Not All Injuries Heal: Understanding the long-lasting effects of a traumatic brain injury
Imagine a shooting pain in your skull. Forgetting where you placed your keys (again). Sudden feels of despair or anger — with no provocation, nothing “setting you off.” Abrupt confusion. Slurring. Feeling as though you’re on a ten-second delay when someone asks you a question.
These are the realities for many who have endured a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI is a serious and debilitating injury resulting from traumas such as motor vehicle accident, sporting injuries, and falls. While some TBIs are obvious (as is the case in a brain bleed and/or a fractured skull), other impacts to the brain can be construed as “minor.” Despite the nature of the injury, any type of brain injury should be treated as a TBI with serious potential consequences. TBIs are all too common and can forever change the course of your life. Here’s what you need to keep in mind when it comes to traumatic brain injuries:
1) It’s easier to get a TBI than you might think
While many people envision horrific car wrecks as the impetus for a TBI, brain injuries can occur from far more common activities as well. In fact, sports-related head trauma is the second most common cause of traumatic brain injury. Concussions are the most common variety of TBIs, and concussions are—unfortunately—a near certainty for many types of athletes. According to a recent study of high school athletes, about 300,000 of the 1.54 million TBIs that occur each year are the result of sports-related concussions.
As we approach summer, football camps and baseball launch full-force. These are two of the most concussion-laden sports people of all ages participate in. That means running plays, tackling practice, a wonky pitch, or fielding a pop fly can subject your student athlete to brain injury.
2) You don’t have to lose consciousness for a TBI to have occurred
The human brain has a consistency quite similar to Jello. In a car accident, the brain can move rapidly though the course of a rigid skull lined with tons of bony protrusions. The brain can actually bounce off the skull and hit the opposite end of the skull resulting in a TBI. Additionally, the myth that you must be knocked out to have a TBI is also disproven in instances of whiplash (i.e., head jerks forward and the movement stops suddenly). From hard braking in a vehicle to being tackled during a football game, the blow doesn’t have to be direct to have massive impacts to the brain. Whiplash has even been discovered, in certain cases, to cause a disruption in the nerve cells of the brain that are responsible for sending messages.
3) Recovery can be a lengthy process and is not always possible
Claims adjusters and insurance defense lawyers often attempt to downplay the extent of a brain injury by claiming that the ailment is minor and therefore the claimant (read: victim) will quickly recover. And while some symptoms of brain injury are minor, more subtle memory issues (like walking into a room and not knowing why you went in there), any kind of traumatic brain injury can produce long-lasting, dire consequences.
In recent years, studies of deceased athletes’ brains have revealed that one dramatic consequence of repeated brain injury can be chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a degenerative brain disease marked by a protein called Tau that grows and spreads clumps. These clumps actually kill off brain cells. While research is ongoing to determine more concrete facts about CTE, we do know that the brain disease is caused specifically by repetitive brain trauma—both concussions with obvious symptoms and subconcussive hits to the head with no symptoms at all. CTE often doesn’t present any symptoms until years after the brain injuries have occurred, but the effects have proven to be dire. Memory loss, confusion, impulsive control, impaired judgement, aggression, depression, parkinsonism, and even suicide have all been linked to CTE.
4) You have a right to seek legal representation if you’ve endured a traumatic brain injury
When brain injuries are more severe in nature, they can result in a lifelong disability leaving you unable to work, care for yourself, or even communicate. Concussions, even when seemingly insignificant in the present, can increase the risk of degenerative brain diseases like CTE for those who have experienced multiple TBIs—meaning the stakes are higher than ever. The experienced, knowledgeable attorneys at Taylor Martino, an award-winning plaintiff firm based in Mobile, Alabama, consistently deal with insurance adjusters, Alabama insurance defense lawyers, and even physicians who are simply unfamiliar with TBIs and their long-lasting consequences.
The catastrophic injury law attorneys at Taylor Martino, can spot the tactics employed by insurance carriers and defense lawyers in combating TBI claims a mile away. They realize that insurance carriers often strive to discredit those who have suffered TBIs if those brain injuries do not present obvious symptoms right away. If you have suffered an injury as catastrophic as a traumatic brain injury, you deserve to be compensated for all your costs and non-economic harm, both present and future. The compassionate attorneys at Taylor Martino can help fight for your rights in the aftermath of these life-altering injuries.