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Statistics Regarding TBI and Head Injuries from Car Accidents
A traumatic brain injury is a disruption caused by a jolt, bump, or blow to the head, disrupting normal functions of the brain. A TBI can also be caused when the head violently—and suddenly—hits an object, or when an object enters the brain tissue after piercing the skull. The three leading causes of traumatic brain injury in the United States for adults are auto crashes, suicides, and falls. The leading causes of non-fatal TBI in the US for adults are falls, motor-vehicle related, and sports injuries. For children, the leading cause of TBIs are sports and recreational activities.
There are almost 300,000 hospitalizations for traumatic brain injuries each year—about 20 times as high as the number of hospitalizations for spinal cord injuries. From 2006, there has been a significant increase in the number of TBI-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths—almost 54 percent. Each year, there are as many as 90,000 people in the United States that experience the onset of lifelong disabilities due to a traumatic brain injury. The vast majority of TBI accidents happen to males, with only about 21.2 percent of TBIs among women.
There are many levels of head injury, relating to the brain, scalp, and skull. The complications associated with a head or brain injury, as well as the treatments for the injury will depend on how the injury is acquired, the level of brain damage inflicted, and the precise location of the injury. The four primary types of brain injury are: concussion, contusion, penetrating injury, and anoxic brain injury.
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A concussion is relatively minor, often caused by whiplash or other sudden change in movement, an impact to the head, or shaking. Even while considered at the milder end of the spectrum, a concuss can cause memory loss, disorientation, or concentration problems, and become much more dangerous if more than one concussion is sustained over a period of time, or if a second concussion occurs before the first one has healed.
A penetrating brain injury occurs when the skull is pierced by an object, resulting in the object, skull fragments, skin, or hair to come into contact with the brain, causing injury to the brain. A penetrating brain injury can be caused by a slip and fall, an automobile accident, a gunshot wound to the head, or a sports injury. When the brain fails to receive sufficient oxygen, brain cells will begin to die, causing brain injury. This is known as anoxic brain damage. A diffuse axonal injury is similar to a concussion, but much more severe, usually caused when the head moves so violently that there are tears between the brain and the spinal cord connections.
A brain contusion is like a bruise on the brain, caused by the breaking of small blood vessels that then leak. Any impact to the head can result in a brain contusion, such as an auto accident when the head strikes a hard surface, or in a recreational or sports-related accident when the brain receives a significant impact. While the brain may be damaged directly under the site of the impact, or on the opposite side when the brain slams into the hard skull. Brain contusions can range from minor, to extremely severe; minor contusions can cause a loss of consciousness, emotional distress, fatigue, or agitation. Severe contusions can lead to brain swelling, preventing the brain from receiving sufficient oxygen.
A mild head injury or TBI will have a brief loss of consciousness, a moderate head injury or TBI will include a loss of consciousness that can last for hours, and confusion that can last for weeks, or months. Complications of a moderate head injury or TBI can be behavioral, cognitive, or physical. A severe brain injury is usually the result of a crushing blow or brain or skull penetration. A severe head injury is life-threatening and makes it very unlikely the victim will ever be able to return to his or her prior life.
Misconceptions Associated with TBI and Head Injuries
While the road to recovery can be rough, it is possible to recover from a TBI and move on with your life. Challenges and setbacks are almost a given, however, recovery is possible in some instances. There are no two types of traumatic brain injury that are exactly the same, and even those who believe they have suffered a mild concussion may later find new symptoms developing in the weeks following the accident. New symptoms should never be ignored and should always be checked out by a health care professional.
One of the primary misconceptions regarding TBIs is that you cannot have a brain injury without a loss of consciousness. TBIs present differently, and one does not have to lose consciousness in order to be diagnosed with a TBI. A similar misconception about TBIs is that if there is no bleeding, there is no brain injury. Whether or not there is bleeding is dependent on whether the brain injury is a penetrating injury or a closed head injury, not on the seriousness of the brain injury.
The next myth about TBIs is that if a person appears “fine” after a head impact, they are. This is simply not true. It is very possible for a person with a TBI to walk, talk, and remain conscious after an impact; the symptoms of TBI can sometimes be so subtle they are not recognized as a symptom of brain injury. Finally, one of the most pervasive misconceptions regarding a traumatic brain injury is that a mild brain injury is not all that serious. In fact, even a mild brain injury can result in long-lasting neurological and psychological problems.
How TBI and Head Injuries Affect the Victim and His or Her Family
Traumatic brain injuries not only affect the victim, they also affect the victim’s loved ones. Since many traumatic brain injuries can cause serious emotional issues and changes in personality, the family members of the victim of TBI must also adjust to the personality changes. The victim of TBI may be unable to return to work and may even be unable to perform the simplest tasks, such as reading. Language is often a problem for those with a severe TBI; they may be unable to find words, making speech difficult.
How an Experienced Colorado TBI and Head Injury Attorney Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered a head injury or TBI as a result of the negligence of another driver, it is extremely important to speak to an experienced Denver TBI attorney. TBIs can cause long-term, even permanent damage, requiring years of medical treatments and rehabilitative therapies. The victim may never be able to return to work following a TBI, and the financial situation can be grim. Denver Attorney Dianne Sawaya has been helping those with TBIs for more than two decades. Dianne wants to help you and your family get the compensation you are entitled to, making your life and future at least financially better. The Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya can negotiate with the insurance company, or, when necessary litigate aggressively. Contact the Law Offices of Dianne Sawaya today for a comprehensive evaluation of your case.