of skull fracture, post-traumatic seizure or receipt of an abnormal brain scan following the traumatic event.  There are many things to be considered when a head injury occurs, which is why it is critical that victims seek medical attention without delay so that a secondary injury does not happen.  In TBI cases, the secondary injury can possibly occur after the initial injury (trauma) due to, for instance, lack of oxygen to the brain.

On December 16, 2013, the National Institutes for Health announced that the NFL has made a large donation to fund eight research projects surrounding the TBI issues at hand.  They hope to find answers to their questions about TBI, including the understanding of long-term effects of repeated injury (CTE) and the improvement of recognizing concussions and their subsequent treatment.

TBI is the leading cause of death in young adults, but there are groups that are at higher risk, including young athletes, men and women in the military, and individuals with other professions that are associated with frequent head injuries.  This research should help lead to better testing, as there is currently no test to reliably identify when someone has a concussion.  Furthermore, additional research and new tests have the potential to allow medical professionals the ability to predict recovery times and symptoms for victims of head injuries.  According to NIH, there is a need “to be able to predict which patterns of injury are rapidly reversible and which are not.  This program will help researchers get closer to answering some of the important questions about concussions.”  In fact, two of the eight projects are focused solely on “defining the scope of long-term changes that occur in the brain years after a head injury or after multiple concussions.”  The remaining six projects will be focused on providing support for “the early stages of sports-related concussions.”  The projects will also help medical professionals in the future to distinguish between CTE and Alzheimer’s, including other neuro-degenerative disorders.  Hopefully this will help identify the disease during someone’s lifetime, rather than after they have passed.  With some of the newest brain-imaging equipment available, researchers will be able to come up with the diagnostic criteria needed to identify chronic features all types of brain trauma, from mild TBI to the most severe cases of CTE.

Head injuries may be hard to avoid due to one’s profession, but other times accidents may happen and lead to a head injury.  Our injury lawyers in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina are aware of these dangers.  The last thing a victim or family member should be concerned with is how to cover the costs of their loved one’s medical expenses or worse, funeral arrangements.  Our traumatic brain injury lawyers can assist you through every step of this process.  We can help you recover for your or your loved one’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitative costs, and any other expenses associated with the incident.  No amount of money will take away the pain or bring your loved one back, but the process will often bring some type of closure and hold the accountable party responsible for their negligence.  Here at The Mace Firm, we are advocates for victims and seek to provide them the best representation possible.

If you are considering filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, contact one of our Myrtle Beach personal injury attorneys for a free consultation at 1-800-94-TRIAL.  You may also contact us online.  Visit our website for more information on traumatic brain injuries.